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Posted By: Cedric On: Aug 21st, 2017 In: Blog Music News Comments: 0

New Release (BATB 002) – BlackBush Orchestra – Famiglia EP

The (long awaited) 2nd release on our Beauty and the Beat label has finally landed, and it’s a family affair. The main producer is our man Atemi based in Nantes, long time partner in crime behind the decks and fellow record digger and music lover. About his first release, Atemi says that “at the heart of this project is to let the music come alive and evolve out of the meeting of musicians with different styles and backgrounds.”

 

On this 3 track EP, we start with an ode to friendship, “My People“:

 

 

Things get deeper, cosmic and tribal on the next piece, “Bamba Ditounalene“, an interpretation of a traditional west African chant, recounting the origins of Mami Wata (Mother Water)’s power. Mixed by no less than Vakula himself:

 

 

On the B side and in its full 45rpm glory we have (another man of ours) Kay Suzuki‘s remix of “Sortez, les Filles!“, a self confessed invitation to dance in space, and the one track that’s turned a few heads already. I played it in Sapporo’s Precious Hall just before its official release and it sounded absolutely insane. Mr Suzuki has been in a world of his own lately in terms of production skills!

 

 

As well as in some selected record shops (Sounds of the Universe, Phonica, Juno), the release is still available physically (not for long!) and digitally on our bandcamp.

 

What with my triathlon career over soon (!), we can expect more activity on the label front in the months and years to come!

Posted By: Cedric On: May 23rd, 2017 In: Blog News Triathlon Comments: 0

Ironman Lanzarote 2017

Having declared in my race recap post Lanza 2015 how glad I was to have finished because that meant I wouldn’t have to do it again…well here I was toeing the start line one more time 2 years later. DNF in 2013, 9th in 2015, what would 2017 bring? A hard race that is a certainty, but what else, and why the change of mind?

 

 

 

A few reasons actually. To start with, I somehow put in my mind after IM Wales in September that my goal in 2017 would be to attempt to qualify for Kona 2017, meaning I’d have to do 3 more ironman at least (the KPR is based on the best of three IMs and one 70.3). Having gone to New Zealand in March and failed to collect any points time was running out, and with June dedicated to Japan and July to parties, there was no escaping Lanzarote. At least I knew what was in store, but more importantly that this was a good course for me, a hard and honest one with 2251m of climbing which could -on a good day- allow me to hopefully come back from behind after the swim and not be stuck on my own like I was in NZ for instance.
The 12 weeks since Taupo hadn’t gone exactly smoothly in terms of training, with a mix of injuries (pubalgia, broken ribs) and parties making it difficult to have any kind of consistency. All in all I had 3 weeks of solid training and felt I was back in some kind of shape, though nowhere near running as well as I was in February. However in 2015 I finished 9th only 2 months after being hospitalised for a week because of paratyphoid, so I knew that I could only be better!

 

One of the big advantages in Lanza is that I have friends on the island, Laura and Eamon, now with Carlos and Catalina. They have a lovely house in the hills in Tinajo, and they treat me like a total prince. No shopping to do, no check in or check out, even the wine post race is furnished! All I have to do is focus on the race. I flew in on the Thursday and the wind was absolutely insane, but luckily on race race day it had calmed down a lot (especially compared to 2015) and at least it didn’t feel dangerous to ride anymore. However, having had a look at the start list, my dreams of a top 5 had all but vanished and I was now aiming for a (still ambitious) top 10…

 

This race has the peculiarity in that we all start pretty much together, the pros being on the front line but ready to be swallowed by the fast age groupers right on our backs…which is exactly what happened after about 3 strokes. No idea how they came in so fast, but one sure thing is that I wasn’t going to swim alone this time. In fact there was still a big bunch of us together after the 2nd buoy, 1k into the swim. Which should have been a good thing for me, but somehow I managed to lose focus on the way back, slowly retrograding, then my goggles filled up, my legs started cramping, and I could tell I wasn’t swimming well. By the time I got to T1 I was in 38th position, some 6.5 minutes down on the leaders! T1 was also a bit of a disaster, with cramps, loose timing chips and mounting bike too early making sure I had my work cut out!

 

 

At least this meant I wouldn’t be riding in no man’s land like in NZ, thanks to a stream of cyclists in front of me to play catch up with. My original plan of holding off for the first 120k wasn’t going to happen in these conditions! Luckily my legs felt good and I slowly but surely made my way up, passing mostly age groupers at first then the first pros started to appear, then the leading woman some 50K in to the bike (the impressive eventual winner Lucy Charles, having swam with the top guys). After La Santa I continued to push the pace, making sure I took no one with me, finally catching athletes like Malte Bruns (1st amateur in Kona 2015 and a 40h per week training monster), Trevor Delsaut, KJ Danielsson, Samuel Huerzeler and Carlos Lopez Diaz (winner of IM Mallorca in 2016). Only Timothy Van Houtem had come back from behind (no sign of Del Corral!) but I knew since the Alpe d’Huez LD that he was a much stronger cyclist than me so didn’t try to follow him.

 

When I reached the top of Mirador Del Rio I was in 10th position and thought I might be on a great day! Problem was I overcooked it a bit on some of the steeper slopes (my 23 ring at the back was clearly not enough!), I was now on my own not only for the descent but also for the last 50K of never ending 1% incline on the highway…and cramps had started to appear.

Without surprise the scenario of previous editions started repeating (albeit on a milder scale), meaning I started to be overtaken by some of the guys cited above without being able to catch their wheel whatsoever. I really hate the last hour of this bike course! And I won’t come back a 4th time to try to crack the code, I’m telling you!

 


 


 

I arrived in T2 in 15th position, more than happy to get off the bike, but nevertheless not as smashed as I thought I’d be. Having a new bike this year, Ceepo‘s Katana has made a big difference in my cycling performance in that it is the most comfortable TT bike I have ever ridden. I can stay in the TT position for hours without breaking my back, and as a result I can run better off the bike. Still running a marathon now seemed like a long way! Less wind meant a hot run, 30ºC and no shade, a real pleasure! The legs felt ok for the first 10k during which I moved up to 11th, but then I had a really rough patch between K10 and K20 and would have stopped it right there if the course hadn’t been changed to one 30k loop followed by a 12k one. No point stopping at K15 because this meant I would have had to walk 15K back to the finish line anyway. A similar ‘situation’ happened to me during my 2nd Embrunman in 2012, hitting the wall really hard barely 5k into the run, but finding nowhere to hide/sleep I carried on to the end of the first loop before finding my legs back miraculously. Here I started to feel ok again from K20 to K30, then it was waves of feeling ok/terrible/ok/terrible/ok. During this time my fellow Frenchman Guillaume Lecallier had overtaken me and caught Delsaut, then I’d caught both of them and crossed the line in 8th. You really never know what is going to happen during the marathon, and you should never give up for that very reason!

 


 

8th spot gets 305 points, which brings me exactly to the grand total of 1125 points at the current KPR. Knowing that the qualification barrier hovers around 3000 points or more, this means I would have to…win…my next ironman if I want to go to Kona. 99% unlikely, but I guess I’ll give it a try. If I feel fit anyway. Probably in Maastricht in August. If not that would have been my last ever ironman. Let’s see!

 

PS: big thanks to Silvia, my parents, my brother, Laura, Eamon and family, my osteopath Sam Burch who put me back in place only a couple weeks before the race, to my sponsors Kiwami and Ceepo, and to all who have been encouraging, messaging, texting me and those who have read this blog until here!

Posted By: Cedric On: Mar 15th, 2017 In: Blog News Triathlon Comments: 3

IRONMAN NEW ZEALAND – A FIASCO

I missed a turn…

 

 

One thing I get asked repeatedly by a lot of people (namely my mum and my girlfriend) is to explain the motivations behind this triathlon malarkey – when will I stop ? It’s a tough one to answer really as any endurance athlete can find new goals and challenges pretty much ad vitam aeternam. I think though the main reason I am still sweating buckets going nowhere in my living room in order to compete at pro level having now just turned 40 and despite having arguably a better career to focus on (phew, breathe here!), is because I know I still haven’t reached my full potential. And I want to (reach it). As per customary with elite sport, I went through as many highs as lows over the years, but somehow I tend to dwell on those missed opportunities a lot more than on the successes. As a runner I always seemed to get injured while at the peak of my form, and hence never got the times/results I knew I could have had. When I tore my Achilles in the final of the U23 french national championship, 300m for the finish line, that was one injury too many and I stopped my running career right there. I was in the shape of my life that day and fighting for glory and a definite PB when injury stroke again. This was a pivotal time in my life as I then took a 180º turn away from competitive sport, but the feeling of unfinished business never left me.

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Posted By: Cedric On: Jan 15th, 2017 In: Blog Music Comments: 4

2016 – A Year In Music

2016 will forever be remembered as a year to…forget ! Much has been said about the passing of David Mancuso and as far as I’m concerned it felt like losing a family member. I had come to the point where I thought David was immortal (as some people should be, really) and that he would always be around to guide us…well I guess he will, though not physically any more. With David’s passing, I for one have learned about my own mortality all too suddenly, and this came as a shock. I wasn’t prepared – no one was. However, if anything this has reinforced even further our essential need of dancing with friends, as often as can possibly be. Love is the message and music is our way of life, let’s never forget.

 

As if that wasn’t enough we lost other luminaries like Prince (whose music I will forever be playing and carrying around with me – starting with CREAM at the gong of midnight this past NYE), David Bowie, George Michael, Leonard Cohen, Sharon Jones, and too many more…and that gave us a really shitty year…which became officially one the worst year of my generation as we witnessed the Brexit, Trump and the rise of populism and xenophobia across the world. These times we are living they ain’t easy. Sometimes I wish I could just be transported to that first Loft party on Valentine’s day 1970 on Broadway, NYC, and just stay on that magic carpet ride to eternity…

 

However we still have a life to live, and we might as well bounce off and fight back…and party more ! In terms of musical output at least, 2016 was a vintage as good as any, be it for new music or quality reissues of timeless music. A lot less edits these days it seems, as people prefer to put out straight reissues, which can only be a good thing. As always I will try to compile my own personal favourites of these last 12 months. There are still many reasons to stay positive and look forward to better days. I’ll start with the best of the best releases, the ones that really were unmissable this year, before listing most of my personal highlights.

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Posted By: Cedric On: Nov 27th, 2016 In: Blog Music Comments: 4

David Mancuso – Music Is My Way Of Life

For my inner circle of music friends, there isn’t a lot that hasn’t been said about David already, especially since his passing on Monday the 14th of November, but for my ‘triathlon friends’ I thought this little tribute would be much welcome as I believe most wouldn’t even have heard of him.

 

I won’t do a full biography/music history here, as others are much more qualified and have even done so eloquently already, starting with this exceptional interview of David done by my friend Tim Lawrence, author of the dance music bible Loves Saves the Day (whose title itself comes from an invitation at David’s Loft party in 1970). Rather I will keep these reflections quite personal and link all the relevant tributes along the way.


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Posted By: cedric On: Aug 23rd, 2016 In: Blog Photos Triathlon Comments: 0

Norseman 2016

Un résumé de la course en français se trouve ici sur le site de Trimes:

 

My whole 2016 season has been shaped around this AA race. The preparation started at the beginning of November, when the list of selected athletes was announced. I must have read the race manual at least a dozen times to make sure I was ready come race day with every technical, physical and logistic aspects of this mythical race. That leaves plenty of time (9 months) to have recurring dreams about one of the most renowned and most coveted finish lines in the world of triathlon. The summit of the G.A.U.S.T.A.T.O.P.P.E.N.

 

Norseman means support team. You don’t race on your own like in a regular triathlon. Nobody will get DQed for outside assistance here. In fact this is compulsory, as the only 2 aid stations are at K25 and K32.5 of the run, some 8 hours + into the race. The team that follows us throughout the day is there to feed us, dress/undress us, calm our nerves, shout at us, encourage us, etc. This is one of the key aspects that makes this race so special. Then of course you have the course (unique and magical nordic landscape, cold fjords, 5 ‘cols’ on the bike for a total elevation of 3360m, and last but not least possibly the hardest run of any iron event with the 12K of Zombie Hill averaging 10% followed by 5K of fell ‘running’ (scrambling really) to reach the finish line, at an altitude of 1883m). Add to this a rather hostile and unpredictable weather, and that gives you a never ending yet unforgettable day out ! + more

Posted By: Cedric On: Jun 18th, 2016 In: Blog News Photos Comments: 0

IRONMAN NICE 2016

Being back in Nice, where I have strong familial roots and where I spent most of my childhood’s holiday, I couldn’t help but feel more than a little nervous in the days leading to the ironman. After all this is the race where I had to give up last year 30k into the bike after falling sick the night before the race, following another DNF in 2011 this time 30k into the…run for my first ever ironman, when debilitating cramps had the better of me. This time though I was feeling strong and healthy after 3 solid weeks of training, and rather confident and determined to finish at (almost) all costs. The other goals were to do that under 9 hours with a sub 3 hour marathon. And there was even the dream of a top 10 (which considering the level of the field I kept to myself) !

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Posted By: Cedric On: Apr 8th, 2016 In: Blog News Triathlon X-terra Comments: 0

XTERRA MALTA

In early March I was in the best shape I’ve been at that time of the year. To validate all the hard labor I took part of the Mudman duathlon, which I hadn’t done since 2009 (then my first ever duathlon) when I finished 2nd behind a certain Sam Gardner. I remember not being able to walk for a couple days afterwards. Up and down and up and down and repeat ad infinitum; nothing technical just a hard and honest race. The preps for Norseman started here. After a prudent start I slowly but surely ran past everyone and entered T1 with a 15sec lead, feeling easy. After 3/4 of the bike I was 1:30 ahead and just had to cruise home. Then somehow a rock (I believe, as this all happended underwater – yes we had to ride (and run) knee deep for about 100m each lap) hit my rear mech which got caught in the wheel and destroyed as a result. Frame got cracked too. Game over that was. + more

Posted By: Cedric On: Jan 12th, 2016 In: Blog Music News Comments: 3

2015 – A Year In Music

In March 2014 I moved in a new flat , and ALL my records got mixed up in the process. What seemed like a disaster at the time actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as once I decided to listen each and every one of them I got quickly addicted to rediscover my collection. I was literally digging in my own house. It took me about 18 months to go through everything, filing every record on the shelves and in the discogs database (6007 and counting), getting rid of a few hundreds (only keeping the ones I love 100%), and more often than not taking a trip down memory lane.

 

Obviously though, in the midst of all that, it’s not like I stopped buying new music…au contraire! Discogs tells me I’ve acquired 269 (!) new records this year, meaning records that were released in 2015 (old or new, whatever format)! If I were to add all the second hand records I also bought on top of that while digging and do a bit of math, I believe I would come up to a scary amount of ££$$€€¥¥ spent exclusively on wax…a number which I’d rather not know to be honest! The vinyl junkie is indeed an addict – but a healthy one bien sûr.

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Posted By: Cedric On: Dec 11th, 2015 In: Blog News Triathlon Uncategorized Comments: 2

IM Malaysia 2015

 

The (very last minute) idea behind ironman Malaysia was to make one last use of my 2015 pro license, and depending on the result to decide afterwards whether to pursue the Kona dream and KPR race in 2016. Or not.

 

Obviously having never been to Malaysia the prospect of 10 days in the tropics in the middle of November was also a big bonus, and with my mum coming along it really was a no brainer. The big unknowns were my fitness level (what with 2 weeks off post xterra Japan in September then 1 week off sick in October and barely any running due to a micro tear in my left calf) and my ability to race long in extremely hot and humid conditions.

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