The 2022 season ended a few weeks ago after the wet and epic Brazil event. It is therefore time to take a look back at what happened during this second part of the year.
And let’s start by the first event concerned, introducing our new format: the 555.
This inaugural edition invited participants to immerse themselves in the heart of the Vercors for a course mixing road (80%) and gravel (20%) over a distance of 500 km and a time limit of 55 hours. If on paper one could imagine a half-BikingMan, a quick look at the elevation (12,000m) puts things into perspective and sets the tone for the challenge that this adventure represents. As a result, it is hardly surprising to find emblematic figures of BikingMan and the ultra scene on the starting line: Captain Max, 4th on the Euskadi 2021 and the 2022 edition in Corsica a few weeks earlier, Fabian Burri our favorite Swiss gipsy and finisher of 10 BikingMan and a number of other ultracycling events around the globe, Christophe Coulomb, also very experienced with a list that continues to fill up well, or even Florent Dumas, 3rd in Portugal in beginning of the season or our Shaman Axel who is riding again after having just completed his 1st BikingMan X a few days earlier. Finally, after having completed his first BikingMan in Corsica and above all having been inspired by the success of Laurianne, his wife, on the X, FX has also joined the adventure of the 555.
Départ du 555 Vercors
Le sourire de Christophe
Axel enchaine après le X
Damien 2nd à la poursuite de Max
Antoine bientôt dans le gravel
Paulo full gaz!
Vive les gorges
Florent dans le dur
FX sort du gravel
Captain Max 1er à l'arrivée
With a start for the first time for a BikingMan at noon, given in heavy rain, our furious bunch set out to attack the mountains of Vercors, a hotbed of resistance during the 2nd World War. And it is clear of one thing, they themselves will have to fight their own battle to cover this magnificent track in less than 55 hours.
If in front, Captain Max quickly takes the lead and will never let go, even when the night comes to disrupt the reading of a sector covered by vegetation, behind him the positions are exchanged many times between Florent, Damien and FX who joins in their duel.
Behind them, Axel is already far behind, accompanied by Antoine, who is a bit in difficulty. They will go a good way together until they reach the finishline.
Further on, Christophe lives his adventure in Solo, and continues his journey almost serenely. Behind him, at a good distance, Christophe Coulomb and Richard Jeanjean have decided to share this adventure and ride together, with totally opposite feelings: Richard, not much of a fan of offroading, suffers these sections harshly when Christophe, tackling this 555 without putting on any pressure, on the contrary take full advantage of passages in the middle of nature.
With them for a good part of the course, Jérôme suffered a major backlash at the end of the second day and found himself very close to giving up. But, supported by his comrades, he chose to rest and set off more quietly on Sunday morning, while Fabian, who lacked training, lost positions since the halfway point and found himself just ahead of Jérôme.
On the withdrawal front, Paulo suffered major GPS problems and after more than 50kms of detour chose to give up, just like Thomas and Raphael.
Establishing the first mark of the 555 Vercors in 29h39m, Captain Max won a superb victory under a memorable welcome from the public present at Villard-de-Lans. Behind him, it was finally FX who snatched 2nd place, over-motivated by the proximity and the battle with Florent and especially Damien who finished only 13min behind him. Florent lost ground to them a little near the end of the course and took 4th place arriving a little over an hour later.
Then follow Axel and Antoine with a night arrival, then Christophe in the early morning.
Christophe and Richard finish after 47 hours of racing, at the end of the morning. A few hours later, it was Fabian’s turn to complete his 555 with the red lantern Jérôme who had a good fight to finish with a good margin on the time limit, in less than 53 hours.
Find the complete ranking of the 555 Vercors:
The BikingMan Sprint series resumes at the start of August with the 2nd edition of the BikingMan AURA. Back to Beaumont-Lès-Valence where the race village is once again deployed to welcome the hundred participants who have come to rediscover the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. This time, the heat wave will accompany the whole event with dry conditions which will make the search for water sometimes very difficult.
Cyril sur la ligne de départ
AURA 2022, c'est parti
Reflets sur le lac
Quentin devant le Mont Gerbier
Le long du lac sous la canicule
Dans la montée du Pas de Peyrol
Bertrand repose les jambes dans le Grand Colombier
Bascule du Grand Colombier
Superbes gorges pour rentrer dans le Vercors
Trilogie de la Chartreuse
It is accompanied by the fervor and energy of Cyril, mayor of the municipality of Beaumont-lès-Valence, that the start is given at 5am, the usual time for BM Sprint events. The riders set off in waves towards the Ardèche foothills.
After a few hours, a battle begins to take shape at the outposts, with some well-known bibs including Rémi and Patrick, already wheel in wheel at the exit of Mont Gerbier but both outstripped by a newcomer, Yoan Dercourt, who will put pressure in front for a good part of the race. At breakneck speed, these 3 will continue until CP1.
Behind, Bertrand, still in the race to achieve his challenge of completing all races of the Sprint series, encountered mechanical problems which put a premature halt to his morning progress and cast doubt on his ability to finish this stage. Forced to find a solution to repair, he will walk for nearly 20 kms to find a possible repair solution. After several lost hours, he still manages to set off again with a bike in working order and climbs back at breakneck speed on the red lanterns. A great scare compared to his ambitions, fortunately behind him now as his pace quickly puts him back on track to cross the first checkpoint in time.
At the start of CP1, Rémi left alone in the lead, Yoan resting a little more, while Patrick chose to let them explain themselves to resume his progress at his own pace. Next objective, the ascent of the Pas de Peyrol and its superb panoramic view.
After a short ride with Bruno, who caught up with him shortly after the descent of the Pas de Peyrol, Patrick joined Rémi again, disturbed by a poor food choice. Yoan is then alone in front as the night sets in at the end of this first day.
Behind, as often, the gaps already seem huge as the latecomers stop for the night before reaching checkpoint 1 (km 270). A long day is ahead for them to stay in the race and make sure to remain within the time windows.
For our leading trio, the night shuffles the cards and the progress is sometimes fluid, sometimes hesitant. The positions are also blurred with the first significant rest stops, and a crossed silhouette can be a reparted leader as much as a back-to-level pursuer.
For Patrick, this night will change everything: following his GPS, he anticipates a change of direction and throws himself into what he first believes to be the road, but quickly turns out to be a bumpy track. Things follow one another and the fall is inevitable. Lying on the ground, Patrick is seized with intense pain. Unable to leave, he therefore contacts the organisation to report his fall and asks them for assistance. On the spot, as they try to free him from his bike and put him back on his feet, a violent pain seizes Patrick. He quickly understands that his mistake will be fatal to his adventure and that rescue will be needed to help him. When they arrive, the pain is confirmed and only an injection can mask this pain and allow him to be evacuated. For Patrick, the race is over and so begins another adventure (find his full story of his BikingMan here: BikingCrash in AURA).
Now alone in the lead, Rémi and Yoan continue their progress towards the early hours of the day and checkpoint 2, Rémi now in the lead will maintain a short lead, around one to two hours over Yoan until the finish. Rémi will thus complete the course, including these 50kms of extension to avoid the Tour de l’Ain, in less than 49 hours, his 2nd victory on a BikingMan! Yoan will arrive a little over 2 hours after him.
Further on, after resuming a quasi-senator’s rhythm, Bertrand will finish the race while managing in 35th place overall. He is still on his way to his challenge of completing the 7 sprint events on the calendar for the 2022 season!
Note the beautiful 20th place overall of the first woman, Vanessa, who completed her 1st BikingMan there.
Find the complete ranking of BikingMan AURA #2:
If in September children have their back-to-school, ultracyclists have their Euskadi and for this 2nd edition of the BikingMan highlighting the charms of the Basque Country and the Pyrenees, the show has largely been there, be it the magic landscapes or the battle to decide the winner.
Once again established at the Eden Villages Bela Basque campsite in Anglet, the race village welcomed participants as usual from Saturday. On paper, this stage presents the toughest field with no less than 4 winners of BikingMan: Laurianne of course, victorious on the X, Rémi winner on the AURA and France 2021, Lorris on the France and Clément, winner of the 1st edition and Portugal at the start of the season and Corsica 2021. Big players therefore, without mentioning other solid athletes also present.
Euskadi #2, c'est parti!
Lorris malheureux animateur du BikingMan Euskadi
Affaire de famille, Emilie avance imperturbable
Dans les lacets
Christophe au somment de Spandelles
Nombreux chevaux en liberté sur le parcours
Marche obligatoire dans les raidars
Nature et faune, la recette sauvage de l'Euskadi
Marco dans une des ascensions
Stephen notre fière lanterne rouge
And quickly all the promises kept will be revealed. Lorris, motivated and prepared as ever, is riding like hell in front. Behind him, follow Sébastien Bouchet, also starting at a fast pace, Rémi then Laurianne. Bertrand, as often, started with the leaders at the start of the race but will gradually switch to management mode to ensure that he gets to the end of his long season and this BikingMan Euskadi. Clément is a few minutes behind, starting cautiously as usual.
The morning will continue at a good pace until a first puncture for Lorris which will quickly degenerate, his tire also being damaged, chaining other punctures. At the checkpoint, it was Clément who was the first to validate his passage, followed closely by Laurianne and a few minutes later by Lorris who gave his all to compensate for the loss of time.
Sébastien has already lost ground, feeling some pain. Rémi also arrives at the checkpoint in bad shape and lacking energy, already 2 hours late. A small form that will push him to give up going further after suffering in the last kilometers leading to the checkpoint.
If the leaders give the impression of not suffering too much from the difficulties of the course, behind the feeling is very different with a majority of the participants walking in the double-digit percentages offered by the main climbs of the first third of the course. The gaps are widening and quickly it seems clear that the time barriers will pose significant difficulties for the back of the peloton. If last year the heat had caused damage during the first 2 days, it is hardly more lenient temperatures which for the moment accompany the runners in their duel with the mountain and it is perhaps the latter which will show the most ruthless.
For the moment, it is a 3-way battle which is taking shape in front with Clément and Laurianne who exchange positions regularly on the road to checkpoint 2. On arrival in Campan, Laurianne is leading with almost 1h30min ahead of Clément. Lorris follows at 1h30 more but the pain in his knees is intense and he doubts he can continue. Behind, the gaps are huge.
This last section will bring a memorable fight between Laurianne and Clément who continue to exchange the lead until Clément seems to take the upper hand and dig a small gap. Behind, Lorris finally gave up to preserve his knee.
Victory now seems promised to Clément, but he encounters GPS problems, makes a navigation error and goes in the wrong direction. When he comes back on track, Laurianne has just passed in front, though the gap is tiny and there are still 8kms to go. On the live tracking, it is almost impossible to determine for sure who is ahead, the effect of location updates displaying one or the other in the last successively. On the finish line, we do not know who is then in front. We expect to see Laurianne arrive but suddenly Clément appears and crosses the finish line first. Laurianne appears barely a minute later, a ridiculous gap after 1000km covered, it’s simply incredible! With the effect of the starting waves, it is a gap of 2 min on their total time which actually separates them.
However, it will be necessary to wait 8 hours more for the 3rd rider to finish: Charles in turn crosses the finish line, in 66h47m.
At the race village, arrivals are now more or less one after the other until the fateful time barrier is approached. Stephen, one of the oldest participants, fought against time throughout the event to get through the checkpoints in time. Everyone fearfully followed his position on the livetracking in hopes of seeing him arrive in time. It is almost 3am (the time limit for the race being at 5am) when we finally see him arrive and successfully cross the finish line. 117h55m! Incredible Stephen!
Note, in the general classification of the series, this 2nd position places Laurianne temporarily in the lead ahead of Bertrand, who finishes his 6th BikingMan of the year.
Find the complete ranking of BikingMan Euskadi #2:
We are finally at the last stage of this 2022 calendar to close a rich season with style. Brazil welcomes us for the 2nd time with this year a new departure city and a deeply reviewed race course with more than 250km of gravel sections. Here we are in Santo Antonio do Pinhal where the race village is set up.
Rare moment sec lors de la 1ere journée
Pluie, boue et toujours le sourire
Vicky pour son 2e BikingMan Brazil
Des passages inoubliables
Des conditions difficiles pour les montures
Au coeur de la Serra do Mar
Un pont boueux pour Marcelo
La pluie avec le sourire
Prêt pour la pluie
Idan jusqu'au bout de l'effort
If the preparatory stages for the race take place under a beautiful weather, the forecast announces a rainy week. Monday morning at 5am, the start is however given in dry weather, but the time to clean up in the race village and the rain actually begins to fall. It will not stop for the day and offer dantesque conditions to the participants depending on the sections of road encountered. From the first kilometers of the race, the favorites took their places and we therefore find Andre (already participating last year) and Davi at the forefront, followed by Omar, Raphael or Bertrand. Vicky, an accomplished competitor and already 7th overall last year, is also well placed. Behind, the slower progression makes the conditions even more unfavorable, the rain having time to transform the road into muddy and slippery tracks. Despite the conditions, the pace at the head is surprisingly good and CP1 is reached in a little over 13h (for 274km or around 20km/h on average). Andre is the one getting there first, about twenty minutes before Bertrand who plays big on this event since the stakes are high for him. If he manages to finish in the top 16 overall, he will come back ahead of Laurianne in the series classification and would therefore win the 2022 championship. And at this moment, his position is ideal since feeling in good shape, he will leave before Andre and Davi and lead the race, although Andre will follow suit.
At CP1, Adrien is an astonishing 4th while Juliano, 2nd in the 2021 edition, is slowly starting to position himself. A little slower, Axel is ahead of Vicky and arrives a few minutes after Raphael.
For Bertrand, things will start to go wrong during the night with a succession of problems which will see him lose ground and demote in the classification. Ahead, the fight will rage between Andre and Davi.
Day 2 will spare the competitors from the rain and give them some respite. At CP2, the final classification begins to take shape. Davi arrives there in first place with more than an hour ahead of Andre. Juliano manages it nearly 6 hours later and another 5.5 hours later it is Vicky who reaches CP2. By sleeping less than Axel, she was able to overtake him and now has a 2 hour lead over him. Bertrand demoted to 7th place. Among the favourites, Leandro (better known as Leo) will retire with severe back pain shortly after CP2 while Omar will suffer a bad crash approaching CP2. Behind also the troubles are accumulating for some, between frequent mechanical problems with the mud damaging the transmissions, the brakes put to the test with the steep descents and the many gravel sections. The conditions also put several participants out of the game, finding themselves out of time. Once again this year, Brazil is demanding for the bikes as well as for the athletes.
In front, the leaders will attack the most difficult section of the route to climb to the entrance of the Itatiaia National Park. A long brittle gravel section but with incredible views where refueling is a real challenge. The accumulated fatigue and these difficult conditions will put our leaders in difficulty. Davi and Andre find themselves in turn in near hypothermia and the organization is forced to stop them for a time as a safety measure so that they warm up before leaving. Andre, he will have a minor fall but fatigue and lack of coherence will force him to stop longer, helped by locals. This allows Juliano to overtake him and even get back on Davi a bit before he too is trapped in these epic conditions. Behind, Vicky and Axel overtook Andre and continued on their way to Itatiaia.
When Davi reaches the entrance to the park, he has just passed 80 km escorted by a dog who has taken a liking to him and has followed him continuously ever since. Exhausted and hurt by the distance covered, this companion will find temporary refuge around the shops that border the exit of the Gravel section of the park. Later, a member of the organization will come to bring him back to Davi who will adopt him.
After leaving the gravel, the end of the course seems almost like a formality as the biggest difficulties are now behind. Davi then proceeds towards the race village and wins this BikingMan Brazil 2022 with nearly 7 hours ahead of Juliano, 2nd again.
Behind them, Vicky does not give up and will not give Axel any chance to come back on her. She reaches the finish line with a 34min margin over Axel, and offers herself a superb podium in the event. Axel wins a place compared to 2021 and approaches the podium. A few hours later, it’s Andre’s turn to finally reach the finish, then Raphael and Wim will follow.
For his part, Bertrand will give up a few places again during his last night, taken by fatigue which will force him to stop several times. The objective is nevertheless largely achieved since he takes 11th place overall and therefore does better than his objective of top 16. This means he wins the BikingMan championship and above all becomes the first to finish 7 BikingMan in one season, a gigantic challenge and evidence of enormous management to achieve it.
During an endless night, the arrivals will follow one after another until the arrival of the last pair, made up of Philippe and Idan who complete the course in 117 hours. Exhausted at the finish, Idan successfully completed his 2nd BikingMan Brazil.
Find the complete ranking of BikingMan Brazil #2:
The season therefore ends with this epic Brazilian conclusion and Bertrand’s superb performance which allows him to win the championship ahead of Laurianne, herself the author of several incredible performances, notably her victory in X and her 2nd place for 2 minutes on the Euskadi. A huge congratulations to you both for this and for hosting this 2022 series.