As a nice finish to the long weekend of the 1st of May, the Conseil général de la Vendée organised a big festival, called "Vendée Vélo" on the 3rd of May, which took place in 20 villages throughout the region. Four trails, which went both inland and along the coast, taking in forests and marshes along the way, converged on Olonne-sur-Mer, where there was an immense village set up with numerous shows and demos.
BMX and trials were ’guests of honour’, and two great figures from these disciplines had been invited to come along, the queen of BMX Anne-Caroline Chausson (3 time BMX World Champion, 12 time MTB Downhill World Champion, Olympic Champion in Peking...) and Vincent Hermance (current trials Vice-World Champion, 2007 French, European and World Champion).
Here are some videos and photos of Vincent Hermance, taken by Simon Kuchesperger, alias "Canardweb", a Vendéen trials rider from Roche-sur-Yon. They include some close-ups of his bike, a short interview and two ten minute videos, one of the show itself, in which Vincent lands a big gap to a pile of concrete pipes and an enourmous sidehop onto two cable reels, and a TV report by local channel Vendée TV, filmed with two cameras and in which Vincent gives a long and interesting interview after the show. A big thanks to Simon, without whom we would not have seen all of this great media!
Supermance and his Hydroxx II... Vincent was riding a Hyrdroxx instead of the Sky that he’d been using in international competitions.
The Hyrdwoxx II:
Single walled NoWar rear rim with the new generation Try-All tyre (much lighter than the Stiky tyres, with folding bead):
NoWar Carbon handlebar and Vincent’s helmet (note the cut-away headtube)
Another front view:
Vincent on his Koxx Hydroxx 2:
Vincent in the warm-up area:
Here is a transcript of an interview with Vincent in the opening minutes of the show...
Vincent Hermance: I got into MTB trials when I was 11. Before that I’d tried a lot of similar sports - BMX, moto-trials, etc. I’ve always been interested in this kind of sport!
C.: So before trials, your rode BMX, are they very different?
V.H.: Yeah, definitely, they’re very, very different. It’s impossible to ride both at a top level. I started with BMX, but bit by bit, I moved over to trials.
C.: So, 2007 French, European and Wolrd Champion, that really was your year wasn’t it? Was it hard work?
V.H.: As with all sports, you have to work hard. In 2007 I had a perfect season. In 2008 I lost my world title and in 2009 I’m working really hard to take it back.
C.: So where and how does all this work take place?
V.H.: Well, there’s the technical aspect, which takes place on the bike at natural venues and on the streets. Then there’s the physical aspect, which I take care of in the gym and by doing some athletics. And then there’s also the mental preparation.
C.: So you take your bike, go out into the countryside and ride what you find? Is that a trials rider in training?
V.H.: Yeah, that’s pretty much it. I train a lot at natural venues, on the rocks. I also ride artificial obstacles though...
C.: And competitions?
V.H.: Yeah, I’ve got the second round of the World Championships in a fortnight in Germany.
C.: Tell us about that?
V.H.: Well, I came third in the first round in Spain, so not the best. I’m really hoping to win this next one so that I can move up in the series.
S. (to the audience): Vincent Hermance ladies and gentlemen! (Applause).