The adventure raid, extreme challenge

Combining, among other things, running, mountain biking and kayaking, the adventure raid has had its international circuit for 20 years. About ten rounds take place each year around the world. A retrospective look at this phenomenon with the two best Frenchmen in the discipline, Sébastien Raichon and Sandrine Béranger.

Team spirit, sense of direction, adventure raid It takes more than just physical qualities to cross the finish line first. The distance and duration may vary depending on the geographical area of ​​the places where the rounds take place. For each incursion, the teams lined up at the start must travel between 350 and 700 kilometers. “These are races that last between three and seven days for the latter. There is a crazy collective emotion during the race”to recognize sebastien raichonmember of the 400Team Naturex France, one of the best teams on the world circuit with five world cups behind them.

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The discipline takes place in mixed teams of four riders. Running (trail), mountain biking and kayaking are the three disciplines that make up the common core of each of the tests. But the spectrum is wide. “Sometimes there is caving or canyoning, accurate Sandrine Berangermember of the 400Team Naturex France and teammate of Sébastien Raichon. It requires us to be versatile and that is what makes our sport fun. » With events around the world and on every continent, athletes need to be able to adapt quickly.

A “3 in 1” event
The adventure raid is a “treasure hunt”. Support maps, GPS prohibited, the members of each team must help each other. Trail running, mountain biking and kayaking require optimal physical condition. However, not all athletes have the same abilities in each discipline. “I feel comfortable running and cycling. Quite the opposite of the kayak that is done in rough waters »says Sandrine Beranger.

Having one or two good wayfinders in your crew is the sine qua non for performance. It is even one of the secrets of success. “It’s essential to have them in a team, says Sébastien Raichon. This is the case of Sandrine (Beranger) which is one of the best in the world. We can only rely on our sense of direction in testing. This is what drives racing crazy with last minute rollovers.”

A growing discipline
Attached to the French Triathlon Federation since 2017, the adventure raid wants to come out of the shadows. Without professional status, athletes who practice adventure racing at the highest level have had a difficult time organizing a season. However, the discipline can count on the support of the Federation. “She gives us the means to develop and provides training for coaches. On a national level she is great. Now, we are a recognized discipline”rejoices Sébastien Raichon.

The best youngsters in the discipline are closely followed by the federation. They are offered internships to have a development perspective in the coming years. At the international level, at the moment, no federation represents the discipline. A “Brake” according to Sébastien Raichon, since this situation does not allow athletes “attract sponsors and finance a full season”.

A passion that has a cost
As the 400Team Naturex France can only count on a single sponsor to cover the registration costs, everyone has to make sacrifices. “Careers are long and invade our family life, says Sébastien Raichon. A World Cup is a budget of 4,000 euros. In terms of logistics, it is difficult to transport your equipment to go to the events and that has a cost”. An opinion shared by Sandrine Béranger: “My husband is there to help me because he also does adventure raids. With my three children it is not easy but it is a choice on my part. »

A few days ago, Sébastien Raichon was forced to skip the World Cup in Paraguay (September 15-25), which is not trivial. “A final is a huge budget, he confirms. The team members got it right. We already went to Lesotho last year. Every year we do 2-3 stages depending on where the events are located. We are saving for next year.”

A season with great ambitions
For the year 2023, Sébastien Raichon and Sandrine Béranger have common and ambitious projects. The two athletes want to start the World Championships in South Africa (October 18-30) with their team. Third female of the last Tor des Géants on September 15, Béranger is said ” comfortable “ long distances and it will take ” can be “ the start of the Tor des Glaciers next year.

For his part, Raichon has just won the Tor des Glaciers on September 14. From the height of his 50 years, he wants to keep pushing his limits. “I would like to go and challenge Barkley in the spring.confesses the adventurer. I am also thinking of the Pyrenees crossing record for the GR 10 (record held by Erik Clavery in 9 days, 9 hours and 12 minutes). »

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