“This title means a lot”

After her victory in the general classification of the Enduro World Series last weekend, Isabeau Courdurier is confident of this world champion title, the second of her career. She reviews the complicated year 2021 and her injury, which makes her performance even more beautiful.

“You have become World champion for the second time this weekend, how did you feel?
I am very happy to have been able to achieve this title in front of the French public, in Loudenvielle. I was under pressure until the end, because I had to finish and score points, and I wanted to finish my season well. Finally, I take second place and we do a superb triple blue-white-red on the podium. The season is ending in the best way. This title means a lot to me. I’m coming off a complicated 2021, and I had a big injury in the middle of the season. At that time, I thought that the title would no longer be attainable. We had to go get it, and that’s what makes it so beautiful.

After last season, how did you get back to the top level?
In 2021 I lost my father a month and a half before the season started. He was my biggest support in cycling. Mentally I was at my lowest point, which influenced my training, my motivation, my ability to go for victories… I dragged that mental and physical fatigue, but I didn’t give up. I participated in all the races. I finally managed, I don’t know how, to get a third place overall and a French champion title. From this difficult season I learned the lesson to always see the positive and to fight, to give everything, because in this sport nothing is decided in advance. I came back in 2022 with the desire to find my best level, to show that I was still there. I think I did it, and that’s what I’m most proud of this season.

“So it was a title that we really had to chase and that required a lot of energy on my part.”

You had a terrific start to the season, with three wins from three rounds, before this big wound. How did you experience this period?
At the beginning of the season, I was very happy to be 100% physically and mentally. I had a lot of confidence again, and here comes the injury. It was hard to handle because I didn’t fall, the injury didn’t come from a fall or a mistake. I was lucky, in quotes, that it happened to me at the beginning of July, at the beginning of a break in the calendar, which allowed me not to miss any race. A month later, I decided with my team to take the risk of going to Canada, not even knowing if I could ride a mountain bike. In the end, the risk paid off, and even without being at the top, I was able to save some precious points for the general classification. Finishing fourth was probably my best performance of the season. We also work a lot with my mental trainer, who has followed me for several years, to mentally control the pain during this race. In the next one, in Burke (United States), I paid a little for the fatigue (7th), but I managed to win the last race of the North American circuit, in Sugarloaf (United States), which I was confident of finishing the year well.

In 2019, you are world champion at the end of a season where you win every race. What are the differences between your two titles?
In 2019, he had not experienced any turbulence, from a health and mechanical point of view. I think that a season like this, without any problem, only happens once in a lifetime. This year, I had big problems, and some pretty crazy ones. The injury I had was unheard of! On the other hand, the level in Enduro among women has skyrocketed. Many girls can claim to have won a round. In this environment, we know that we have no margin for error and that the slightest mistake is paid for in cash. So it was a title that I really had to find and one that required a lot of energy on my part.

“What I have learned in recent years is that beyond titles and victories, the important thing is to feel good in your place, fulfilled, good in your mind”

This extremely high level of performance is found in particular among French women. How is this competition going with the other Tricolores?
I think we’re really getting up! We saw it with the podium last year, where she finished third behind Mélanie Pugin (first) and Morgane Charre. The three of us were still on the podium at this last round, and we are still fighting in the French Championship. Everyone always gives their best, that’s why we help each other to progress. We have a good energy between us, we are all friends. This beautiful French trio will also come together next week for the Trophée des Nations (at Finale Ligure in Italy).

Apart from this last race, do you already have goals for the coming months?
I give myself time to enjoy. Between what happened to me in 2021 and this year, I understood that nothing was ever certain. It is a collective victory, with my team, so we will take the time to savor it together. Second, I’m not one to set hard and fast performance goals. My goal is always to progress, to find the details that allow me to be better on the bike. What I remember from recent years is that beyond the titles, the victories, the important thing is to be well in the shoes, accomplished, well in the head. If I have a goal, it is to never lose sight of it. »

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