He already conquered the 14 Summits in The Bauges Mountain Ranges, breaking the record in an astonishingly fast time of 14h26´. With that record in his pocket and after a good recovery, he wanted to make the most of his top form and go for another record. The 24hr World Record for Elevation Gain had already been targeted by other runners this year. In fact the most recent saw Patrick Bohard set a new record just a week prior to Aurelien´s planned start. But the very humble Frenchman showed no sign of fear to the fact he was now faced with extra metres to accumulate in order to become the new record holder…..He was quietly confident that he had what it takes.
Setting off on Saturday 5th September at 14:00hr, on his local climb in Marthod, Aurelien faced a long 24hours ahead. But he was hardly alone in his mission, supported by a very dedicated team of family, friends and fans who were there to provide support through the day and night. Naturally, it wasn't all smooth sailing as he experienced great moments of fatigue and tiredness, casting a doubt on his chances. Nevertheless, he kept pushing through the darkest moments….and after 23h40´51¨ and 17,218.2mD+, Aurélien became the new World Record Holder! He completed 81 laps and 139km of the 212.57mD+ climb with a tough gradient of 28%, writing his name in the record books for the 2nd time this year!!
"The idea was not to have my eyes fixed on the stopwatch from the beginning. So, I looked at my stopwatch every 10 loops and I knew then how far ahead I was or not on the previous record"
1. What motivated you to choose this record attempt?
With this particular year (with the COVID-19 Pandemic) and being faced with the cancellation of many of my sporting objectives, I was motivated to embark on sporting projects that were close to my heart, such as beating a world record. I also saw this project as "good training" for my future sporting goals.
2. Tell us about the climb you chose and its significance?
First of all, I looked for a relatively steep slope (212.57m of d+ in 750m - 28% slope) in order to quickly gain altitude. My descent being a little less steep (950m). I didn't want the climb (and thus the descent) to be too long either so as not to "tire my legs" too quickly. Finally, I looked for a place that would suit my abilities and where access would be easy so that people could come and encourage me. Naturally, I turned to my native village in Marthod. For the little anecdote, the chosen climb is the beginning of my crossing of the Massif des Bauges at the end of June.
3. How did you prepare for this. Tell us about the specific training sessions you focused on to be ready?
I did not have a specific preparation for this challenge. In fact, the idea of the challenge came from the confinement in April but I validated the event and the date only in July since the UTMB was cancelled. My crossing of the Massif des Bauges in 14h26' at the end of June allowed me to test myself over a long distance; and I saw that I had good sensations. Following that, I also had 2 races with 2 victories in August (Trail de la Frison Roche and Trail de Méribel). The end of the preparation was mostly rest in order to be fresh for the D-day. I just did a test on the course with 2 weeks to go, doing about ten round trips on the course.
4. Take us through the 24hours. Did you have a strategy?
The idea was not to have my eyes fixed on the stopwatch from the beginning. So, I looked at my stopwatch every 10 loops and I knew then how far ahead I was or not on the previous record. I also took advantage of the friends and spectators present to chat a little bit to make the time go a bit faster at the beginning. The strategy was not to go too fast but I still had to get a head start because I knew I would slow down afterwards.
5. Did you always feel in control of the record?
No... I had big doubts during the night. Between the 40th and 50th climb, I got very tired. I fell asleep 2-3' on a refueling while my legs were being massaged. I was really very tired at that time. And I lost almost 40' of my lead on the record.
6. What about your support crew. That looked incredible out there with so many fans on course?
I was incredibly supported on this project. For almost 2 months, everything has been organized to ensure it goes as good as possible. There was a refreshment bar, hot meals, musical entertainment, refreshments at the top of the climb and at the bottom, fireworks in the evening... From a sporting point of view, I had organized myself with several friends so that I was never alone (especially at night). Finally, during the day, I sometimes ascended with 10 people behind me. My parents, my girlfriend, my brother and my relatives were masters at managing the supplies for me. In the last few hours, it was almost a huge line of honor all the way up. When I arrived, there must have been about 200 people at the finish line!
7. This year you have added 2 records to your name. Do you have something else planned now to conclude the season?
I would like to participate in La Diagonale des Fous on Reunion Island in mid-October but I am waiting for the validation of the race which should be made any day now. Otherwise, I will probably run another race in October.
8. Finally, what were your most important Compressport products?
As for my crossing of the Massif des Bauges as well as my last 2 races in August, I wore Shock Absorb Socks with R2 Oxygen Calf Sleeves. I wore my new favorite product: the 2 in 1 Shorts. In my upper body, I wore a Trail Postural SS Top, which I changed once at night because I was wet and cold. For headwear, I alternated between an Ultralight visor during the day and a headband at night.