Hi, my name is Aude Baron, I'm 38 and I live in Paris
My first memory of riding a bike is a disaster! When I was five, I could barely ride a bike without small rear wheels. To make it with my cousin, we rode down a small slope disguised as superheroes: there was a tree in the middle and I went straight into it! I suddenly realized that I wasn't a superhero at all and that I didn't have any magical powers.
How and when did you start cycling?It came early. From the age of 10, I rode my bike to school every day, and it continued in high school. I liked that independence. I quit while I was in school and I got my bike back in 2008. Since then, whether it rains, windy or snows, every day of the year I ride my bike in Paris. The road bike appeared in the summer of 2015. Following a challenge that I believed to be of no consequence! A friend, Matthieu Stefani, encouraged me to do the Paris triathlon with him: I did it with my big-city bike! We thought it was fun and rather easy, so we thought we could do an L. We signed up for the Half IM in Aix-en-Provence and I bought my first road bike.
How have you progressed in cycling?
In a very improvised way. When I bought my road bike, I didn't have any plans. Doing a Half for me was already exceptional! I started to make friends in the field, we shared great moments. So I wanted to extend the experiences, the sharing. Gregory Mollet-Viéville, who created the "Bonk" club, which later became "Le CLan by CYD", accompanied me in the training, first for my first IM, then the second. Then some ultra-distance cycling. All this while following the line of conduct that drives me: sharing experiences, performance for the sake of enjoyment.
Do you belong to a club? Not anymore. I got out of Club Bonk, which later became The Clan, and it was a great adventure, both athletically and, above all, humanely. Today I'm wandering between the Brigade du Kiff, the name of the small group of friends known at Bonk and who have stayed together, and the great encounters I've made over the years, especially with the great band L'echappée Belle.Are you competitive?
I've done triathlons, including two Ironmans. I've also done a few cyclo-sports. They are actually races, but my state of mind was clearly not. I couldn't care less about the rankings. What drives me is sharing training sessions with friends and emotional fireworks at the finish line.
What do you like best about this?
In the competition, nothing pleases me ;-) I don't want to be in opposition with the others, but "with". What I like is to share an adventure with my friends, to be motivated to live new experiences, to fill the box of memories and emotions together. In fact, I am a fake sportswoman: I am unable to do sports in solo or indoor. For example, I can't do gym or muscle building exercises at home, it's just not possible: it bores me to no end. I see my friends, I'm outside, whether it's raining, windy or snowing... and it just so happens that in these cases, it's running or cycling!
What's your fondest memory of riding a bike?
My first Ironman, it was a hell of a ride. The finish line was certainly on the run but my bike was an essential cog! In pure cycling, it was probably last year with Greg, when we finished the ultra Grand Tour Paris: it was damn strong. We completed the tour of the Ile-de-France in one go in 540 km. Otherwise, I always have a particular emotion, a euphoric wave, really, when you take the forest road of Vaux-de-Cernay: each time I am exhilarated by so much beauty, feelings of freedom.
When you're at the end of your rope, what resources do you call on?
The meaning of things is essential for me so I remember what I went into this for, my commitment, and the pride/joys I will feel when I go through with it. I also think of my lover, friends, the family who think of me in these cases. And I relieve all pressure with a certain paradox: I tell myself that I can stop if I don't feel like it anymore while continuing quietly, one step after the other, and we'll tell the next refuel: because when it goes, it always comes back.
What advice would you give to a woman who wants to start cycling?
Buy yourself a comfortable bib and a nice jersey, put on your chamois cream, and stick with friends you're on the same wavelength with. Alone we go faster, together we go further: especially when cycling!
You can follow Aude on Instagram: @audebaron