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Race Across France 1000 2023

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Emilien Mottet
Emilien Mottet
I am Emilien Mottet, a hyperactive ultra-cyclist with a thirst for adventure and discovery. Traveling long, even very long distances by bike is my passion. In 2023, I made my mark by winning the Race Across France and the BikingMan Aura. But beyond titles and victories, what drives me is the journey itself: exploring the world, getting to know myself better, and testing my body and spirit against the challenges of each route. For me, each race is less a competition against other cyclists and more a personal quest for self-improvement. I place great importance on finishing each event, as that’s where my true pride lies. Riding my trusty BMC, I favor a minimalist approach, always aiming to travel as light as possible, even if it means sacrificing comfort.
Table of Contents

My Adventure at the Race Across France 2023: 1000 km of Challenges and Discoveries

In 2023, I experienced one of the most significant moments of my life by participating in the Race Across France (RAF!). Spanning a distance of 1000 kilometers, this race took me from the alpine heights of Megeve to the Mediterranean shores of Mandelieu La Napoule.

The Start in Megeve: A Surge of Excitement

Start of the RAF 1000 in Megève

On June 27, 2023, setting off second to last at 11 a.m., I was swayed by a mix of anticipation and nervousness. The night before the race, I was so stressed that I only managed to sleep 3 hours, as indicated by my watch. My dark circles confirmed it: my sleep had been light! Moreover, the day promised to be hot, very hot!

An Alpine Adventure: Challenging the Giants

Mountain passes such as la Madeleine and the ascent of la Croix de Fer via the col du Mollard posed imposing challenges. At every turn, every climb, I felt their massive presence. However, the descent from the Croix de Fer, which I know so well, was my pivotal moment. I tackled it with a certain risk, taking the lead in the race. After this rapid descent, I rode through the night to CP1 located in St Jean de Royan. Despite the nighttime, it was pleasantly mild, and simple arm warmers were enough to keep me comfortable.

Through the Vercors: Majestic Panoramas

The journey through the Vercors was a moment of admiration. The expansive plateaus and deep gorges provided panoramic views at every turn.

The Col de la Cayolle: The Ultimate Challenge

The climb up col de la Cayolle came with a small hiccup: I caught an orange mid-flight! Fortunately, the next stage took me to CP2 in Guillaume, where I could enjoy a hot meal and set off re-energized to face the second night.

The Verdon: Breathtaking Natural Beauty

Crossing the Verdon after the mountain felt like a reward. The emerald waters and spectacular canyons provided a peaceful and meditative ambiance, offering a stark contrast to the previous climbs. On the second night, I rode with Régis and Joachim, two participants from the 2500 route, and riding with them allowed the night to pass more quickly.

Arrival in Mandelieu La Napoule: A Happy Conclusion

Arriving in Mandelieu La Napoule at dawn was magical. To my great surprise, and after so much effort, I finished first. But more than this position, it’s the adventure, the self-overcoming, and the support from friends along the way that will remain etched in my memory.

For a fun fact, during the last small 5 km climb at 5% before reaching the finish line, I noticed a pizzeria at the top of the hill named “Chez Mimile”. Since Mimile is also my nickname, this unexpected nod brought a smile to my face and added motivation to finish this adventure beautifully. RAF 2023 taught me it’s more about the journey than the destination.

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