Let’s see what it means cycling for those who are not PRO. What are the feelings of every day cycling enthusiasts. What is their way of cycling. Rituals and habits of those who are the world of cycling. Today we had a little chat with Sébastien Jarrot, Head of the Product Rider’s Equipment at Mavic, living and riding at the heart of the French Alps, in Annecy, France. He describes himself as a climber, «racing and cycling for 30 years. In summer, I really focus on training and racing while in the off-season I enjoy gravel and exploring unknown roads with my girlfriend».
He loves hill-climb racing because it’s the perfect balance between fun, tactics and physical challenge, «on top of that you ride over the epic passes at the heart of cycling history. As in my professional life I need to push my personal limits. For me, each new product launch, each season is a competition…».
Pre ride tea or coffee?
Actually, the coffee is an excuse to ride. I love Rocket expresso but it’s hard to find where I live in Annecy, except in one place that recently opened – Base Camp a friendly bike cafe along Lake Annecy, 40km from my house. In summer, I usually eat a small breakfast then I ride to the Base Camp to drink a good coffee. I also love to stay in Girona for the cycling atmosphere, the good weather, and also all the great coffee places that you can find such as La Fabrica or Mafia Expresso.
Toast or cake?
Definitively toast, ideally gluten free. More salty than sweet, I love continental breakfast with avocado, which has been strongly influenced by my Aussie girlfriend.
Cappuccino is a duty for a ride break?
Cappuccino is the beverage but it needs to be right, just the right level of milk and design on top. I love the coffee break, whether it be solo with the newspaper of the day or with friends, which is the best.
What about caffeine – is good or bad for your heart?
Coffee is everything – it’s a necessity and a desire. The little dose of caffeine gives me always an extra mental and physical boost, whether it be at work or on the bike.
Long or short gloves or no gloves at all?
Where I live, in winter long gloves are mandatory. When your bottle freezes it’s time to wear long-fingered gloves. In summer, as I am obsessed by weight, I usually don’t wear gloves and I definitively prefer the feel of gloveless with my tape and a better connection with my bike.
What you wear before helmet or shoes?
To prepare for a ride, I like a ritual, of course you check the weather and adjust your kit according to the climate and the ride planned. Especially in Les Alpes where the weather can be unpredictable, you have to be prepared for everything. I never ride without my super lightweight wind jacket to stay warm and dry in case of light rain or for a long descent.
Socks under or over pants?
Socks are part of your outfit and bring character to your style. Socks need to be seen, even in winter I used to wear socks overs pants, but since 2 years ago, I prefer to ride with a thermal bib short and a pair of warmers, it’s much more comfy and doesn’t stretch the chamois too much and is more flexible around your knees. I love matching the sock length with the leg warmer length for a perfect match. In winter, I wear Merino socks for better heat regulation and the cosy feel. The Wonderful Socks are the best for merino without bulk.
Sunglasses under or Over Helmet Straps?
Always sunglasses over the helmets straps, question of style and comfort.
What about a new bib to wear for an important race or challenge?
The bib short is the most important item for a cyclist’s wardrobe. With bad shoes, your feet might get wet or cold but that’s manageable. With the wrong jersey, you might be too hot or too cold. Not ideal but not a disaster. With bib shorts it’s much more black and white. 60% of your weight goes through the saddle so a bad pair can be your worst nightmare. A good pair can transform your ride. I always train with a pair of bib shorts three times before racing, especially during the Haute Route stages.
Are there some kind of road that you avoid?
Cycling is about escape from daily life and stress so I always to choose a road with less traffic to really enjoy the ride. Gravel is great as well for safety and micro adventures in your backyard.
Any lucky charms or stuff you always keep with you?
My smart phone, which is now the most valuable thing to carry for safety and to share my passion for cycling with the community.
The perfect number for team ride?
Difficult question. I love a pro-solitude ride, especially when I train hard during the season with high intensity tempo. But also enjoy a group ride with 3 to 4 friends, in order to spend enough time with everybody.
Thank you Sébastien! Who will be the next?