Raid Gallaecia - The 2021 Adventure Racing World Championship

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Sébastien Raichon Interview Ahead of the AR World Championships

Raid Gallaecia Press Release / 15.09.2021See All Event Posts Follow Event
Sébastien Raichon at Raid Gallaecia
Sébastien Raichon at Raid Gallaecia / © Enrique Blanco/ Raid Gallaecia

Sébastien Raichon is the captain of the 400team Naturex team, the team who currently top the Adventure Racing World Series (ARWS) rankings.  The team know Galicia already as they won the 2017 race, then racing with Sonia Furtad, a place that Sandrine Béranger will occupy in the Raid Gallaecia-AR World Championship 2021. They are a team with extensive international experience, including four victories in the ARWS and a place on the podium at the 2018 ARWC held on Reunion Island.

Raichon, 49 years old and who works as a physical education teacher at a school in the city of Avignon, is the only athlete to participate in all those five successes and we asked him about the race ahead.

- What does adventure racing mean to you?

It is a magnificent equation with several unknowns to solve!  With experience, the number of unknowns decreases, but there is always the exciting choice of the route to go from one point to another, and especially the management of the team. We are four, but we have to be one! We must be able to use our strengths to compensate for the weaknesses of others and move forward as quickly as possible. Adventure racing is undoubtedly the sport in which the team concept is most significant. Adventure racing is also often the exploration of a region of the natural and wild world that must be preserved.

- What memories do you have of your victory at Raid Gallaecia 2017?

- Many emotions after a battle of several days with our French friends from FMR. A finish almost in a sprint that on that occasion smiled on us!  The FMR team will be racing again this year, they are in good shape and they will go very fast.  I also remember the very good organization, with caring and available volunteers, and accurate and up-to-date maps.

- The 400team Naturex arrives at the AR World Championship in the number 1 of the AR World Series. Do you consider yourselves favorites?

- With the New Zealanders absent, the race is wide open this year and I see several teams capable of fighting for the title.  Vidaraid, Estonian ACE Adventure, OrbitalAR, FMR, SAFAT ...  and the Spaniards at home will be, for sure, formidable. We are motivated and we come to fight with these teams. We like technical and rugged terrain like the one on Reunion Island in 2018. If this is the case in Galicia, then we are among the favorites, if the terrain is less undulating it will be more difficult.

- The only thing missing is the world title in your record, is that important to you?

It would be the culmination of a project started ten years ago. It would be wonderful, but the result is not the only motivation. Crossing the finish line of an adventure race is already a victory, and that is true for each team at each start.

- How do you prepare for a 620 kilometer non-stop competition?

- All experienced team members know how to individually prepare to perform well on D-Day. We do some joint workouts throughout the year. You have to arrive the last days before departure with a lot of stored sleep and a great mental freshness.

- How important is rest in the race,  and how do you choose where and when to rest?

Managing sleep during adventure races is complex and interesting. You have to choose the right time and place. Sleeping too much is wasting time compared to teams of the same level. And not getting enough sleep is risking making mistakes or missing a beat.  Sleeping during transitions is not always the best, as there may be noise. Ideally, we will find a cabin at night in a sheltered and quiet area. But above all you have to know when is the right time to stop the whole team, so sometimes it is daytime. We make a sleep plan before the start that we adapt according to the race tests.

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