The spirit of the La Trace Verte is to about mountain biking with respect for the environment, minimising its impact. We can also extend these values to everyday life, a lifestyle of responsible consumption.
Interview with Clément Bras
La Trace Verte (LTV)
« La Trace Verte is the means by which I share my love for cycling ! I've been riding since I was 12, almost 20 years. I've been through all the stages: from fun and discovery to high-level competition... I've done mountain biking, XC, tandem mountain biking in the French Cup... My thing is sharing with those who come to LTV on the subject of biking in the mountains. I love being outdoors surrounded by nature. It's really a passion more than a job ».
This will Trace Verte’s 7th summer ! LTV is first of all about the trace, the imprint that we leave behind us even if it doesn't show much. Then there is the "green" side, a little ecology, simple values and above all respect for the mountains. We shouldn’t go down a path and distort it. The goal is to leave a minimal trace on the path taken and to be able to pass through it again and to believe that we are the first to use it. Plus when we go on trails not specific to mountain bikes, there must also be respect for other users.
The idea is to offer mountain bike outings to everyone, whatever their background. From the family who doesn't really know the mountain to the competitor who wants to improve his Enduro performance.
Méribel is a resort where there is a high ratio of rental bikes available for the number of holiday makers who come in the summer. Instead of adding another rental park where I would be the only one working on it, I prefer to work with great partners. I work with Sport 1600, Activ'été at Mottaret and Go Sport at the Rond- Point. On top of that I have brand partners like ORBEA who support me. My partners take the time to listen to people, it's important. Since last summer I also have a trainee, who is coming back this summer, who is working on his teaching qualifications.
I also find it important to work with small groups, thus I can keep an eye on as many things as possible. An instructor can legally supervise up to 12 people; at TV we choose to go only up to 7 people per group in order to keep everything fun and effective. People are here to enjoy their outings, and hopefully with our small groups they find that they can exchange with us easily and make progress.
We offer half-day, full day or family outings, discovery, panoramic, Enduro, descent, "for her", electric bike outings...
■ Discovery mountain bike outings, Family
This is about developing an interest in the activity amongst youngsters. Labelled “Family +”, a guarantee of quality, we propose adapted circuits with an educational approach. We will talk about mountain biking and for the younger ones we will also talk about other subjects like the mountains, the environment and what is happening there. It's a package of education about the mountains from a cycling point of view.
For athletes looking for greater freedom, I would describe them as fun, wild and natural ! The Enduro is a bit like freeride skiing, we go on more distant routes, so this requires a certain level of competence. For the Enduro courses, instead of staying only on the marked out circuits in Méribel, we widen our playground to the whole 3 Valleys, we seek out hidden paths, secret spots and little used places with magnificent points of view so that participants feel that they are living a unique
■ ELECTRICALLY ASSISTED BIKE (EAB)
Outings are organised every day at any time of the day, usually over 2 or 3 hours. We try to get away from the paths that can be reached via the lifts and instead go into the forest, lower in the Valley, getting back to basics. The enormous interest of the electric bike is that it will push back the physical levels of the group. It also allows access to mountain biking to those who do not dare to take the lifts, or who want to go on simpler paths and who are not necessarily in top physical condition or have limited technical skills. In Méribel we manage to find a number of very pleasant paths to ride! With electric mountain biking, it's all about discovering environments where people otherwise couldn’t get to, in safety and having fun.
■ Ultra Light Bivouac mountain bike outing
The principle is to go off for 2 days in the mountains with your bike, your backpack and everything you need to spend a night in the open. A small fire in the evening and an early start the next day with the dawning light of the new day...
This activity is my favourite because I find that it reflects the most caring vision of cycling, leaving with the minimum and making do with what the mountain offers... It's fantastic. For me it is the ultimate for a person who is autonomous in the mountains and on a mountain bike; you cannot get closer to the mountains and nature. The instructor's commitment is disproportionate compared to a classic outing, there is a lot of thought put into these tours and yet they retain the spirit of adventure. I'm hoping this year to open it to a wider audience, those who do a little cycling at home and who are reasonably competent on classic circuits.
Any last words ?
What is important to remember is that cycling in the mountains is not like cycling at home: there are roots, rocks, there is a slope... But there are a lot of little tricks that an instructor can share in order to help everyone enjoy even the first mountain outing. There are a lot of people who come to the mountains and don't really enjoy their mountain bike ride or think it's too dangerous. The instructor is there to unlock secrets at the right time, i.e. before they get into difficulty or get hurt. In the end it's not much more expensive and considering all that it adds in terms of sensations and progress, it's worth it !
People gain 10 years in practice by going out with an instructor.
This summer we are ready for the holidaymakers to help them discover our passion: cycling and the mountains. Whatever their level we will find an activity to suit them. The goal for us is to touch people and share "an emotion". Between classic mountain biking, the outings for children, the more extreme outings in the mountains, there is something for everyone. Small friendly groups enables us to easily juggle with the different levels of the participants. Moreover, the potential of the Valley is enormous, there are very few places in France where it is possible to descend 2000m !