Renaud Lavillenie

Lavillenie writes about Mauritius and Magny-Cours - IAAF Online Diaries

Renaud Lavillenie at the 2013 European Athletics Indoor Championships (Getty Images)Renaud Lavillenie at the 2013 European Athletics Indoor Championships (Getty Images) © Copyright

“Dear friends, it is a pleasure to give you some news, just a day or so before my first meeting of the outdoor season, here in the United States. I have had a busy schedule this month.

“After a few days off following the indoor season, I started training for three weeks in Clermont-Ferrand, the city where I practice. It went really well. I did not have any physical problem and I immediately started some high-level training, in order to improve on some little technical details which should allow me to gain valued centimetres.

“Don’t worry, I never lacked motivation, since I jumped for more than three hours in a row sometimes.

“I then went to a training camp on the Island of Mauritius, in the south east of the Indian Ocean. Unfortunately, there was a lot of wind and so the conditions for practising were not perfect, and the training was not easy in general but I was still able to work hard as the weather was hot and shining.

“I had already been to Mauritius before this trip, but for a holiday. However, during training camps, we can have some fun as well and we do not practice all day long, so I got time to enjoy wonderful lagoons as well. I went surfing and swimming with a snorkel. The ocean floors are magnificent over there.

“When I got back to France, I did not immediate start training again. I went directly to 'Bol d’or', which is a motorcycle endurance competition and takes place on the track of Magny-Cours.

“I already knew that race, since I had already participated in the competition as a timekeeper last year. This time, I was the fourth pilot of Team AZ 63. I was able to ride drove until the race started. It was really cool!

“Riding a motorbike is another passion for me. It allows me to have very different feelings from those that I have normally every day. When you are going faster than 250 kilometres an hour in a straight line, it is just crazy and unimaginable; and just like pole vaulting, there are many factors that need to be taken into account. It can be very technical.

“I spent four days with the pilots and the mechanics. I shared these moments with all the team. For now, I am still 20 seconds away from the best motorcycle riders and that is a huge margin but, honestly, even if I am still not reaching my own limits on a bike, I prefer to stay careful while driving. The main goal is to have a good time!

“As I write this, I am currently in the United States. I am going to participate in the Drake Relays at Des Moines on Saturday.

“It is a mythical and very famous place in this country. I find the American spirit quite captivating. This is partly why I came here.

“In France, when a competition gathers 500 athletes, it is huge. In the United States, there are 5000 athletes and it is almost normal!

“Sadly, I have to go. It is time to go back training for this weekend's competition. See you soon, Renaud."