In 2021 he took the Sun Trip into a new dimension by cycling around Europe at an average speed of almost 350 km per day! He said he never wanted to do that again, but Jean-Marc Dubouloz and his velomobile are finally back at the start of “The Sun Trip 2024 – Destination Sahara”! Without necessarily saying that he’s coming to win, the reigning winner seems determined to get back to his physical and mental limits! Interview.
1. How do you explain this last-minute registration?
After 2021, like many of the participants, I said “never again”. But then… time took its toll. I hadn’t given it a moment’s thought until December, when it suddenly hit me. I never saw it coming! I didn’t mention it to anyone at first, just letting the idea sink in. I think the primary motivation for this return is the desire to relive the powerful personal emotions I encountered during the Sun Trip. Emotions that all SunTrippers, from the first to the last, experience.
Also, the distance of this edition is a little shorter. And the images of Morocco, which I don’t know, are magnificent. And my solar bike is ready to go again. I’ve also enlisted the support of those close to me, including my wife Mia, Guillaume Devot from Déclic Eco, my coach and friend, and my friend Gaultier, who is helping me with the routing. And April is the best month to continue my professional activity for as long as I need to.
2. You wanted to sell your 2021 velomobile, but now it’s back on the road again?
In the summer of 2022, I did a Paris – Marseille express in 24 hours and immediately got my sensations back. I haven’t ridden it since. Guillaume Devot and I had put it up for sale in a half-hearted way. That is, without communicating too much about it, as if… I still had a story to write with him.
3. How do you analyse the 2024 route?
I can’t wait to discover Morocco and the Atlas Mountains. There, we won’t have any problems with solar charging. I’m in less of a hurry to cross back into Spain, with whom I had a rather complicated affair during the last Sun Trip, as I had to be stopped about ten times, including five times in a single day by the Guardia Civil! It made you smile at first, then a lot less at the end, because as well as wasting a lot of time, they weren’t very nice.
4. As the reigning winner, are you here to defend your crown?
No, I wasn’t even thinking about it, but we’re still 2 months away from departure.
5. Do you have any idea of how far you can go in a day?
I averaged 350 km in the last edition, but there was a lot of competition with Emile Barbut, and we finished just 3 hours apart after 11,000 km! On the other hand, I haven’t yet looked at what the day and night times will be like in April, the further south we go. Overall, we should have less driving time. What’s more, I think I’ll be in better physical shape than I was in 2021. I’ve never ridden as much as I did in 2023, with 10,000 km of muscle biking on the clock, including at least 4,000 km of bikepacking, which is a long-distance adventure, like the Sun Trip.
6. Can an onfire Raf Van Hulle shake you up? Another challenger to keep an eye on?
I undoubtedly have one of the fastest solar bikes, but as everyone knows, the Sun Trip is on average ‘a pain in the arse a day’, to a greater or lesser extent. Nobody is immune from problems, mainly technical ones, which can ruin all hopes in an instant. On the other hand, even if I am a competitor, the interest of the Sun Trip lies in the fact that it is above all a competition not against, but with oneself.
Pour rappel, son interview de vainqueur 2021 :