Sofia and Nicolas, a young Franco-Moroccan couple on their way to the 2021 edition. They rode 1235 km in a solar tandem during the summer of 2020, from the South to the North of France. A great way to get to know their machine!
You did a preparation trip last year, can you tell us about it?
After buying and preparing our “machine” at Déclic-Eco, we stored it in Marseille, where we took it in hand for a first stage to the Luberon, then a planned trip to Normandy in fifteen days. We were able to test the beast on all types of roads and in different conditions, sleeping on campsites or at cousins’ houses for 11 days along the Mediterranean Sea, then the Canal du Midi and the Garonne to the Charente Maritime and finally the Vendée where our rear wheel broke after 1249 km of service. As it was impossible to repair the wheel axle with standard parts, we brought the tandem home by truck, waiting to receive a new, stronger and flawless wheel. The experience proved to be very pleasant and rewarding. Despite our lack of physical preparation, we managed to complete a few 150 km stages, and in the end it was the buttocks that suffered the most. It’s up to us to take revenge!
How is your preparation going? How will you deal with the containment?
As mentioned before, our preparation is at a standstill. We are in the process of obtaining authorisations from our hierarchy to be away for 3 months despite the particular context, and have not been able to prepare physically until now. Nevertheless, the authorisations are well underway, and our expatriation to England should allow us to be vaccinated more quickly than if we were in France. The recent encouraging communications from the Sun Trip have given us a boost, and we are now getting our physicals back on track to be ready to go in June!
Does this unprecedented situation, in a Europe where freedom of movement is currently restricted, worry you or, on the contrary, inspire you to an even more intense adventure?
This unprecedented health and political situation has contributed to our preparation and undermined our motivation, but the confirmation of the Sun Trip is now a sufficient source of motivation to take up this challenge. The context risks complicating the adventure, but it is also what will make it more symbolic: as the first stage of a world finally ready to reopen its borders and allow again the unity of this Europe so fragile by the incredible crisis we went through.
Can you tell us where the desire to experience a couple’s adventure like this came from?
To be perfectly honest, I have always had an unquenchable thirst for adventure. So I’ve been able to experience some of them with family, friends or solo. When we met, we didn’t stop these dreams, but we directed them so that they could be dreamt of together. This is what we quickly did together, on more modest adventures, until our discovery of the ambitious Sun Trip, which is nevertheless part of these adventures that can be dreamt alone or together. We quickly started dreaming as a couple, and look forward to the dream becoming reality.
What is the biggest challenge for you on this Sun Trip Europe route? What pace are you aiming for?
Our biggest challenge on this course will of course be endurance. Our physical preparation is totally truncated by the late start and a bad injury, so we have no greater ambition than to finish the race in time. We therefore hope to keep an average pace of 150km per day, with a feat from time to time to give ourselves a bit of a margin. But we will really have to think about the length of the race to be able to hold on to our muscles until the end.