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18 March 2021

When every minute not on the trails is a minute wasted

The trails are calling. And for Camille, it’s impossible to ignore that call. Especially when Les Deux Alpes is your playground…

We all know that feeling. A glance at the clock. The minutes seem to be slowing. Only 25 more to go until you can leave the chair you’ve been sitting in for the past seven-and-a-half hours. But they are ticking by painfully slowly.

Then, finally, it’s the greatest moment of the day: work over, time to clip on your helmet, pull on your gloves, jump on your bike and hit the trails.

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For Camille Blanchard, a welding engineer from Les Deux Alpes, this time after work is especially precious. When you’re surrounded by mountains as far as the eye can see containing some of the finest trails in the world, his way of unwinding is to throw his bike in his van, drive up to one of the plethora of nearby trails, point himself downhill and start shredding.

It doesn’t matter what the weather’s like or how much energy he has, getting on his bike is the only thing Camille can think about – not just at work, but from the moment he wakes. “I am thinking about riding from 8am,” he admits. “Honestly, it’s on my mind all the time.”

And who can blame him? With the Alpine scenery as your backdrop and miles of trails just waiting for you to explore, there are few who could resist their lure.

Camille spends as much spare time touring local trails as possible. “With my van I can drive into the mountains for freeride sessions and then sleep in amazing landscapes,” he says. “My favorite local trails are the Double Black Mamba in the EVO Bike Park and the Derby line in Chamrousse.”

Camille’s SHIMANO EP8 e-bike system has transformed the way he rides. In addition to the fact that, as an engineer, technology and bike evolution play an important part in his life, he also discovered that you can push extra hard with an e-bike.

Gone are the days of doing one circuit then packing up and going home due to tired legs and fading light. The EP8 system means he can swiftly change from one power-assisted riding profile to another – he hits Trail Mode on the flowy, berm-filled singletrack then activates Boost Mode when faced with technical, rocky ascents. And he can do it via a simple click of a button.

Boost Mode is particularly suited for steep ascents, as you receive significant power assists when you need them most – always handy when winding your way up the last 20% climb of the day. This means Camille can fit in two laps when he used to only have time and strength for one, leaving him enough energy and confidence to add a few frontflips on the way down.

And before the sun sets, occasionally there’s even time to chuck the bike back in the van and head higher up the mountain to fit one more run in, before doing it all over again the next day once the 9-5 is over.