23 July 2015 - Pilots
Meeting with the Enduro champion, Cedric Melotte
Cedric Melotte has more than one string on his bow. This former MX3, MX2 and MX1 champion who also participated in the Enduro World Championship, currently organizes hikes in Piedmont combining his two passions, sport and gastronomy. He takes groups of 8 to 11 pilots on an extraordinary outdoor and culinary adventure in a beautiful landscape at 2500 meters altitude. The champion relates anecdotes, experiences and some tips.
How did you start with a bike?
I saw my father riding. I got my first bike when I was 4 and I turned pro at 15, when I competed in my first Grand Prix. While on bicycle, I had trouble finding my balance, but on the motorcycle, I went right straight away.
How to become a champion?
You always have to start again, train every day. Race after race, you forge yourself a riding style, a physical condition, a character, your own identity. Then you reach a plateau around the 10th place. One day, you will be on the podium and you’ll ask yourself what has changed. I always trained. Year after year, I improved. When my turn to win arrived, I did not understand why. It was necessarily the consequence of work and everything that had happened before. There’s certainly talent and also luck. The luck factor is important. With 40 riders rearing to compete, ’tickets’ are expensive.
What do you think about road bikes?
I think that the motorcycle on the open road is very dangerous. I never ride a R1, R6 or a super sport bike on the road. If I want to do it, I go to the Mettet or Zolder circuits, where you can really ride. On the road, I ride big scooters, Tmax for example, not more. I am getting the feeling of the pure bike ride. Cette dernière phrase n’est pas claire.
Moto GP is awesome. But to each his own sport. Always turn at the same corners, always the same braking points where to fall on one’s knee, I love it. I respect what Rossi and Marquez are doing, I find it awesome and I’m very impressed. I love watching it but I do not have the concentration that they have to do it.
What is your current bike?
I ride a WRF made available by the Yamaha team with which I am 2nd in the Championship of Belgium of Enduro, within two points of the first, Cédric Kremer. This bike is fun to ride without getting carried away.
Enduro Vs Cross: what do you think?
Cross is like a Formula 1 race, like the Moto GP. The Enduro is like a rally, 70 km with special loops to test us. In 4 rounds of 7 to 9 hours, the best times are combined.
I stopped Cross because there are more accidents now. The tracks are spinning too much for the super cross. It is much more demanding, triple jumps, and whoops. I was taking too many risks. Over 20 laps in 40 minutes one must always be precise with acrobatics and crazy jumps.
What is your gear?
At the time, I wore the helmet of the Fox brand. After a day of racing, my neck was sore. Since the transition to the MX8 Pure Carbon Lazer, 200g lighter, this has changed. I have no more pain. Usually I’m glad to remove my helmet, but with the MX8 I don’t even realize I’m wearing it anymore. It is a real comfort and an absolute pleasure.
The helmets have evolved. After the jet of the 89/90, came the helmet with flexible chin rests. Then there was the full-face, which prevented the problems of stones and mud projected by the other bikes.
In 2006/2007 came the Leatt Brace to avoid the whiplash injury. But this is not the real problem. The fundamental point is ease of wear and articluation. You need to know how to fall, essentially ‘with ease’. If your helmet is too rigidly connected to the rest of your body, the blows are transmitted to other parts of the body.
During your escapades in Piedmont, what are the challenges for the participants and for you?
Initially, the riders are pretty stressed. They are afraid of getting hurt. They cling to the handlebars while you have to be cool on the bike. They need to be reassured and kept safe. The first day, they must manage the high mountain field, stones, situations that they do not necessarily know. Sometimes it is a little rough. The next day, in general, it is already much better. Two days later, they relax. After three days, the evolution is remarkable.
The Green bike is a different technique and requires real training. The raids, for example, are done while the engine is off, sometimes for 20 km. It is essential to be very focused to take the best path and keep the inertia in order to avoid a shutdown. We must learn to let go of the brake much earlier. The descent is also very physical. Uphill, you can sit, not going downhill.
The energy expenditure is important as we must stand to better turn and balance the machine. We must stand on the forearms and legs, this hurts after a while, if one is not sufficiently trained, it’s hard, but fun. The daily reward is the beauty of the landscapes and great local gastronomy!