Humility, honesty and kindness are the words I have in mind when I think about Juliette. I’m therefore delighted that she agreed to answer my “few” questions to learn more about her cycling. Today, we have a little to chat with this passionate cyclist that many people know and follow on Instagram (with her new sidekick Paupiette).
Hello Juliette! Glad you’re here. Could you please introduce yourself?
I’m 25 years old and I live in Nancy, I’m now a road bike cyclist in a national division but before I was more a triathlete. I’ve been working for two years in a company dealing with the customization of objects and textiles headed toward sustainable development. And it’s not just a common business since it’s my brother and my sister who are managing it! A true family adventure! Besides work and training, I’m a bike brand ambassador.
For a year, I’m secretly (not for any longer..) working on another project … also with my family! We created Crème Caoutchouc, a lifestyle textile brand inspired by cycling but not only! It’s been a real pleasure to create the models a little by chance, but with the desire to be comfortable both in clothes and sneakers. I’m getting out of my comfort zone with this adventure but I love it!
What’s your cycling story?
First, it was a means of transport. I used it to go to all my swimming, running, Crossfit, yoga and biking lessons. One day, my swimming coach told me about triathlon. It took me less than a year to save enough money to buy a bike and equipment. And then, I was on the road. Oh god, when you start, you’re afraid of everything especially your legs’ power or any mechanical issues that can be repaired during a ride and also how many times it takes to reach the city when you have this kind of issue…
Your first bike.
A Giant Avail 1, full alu.
What does cycling bring to you?
A balance in my energies! I’ve always played sports several times a week since I was 6 years old … Cycling is a matter of discovery, pleasure, sharing, adventure, discipline, joy, competition, endurance. And wonder.
Your best cycling memory?
A 5-day crossing during the 2017 Man Ride between Wales and London organized by the Black Sheep Cycling team. Every year the Man Ride exists in a different format; that year there were 8 riders from different backgrounds who participated. This movement was created to support mental illnesses. It’s a crazy memory because I took part in 1000km without specific training, and in chaotic climatic conditions but with fabulous people.
Cycling for a cause that matters for me is above all motivating, and the encounters we made along the way were very touching. Raising awareness about mental health through contact with others, through dialogue and a common passion is putting the human at the heart of our actions.
And the worst?
The race of Millau last year in April. I was reckless, I didn’t take any winter equipment though the temperatures were negative. It was already raining when we started, we were already frozen … Endless descents, and like many races, a finish line far from the starting point …
First triathlete, you’ve started cycling exclusively after an injury. Not too much regret?
Because of an injury and desire. I knew room for improvement in cycling was bigger and I preferred cycling among the 3 sports. Then I was tired of the different wounds that come one after another. So as we are masochistic but not too much, I took the decision to focus on cycling. Make a decision is to give up as we say! So no regret. I would do it once in a while, on my favorite distance the S.
How did you progress? What were the important steps in your evolution as a cyclist?
I wanted to progress by being more comfortable on the bike. The training brings the ease of the body in the effort, the speed, and I like it. There was the first decision to focus on this sport, the second to really train, the third to organize my life for all the “sidelines” (I’m still working on it …).
How do you train? You told me you had a coach. How is it going and when did you think getting coached by a pro was necessary to evolve?
I was lucky to know the person who’ve become my coach during a weekly outing to Nancy. It chained quickly after that. I was cycling alone or with the local groups at the races. I didn’t think too much from April to October last year, head focused on the handlebars! It was a lot for me, my 7th race was the championships of France. A completely new and unknown world for me. You must support this type of effort. When everything is new, more energy is needed, but once the logistics run smoothly, you know what to do to come out unscathed (or quite unscathed), you better anticipate certain aspects and better focus on what we came for.
At the moment, on what would you like to progress?
Downhills … Ease in the peloton also but especially progress in explosiveness.
Same shit here! What are your goals?
Individually, hard to say but I don’t really have one. Maybe just having no regrets and keep on progressing. Earning something one day can be great. Collectively, my goals for this year was to build something solid humanly over the season with our new women’s team. It’s a great sporting adventure with fun, we’ve managed to create something we’re proud of. We are all in active life with children or not, so when we go on a weekend of races, internship, it’s also our moments when we disconnect, where the good mood is essential. Otherwise you have to stay at home …
You’ve joined the Team Macadam’s Cowboys. Why did you choose to join a club and how did it help you change your practice? And why this one in particular?
I’ve chosen this team last year because many friends were in the team and they reached out to me. It was an opportunity to create something bigger at the female level too. Laurent the president had already in mind to create a women’s section, firing me there has a little boosted the process! The entire club has been very willing to bring this initiative to life, to provide equipment, budget, people invested and to move to recruit women! For the anecdote when I worked in a bar next to my studies, a salesman with whom we worked was already at the Cowboys. I was just starting the bike and asked him if there were any girls in his club, which he said “ahah no !!” I then told him that I will come, even if I knew nothing about it at the moment! It was in 2014/2015, but I joined them in 2018!
You participate in many races and you remain hyper discreet. Why ?
These are my first years of racing and it already takes me a lot of energy to discover, to get some automatisms, to believe in myself and to feel legitimate in this environment. I don’t want to gesticulate constantly and shout too loudly, whether for positive or to hide when I crash. I have nothing to “claim” more than anyone else and I don’t want to scatter. Sometimes I talk about it and sometimes not, I do not impose anything.
What about competition?
I know competitions since I’m small, with years of gymnastics, conservatory, running, triathlons … but for cycling it’s different, I’m no longer alone! I only integrate for two seasons the notion of competition “with people”, and that changes everything! We all stick tight while triathlon is much more individual … I like what the competition creates. It’s a “bubble”, where you must be present at 100% head and body (well it’s recommended ahah). You can transcend and overcome mental barriers that you had unconsciously set. You can also surpass yourself physically, thanks to all the work done upstream. You can dare, attack, play. This can connect you particularly to others who are present with you, it is strong. But competition is also a particular rhythm of life in addition to work.
What do you like the most about participating in races?
Besides the adrenaline, now I would like to know more about team races, and having never known the “collective” side before, I must say that it connects the human to the performance. I want to go further in this direction, to know the team races. Together, the emulation is refreshing and the performance beautiful.
Are you still scared although you’re cycling a lot?
Still too much!
And how do you do to overcome your apprehensions? YOLO?
I can’t say YOLO when it comes to negative feelings. It’s necessary to make and redo things to better live and feel them, but for example, for apprehensions in descents and peloton, I’ve started to consult a hypnotherapist. It was impossible for me to just hear “well you go then that’s all”. We are not all the same, everyone has to find his or her tools to improve if she/he wants. I’m a “old” cyclist in practice because I’ve started it when I was older (in competition), as open-minded to try other approaches to optimize the efforts of everyday life.
You are on Strava like a lot of cyclists. What place does this network occupy in your practice? You chase QOM, or you don’t care overall because pleasure and surpassing yourself above all!
Strava was first my sports diary. It’s good to see your own progress over the months and years. It’s always cool to grab a QOM. We are human! But hey, Strava is not real competition, I see it mainly as a tool of information, communication between friends and those we follow.
Do you think there was a before and after Strava? And that changed our relationship to performance and others?
Definitely! You ride a bike or run, and you do not have Strava ?! The advent of datas, especially in sports, has turned up a lot of ways for athletes and brands … I’m always a bit of a fan to see the positive side of networks, but it can be alienation!
Let’s talk about your gear. What’s your bike?
It’s a Lapierre Xelius SL 700 disc, with a Dura Ace 52/36 at the front and 11/28 or 30 at the rear. PRO components and Hutchinson tires / tubeless. Now I’m using Dura-Ace C40 wheels with tubeless tires for racing, and for training, I’m using the RS700. The lightness of the Xelius combined with the dynamism of the Dura-Aces gives very nice sensations!
You had an Aircode by Lapierre. Why did you change?
The discussion was ongoing with Lapierre when I was using the Aircode, mainly because I was supposed to use this typical bike for my triathlon season. The Aircode was adapted to this sport and to the formats I liked. Then I changed to mainly focus on cycling! The Xelius bike fits better with the racing profiles I’m doing this year.
And what about Disc Brakes?
Honestly when it rains, it’s way more comfortable and safer and in Lorraine is appreciable !! In the downhill too … In a peloton you have to be careful, the way you brake are very different when you’re using Disc brakes brakes compared to caliper brakes.
You are an ambassador for several brands (Lapierre, Shimano France, PRO, Lazer, Black Sheep Cycling, Wahoo, Hutchinson). What is an ambassador job?
It’s about combining my personal communication with brands’ communication. It’s about working for their images, because we’ve chosen them and that they correspond to our needs, our tastes, our values, our ambitions. I say “combining” because it’s important to stay natural and be your own self, even with partnerships (in my opinion).
How do you choose the brands you’re working with?
I’ve to agree with the values of the brand, and its identity, position. The feeling with the people I meet also matters a lot.
You’re Instagram account is really nice. Could you tell us more about the way the way you produce your social media content?
How cool? I’m curious !! For me Instagram is more images than text … I like that it to be a mix between conscientious and spontaneous, so as soon as I’ve time, I work with a photographer I’ve chosen. I’m also lucky to meet photographers I love. I would like to do more things about content, but between training, race planning, work, events, it’s quite hard…
Women’s cycling is not really highlighted and women cyclists are hardly visible. What is your point of view on this?
We have to push our limits to restore some order, amateur and professional level! It’s progressing slowly, but we’re getting there. One must be optimistic.
Pas facile de s’imposer dans les pelotons ou parfois même de prendre un relai quand on est une femme, non ? Comment ça se passe pour toi là-dessus ?
It’s not easy for women to impose themselves in the peloton or sometimes even take the lead, right? How’s it going for you?
After spending a lot of time alone on my bike, I joined men’s groups. There is a time of adaptation for sure… Then once you have done a few kilometers and you have a little chat (as in life actually ??), it’s OK. If you can’t follow during the first ride, it’s always disturbing but in itself, it doesn’t matter … then you go back for a second ride and you feel better and so on… Even if you become strong in this group where before it was hard for you, you will always find another group stronger and that you can’t follow…
For example the turns, you’re not taking the lead when you start! Then with more training, it comes naturally. For me cycling is not a matter of “clans” of different sexes, man or woman does not matter. It does not matter to me.
And what about the Macho Macho Man of cycling?
“My honor is safe, I finish before a girl!”, “They want to promote women’s cycling but they’re posing in a bra on Instagram”. The fact of cycling surely brings you credibility, but in itself that doesn’t change much the people and mentality on social media …
What could change mentalities according to you?
Media coverage can help but it’s no longer to prove. But also more women in the federation, working and collaborating with coaches, sporting directors, in the clubs, working closely with youngers … Well I don’t know, well maybe.
What advice would you like to give to women who don’t dare to impose themselves?
I think that you shouldn’t hesitate to speak with kindness, with smiles and repartee when a situation does not seem “normal”. Politeness seems essential. It also depends on the seriousness of the situation, hard to apply all the time! I have no advice to give except to be curious, stubborn and to believe in our instincts if we can listen to it …
And men who think we’re their chicks?
If they’re happy with that, good for them!
To whom or which you’d like to say thank you?
Thank you chance for making me discover the bike (Ok late…). Thanks to those who let you take their wheel when you are in pain, what a wonderful feeling. Thanks also to the networks that have made me discover very beautiful people. And those same networks without whom I would not have known brands on the other side of the world that I love and with whom I’m working now.
And thanks but no thanks?
Thank but no thanks to our fears, irrational but present in our heads. Thank you but no thanks to: “it tuumbbleees”.
Cyclists and Instagram accounts to share?
@nikhowe @susanne_haller @parez @steffgutovska
You’re getting your motorcycle license, right? Does the bike (I think in particular the weight distribution, position in the turns etc.) helped you in your learning?
Yes although bike and motorbikes are very different to manage. Cycling helps me because I’m used to being on 2 wheels.
What motorbike you’d like to buy?
Your first motorbike is a budget! And one day if there is a Pure NineT in my garage I would be delighted. Or a little Triumph.
Beside cycling, what do you like to do? I admit that the post-exit nap also counts a bit like an activity …
I love going to the cinema (I see the summer movies in the winter haha …), I like to play piano from time to time, and read magazines or books. Singing with my guitar, I love it! And it’s even better when my brother accompanies me. At the moment, I’m focus on Crème Caoutchouc, since I was able to go back to it thoroughly after the last race and during the break.
Something or advice you’d like to share with us?
Crème Caoutchouc of course! The adventure has just begun!
And to listen to his instinct, to surround yourself with good people and especially good sound in the ears!
Merci Juliette !
The Cyclo ID
Strava: Juliette ldn
Bike: Lapierre Xelius SL 700 Disc
Favorite ravito: Veloforte bars