T-20  for the Morbihan Paddle Trophy!
03
Jun.2018

T-20 for the Morbihan Paddle Trophy!

The 23rd and 24th of June will see the 5th running of the BIC Sport/Ouest France Morbihan Paddle Trophy at St Goustan, in the legendary Golfe de Morbihan. This mass gathering of Stand Up Paddlers is as popular as the level is high, each year seeing more and more enthusiasts of the discipline taking part, and the event is now established as the second biggest of the season. BIC SUP rider Eric Terrien gives you all the tips and advice you need to help make sure of successfully completing this magnificent race.


As last year, the event starts on Saturday morning in the port at Bono, with the now famous “Marche sur l’Eau”/“Walk on Water”, a Stand Up Paddle non-competitive excursion for all ages, accompanied by the raucous Fanfare boat and its orchestra. In the afternoon the action shifts to the picturesque port of St Goustan, Auray, with some spectacular scratch 100 metre sprint races, and some team racing on SUP big boards (gigantic inflatables).

Sunday is the big day, reserved for the traditional long distance race, this year with a brand new course lay-out, divided into 4 categories. The ELITE group, comprising all the most experienced competition riders, will do the full 28km course from Vannes to Auray (St Goustan). They will be joined successively along the course by the RAIDER, LEISURE and JUNIOR groups, starting at Locmariaquer (14km course), Baden (9km) and Crach (7km) with everyone aiming for the same finish line in St Goustan.

Now also known as the “French 14’ SUP Cup”, as they did last year, the Elite group racers will also compete in a Technical Race, a race format over a shorter distance, with lots of bends and turns, that will take place on Saturday morning, in addition to the Sunday Long Distance.

The 2017 Morbihan was a massive event, a huge success with around 500 entrants from every corner of France and beyond, paddling in the magical Golfe de Morbihan to complete Sunday’s big race. What awaits us at the 2018 Morbihan ? That’s really all up to you ! Just be there, in a little bit less than month’s time, at St Goustan to help us write a new chapter in the event’s history !
Eric Terrien, BIC Sport race rider, gives you his tips for a successful day on the Morbihan Paddle Trophy or any long distance race/tour

 

 

HOW TO PREPARE YOUR DAY: ERIC TERRIEN’S RACE/TOUR GUIDE

To help you prepare for the challenge of the Morbihan Paddle Trophy, we asked race rider Eric Terrien, winner of the first year and runner up of the second, to give you some advice on the choice of equipment, organisation and preparation to get you to the start line in the best possible shape. Advice that will help you avoid wasting energy, help you make the most of this beautiful paddle experience and, why not, maybe be in the mix at the finish line!

Physical training

Whether you’re aiming for a specific time or placing, or simply completing the course, the correct training before the race will help you make the most of the day. Some jogging/running sessions will be a good addition to your paddle sessions, but if you have limited preparation time, my advice would be to devote it to paddle. In the days leading up to the race, eating sensibly and sleeping well will help you get to the start in top form.

Recce the course

It’s always interesting and valuable to have a detailed look at the course on a map. But it can also really help you manage your strength and energy knowing exactly where you are on the course. Plus, for anyone who isn’t familiar with the Golfe and the river Auray, it will help you learn the names of the islands and identify some of the pretty Britain chateaux!

Collecting your race number

Depending on time constraints, some people will prefer to go and register/collect their race number on Friday, while others won’t be able to get there ‘til Saturday. Ideally, you should try and allow a decent amount of time for this, it can be a moment of conviviality and togetherness, and a great opportunity for information-sharing ahead of the race.

The evening before the race

Check and double-check that you have properly prepared everything (race number, electronic gizmo…), that your camel bag water bags are clean and ready to be filled (there’s not much worse that the taste of water from a camel bag that hasn’t been properly cleaned since your last race!) and that you’ve got everything laid out and ready, so you won’t forget anything in the morning!

Sunday morning, before the start

It’s race day morning, and time itself suddenly seems to be racing along. Try and eat a light breakfast, that you could supplement with something else (a banana for instance) an hour before the race.

Make a good start

Mass starts are usually pretty chaotic. Unless you’re aiming for race victory, you need to take it all in the right spirit, with plenty of understanding for your fellow competitors. Everyone wants the same thing, to be moving forwards and to get away from the mass of boards and flailing paddles! Bit by bit the gaps will appear, things will sort themselves out and everyone can breathe easy again!

Use the water currents

What’s great about the Morbihan Paddle Trophy is that there are plenty of currents you can use to advantage. At some points you can easily identify the eddies, at others it’s a bit less well defined. You need to have a certain level of expertise to get the best out of this complex stretch of water. The clues are all there, on the water surface, how the water is moving around the many buoys and beacons anchored out there… The best riders and likely winners are those who manage to calculate the best compromise between shortest-distance straight lines and the detours that can enable you to accelerate on a current.

Keep your body fluids up

Depending on your physical condition and the length of your race, make sure you have sufficient water/liquids on board (you can try energy drinks, but water at the very least!) and a cereal bar/energy gel in case you hit an energy “wall” (it will give you psychological boost too). 500ml of water per hour should be enough to keep your fluid levels up. Stress (for instance, at the start) can dry your mouth out and make you feel thirsty, but there’s no point in drinking lots at that moment, you’re better off taking a few small mouthfuls and rinsing them round your mouth for a few seconds to get over that. As for the gels and cereal bars, one of either per hour should be enough, so if you’re going to be racing for two hours, take one of either with you.

Choose the right clothing

Everything depends on the weather forecast. You need to avoid getting cold waiting for the start or if you have some falls during the race, but likewise you need to avoid over-heating if the sun makes an appearance… Buoyancy jackets are compulsory for this race and, depending on which model you have, they will keep you warm to some degree. If it’s cold, I would advise a thin neoprene “Long John”-type wetsuit that allows free movement of your shoulders. A lycra top and light windcheater will help in case of rain. You should get used to these during your training sessions and adjust the number of layers if necessary.

Choose the right board and paddle

I definitely recommend that you don’t try anything new on race day. Use the board and paddle you’ve used most in training. If you’re not sure which board, go for something with more stability rather than less. Any instability is extremely exhausting to control and compensate for. Go for a longer board if possible, they have better glide than short boards. To make the most of the currents, a stable board with good glide is ideal. I can recommend the 12’6 Wing which has a great combination of both.

BIC Wing 12'6 Red

Choose the right board and paddle

I definitely recommend that you don’t try anything new on race day. Use the board and paddle you’ve used most in training. If you’re not sure which board, go for something with more stability rather than less. Any instability is extremely exhausting to control and compensate for. Go for a longer board if possible, they have better glide than short boards. To make the most of the currents, a stable board with good glide is ideal. I can recommend the 12’6 Wing which has a great combination of both.

Good position on the board

A useful guide to where you should place your feet is the position of the carry handle. Lighter riders should be slightly forward of this point, heavier riders slightly to the rear. If in doubt, ask a rider nearby to tell you if your board is nicely flat on the water or not.

 

© Photo credits : Morbihan Paddle Trophy/François Van Malleghem and Fanch Galivel