Today we would like to introduce you to Rémi Josserand. This young volunteer was present last year at the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in Les Gets and has just applied for the 2022 Mountain Bike World Championships in Les Gets.
He tells us about his experience last year and looks forward to the one that awaits him at the end of August in Les Gets.
IB : Hello Rémi, can you introduce yourself in a few words ?
RJ : My name is Rémi, I’m 23 years old and I’m currently a second year engineering student at ENSAM (Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts et Métiers) in Cluny. I rode enduro for five years until 2019, when I stopped riding regularly to focus more on my studies. In addition to riding my bike, I love the world of mechanics. I repair and maintain some bikes and cars in my spare time.
IB : You are a volunteer at the World Mountain Bike Championships in Les Gets, can you explain to us what your motivations are ?
RJ : The first time I got involved, it was by chance. I came across a Facebook publication looking for volunteers for the Crankworx Les Gets 2018, I read the description of the missions, and in less than two hours, the time it took to check my availability in relation to the courses and internships linked to the school, I said to myself: I’m in. Two months later I found myself in Les Gets, knowing nothing and no one except this competition that I had already followed on RedBull TV. Then I was able to repeat the experience for the return of the Mountain Bike World Cup in Les Gets.
At the end of these two volunteering experiences, I was able to make great friendships with other volunteers, of all ages and backgrounds. Also, the close contact with the public, whether they are mountain bike experts or just curious passers-by, is very rewarding. The atmosphere on site is also incredible: during the first days of testing, there are not too many spectators, the riders and teams stop at the edge of the tracks and chat with us, the atmosphere is calm and relaxed. Once the qualifying and final heats arrive, the fans arrive en masse with all kinds of objects to ensure the show (vuvuzela, heat engines, bells, smoke, etc). It’s something that takes you by storm, you live each run at 100%!
IB : Can you describe your different experiences as a volunteer? (In Les Gets and other events)
RJ : I took part in the Crankworx Les Gets 2018 (the last of the three editions) as a Marshall Slopestyle for a good part of the week (we were in charge of enforcing the rules on the track, we had to get visitors out if they entered a race area and we had to report any problems encountered related to the safety of the track, the riders or the spectators. Then I was able to run the dual slalom kids’ starts for an afternoon. On the last day, which was a tidying up day, I helped to remove the ribbons and poles from the Mont Chery downhill track with many other volunteers still present.
And more recently, I took part in the World Cup in Les Gets 2021 over two big days. The first day was downhill as I was Marshall Downhill – this is the same as Marshall Slopestyle but on a much longer course in terms of distance than slope. The next day I was assigned to recover the transponders of the XCO riders, all categories included. For the elite men’s final, I had to be quick to get ahead of the photographers and collect the transponders before the athletes left the finish area, the rush was intense but I loved these two days.
Beyond the daytime missions, the evenings are much more relaxed, and there are even special volunteer evenings. This is where we all get together and meet other people, in addition to those who made up our team for the day! The tone is really one of exchange and conviviality.
IB : If you had to promote the event to other people, what would you say to them to get them involved as a volunteer in Les Gets?
RJ: “Go for it. Just go for it.” Whether you know anything about mountain biking or not, it doesn’t change the overall experience which is incredible. Every person I’ve been with has come back at least once afterwards. The friendliness that exists between the volunteers and the Qoezion staff is really great, it quickly builds confidence and you immediately feel good within the group.
IB : What memory do you have of the 2021 MTB World Cup in Les Gets?
RJ : If I had to choose one, I would say the moment when the downhill final was over and we had to go back to the Volunteer Center to return the equipment that had been lent to us for the day. The weather was really average, and for the last 30 riders it started to rain like crazy. The trail got soggy in no time, and by the time we were ready to leave, I had a choice between going back up the trail to the gondola and back down to the resort with it, or walking down to the resort. I decided to walk back down, as I didn’t have time to go back up before the gondola closed. A simple thing, you might say. Well, not really, as the amount of water that had fallen on the piste made it extremely slippery. A few other volunteers and a lot of spectators also went down the run, but everyone was very careful not to fall, making the descent long and difficult. After a few minutes of struggling not to fall, I thought it might be more fun to slide down. So I spent two thirds of the track on my stomach sliding through the few banked turns and then through the meadow where I was joined by some amused spectators. We all had a good laugh when we got to the bottom! I don’t need to explain the look on Maxime and Thomas’ (the volunteer leaders) faces when they saw me arrive covered in mud at the Volunteer Centre to hand back flags and walkie-talkies, and they had a good laugh too.
So if you too want to join the adventure, don’t hesitate to apply for the next World Mountain Bike Championships in Les Gets.