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Endurance.Net Home 2007 Florac: Leonard Leisens Pre-Ride Thoughts

Images by Leonard Leisens

2007 Florac - Leonard Leisens

This year it will be the 32nd edition of Florac. There are a few mythical endurance rides in Europe : Montcup (2x100kms) in France, Barcelona (2x100kms) in Spain, but Florac is the undisputed European mythical one.

The race takes place in the Cevennes National Park in the south central France. The Cevennes region offers several very different landscapes depending on the geological nature of the ground : schist, calcareous rocks, granite, sandstone? The altitude varies from 300 meters in the valleys to 1600 meters (summit of the Aigoual mountain).

During our preride trip we were very fortunate to admire an extraordinary variety of flora, thanks to the unusual humidity of this spring season. Normally at this period, the hay has been harvested in the valley and on the high plateaux, but this year everything was very green. During the ascent from Meyrues(city of seconf vetgate) to the Causse Mejean(high plateau altitude 1000 meters), so in just one hour, we counted 35 different species of flowers.

The course has been changed during the last years. It is still very technical and the elevation differences haven't been changed, but it is no longer the very same circuit. This year the organizer Jean-Paul Boudon and his team will bring some additional changes. So the very gruelling final stage of 20kms (ascent from Ispagnac during 10km then going back downhill on 10km) has been cancelled. In place, there will be a short loop on the high plateau, with a better going and a relatively flatter trail. Some very rocky trail have also been replaced, for example the descent to Meyrues which is now a dirty road. This will probably increase the overall completion speed. We can expect a winning time of 10 to 10:30 hours, depending on the weather. The aim is to attract more riders and postulate for the next European Championship.

It doesn't remove anything from the race. The gorgeous scenery is still there.