Jerome Clementz Interview

Yes, you did read that correctly!  On Friday, before the Enduro World Series racing kicked off at the Tweedlove Bike Festival in Peebles, Scotland, I managed to grab JC for a couple of minutes to ask him a little about his training.  I think it says a lot about Jerome, and our sport in general that I was able to do this and that I just spent the weekend racing with the best riders in the world on some of the gnarliest terrain and tracks going!

Massive thanks to Jerome for his time, although I was a little sad to hear he hates the gym!

Check out the video and then read my thoughts below……

As a mountain biker in Britain we can often bemoan the lack of real mountains and lift accessed alpine tracks that our European cousins enjoy, however what we lose out on in sheer altitude, we gain in all year round ride-ability.  Living in the mountains, JC has to cross train through the long and snowy winter, primarily using cross country skiing for his off season training, with relatively little time on the bike.  Whilst keeping training specific to the sport is very important, especially as you near the race season, using skiing as winter training can actually be very effective for bikers as he has shown himself.

The movement pattern of cross country skiing and ski touring is actually very similar to riding a bike, especially when we look at climbing on the skis.  Both sports rely on a lifting of the bent leg in front of the body, followed by a powerful triple extension of the hip, knee and ankle to propel the athlete forwards.  Regular and steep climbs on the skis can really develop the strength in the legs, especially as you have no gears to help you.  If it gets steep, you just have to work harder, and this is exaggerated further if you are carrying a pack with warm clothes and equipment.  You are also able to conduct very similar training sessions as part of a structured programme, including long, steady flatter efforts, intervals, hill reps, power work and other workouts that a bike programme would cover through the winter months.

Whilst obviously not at the same level as JC, I actually have some fairly similar first hand experience of this from this winter.  I was lucky enough to spend the winter running a ski chalet in the French Pyrenees with Altitude Adventure meaning that I did not ride my bike at all this year until I got back to England at the end of March.  Knowing that I would be racing my bike in April I prepared by doing a lot of snow shoeing with my snowboard on my back to access backcountry and off-piste locations.  This was really demanding, both on the lungs due to the altitude, and also on the legs and back, carrying my kit, the board, and me up some pretty steep, sometimes powdery mountain sides!  On my return I felt pretty well prepared physically, and the bike speed came over a few weeks of steady riding, with some intervals as well.

Whilst I was disappointed to hear that JC gets bored of the gym (come and train with me?!?!), it was good to hear that he uses a trainer and also educates himself in order to best prepare himself physically.  We can all learn from a trainer, a more experienced rider or from reading, and if JC can find time to do it, so can you!  We did not go into much detail as you heard, however he must work hard to keep his core strong, enabling him to put the power down and to move freely on the bike to make it change direction in such crazy ways as only the top riders can do.  Personally, my approach to training this area is to use the big lifts and whole body moves primarily, however if you are not doing that sort of training, then some floor work or work with a swiss ball can certainly be beneficial when performed with intensity and a within a proper programme.

So, that was my short training interview with current Enduro World Series Champion, Jerome Clementz.  I wish him a speedy recover and all the best.

Stay Strong

Ben