On May 7th and 8th, I had my eagerly awaited training to learn roadbook and compass navigation and off-road riding in the sand!!

It was with Duong from France Roadbook, in the Provençal Drôme, at the foot of Mont Ventoux.

Here’s a quick recap…

I arrived at Duong’s on Friday evening after a good 4-hour drive, just before nightfall, allowing me to already appreciate the beauty of the area!!

After a good homemade meal, we went to set up the roadbook on the bike.

The next day, we started with the theoretical part: the symbols found on a roadbook, reading a heading, but also more general advice regarding participation in a rally/raid.

We set out around 10 a.m. for the navigation day.

At first, Duong was in front so I could get used to reading the roadbook while driving. Then, he let me lead through roads, forest paths, and other rocky trails.

Well, there were inevitably some mistakes, but I realized them quite quickly, even though I frequently checked if he was still behind me or validating the direction taken.

After some very approximate U-turns, he showed me how to navigate back more efficiently. Very useful!

At first, I hesitated to stand up, but I eventually overcame it. He also corrected my riding position (I still struggle to fully apply his advice, but I’ll get there!)

After a good terrace pizza in the sun, a storm rolled in, which dampened my spirits a bit. Fortunately, it didn’t last (we alternated between showers and sunshine), but I had lost all the confidence I had gained in the late morning. After regaining my composure, the motivation came back, and we were able to finish the afternoon calmly.

Oh, and I also learned what “souder l’embrayage” (clutching) and “se satelliser” (to become a satellite) mean!! 😉

And that you can avoid water puddles!! (even though it’s less fun!!)

I ended the day soaked, both literally and figuratively!

We had a great evening, and I didn’t hesitate to head to bed! The next day a big day awaited me…

On Sunday morning, opening the bedroom curtain, I saw big raindrops bouncing on the ground!! “Mamamia, this is going to be tough!” (those were my first thoughts!)

But don’t count on Duong to give up!! And he was right! The rain stopped around 10 a.m., and even though we still had a few drops in the afternoon, nothing insurmountable, even the pleasure of a bit of coolness!

At the beginning of the day, we started with a more enduro-oriented circuit to warm up… Well, the bike had already fallen several times, and I was full of stress!!

Then it loosened up, and we went to the sand! The beginnings were rough, with several falls, but I took the opportunity to learn to restart in the sand (in second gear, playing with the clutch) and to get my sand-covered bike back up (I lay it on the side, pull it with my legs, stand it up again, and off we go!).

Then I had a kind of breakthrough, and finally, I managed to complete a full lap without falling, then 2, then 5!!! It’s quite physical, and I had to stop to drink (the CamelBak will probably be my best friend during the race in Morocco!!).

After the laps in the sand, we moved on to the climbs, and after a few hiccups, I was also able to eventually complete the exercise!! I was super happy!!

That’s what I can say fairly quickly about these 2 days…

I really had a great time despite the weather uncertainties!

I still have a lot to learn (I really need to practice in enduro and adjust my position, among other things), but one thing is for sure, I have learned once again not to give up and that everything is achievable with hard work and perseverance!!

France Roadbook

I recommend a thousand times to reach out to Duong; passionate, professional, and very friendly!!

Address : Les Bravoux 26170 Plaisians
Phone : 0632505516
Mail : contact@franceroadbook.com
Website : https://franceroadbook.com