Monday, July 21, 2014

Team France Training Jul.9-13 2014


Hardly back from 10 days of Frenchness! I arrived on French soil on Monday 7, had a quick stop in Paris for the night, before carpooling to the Mont-Dore on Tuesday 8, with three former Paris RollerGirls / current Team France team mates.

I will spare you my cell phone adventures that made me turn around on my way to the metro and lose precious minutes, costing me my (legendary) punctuality and ruining my clothes - first (aborted) timing being perfect on all levels, second (belated) timing synchronizing my entering and exiting the metro with such a heavy and persistent rain that I didn't even try to avoid it.

Alas, a second trial was waiting for us at the meeting point. The key of the door to the basement car park was missing. After sorting out the door problem in making eyes at a random neighbor, the four of us loaded the car and drove to the exit - which was closed, obviously, and no emergency button around to open the blind, obviously.
That was when the stakeout started, waiting for any sign of human presence in the basement, to set us free. We were about to give up and burst open the content of our truck to search for the lost key, when a light swiched on in the distance. She saw us waiving in despair, walked to us bathed in the halo reflexion of the neon light. She gave us her blessing and pressed a button in her key ring. The blind started roaring and creaking and the sullen Parisian sky appeared over the driveway. Saved!

And we finally hit the road with soaking wet clothes drying on the dashboard.


Five hours and countless mountain winding roads later, we reached a chalet at the foot of the ski pistes, a place the 35 of us would share for the next 5 days, with dormitories, a kitchen and a wide living room with a 180° bay window onto the mountain - a view we didn't really enjoy as it rained almost non-stop for the whole stay.

Our usual gym in Orcet being unavailable on those dates, we found a Plan B that turned out to be even better than the original, where we are usually divided into 5-to-8 player houses, in a dormitory village in a Desperate Housewives neighborhood fashion. This time, we had the opportunity to be hosted and to train in the Mont-Dore, through one of our team mates who, coming from there, knows influent people who offered us the best welcome we've ever been treated to.

Things got arranged so that we'd have the chalet all to ourselves, the gym was hardly 10 minutes away by car, a supplementary van was at our disposal, we were supplied with fresh Mont-Dore spring water bottles for training, and invited to a special reception at the town hall in our honor, the locals took care of the refreshment bar for the Sunday scrimmage, and many other kind attentions!

Life got quickly organized within the chalet with food groups (things always come down to stomach). I was with the Bo(r)deaux group. After the usual camp opening meeting of the next morning, we drove to the next supermarket to stock up for the whole stay... and made a detour to a local dairy on the way back, which resulted in a cheese orgy at lunch.
Although cheese is one of the worst things for muscle recovery because of its acidity, I was told it's excellent for morale! We quickly made our choice.

Sleeping, living and eating in the same place drew us all even closer to reach a level of trust, respect and unity I would never had though possible at that stage of the adventure, with such pending dead-lines. That camp was by far the most honest and intense of all, in terms of atmosphere.
Maybe also because somehow we knew that things would be different in the future. The next camp, in October, will be dedicated to the preparation for Dallas and then... 2015 will rush in and a new Team France will take over...

Check out the view in the background!


Enough for the emotional part. The objectives of the camp were announced on the opening meeting of Wednesday morning. It was the last training before the making of the selections for the last and biggest events of the season: Mons and Dallas, that is to say the European Tournament in September and the World Cup in December. A lot at stakes for the last home stretch.
The main objective was to fix the mistakes of the bout against Team Nederland. The camp wasn't about learning anything new but refining the strategies and tactics we'd implemented so far, strenghtening the team work both within the pack and between the pack and the jammers.

We had five three-hour on-skates trainings in two days and a half, from Wednesday afternoon to Friday afternoon, with specifics every morning and jammer-blocker gathering in the afternoons. Saturday was dedicated to recovery and team bonding: we could pick one activity out of 1) going for a hike in the mountains (for the only afternoon of sunshine) or 2) taking the sauna-hammam-jacuzzi package at the swimming pool. Guess what I chose. The evening was movie time: Gotham Vs. London in the living room, praying for the moody wifi not to crash in the middle. Big screen and pop corn - half spilled, but that's another story.
And after having cleared the chalet the next morning, we put on our wheels for the last time of the camp to play the Sunday afternoon open scrimmage, in front of curious and interested locals.


That training did me good although it put myself at a disadvantage in the eyes of the coaches. They hadn't seen me skate since the little Superbrawl hiccup and had high expectations of me. The episode, and a handful of other elements that converged at the same time, resulted in me losing total confidence in my jamming over the last six months. I quite successfully climbed back up the physical mountain, but the mental side is trickier.

I didn't miss a single Team France Training this season but that one was the first since last October's training that I could do in its entirety. I could absorb a little of the trust my team mates had in me, and some of their kindness to figuratively and literally get back on track. I also benefited from wise coaching advice that helped me approach things from a different perspective.

Although I had to endure the relative deception of the coaches, the camp was very successful for me as it gave me tools to escape from a hole I was stuck into. My job now, using them efficiently to get out of it on time...

On my way back I made a detour to Bordeaux to celebrate my 28th birthday with my family. Somehow, at some point, softly and without knowing it, I outlived Janis and the rest!



  1. Coucou !
    J'adore ce que t'écris ! Et surtout les photos de chiens !

    Bisou ! A bientôt j'espère ! <3

    1. Merci pour ton commentaire constructif! N'hésite pas!