Baptiste Chassagne is a top athlete. His disciplines: trail and ultra.
Our athlete represents Combloux and performs well in renowned races! He notably performed on the OCC of the UTMB (6th), the CCC of the UTMB (9th), the French Trail Championships (3rd), the SaintéLyon (4th), the Transgrandcanaria (4th) and has his credit of great victories in national races. A combloran athlete, he gave himself over to the game of the interview to present his background, his ambitions and give you valuable advice on the practice of trail running.
How did you discover the world of trail running?
Originally, I was not particularly destined to go running in the mountains, between paths and summits. I grew up in Lyon, studied at Science Po Paris, frequented city streets and football pitches before taking off in the Alps. My practice of trail running started in my late twenties, when I joined Haute-Savoie for an internship with Dynastar and my parents bought an apartment in Combloux. It was from this moment that I started to hurtle down all types of terrain and I loved it!
What was your journey to reach the top level?
Competitor by nature, I quickly wanted to participate in local races. I obtained good results there, which encouraged me to invest myself even more in the discipline. One thing leading to another, I went to the regional then national level and joined the Sidas Matrix team. Currently, it's been 3 years that I have been in the process of racing at a high level and that I am putting everything in place to be as efficient as possible!
How did you realize that you had become a professional athlete?
This click happened when I realized that I had entered into a performance approach, that I had to be more individualistic. Of a very altruistic nature, I have always practiced team sports, lived in shared accommodation, been very close to my family. For the trail I had to make choices, think about myself and how to improve myself rather than always being available. It was a bit unnatural but that's when I realized that I had turned a corner. It is thanks to this rigor that we impose ourselves that progress is increased tenfold and that we enter a virtuous circle in terms of performance.
How do you deal with being an athlete and having a second job on the side?
The advantage of my job is that I have a certain freedom to manage my rhythm between the worlds of communication and trail running. I created my communication agency named 40 BPM. It is inspired by the heart rate only achievable by top athletes. It's a metaphor for the work I do for my clients, the work of a quiet force, of a person who takes the time to apply himself to provide the best possible results.
What would be your advice for training and progressing in trail running?
Inexperienced trail runners tend to train at the wrong paces. They go too fast during their endurance training. In the collective imagination, to feel that you have worked well, you have to finish your session being tired, out of breath, sweating, having made a considerable effort. By doing this people push their limits too much and take the risk of injury. My advice for beginners is to run with ease! Then you have to train regularly and have a healthy lifestyle.
How do you train for a race like the Comblorane?
If you take a training plan over two months, you will first have to build up an endurance base. That is to say, build volume, spend as many hours as possible in the mountains with fairly gentle gaits to accustom the body to the terrain and the effort in the mountains. This step will take about three weeks.
Then, during the following three weeks, we will try to put a little bit of quality, add interval sessions with passages of unevenness. For example, you can start on 10 times a cycle of 2min at high speed and 1min at low speed or do a session of 20min of ascent.
Finally, two weeks before the race, slow down a little but still do a long outing a week before the race then a long outing with a few accelerations 3 days before the event.
What performance are you most proud of?
It's the Transgrandcanaria! It was my first ultra trail (126 KM, 6210 M+) and my first good performance at an international level (4th/441). It was with this race that I proved to myself that I had the level to fight with the elite of the world's ultra trail runners, that my dreams could become a reality. Following this experience, I gained a lot of self-confidence. It is surely a click in my career.
What is your favorite race?
I have two favorite races. First of all the Comblorane, which I have already won and which I am happy to come back to. On this race I feel at home, on the ground which saw me begin and on which I train daily. Then there is the Sainte-Lyon because I am from Lyon, my family is from Saint-Etienne and because it is a mythical race.
Why did you choose to be a Combloux partner athlete?
It is both a choice of the heart and a logical choice. My first steps in trail running were made in Combloux, it is on this territory that the roots of my passion are anchored. I train there, I feel good there, I did my first races there, it's like a symbol!