This year, you have decided to participate in the Roc d'Azur, the first mountain bike event in the world, open to all and which gathers nearly 20,000 participants during five days each year on the François Léotard nature base in Fréjus, in the heart of the Massif des Maures.
In order for you to be as well prepared as possible for this event, we decided to offer you this small guide to help you equip yourself for the Roc d'Azur.
How to effectively protect yourself to participate in the Roc d'Azur.
To be able to take part in the Roc d'Azur, in addition to a mountain bike in good working order, you will also need a CE approved helmet, which must be worn from the start to the finish of each event, with the chinstrap fastened, on pain of disqualification.
To take part in an XC (cross-country) event, we recommend a light and airy helmet, with good occipital support, so as not to overheat the head in the middle of an effort.
When we talk about protection at the head level, we must also think about the eyes. Indeed, in mountain biking, you can be the victim of many projections at the level of the head. For this, think about bike goggles that are particularly covering and will perfectly protect your eyes during the events. If you have vision problems and can't wear contacts, know that some models can be equipped with corrective lenses to perfectly fit your vision.
In the event of a fall, the hands are often the first to be exposed. So, even if wearing gloves is not mandatory, remember to put on a pair of gloves anyway, short or long depending on your preference, the weather or the event you plan to take part in: it could save you a lot of discomfort in case of unexpected contact with the ground.
The gloves are made of a special material that can be used to protect your hands
For enduro events, wearing a full-face helmet, which may be fixed or hybrid, is mandatory, as is wearing a pair of long gloves, knee pads, elbow pads as well as a back protector.
For trail events, the Gravel Roc, Roc Ruelles or Tri Roc, the mountain bike helmet will be sufficient, whether for children or adults.
What bib shorts to choose for the Roc d'Azur?
Some events, like the Canyon Roc Marathon for example, can last for many hours. In order to have the best possible comfort, it is important to choose mountain bike shorts or shorts that are adapted to your practice.
In XC, just like on a road bike, wearing tight lycra shorts will be preferred. In addition to the aerodynamics that will be improved, this type of shorts will offer you excellent muscle support and freedom of movement. The presence of straps will prevent the shorts from slipping. Finally, and especially if you take part in a long distance event, favor a model with a gel skin for maximum comfort.
Ladies, consider opting for a special woman's model for increased comfort: indeed, the skin will be perfectly adjusted to your anatomy which will not be the case with a man's model.
For mountain biking, enduro or gravel events, you can opt for mountain bike shorts or shorts with mountain bike undershorts. Do not neglect wearing a garment equipped with a chamois (foam or gel) specifically adapted to the practice of cycling because it is there to prevent you from many pains due to vibration or friction on the saddle which are very numerous in mountain biking.
What cycling jersey to choose for the Roc d'Azur?
For XC events, as with the bib shorts, opt for a close-fitting jersey that will offer better aerodynamics in the race. Lightweight and breathable, it allows perspiration to evacuate unlike a cotton garment for example.
In addition, this type of jersey will have several pockets located in the back that will allow you to embark cereal bars or energy gels to consume during the race.
It is also recommended to wear a technical undergarment, otherwise known as an undershirt, under your cycling jersey. This serves to improve the evacuation of sweat and regulate your body temperature.
For enduro events, you can opt for a looser, straight cut jersey that comes in two versions: short sleeve or long sleeve. The latter model will offer you extra protection in case of a fall or rubbing against branches.
For hiking events, where the stopwatch is not an issue, it's up to you to choose which type of jersey you prefer between the two mentioned above: there are no contraindications, so choose the one you feel best in.
What shoes to choose for the Roc d'Azur?
If you ride XC, you've probably long since adopted automatic pedals on your mountain bike. Therefore, you'll need lightweight mountain bike shoes that are suited to the type of pedals used on your bike (SPD) that will allow you to return all the power of your pedaling without losing energy. These shoes usually have cleats so you won't slip in the portions where you'll need to carry your bike.
If you are using flat pedals, don't neglect the choice of shoes either by also opting for special mountain bike shoes that will be reinforced, especially in the front and heels, in case of impact or stone projections. They will also be equipped with cleats for those passages where you will have to put your foot down.
In enduro or hiking, you can opt for all mountain shoes that will be softer and more comfortable than cross-country shoes, but also more covering because they rise above the ankle. They will thus offer you better protection on your feet.
For the Tri Roc, you'll need to pack both a pair of cycling shoes for the mountain bike event and a pair of running shoes suitable for the course for the running event.
Finally, don't forget that socks go hand in hand with shoes. So, opt for bike socks that promote sweat elimination and thus will keep your feet dry during your event as opposed to regular socks.
The socks should be made of a high quality material
What to wear before the start and after the finish
On the day of the event, you are advised to go to the starting area with a backpack, which you can leave with a relative in the starting area or, possibly, in your car during the race, and in which you can put a change of clothes.
The Roc d'Azur takes place in October and the start is usually around 8am for most events. Therefore, at this time of year, temperatures can be relatively cool. We therefore advise you to put on a windbreaker or a jacket that you can take off just before the start and put in your backpack if you leave it with someone else. This will keep you from getting cold before the start.
After the race, if you're covered in sweat or mud, you'll probably appreciate being able to put on a change of clothes, especially if you're lucky enough to make a podium or want to take the opportunity to wander the show aisles. To do this, don't forget to pack something to wash up in, as well as a pair of pants, a t-shirt, underwear, and most importantly, a comfortable change of shoes to walk around the race village.
How to carry my stuff to the Roc d'Azur
The Roc d'Azur brings together participants from all over France, but also from several countries. To get to the start of the event, you may have to travel by car, bus, train or plane.
If you are traveling by train or plane, you will need a carrying bag for your bike. Some models allow you to carry your bike assembled, while in others, you will need to disassemble it first. Most of these bike bags are soft, but for air travel, it is best to use a hard bike bag to avoid physical breakage.
You will also need to carry all of the above items (helmet, jersey, shorts, shoes, etc.). For this, consider equipping yourself with a sports bag specifically dedicated to cycling in which you will find special compartments to house your helmet or shoes.
Then, from your lodging to the departure place, you can use a backpack dedicated to cycling that is also equipped with compartments for helmet, shoes as well as for slipping in stuff or clothes to take off before departure (like a jacket for example) or to put on after arrival (like an outfit to change into for example).
Now you know everything you need to know to be able to take part in the Roc d'Azur with the right outfit and in complete safety. Now, it's up to you to play!