All posts by be.ez


MATHIEU RIVIERE - Designer Illustrator - Hello Mathieu. Can you introduce yourself and tell us a bit more about who you are?

Hello, my name’s Mathieu and I’m a full-time designer-illustrator. I’ve been living in Sweden for four years now on one of Stockholm’s islands.

Can you tell us about your career?

Being a designer has given me an excellent opportunity to travel and discover new countries and cultures. After graduating from the Strate School of Design in Paris with a master’s in industrial design, I went to Denmark to work for LEGO as a concept designer. I headed back to Paris to take up a job with Lafuma, where I designed collections of children’s bags. Then I moved to Venice in Italy before returning to Stockholm in Sweden, where I design essential items for our kitchens!

I also started working as an illustrator a few years ago, including for Beez by creating pictures to accompany my travelogues, and now I’m producing more elaborate illustrations.


How would you describe your graphical style? Where do you draw your inspiration and what are your influences?

Drawing is so enjoyable, like reading a book or playing video games! I love drawing café terraces just as much as I like imagining Stockholm coming under attack from a giant octopus or bear! I don’t really have any specific influences, except my love for beautiful images. There are so many talented illustrators and people who I’ve been lucky enough to work with and who have influenced me in some way at some time or other.



What does Beez represent for you? What does the brand conjure up in your mind? 

My mind clearly associates Beez with LArobe, the iconic sleeve for our MacBooks! Then there’s the funny name, Beez, which is sort of intriguing.

LA robe En Ville - be.ez X Mathieu Riviere -

When and how did you come to work with Beez?

Nicolas contacted me nine years ago to take part in developing a new bag as part of the company’s plans to expand the Beez family. We held our first meeting at the “Café de l’Industrie” in Bastille, in Paris’s 11th arrondissement where Beez has since set up its permanent headquarters. Our partnership culminated in “LA besace“, which was soon followed by other creations, including the series for “LE rush“, the “LE reporter” bag and the “LE swift” business bag… Some of my travel illustrations also adorn some of the Robes, such as “I Love Paris” and “Москва“!

LE rush be.ez by Mathieu RIVIERE

How does Beez resonate with you and why did you agree to work with the brand?

Designing products for roaming consumers and a brand such as Beez represents a tremendous opportunity for a designer! I enjoy being able to focus on one project at a time, which helps the team produce the most stylish design possible for each new bag. Furthermore, my relationship with the Beez “family”, and Nicolas in particular, has gone from strength to strength as the years have gone by. We’ve been collaborating and working together for nine years now. I believe that is the type of professional – and personal – relationship that generates true added value.


In closing, what are your plans for the next few months? Can you give us any details?

I’ll be continuing to work as a product designer in Sweden! We always need meaningful objects in everyday life. I’m spending more and more of my time on illustrations. My latest collection is called “LEI” and features a series of portraits created from lines, marks and fragments of emotions. I hope I’ll get chance to show them in an exhibition in the near future!


For more informations or better know Mathieu:

Web :

Instagram :


be.ez4education: be.ez is actively committed!

« There is no stronger commitment than education – education in the general sense allows young children to nurture aspirations and set personal goals.
Education remains one of the main driving forces for reducing inequality and offering a way out of poverty! »

Nicolas Cottard – Founder & CEO of be.ez

For several years, be.ez has been building its recognised status as a leading force in the «hi- tech accessories» sector!
Drawing strength from its organizational culture and philosophy, the French brand remains attentive to society’s problems, especially educational issues and lack of access to high- quality education, which is key to human development.

By creating its «be.ez4education» program and leveraging specific universal values, be.ez is committed to the long term. The program will actively pursue a strategy that promotes a return to equal access to education for everyone and everywhere.

« be.ez4education » is be.ez’s commitment to advancing education not only in France, but also overseas!

Needs vary according to the country and the territorial area. In several developing countries, the lack of resources hinders and complicates access to education for many people.

Dar al ma'mûn FondationThe Dar al-Ma’mûn Foundation in Morocco is an example of the different initiatives that be.ez supports through its be.ez4education program. The French brand assists this UNESCO-labelled not-for-profit association with its educational actions and its ambition of creating greater freedom for rural populations in Morocco. Every week, approximately 300 people benefit from this program, which provides literacy classes for women and remedial lessons for children.

Dar AL ma'mun FellahDar AL Ma'mun Education

Another task of the be.ez4education program involves be.ez supporting initiatives in France aimed at protecting students from violence and bullying, so that schools could continue to be a place for personal development as opposed to a place for suffering.

Marion La Main Tendue AssociationFor this reason, be.ez partners with the Marion Fraisse La Main Tendue association, which tackles all types of school violence, from harassment to cyber-bullying. For instance, be.ez4education offered its support to the association during  the first organization of #FrenchBlueShirtDay on October 15th and regularly during events held at schools and conferences over the last few months by President Nora Fraisse, whose book entitled «Putting a Stop to Bullying» (Stop Au Harcélement in french) published by Calmann-Levy. french blues thirsdayTo amplify and develop the initiatives pioneered by the Marion Fraisse La Main Tendue association, on November 28th 2015, be.ez was involved in the first European Colloquium on New Génération Bullying in Luxembourg, during the International Convention on the Rights of the Child.

In 2016, the French brand will continue its commitment towards the association with other awareness-raising initiatives, especially overseas. On February 16th 2016 in Montreal, there will be a handful of French and Quebec artists, who will sing together to raise awareness to stamp out bullying.

be.ez has its sights on being a socially-responsible brand!

Through its be.ez4education program, be.ez is aiming to build its reputation as a responsible corporate sponsor by delivering support to educational and prevention programs, while actively raising awareness and alerting public opinion to sensitive issues concerning young people.

«Whoever supports education helps the nation grow!»
Nicolas Cottard – Founder & CEO of be.ez


Dar al-Ma’mûn Fondation

Adress : Km13 Route de, l Ourika, Zaraba, Marrakech 40000, Maroc Telephone :+212 525-065002
web :


“Marion Fraisse La Main Tendue” Association

On Facebook :

Europe 1

Paris-Match :

Le Magazine de la Santé (France 5) : harcelement-scolaire-un-silence-qui-tue_15546.html

Le Parisien : 2015-5248139.php

Emission C à Vous (France 5) :

L’OBS : de-boloss-marion-13-ans-s-est-suicidee.html

The companion format designed by be.ez : LA robe En Ville.

Breaking news – be.ez has just launched “LA robe En Ville”, a new breed of sleeve. What sets this sleeve apart from the conventional ranges is its new companion format (22cm x 13cm x 0.8cm). Designed for both ladies and gents, this sleeve can serve two functions.

Handbag or rucksack organiser: In-di-spen-sa-ble! Called a “small pocket” or “small case”, this handbag sleeve slips into the bag, and we love it. Make no mistake, finding something in a bag at the first attempt is sometimes a surreal experience. With all manner of items jostling for space, including lipstick, diaries, hand cream, hand sanitiser gel, glasses, keys, pouches and other objects chucked in blindly “just in case”, the handbag is a real mess, hence the name “carry-all”. This is where the LA robe En Ville steps in. Thanks to its practical small size, LA robe En Ville knows how to keep a low profile, while helping you get better organised. It can hold make-up and also first-aid items (plasters, antiseptic spray and medicine).

Frequent travellers can use it to store their tickets, passport, travel toothbrush and toothpaste, etc.

But that is not all. This new format sleeve can especially be used for headphones and chargers for MacBooks, mobile phones and tablets. Furthermore, it will prevent them from potentially-damaging impacts.

Small pocket: The time has come to stop lugging around large heavy bags, bearing in mind that half of what is inside is not really essential.  Ideal as a daytime or night-time fashion accessory, La robe En Ville boasts the perfect format for your hectic evenings and days. For all those young ladies that have gone for a sober outfit, LA robe En Ville will add a splash of colour thanks to the sparkling and explosive summer tones from be.ez (citrico, tangerina and granita), and it is big enough to hold your mobile, purse, lipstick and chewing gum.

Now you are all set to make a colourful impression!

Portrait: Pierre BUDESTSCHU – Creative Director be.ez –

Hello, Pierre. Could you introduce yourself and tell us a bit more about yourself, and about your career so far?

Hello, I turned 51 on the 2nd of April 2015; I have lived in Paris for the last 35 years and have been a graphic designer since 1988. After a very theory-based but nonetheless absorbing university course (a first degree in plastic arts at the Sorbonne) and a few stints at more academic workshops, from which I learned a great deal, I naturally began looking for jobs in visual communication, where I could combine my fascination for the image with my growing interest in typography.

I took my first steps in the trade before the digital era, working as a freelance assistant for creative director Richard Dupuy, a former disciple of [French advertising guru] Jacques Séguéla (Euro RSCG). This gave me my first experience of the deadline and budget constraints that come with job-order contracts and the particular requirements of the “advertising world”.

At the beginning of the 1990s, I was able to broaden my knowledge of the “traditional” side of the trade (i.e. the manual stuff: mock-ups, roughs, illustrations, story boards, and the like) when I did a stint at an agency that had just been kitted out with Macintosh computers. For me, that was a revolution!

It was around that time that I met Thierry Badin, also a graphic designer and illustrator, with whom I founded the graphic design studio “La Maison” in 1994. For 18 years, we provided solutions for visual identity issues ranging from literary publishing to the music industry, from the world of culture to advertising, from corporate communication to museum exhibitions…

In 2006, I decided to follow up personal projects in parallel to my work at La Maison, under the name Voyou design graphique.

At the beginning of 2013, Thierry Badin and I decided to put an end to our collaboration at La Maison. The time had come for the voyou [the “yob”] to smash the place up!

How do you explain your work to those around you and, more generally, to people outside the graphic design business?

Good question… in other words, what do we mean by graphic design?

The best answer I can give is to ask people to imagine a metro station plastered with blank posters, a road covered in empty road signs, supermarket shelves stacked with unlabelled boxes, a Rolex without its markings, a smartphone screen with no visual interface, Nike shoes without the swoosh, lift buttons without numbers or icons, a hipster’s forearm without a tattoo… the list is endless.

Isn’t it strange how design in general, and graphic design in particular—even though they have been a constant feature in our lives for centuries—are still so difficult for our fellow beings to conceptualise?

My work, then, is to create, transform or utilise reproducible, harmonious and clear signs and to arrange them in such a way as to produce visual pointers that most people can understand, conveying messages of every kind: commercial, informative, cultural, or—why not?—political.

In very practical terms, I spend a lot of time in front of my computer screen working on specialist page-setting, drawing and image editing software. And probably just as much time visually scanning (consciously or otherwise) the surrounding urban landscape: shop signs, packaging on shelves, books and magazines, signage at airports and stations…

What are your influences?

My influences naturally come from the visual universes of the 60s, 70s and 80s, which shaped my world when I was young. The books, magazines and graphic novels I used to read; the cartoons, series and credit sequences I saw on TV or in the cinema; pop art, Free figuration (French art movement of the 1980s), or the Russian and Chinese posters of socialist realism… they may not be so much in evidence in my recent work, but they have all clearly helped to create a graphic vocabulary of my own.

In more concrete terms, if I had to name famous graphic designers that I have directly taken inspiration from at some time or other, I would cite names such as Saul Bass (the brilliant poster designer and typographer who worked with Hitchcock on some sublime posters and credits), Vaughan Oliver (V23; a revolutionary graphic designer from the 80s and 90s who left his mark on the recording industry), Neville Brody (The Face Magazine, Arena, Font Shop; a highly creative and ultra-prolific graphic designer, art director and typographer), Rudy Vanderlans and Suzanna Lycko (Emigre; a duo of Dutch-Polish graphic designers and typographers who emigrated to San Francisco in the early 1980s and who created the first digital fonts that had real “character”, designed for use on Macs, among other things), and France’s very own Philippe Apeloig.

Now, it would be hard to say exactly where you can see the traces of these styles which, despite being pretty much contemporary with each other, each have their own distinctive features; but they have inevitably marked my work at different periods.

Where does your inspiration come from?

My inspiration is very much a reflection of the times. When you do a job that centres mainly around the visual—especially now that the visual is literally invading public space—it’s hard not to become a sponge. The unconscious mind plays a large part here: sometimes I unwittingly reproduce signs or codes that got imprinted on my retina at some earlier point. Frankly, it’s not the best part of the creative process when you realise that has happened… and you have to start over from scratch with the guilty feeling of having been caught pilfering.

I know now that my best ideas come to me when I’m not at my work table and when I don’t have my sketch pad on me: when I’m swimming, or riding my motorbike, or just out for a walk, which helps my concentration and enables me to step back and take a fresh look at a subject I might be stuck on for hours if I stay in the studio. Afterwards, you have to accept that the ideas that were spawned in those wandering moments will probably be radically transformed, or somewhat twisted, or betrayed in the execution phase. That may, of course, be down to the client, but it is very often of my own doing, too, caught up as I am in an effort to reach perfection. But that is also what I find so exciting about the creative process.

When and how did you come to work with be.ez?

I met Nicolas Cottard by chance at a dinner in China (how cool is that?) with a mutual friend 10 years ago. He had just launched his be.ez (pronounced “be easy”) brand with a single product, the Travel Bag, a very smart carrying case for the iPod.

Nicolas told me he was looking for people who might be able to work on v1 of his website. My activity back then was still mainly print-oriented, but I sometimes worked with my sister Sandrine (we occupied the same studio at the time) on the artistic direction of the sites she was developing. We swapped our contact details and Nicolas came to visit us a fortnight later in Paris, to brief us on what he was looking for and explain the mindset he intended to instil into the be.ez brand.

From there it all went very quickly. Despite the distance between us, with him in China and traveling around everywhere to promote the brand, and us in Paris, the site went live pretty quickly, and without a hitch. Nicolas immediately validated one of the graphic proposals I had sent him, and Sandrine handled the integration and development of the site, adhering to the defined visual identity.

Then there was a fairly long period during which I stayed in contact with be.ez only through Sandrine, who would sometimes ask me to validate the graphic decisions she had to make when updating the website or integrating new pages, for example. Nicolas would drop by the studio to say hello every time he came through Paris, so much so that we began to develop closer ties.

To tell the truth, having had a few bad experiences with enthusiastic clients who asked me about the creation of their logos/visual identities etc. for projects that often never went anywhere, I was pleasantly surprised to see how quickly the new references cropped up on the be.ez website… showing that our collaboration was serving a useful purpose.

I recall, among other things, the appearance of the first “robes”, and I began to measure their popularity among “mac addicts” when I saw the number of variants that Sandrine kept adding to the site!

Then the time came to overhaul the website, which was no longer suited to the new possibilities of the web. Nicolas once again consulted me about its artistic direction, and followed up by asking me to work on the creation of designs for limited-edition “robes” (LA robe Moorea, LA robe Crossroad, LA robe Moorea Vintage, LA robe Dots… and other models that stayed on the drawing board). For the launch of LA robe Moorea I accompanied Nicolas to Tahiti (sorry about that) to do some “lifestyle” shootings on the island of Moorea with a local model, a young lady by the name of Téhina (sorry again…)! A 48-hour return flight and 3 days on location, which we occupied as best we could…

To be totally honest, we were “forced” to go back 2 years later for the launch of LA robe Moorea Vintage (OK, I won’t mention it again…).

I don’t know whether those 2 trips with Nicolas (and a few others, notably to Berlin and Las Vegas for the IFA and CES trade shows, or to Bali) played a part in consolidating our collaboration, but I can say that it was at that time—while I was still an external service provider—that he began to think about bringing me inside the be.ez family in a more radical way.

Anyway, it’s now been just over two years since I became half “be.ez-nationalised” with the rather grand status—but I’m comfortable with it—of Creative Director.

What is your role at be.ez and what does your job involve?

The Creative Director is the “custodian of the image” of a brand or company.

My role is to have a global vision of all the visual creations intended to be used as communication materials for be.ez, so as to ensure that the brand’s DNA is respected.

In concrete terms, I share my time between supervising, advising and sometimes making corrections to the creative work coming from the young graphic designers at the design studio, and original creations of logos, flyers, illustrations, packaging, websites, etc. with the specific constraint of homogeneity and the consistency of be.ez’s visual identity.

The challenge of this mission lies in the fact that we have to keep the brand image moving forward by adapting to incessant changes in a perpetually evolving market.

What do you like in the be.ez universe? How do you identify with it?

Seeing as I began working with the brand at the outset, or as near as (the ink was still wet on the logo) and have never stopped looking at it with a professional eye, it’s hard for me to separate my perceptions of the be.ez universe from my human feelings towards the team behind it. Besides, I think there’s a real consistency between the mindset Nicolas Cottard has managed to preserve within the organisation and the one reflected in the be.ez products. The keyword, the common denominator of these 2 dimensions is, in my view, pleasure. The energy that Nicolas puts into his projects at all times is very contagious and perfectly in tune with the original be.ez tagline “bags for mobile life”, which evokes movement while at the same time tying it up with relaxation and the joy of mobility. And it’s no coincidence if he frequently lets slip the rather outmoded expression “yum yum” when talking about the design of a new product: it nicely reflects the mindset that continues to appeal to me at be.ez.

With your agency, you don’t just work on be.ez projects. What kinds of client or project do you tend to work with?

I already partly answered that question when I referred to my years at “La Maison”, where I had the opportunity to practice my activity as a graphic designer on an extremely wide range of projects.

Even today, I still draw on that capacity for adaptation by rejecting no opportunity to discover new people and new ideas, even in sectors of which I know nothing and which bring me face to face with very different universes and communication issues, such as culture (creating visuals for recurrent national events or working with architects on the staging of exhibitions), entertainment (still a few CD covers, despite the inexorable decline in the market, and some all-too-rare orders for cinema posters…), the pharmaceutical industry (business reports, press releases, posters… oh yes, some of it is deadly serious), publishing (book covers, mainly for young people) or, more recently, the world of luxury cosmetics (creating press kits for perfume launches, designing invitations, event signage, and so on).

Talking of which, what are your projects for the coming months? Can you tell us about them?

Of course. We’re currently in August, traditionally a slow month in the graphic design industry. Most of the dossiers for the new post-holiday season were wrapped up in July, and everyone is making the most of these few weeks to take a breather before getting back to work in September. Being self-employed, I am no exception to the rule: when orders start coming in, they flood in, leaving very little time for the graphic designer who dreams of taking long holidays (in Tahiti…), and when things go quiet, along comes the stress and the fear that you won’t be able to kick the machine back into action again. Although I can handle that stress a lot better now than I could a few years ago—thanks to a fairly solid network of loyal clients—I can’t help harbouring dark thoughts sometimes about my future in an industry that has not been spared by the crisis…

Happily, I have plenty of work on my plate for be.ez, with lots of new things lined up for September, partnerships and associations between the brand and a number of really interesting cultural events, the total redesign of the be.ez website and, of course, some new “yum yum” products coming out to mark the brand’s 10th anniversary. So I shall need to be readily available, keeping a close eye on it all.


be.ez 4 education : easy to commit

be.ez is a company that has firmly cemented its status as one of the leaders in the “High-Tech Accessories” sector.

We offer a rich and extensive range of laptop bags, iPad sleeves and iPhone cases.

But be.ez is clearly clued into the problems facing today’s world, especially education, which serves as a driving force for human development.

Such problems include a lack of access to quality teaching, educational projects or the associated tools and media.

be.ez is committed to actively helping create a level playing field for everyone, everywhere.

We have therefore decided to launch a support programme called “be.ez 4 education”.

“be.ez 4 education” represents our CSR commitment.

Our strategy is modelled on the approach of a socially-responsible company by delivering financial support to educational programmes, while actively alerting and raising awareness among the general public.

All these reasons prompted us to join forces with “Aide et Action”, a public-interest association approved by France’s Ministry of Education, and organise a charity awareness-raising evening featuring an auction among a host of hand-picked decision-makers in various fields of industry.

On Thursday, 13 February, scores of business leaders, SME owners, directors, tradespeople, lawyers, doctors, artists and journalists attended the event and joined us during the première of the “be.ez 4 education” programme.

An auction of original photographs and paintings was held, including customised accessories from the be.ez range.

All proceeds were donated to the “Aide et Action” association for international solidarity.

50% of the proceeds will finance projects in France.
25 % will be earmarked for Niger and
25% for Cambodia.

To build on the success of this inaugural stage, be.ez is planning to market a range of “myfirst be.ez” school bags in September 2014 with the following aid and communication programme:

For every bag bought = one bag will be donated! Donated “myfirst be.ez” bags will be sent to the “Aide et Action” association for distribution among its various projects.

The “be.ez 4 education” programme spearheaded by be.ez is only the start. We are masterminding a number of other programmes that will be unveiled during the year.

LA robe Sunset : Flame or Indigo, deep and vibrant colors !

The new collection LA robe Sunset brings warm and deep colors to your iPad Air, MacBook Air 11, MacBook Air 13, MacBook Pro 13 or MacBook Pro 13 Retina, in two equally stunning color versions of “Flame” or “Indigo”.

Le Venetian de nuit... ©

Already available at DG Lifestyle Store in exclusive pre-launch at their outlet in Macao Venetia Hotel and Casino, in that place where the sun never really sets, we finally brought some SUNSET colors there !

NGor Marlin Cup

The N’Gor Marlin Cup began on Sunday amid excellent weather conditions. 17 boats were registered, despite a number of absences due to the international crisis.

The water temperature was extremely hot for the season at close to 30° (consequence of climate change?), so when the competition started, we were worried that we would not see our game opponents, i.e. the marlin and albacore tuna.

On day one, the boats split into three groups – north, north-west and south-west (where some marlin had been spotted the day before). Albacore tuna (yellowfins) were very quickly reported to be biting in the north – north-west area. After 30 minutes’ fishing, the Maltese team landed a 65 kg tuna. Marc Iung on the Pili Pili caught two 42 kg tuna back to back by chumming. Then the Maltese hooked some marlin, but only to come off the hook.

The competition was in full swing. Throughout the day, there were several reports of lost catches, with three breakages and two lost while reeling in. Of the 14 bites from blue marlin, only one was caught and then released – a low ratio indeed! At the end of the day, the “Désiré” released one blue marlin and one white marlin to reach the top of the leaderboard.

The other boats concentrated on albacore tuna, with 17 bites, 2 breakages (hook and reel) and only 6 fish caught between 35 and 65 kg.

In any case, the fish had been pinpointed, and everyone saw large albacore tuna leaping from the water in the north and south areas. Only the boats fishing over the 1,000 m stretch of the north-west area saw any blue marlin. Therefore on day two of the competition, all the boats without exception barrelled towards this open sea area and, to their great dismay, hit a pocket of dirty water. Panic stations! The boats immediately scattered, but it was too late and the boats were especially too far to change tactics. Since two boats had some bites nearer the coast, some boats decided to head closer to shore. “Petit Boy” landed an albacore tuna and then released a blue marlin of approximately 150 kg. The boats gradually arrived late afternoon and saw some blue marlin swimming down the wave over the 200-m drop-off. Three or four fish got away mid-combat out of a dozen bites (the last of which on a boat just a few miles from the mooring), the blue marlin seemingly taunting the boats and reminding everyone that marlin anglers are the ones that love the open sea, while the fish prefer the small drop-offs teeming with food! Last year, the winner only fished over 100 / 200 metres…

Fortunately, the “gambas galore” evening on the beach staged by Carole confirmed that prawns… are definitely the best bait!

Today is a chill day (although the madmen have agreed to meet this morning for an internal competition – now a classic event – with 70% of the jackpot for the largest marlin and 30% for the largest tuna), and the gloves are off for tomorrow.

Provisional leaderboard: 1st “Petit Boy” – Rak family, locals David and Olivier Pellat , 2nd “Désiré” – Salvatore Ficara from South Korea and Olivier, 3rd “Théo” – Dominique Dumas with the Lopez’s, again from Dakar, 4th “Pili Pili” – Marc Iung from Congo, 5th “Assane” – Christian Busutil from Malta, 6th “Caro” – Bernard Gaudin from France, 7th “Macarena” – Gerome Lacouture from France.

See the pictures from the first day : (Photos by Julien Gérard).
The whole 4 days of pictures from our Flickr stream :

Templiers Endurance Trail – Interview with Romuald

Templiers Endurance Trail – Interview with Romuald

Romuald Cardon from Team be.ez speaking after the Templiers Endurance Trail in Millau on 25 October 2013.

Profile: 43, married with two children (Zoé and Eliott), wine production agent (26 estates)

– Congratulations, you reached the trail’s finish line in less than 20 hours! How did you come to do the trail? How long have you been trail running?

Following a repetitive back injury, I had to work my abs every morning. After a year, I got bored doing the same old thing, so I started running in Paris.

I began running once a week, but I was going round in circles… Then I started a training programme in preparation for a 10 km run, followed by a half-marathon (21 km) and finally a full marathon (42.195 km) and “it didn’t even hurt”. I felt as though I were capable of more and I wanted to push myself even further. There were two solutions – work on improving my times or find another type of race.

That is when I looked at trail running. With its food self-sufficiency and race management problems and the difficulties in climate and terrain, it was exactly what I needed.

Ever since, I have been following an annual programme – my goal in 2012 was to finish the year with a 72 km trail race, and the Templiers Endurance Trail was my objective for 2013.

– Had you ever done such a difficult trail before? (100 km, cumulative elevation gain of 4,900 m, all of which in less than 20 hours)

The most that I had ever done was the 50-mile Vulcain trail (80 km) in 30 cm of snow!

– Did you put in a lot of practice to achieve such a result?

I ran 1,355 km between January and October, plus 274 km of cycling since August.

– You only managed to get three hours’ sleep before the start. Was that deliberate?

Whatever you do, you must not change the body’s rhythm, so I went to bed at 8:30 pm and woke up at 1 am to eat and make sure that everything was digested before starting the race.

– What was it like starting the race in the middle of the night at 4 am?

The weather was on our side for the start, and I was wide awake. After 7 or 8 km, when you see all the city’s lights and the head torches behind you, the start really dawns on you…

– What were the important stages during your race?

Reaching the first hydration station after 17.8 km some 40 seconds ahead of the time limit was reassuring and spurred me on. I felt good.

But later on when I hit the 30-km mark, I felt really tired. I was completely drained and I had not even reached the halfway mark! I fought on for a good 15 km before I started recovering. It is a great relief when you feel your energy coming back.

At the 51.7-km mark, I was really pleased to see Alexandre and Julien, who had been helping me with the race. Then I saw them again at the 91-km mark and finally at the finish line. Memorable times.

Reaching an altitude of 900 m between 50 km and 70 km and discovering the plateau landscape was another highlight.

– Did you run into any technical problems?

Yes, there was no watch after 70 km, so I had no concept of time or distance! That severely complicated my race plan. Having said that, we were all in the same boat. (the battery in the GPS watch normally lasts about 20 hours, but the rough terrain at Millau must have drained it more quickly than expected).

Then my head torch gave out towards the end of the race, followed by my phone at the 80-km mark.

– And physically?

I caught my toe on a large stone and it REALLY HURT!

– Did you ever think you would be unable to finish the race? Did nightfall make the race harder?

No, I never had any thoughts of giving up, and that is a first!

Nightfall made the race a lot harder, since there were some highly technical descents and the batteries in my head torch ran out early. Fortunately, the trail was not muddy.

– The goal was to be one of the finishers and you did it! Well done! Will you be continuing in 2014?

Definitely! I have two potential goals lined up for 2014 – the Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc (160 km, cumulative elevation gain of 10,000 m in less than 39 hours) or the Tracé du Duc de Savoie (119 km, cumulative elevation gain of 7,250 m in less than 33 hours) if the draw works in my favour. I have the points, so it is a bit scary…

To achieve either goal, my preparation will need to be a lot more specific for 2014. I need to be sure about the time spent on preparation if I am to be ready.

Excellent news! With be.ez, we will continue lending our support to you throughout 2014 and your actions in favour of NOURISH THE CHILDREN, a recognised food aid programme that strives to help malnourished children in poor countries (