Throughout my time riding, there are always moments I remember and will no doubt relive many times. Case in point this past weekend, as Alexis Desolneux rode out of his double backwards whiplash at the Rebel jam I looked around and saw how stoked all the riders were. It was a beautiful moment. I wanted to catch up with Alexis to ask him about the weekend, his feelings on the contest format, judging, and his up and coming solo project! Read on!
Firstly, congrats for winning Hard trick, tell me about it, you were obviously stoked with double backwards whiplash! And rightly so, but that area was tiny for this trick?
Thanks a lot Effraim, I feel on a little cloud at the moment and enjoying riding so much…Yes I was completely stoked with pulling that trick at the beginning of my run last saturday for a few reasons. We only had a 10x10m floor, flexible and bumpy (though not too bad), but it was so small. In fact I didn’t manage to pull neither a double backwhip nor a single backwards turbine whip during the two days we had to get used to that floor. It was hard to get any momentum or speed, also riding in jams doesn’t help for that kind of tricks where you shouldn’t rush and need to be relaxed. I needed to go slower than usual and also to downside the second whip if I wanted to stay within the floor limits which of course made things even more complicated. I’m doing these tricks everyday at home so two days without nailing one isn’t the best situation as far as my self-confidence is concerned, ha, ha! That’s why I could hardly contain my emotion when I did it after a few seconds of my time. I felt so relieved. It wasn’t my intention to do a traditional run. James (Smith) told me minutes before : “it’s not the difficulty of the whole run that counts so just go for your hardest shit!” so I was like “OK…pressure!” ha, ha! I was just ready to fight for a couple tricks like I do when I know that I’m in the last two minutes of a dying videocamera battery… But things happened quicker. It was really fun after that, the remaining time felt like bonus where I could show some other stuff with less pressure and more focus. I’m always deeply happy to pull that trick in a contest as it was only the third time it happened, but that particular day, lots of cards except the judging system were against me, so it really gave it a sweet taste.
Do you feel like this judging format is the future?
Absolutely. It made me feel like my riding was judged fairly. This kind of tricks means years of practice. Surely the system still needs its refinement here and there like for example the question to do a traditional run to have access to that system in the finals (though I doubt it can be worked out another way…probably too complicated). But I think it naturally tends to push variety and self-expression in flatland as it gives more value to experimentation, be it in terms of mobility or through the mastering of high difficulty technics (one doesn’t usually go without the other anyways), than all the other existing judging systems. That said I think it’s cool to have different systems, it will be boring if it comes to be all standardized to one system. That’s the good thing about BMX in general, to have different styles of events. But we need a few more like the Rebel to balance things a bit at the moment. And 200 square meters minimum rectangle floors to bring back democracy in flatland, ha, ha! And to raise the level even more too, because unless you go spastic, amplitude and speed are missing. And I’m not even talking about riding on smooth asphalt or concrete (which should be standard!)…But Rebel Jam has the potential to be even better. So come on Andy, you can do it 🙂
What would you say to anyone who missed out on the Rebel jam?
An amazing location, great weather, perfect vibes between all disciplines as many park/street/dirt riders came down to the beach to enjoy the flatland finals, in return a chance for us flatlanders to watch the best park contest ever with so much variety too ! Generally speaking it was just a great atmosphere which made the event “more than riding”, somehow it reminded me of certain legendary 90’s contests…
There’s rumour of a solo project from you soon, can you confirm?
Yes I confirm a project of that kind but probably not that soon… I’m definitely more towards the end than the beginning though. I knew it would be a long process because I’m used to my riding being a long process in general so I didn’t need to talk about it. We started before I got that riding accident in 2008 which put a year hiatus on it. It’s been quite an adventure. Too long of a process? Certainly…Never again ha, ha! But I guess it has to be that way to be completed as it should.
Any final quick shoutouts?
First of all, all my friends who supported me or had a kind word to me at Rebel, especially the Peynier trail crew, Matthias D and crew, the De Jong bros, Jesse P, Roman, James and so on, there are too many to name but I love you all. Big shout out to Andy Zeiss for organization. Effraim thanks for this interview and your support as well. Shout out to the cosanostra skatepark crew for constant help, Matt@Profile and my Heresy buddies! See you guys soon.
Thanks for your time Alexis! cannot wait for the solo project!