Photos: Aude/Stephane Bar.
What an impact Aude Cassagne made on flatland in the latter part of last year, it really is mind blowing to think she rocked up at the UCI World Championships in Abu Dhabi essentially cold on the contest scene, and the same week was announced onto arguably the best team in flatland, Heresy with an amazing edit (and she’s already dropped a fresh edit this year!). I wanted to know more after, Aude was voted Female Rider of the Year. Read on…
Congratulations on the Flatmattersonline year end award “Female rider of the year”, firstly how do you feel about winning the award?
Haha thank you! Well, of course it’s a great feeling to see that people like what I am doing, so really glad about it, and honored! It also participates to my motivation to ride, and to push myself more. 🙂
2022 was a great for you, and especially at the latter part of the year! Where you were announced on the Heresy team, and you were the winner of the UCI Worlds in Abu Dhabi. Tell me something about this year for you?
To be honest the first part of 2022 wasn’t that great (nothing serious, but a break-up, had to move etc, classical problems hehe) so I figured out that I needed something to focus on. I just spent a weekend with my brother Max, because it had been a long time we hadn’t seen each other, we spoke about flatland of course, watch old videos… and when i came back I just got back my bike from the cave!
It was in May, and since then I’m so glad to ride again with the same feelings I had when I was 17 you know!
To tell a word on Abu Dhabi, at this time, I was feeling like putting myself a personnal challenge, that is to say do a contest again. It really was a challenge against myself, a personal objective that I was seeking.
And about Heresy, Alexis proposed me to join the team quickly after I came back on the bike, which was a really kind attention. Moreover I love all the riders in the team (used to ride a lot with Matthieu B when we were both young!) and the products, so I’m really happy to be part of it!
You disappeared from the contest scene for many years, how many years was that? Why was that? And who or what made you start competing again?
I disappeared first of all because I wasn’t riding anymore, I guess when I was 19 (in 2009… outch), I may have lost motivation, I forgot a bit flatland and was more occupied by studies, and student life also. I got back at it a bit in 2014 but it didn’t last, moreover I started my medical internship and my mind wasn’t very available for that…Since then some on and off but I didn’t have the motivation to ride, I was doing a lot of badminton and really enjoyed that at this time!
To talk about contests, as I said, Abu Dhabi was mainly a personal challenge, and also Max, Joris and so on, had pushed me and motivated me to participate, so here I was!
I used to do quite a lot when I was younger, I was happy to move to contests because it was the best way to see other people ride, and to meet other riders, but to be honest i never liked to ride in contests, it’s kind of stressful…
It must be bizarre to be underground and then world champion in a flash and at the first attempt? Do you now have the “contest bug” and want to compete more?
Yes it was weird at the end of the run, to get out from a big focus, directly to this “media agitation”… hard to realise! But it rapidly came back to normal hehehe.
But I am definitely not a contest rider though. I liked the challenge at that time, but it still was stressful for me, and when I came back to work on monday I was so tired haha, just was thinking of my next holidays!!
I don’t know if I want to compete more, as I said I find it stressful, and I can’t do what I like to do on my spot (that is to say, spend like 20 minutes or more, non stop, to pull a combo that I find difficult, but glad to finally pull it!). Moreover I don’t like to work consistency… but I’m still so glad to watch people ride at contests, so it’s the eternal ambivalence about it…
What was your preparation going into the world championships? You seem to have a very relaxed aura around you?
Well I had prepared a run, I rode with my brother some weekends before going there and during the session we have worked on consistency/ things you can do in a run.
And arrived in Abu Dhabi, the whole french team did it well so before the run I was focused and warmed up : that’s just what you need to do the run you want to do (with a bit of luck, let’s be honest hehe)
As the world champion do you feel you are a role model for others girls and women to get into flatland? What would you say to a newcomer trying to get into riding and maybe competing?
Honestly the title “world champion” has not the same significance than in others sports or in men category for example, as we are at the very beginning of the development of women category in flatland (but I remain happy with what I have done). I am not at ease with the term “model” for others girls, but if I can be a source of motivation (among others) for any girl to ride and be a small part of the development of this sport, I am really glad about it, and proud!
What I would say to a newcomer to get into riding is that for me, the key is to love the process of learning a new trick, of getting closer and closer to this (tiny and insignificant) goal you set for yourself… and the feeling of finally pulling it is such a precious gift, you will remember this ! So here again the main thing is a challenge against yourself, but it’s my point of view!
Competing is like a side thing ; if you want to because that pushes you, just go 🙂 and if you’re not feeling comfortable with that… there’s no blame here 😉
Tell me about getting on Heresy, the announcement during the uci event seemed very calculated. Big impact?
Well, Alexis proposed me to join the team some months ago, but we were not in a hurry to annouce it, and we both wanted to annouce that with an edit. I finished to film just before the UCI event, so it was cool to annouce that during the event, the day before the finals (better before… if I do a completely shitty run at finals hahaha).
About the impact, I guess there is none 🙂 but the riders were happy for me and that’s a good memory too!
How long did you film, the Welcome to Heresy edit for? Do you film on your own, or does your brother help? I got the feeling you like the solitude of filming your riding (tripod?) and getting your lines down?
The combos in the Heresy welcome edit were filmed during about 3 months I guess… I film on my own, firstly because I ride alone most of the time in Bordeaux (alone at this outdoor spot, and with the homies at Darwin – covered spot on mondays). I like being on my own while riding, and filming (with a gopro just put on a big step of a staircase), also because I am not feeling guilty about the time I spend to pull a combo hehehe!
But it could be cool to make a cool video whith someone filming, yes!
I was personally curious, how much of a part does your brother, Max play in your success?
A big part! First of all the motivation to get back on the bike, I know he’s proud of me and that’s a great feeling, when I come to Toulouse we love to ride with each other and push ourselves to progress… and he also runs my instagram account for publications (the latest clips, I mean when there is a follow, music or something “technical” are from him hahaha). I love the energy he gives for the flatland scene in Toulouse, and in France.
What are your plans for 2023? You already dropped a heavy edit “revive” recently?
My plans for 2023 are essentially learning new things on the bike! From July I will work much less and will ride more, which is such a great perspective! I will be living at my brother’s place near Toulouse (there are several appartments, and a Homespot!!! Stay tuned for jams and bootcamps there!), and coming back to Bordeaux for work. I don’t know how long it will last but I just want to enjoy this moment, and make some awesome memories with my brother and other riders for life!
Any final words, shoutouts Aude?
First of all thank you Effraim, for what you do for flatland in general, I mean judging, Flatmatters, this interview… everything! You are the one who deserves an award hehehe!
Thank you Heresy for the support, shout out to my brother for all the good moments on the bike and after!
Thank you all the riders/ flatland big family for the constant motivation you bring me, just watching you riding, so I just want to keep on riding, progress, and continue this endless game 🙂
Merci Aude, that was great catching up! Hope everyone enjoyed this interview, always fun putting these together!
Who’s up next?!
Thank you two for this interview! Very interesting to hear that Aude was riding on/off for many years and it took her only a few months to relearn everything and add new links and combos! This is impressive!
It’s refreshing to have such honesty and genuineness in an interview. It’s rad that Aude is riding again and wants to keep at it!
Her winning run video @ Abu Dhabi that’s on the I.G.I You Tube channel is so rad , I’ve watched it multiple times. Her progression / lines are fluid and difficult . I’d be over the moon to do her lines , tricks on a bike . She fits in perfectly with one of my favorite teams in BMX since the F.F.s and S@M’s current roster of riders . The Heresy team RULES… and her added makes them that much better ! Salud , on female rider of the year . Well earned / deserved !