Feeling fresher than ever after his 40th birthday this year, Pierre-Olivier grins just thinking about it. Something about beginning a new decade has got him hungry for challenges, on and off his bike.
“I don’t know if it’s the age that causes it, but I’m more interested than ever in taking on some challenges!”
They can be close to home, or in distant places he has never explored.
“I have a strong preference for road bikes but I like to diversify my outdoor pursuits. I really like hiking and would like to go trekking. The dream would be to go to Iceland.”
So far, his favorite place he’s ever hiked is in Corsica, it was beautiful, and met the criteria for a challenge.
“I tried a small section of the GR20 in Alta Rocca. This hiking trail has really earned its reputation because it is so difficult. Halfway through the tour, I stopped at the Paliri refuge for a lunch based on delicatessen and Corsican cheese, while admiring the breathtaking view of the mountains – it was amazing!”
Pierre-Olivier concedes that the GR20 is special, but it wasn’t the best trail he experienced on the island. His favorite hike in Corsica was a far less publicized route, and his time on the trail was full of friendly encounters.
“I loved this hike on the Coscione plateau in the mountains of southern Corsica: The mountain is beautiful and enchanting with its soft green grass, free-roaming animals, cows, pigs, and horses.”
The area really left an impression on him as he was reminded of how humbling nature can be.
“It was so beautiful that I thought we should return there from time to time but not too often. And do so in a responsible way, so as not to damage it. At one point I was a little lost and a sheepdog saw me hesitating on the route and came to my rescue. He was adorable and put me back on the hiking trail. It was the kind of moment that made me think about the fact that we owe total respect to nature.”
Spending his every-day life in Levallois-Perret, a town near Paris, Pierre-Oliver’s favorite playgrounds are Vexin and Chevreuse Valley, neither of which are far away.
“I like to get out of the city, feel closer to nature and admire the beauty of the landscape. I am quite contemplative.”
For Pierre-Olivier, being outside is not about competition. He prefers hiking or cycling with others, but the emphasis is on spending quality time together and forming real human connections, rather than competing.
“We benefit from each other and help each other if necessary.
And each outing lasts for hours so we have time to truly get to know each other, to deepen the relationship. It’s something very important to me.”
While competing against others is not a goal for Pierre-Olivier, he does like to test his own metal and he has big plans for the coming year that will definitely count as a challenge.
“For my first trek I would like to go to the Pyrenees. I also want to increase the distance on my bike next year by trying to pass my World Randonneur Brevets. And then I am thinking about a “Vélocio arrow” which consists of creating your own itinerary to converge towards the same meeting point in the south of France.”
For this event, he’ll definitely use komoot to figure out the best route.
“What I love about komoot is that it allows you to change plans while you’re out in the field, which can be very handy. And I use offline mode to conserve battery power.”
On the subject of komoot, Pierre-Olivier also has a special hack he recommends:
“I like to use keyboard shortcuts, they are very useful when editing routes. Plus you feel very professional using them ;)”