Main Photo © Seb Schieck/Specialized
When most road cyclists think of the fastest downhill mountain bikers in the world the image that typically comes to mind is the polar opposite of the serious roadie. The truth is that these athletes spend quite a bit of time wearing Lycra riding road bikes as they train to improve their endurance. Chief among these athletes is UCI Downhill Mountain Bike World Champion, Loïc Bruni. We caught up with Loïc between World Cup rounds to learn how he uses his road bike for training as well as what his thoughts are on road disc brakes, electronic shifting, who inspires him, and a lot more.
When and how did you start riding?
I started with my dad when I was a little kid and then followed him everywhere. I made friends and we just kept riding and loved it until nowadays.Photo © Seb Schieck/Specialized
What three words describe you the best as a person?
Emotional, thoughtful, simple.
How much time do you spend training on your road bike? And what role does road riding play in your training regimen?
Most of it is in the winter, twice a week, longer rides early off-season and then short trainings as the season approaches. It is short compared to real roadies, but more based on power. It's a good way to train and to feel your fitness.
Can you tell us about the specific workouts you do on your road bike?
I do three-hour rides until late November, then long intervals, and then it gets more and more intense. I do a lot of training based on sprints and resistance.
Where’s your favourite place to train on your road bike?Loïc Bruni's SRAM RED eTap-equipped Specialized S-Works Venge Vias Photo © Seb Schieck/Specialized
The road bike is not as fun as the MTB, but you can enjoy the landscapes more. Where I live, in the south of France I have the best roads and views. I love going to little villages like Tourettes Sur Loup near my house.
How does SRAM RED eTap compare to mechanical shifting in your opinion? And what do you like most about eTap?
It is so sick! When I first got it I thought I’d be lost, but the system is so instinctive and easy to use. I directly knew how to shift up and down. The precision is crazy and the smoothness is too. I love it, and having no wires looks so beautiful on my Venge.
Photo © Sven Martin
What are your thoughts about disc brakes on road bikes?
When I was younger I wondered why it did not exist, just as on bmx bikes, but now we have it. It's so much safer I would say. And you can push the speed more on the downhills.
Who inspires you either athletically or personally?
A lot of people. Every time I meet someone there's a kind of admiration. I particularly admire my team manager Laurent, and athletes like Ryan Dungey, or Fabien Barel, people working hard and promoting their faith. But also guys like [Ken] Roczen that know how to train and still enjoy the good things of life.
Photo © Sven Martin
Where do you see yourself at age 60? Still riding your bike?
Yeah. I want to stay fit as long as I can. I would like to have built a beautiful family and to share things I love with my friends. I don't know where in the world, but far from the people ruining our society.
What's your favorite meal?
Crêpes au Nutella.
Where does your nickname “Brownie” come from?
Blenky [Sam Blenkinsop] and some Kiwis, they just can't say my name properly. Haha!
Photo © Sven Martin
What’s your best memory on the bike?
I have heaps, but for a race, probably something like the last World Cup; being able to ride wellstraight after an injury.
If you were not a pro rider what would you do for a living?
I would like to be a student having a nice life with cool activities, and become good at cooking and managing a business like a club or something where I don't get bored. But I’m still a lonely person so I don't know.
Any off the bike hobbies?
Motocross and music. I love when I get to see my good mates too.
What's something we don’t know about you?
Everything Haha! Nah, I’m a pussy when it comes to jumping in the water from high cliffs!