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Romain Paulhan

Bio

Fun loving Frenchman Romain Paulhan, or ‘Paulette’ as he is more affectionately known, hails from the Massif Central, situated to the south of Les Gets. Boasting some the regions best-kept secrets, the trails here are the perfect loam-filled training ground for any would be gravity racer.

From a youth spent racing BMX, Paulette would soon find himself in the mountains and between the tape, starting a journey that would take him to the top of French downhill racing, winning the coveted national title in 2010. In 2019, Paulette will be competing in a mix of enduro and downhill events ranging from the Andes Pacifico, select EWS and the World Cup in Les Gets.

SANTA CRUZ: Do you have a nickname and what does it mean?

ROMAIN: It’s ‘Paulhette’, which is quite hard to explain - it’s from my surname [Paulhan] and probably because It's more fun and friendly...plus I like to do everything like my grandmother, whose name is Paulette!

How old are you?

I’ll be 31 in April!

Where are you from?

I’m from St Jean du Bleymard, which is a really small village in Lozère about two hours north from Montpellier and two hours south of Lyon. The Massif Central, which are between 1000-1700m above sea level are here too, which is awesome. It’s also very peaceful here with few inhabitants, lots of large open spaces, little pollution and it’s a great environment to ride my bike.

What are your local trails like?

Hand made, deep in the woods and loaded with loam and black soil and packed with steep chutes and lot of corners.

When and how did you get into mountain biking?

I started to ride BMX at 8-years old with locals friends. In my teens, I met Alexis Raguet - who's still a really good buddy of mine today - who was racing downhill. It didn’t take long for me to take the plunge and a few months later, I did my first regional race (2004) and absolutely loved it!

Can you describe your racing career?

I started racing [downhill] in the French downhill series with an enduro bike from 2005 to 2007. Then I bought a DH bike and got some top 10s and in 2010, to everyone's surprise, I became the French National Champion in elite men category!

What results are you most proud of and why?

Winning the French national title for sure! It was amazing to see everyone getting stressed at the bottom of the mountain (Bellevarde in Val d'Isère) and impatiently watching the last 12 riders come down to the bottom. And then when Damien Spagnolo [the last rider on course] crossed the line, 1.12-seconds behind my time, the time stopped in my head! Everyone was jumping around and smiling and I soon found myself propelled into the air and onto the shoulders of the friends - it was definitely the best moment of my racing career and I still shiver when I think about it today!

I remember when I saw Pompon (Myriam Nicole) at the anti-doping room, she ran up to me in crying - it was unreal and, remembering all our training winter sessions and we were both so proud! That's why I love this sport, it’s not really about the results or the victory, but for the emotions and the bonds it creates between fellow riders and racers!

Away from racing, what kind of riding do you enjoy the most?

Every riding session with my friends, sharing good times on the bike - it’s definitely why I’m so passionate about this sport.

When did you join Santa Cruz?

In 2017.

What are your plans for 2019?

I’m going to ride - for the first time - in South America. I can’t wait! I’m going with Sam Dale, Steve Peat, Yago Garay, Craig Evans and Allan Cooke for the classic ‘Andes Pacifico’ enduro race. I’m also racing the EWS in Les Orres, the Trans Provence, and on the downhill bike, I’ll be racing the French national champs and the World Cup round in Les Gets.

What are your goals for 2019?

To have fun with everyone, do some bike camps, see the kids get stoked and happy, get smoother, find new ‘feels’ on my bikes. I want to build more trails, pump tracks and as for results, it doesn't matter - I will give my best, but I want above all, to have fun!

 

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