This Friday, October 6, a record fell: Frédéric de Lanouvelle and his daughter Mathilde, 16, created the largest GPS drawing on a tandem bicycle. This trace of more than 2000 km, in the shape of a heart, therefore chases away the old record of more than 1000 km which represented a dinosaur. A most exciting sporting challenge for this adventure enthusiast: “I am driven by extreme sports. I like to set goals and cultivate this desire to go all the way.”
But what the former journalist loves above all is sharing his passion with his daughters. “Sports challenges are a fantastic educational tool for transmitting values such as surpassing oneself, discovering nature and solidarity. With my eldest, Cécile, I participated in the Marathon des sables (running in the Moroccan desert in food self-sufficiency over a distance of 250 km, Editor’s note). It was an unforgettable and extremely powerful moment,” he says. “So I was looking for a sporting challenge for my second daughter, Mathilde, who prefers cycling. I saw that a team of triathletes had achieved a cycling record by tracing the contours of a dinosaur. The project to make a giant heart with my daughter was born from there!”
Two children saved thanks to the collection
The idea of associating this heart with the Mécénat surgical cardiac association came later. “The association’s logo is in the shape of a heart, which seemed consistent with our project. I have been following this association for a long time and I find their work fantastic.” Cardiac surgery sponsorship allows children with heart defects from disadvantaged countries to undergo surgery in France when this is impossible in their country due to lack of technical or financial resources.
Frédéric and Mathilde launched an online prize pool alongside their trip. “Knowing that it takes on average €12,000 to care for one child, we wanted to reach €24,000 in order to save two. The objective has been achieved since we have collected more than €26,000!”, rejoices Frédéric.
A journey through France
A demanding sporting challenge that allows you to imagine sustained training. “I have been training for a long time through regular running and cycling. My daughter, for her part, relied more on her youth and her mentality. She loves sport but above all challenges,” jokes Frédéric. “We only did three tandem outings, including one of 110 kilometers, which went well.”
In addition to the physical training, the duo had to trace the heart on a map. “With Strava (a social network for athletes, Editor’s note) it’s easy to create courses. It took me a while to readjust and sculpt it but it’s fun doing it.”
On August 15, 2023, the adventure is launched! For sixteen days, the father-daughter duo crisscrossed the territory. “France is an extraordinarily beautiful country,” exclaims Frédéric. “Besançon, the vineyards of Burgundy, Sarthe, Périgord, Dordogne… It was an opportunity to discover the multiple facets of France through its regions.” The most breathtaking? “I was captivated by the journey back to Lyon: the entire crossing of the Massif Central, first through the Tarn gorges, then the Haute-Loire,” he replies. Even if they were the hardest kilometers, because there are a lot of elevation changes and we were at the end of the journey.”
A spiritual adventure
This adventure also strengthened the bonds between Frédéric and his daughter: “In full effort and in the quest for a united challenge, there is a state of mind and a fabulous atmosphere. We laughed a lot but also talked a lot. At 16, she was interested in many subjects. In particular, we had deep discussions around our faith. Before getting on the tandem, each day began with a prayer. They were beautiful moments of contemplation,” confides Frédéric. A time of complicity that he would obviously like to share with his two youngest daughters, when they are old enough. “After running and cycling, swimming would be a great goal!” See you in a few years!