Behind the scenes, episode 2. The Alpe d’Huez Triathlon involves a large organisation team every year but also depends on the support of many external actors who play a key role in the setting up of the Triathlon Festival. Among them, Céline Perrillon, from the Alpe d’Huez Tourist Office.
Who are you?
My name is Céline PERRILLON, I work at the Tourist Office of Alpe d’Huez. I hold the position of press officer.
I am native of the stéphanoise region and I have been living on the resort for more than 20 years.
In 2012, I took part in the Triathlon M relay where I did the cycling part. I have great memories of it. I registered last year to do it entirely… I trained mostly in swimming, my big weakness. A month before the event, I went swimming in deep water, in the middle of Annecy Lake to familiarize myself with this aquatic environment and there… panic attack in the water. I couldn’t see anything, I had no reference points. The water is not at all my element and my swimming level being too low, I had to give up… How disappointing!
How many editions of the Alpe d’Huez Triathlon have you been involved in?
I’ve lived them all from the beginning, following the evolution of the organization.
How did you become an actor in the adventure?
My job is to promote L’Alpe d’Huez to the media… Triathlon is therefore one of the events that highlight the dynamism of the resort. We welcome journalists on site. It’s mainly the specialist press. The regional journalists are also present, it has even happened that they take part in the event and write an article from inside.
What is your function in the event?
To offer a good media visibility of the event, to offer a personalized, careful and professional welcome to the journalists present. For example, we provide the press with a motorbike and a pilot to cover the entire event, take photos and do interviews. We’re really there to make their job easier and to make sure they can report the event in the best possible way.
What is your best memory of the event?
I always get chills at the start of the swim, which is spectacular, but what I like the most is being at the finish line and seeing the expressions on the triathletes’ faces. There is a lot of suffering of course because it is a demanding discipline but also and above all a lot of joy and pride to have taken it all the way to the end.
Do you have an anecdote to share?
I suggested to a Belgian journalist who had come to discover the resort in winter to participate in the long-distance triathlon to do an immersive story last summer. He had already participated in the Alpe d’Huez L Triathlon but on a personal basis and especially in extreme weather conditions… I wanted him to appreciate the event and the beauty of the landscapes at their true value. He accepted our invitation, but it was very hot on race day. The journalist crossed the finish line and collapsed… he was immediately taken care of by the rescue team on the site. I accompanied him to his hotel. I felt really bad to have “embarked” him in this adventure and there he smiled at me and told me that he had loved the race and that his article would stop at the crossing of the finish line… (Article from Bazar Magazine)
From your point of view, from the heart of the organization and with your experience, what makes the event so special?
It’s really a triathlon festival. There are events for all profiles and all ages. I love the children’s event, especially the youngest. As tall as three apples, they can barely swim, their bikes are often too big for them. They’re too cute. They also often have to cope with the stress of their parents…
If you could, what would you change in the organization or the schedule of races?
I would do an event for dummies or an event that would be called “my first triathlon” with a more “accessible” format: 500 meters swimming, about 20 km cycling and 5 km running.
Where will you be and what will you do on July 30, 2020, the original date of the L Triathlon?
I will be on the resort and I will have a thought for this event that I love so much and also a thought for Cyrille and Laurence Neveu who organize these events with passion.