Thomas Lapeyrie, indefatigable

May 4, 2018 at 4:28
by Yaroslav Alpizar  

Recently Spanish brand Orbea launched an enduro team to compete on the EWS, the Orbea Enduro Team. One of the riders on the team is the experienced french rider Thomas Lapeyrie. He has been racing enduro professionally since 2015 with well known Sunn brand, with very good results and several top10 on the EWS. He is well known in France due to his participations on BMX, 4X and XC races with several podiums and wins. On 2 wheels since 1998 when he started with BMX, he has lot to tell about and some awesome histories to share. This start of 2018 season he had a serious injury and he comments on his current recovery and plans for the season. Let's get to meet Thomas Lapeyrie or TLAP as he prefers.

Yari: Who is Thomas Lapeyrie? Where are you from and where do you live?
TLAP: I’m a bike & life lover from the south of France. I was born in Toulon and my parents lived in Flayosc, a sweet little cosy village typical provençal. I live now in Annecy since 4 years, I’m in love with this place, there is so many things you can do there, just need more time to discover everything ;-)

Yari: How and when did you started on cycling in general?
TLAP: I start riding my bike when I had 3years old, with an crazy pink one hahahahaaa and then my love for the ride never stopped.

Yari: When and how did you started into MTB?
TLAP: I start riding MTB when my BMX (20’ inches) was to small. It was so cool to discover the ride in the forest and feeling more free.

Yari: Begining was hard?
TLAP: I remember my first year racing MTB on national cup, I won the TNJV (National Champ for the young riders, 16years old - cadet category). It was a mix of xc-dh & trial race . At this time I hated the climb of the cross country races...hahaa! But I had so much fun while racing everything. Just be on my bike and smile with my friends was so cool. Then in my first year Junior I won the national champ in 4X. And for my second year in Junior category I won the national champ in XC. I was so surprised to do all thoses stuff and then I had the chance to integrate the XC national team. It was also a good experience, I had to continue to walk on this way learning by myself as possible as I could.

Yari: Are you surprised by how far have you come or it was something you expected?
TLAP: I don’t know, I was always looking to live this life but I’ve never excepted of anything. I just do my best and work hard and find fun everywhere. I think that loving what I'm doing helped to keep smiling and be better everyday.

Yari: You have good experience competing at high levels, BMX, 4X and XC. Can you comment on your previous experiences and teams?
TLAP: I’m sure to say biking is a big family because you can be a cross-country rider or a bmxer finally everyone have the same passion for the ride, being out, enjoy the nature, feel the speed and the good times. It depend of your vision of the ride and your mood spirit. If you’re more relax and free for sure you ride some freeride lines and if you’re more serious and like to have physical objectives you ride cross country terrain. But at the end, we are just humans in the nature loving the ride.

Yari: Orbea Enduro Team seems like a big thing, what are you thoughts about it?
TLAP: The Team Orbea is pretty new, but I’m sure to say that people working around are really pro and the structure is big yes and gonna be stronger with the years. We have all to be on top, just let us work on it and approuve our debut. Sounds good to have some great people involved in the project… let see what the futur is going to give us!

Yari: There is a lot of rumours on the brand new enduro flagship from Orbea, the new Rallon 29. I guess you already had the opportunity to ride it. Could you share your impressions?
TLAP: I didn’t really race with the Rallon because of my season came to a stop due to some health problems. I just ride at home at the moment and I love it. There no words to say how perfect it is. All my chronos are better. The bike is pretty comfortable and so reactive, it a perfect combo to have fun and be fast in the same time. Sounds good for the future!!!

Yari: How is racing at elite level?
TLAP:High level racing is a real improvement. If you want to be good you have to be good everywhere. Not only on the bike. But also in your lifetime. You have to take care of your recovery, your sleep, what you eat, your different travel, your surroundings, take time for you and your friend and also be pro in your training. Found your equilibre makes everything, that’s the perfect way to be on your top. And it’s important to know your capacity and plan the real objectives because efforts are not the keys. Keys is just to do things and see what happens.

Yari: Which race, from the ones you've participated, consider the toughest?
TLAP: The Megavalanche of l’Alpe d’Huez is probably the toughest race I’ve riden. It’s longer, steeper, harder with yourself, physically and hard with others, it’s dangerous and scariest, all in the same time. It’s all in one. I love it !

Yari: Could you share some anecdote you remember, some good laughs or even maybe some stressful moments due to racing.
TLAP: Racing is all about emotions, one day you’re in a good form and you have a big smile, all seems easy and it’s some good times & good fun. I remember for example the Squamish ride before the practices of the EWS at Whistler, we just join with friends and took so many good times to rides thoses trails all together. Or racing can be agressive and make you in a hurt, I remember lot of bad crashes , I had some broken bones while racing and I had to forced myself to finish the race just because I didn’t want to give up. Or It can’t be mental, for example I’ve been first after two stages in Madeira and then I had a flat and broke my wheel and finishes the weekend as I could. It’s also that part of racing that can make you in struggle. All thoses hard moment help you to learn and test yourself. And then let’s try again Big Grin

EWS Ireland 2016, with team Sunn

Yari: So far which is the race from which you keep the best memories?
TLAP: For shure it’s the Mega Avalanche of La Réunion, it’s just so much fun, it’s a real holiday week and that’s the best racing way hahaha

Yari: And the worst memories?
TLAP: The worst memories for me is the Chilean EWS in 2016 at Corral, it was soooo hard for me because I had a broken hand all winter. We rode 200k in 4 days and I arrived at the race with only 2 weeks of training... I was simply not prepare for that. All transfers was a mission, it was so hard, but so happy to just finish thoses days & check up to that challenge.

Start of MegaAvalanche Reunion 2017

Yari: Do you have some kind of amulet or obsession when racing?
TLAP: Anything I think. I’m Catholic & it help me to be just grateful of every moment here on this planet. Racing are always good days to share, so I’m thankful to be able to take part and nothing else !

Yari: Which are your strong points?
TLAP:My strongest point is my polyvalence. I’m good everywhere on everything, physical, technical, steep, flat, road, mud, bmx, short or long stages & mental fighter.

Yari: And weaknesses?
TLAP: My weakness is not to be on top in one particular point. My hardest way is the gym, I start pretty late to do some gym work, no big muscles for me.

Yari: What bike(s) do you own right now? Which one you ride the most?
TLAP: I mix my training between moto, road cycling, bmx, e-bike & enduro. At the moment I do a lot of ebike. It helps me a lot because of my trauma. I was not able to do anything during several weeks and I started riding with the Wild fs, it was my first approach. Now I ride again with my Rallon and It’s still hard for the climbs and the long transfer days but so good in downhill.

Yari: 26, 27.5", 27.5+ o 29? What's your opinion, which one fits you better?
TLAP: I’m tall, I really prefer to ride with an 29er. I think it depend of which quality and riding style you have and all depend your feeling with the bike. The are no rules, feeling is the best way. I love 29er.

Yari: Which rider impress you right now or which one is your preferred one?
TLAP: Actually Sam Hill is like in another planet, I looked up at him during his seasons with Iron Horse and I was like: WOW!! This man looks so fast. Today he took part of the EWS series and I say: WOW! this man is still on top.

Yari: And who, throughout your career, have impressed or inspired you more?
TLAP: As a French rider , when I was younger I was looking at Nicolas Vouilloz, he was the man to beat during several years. He know how do to things, I had so many respect and admiration for him and his career.

Yari: Do you do an specific training, could you briefly describe it?
TLAP: I train with ExTrain (Laurent Solliet) he have the good vision of the enduro, actually I just do lot of things (Moto, gym, bike, running, walking). Training looks hard sometimes but It’s everyday fun, new bike, new objectives, new trails, new place, everything is good to be better.

Yari: Which is or are your preferred ringing spots?
TLAP: I’ve been a week in Queenstown and this place looks so enjoyable for a good times out, bike or not , trails are sick and the city’s so quiet and beautiful. But I’m a real fan of BC as a kid dreaming, there so many good places and I have still so many place to discover. Thumb up guys for the work there!!!!!

It was a hard race for everyone (EWS Whistler 2016, top 25 overall)

Yari: For enduro racing: "blind" racing or trained stages?
TLAP: "Blind" racing is way sooooo cool, it give you many crazy times, you go as fast as possible and at same time discover everything. I love this feeling but there is one chance to crash for sure, you accept it or not hahaa!! I’ve been in Raon l’Etape for the first Cannondale Tour in April , it was my first time rollin’ there and WOAW! I was so impress by the terrain, the grip and the trail work there. It’s good to have those impressions for a first day somewhere. It helped me for my réflexion of the trail, because I loose my balance with my trauma and actually I work in kine to learn back my balance. I’m better now. Trained stage is perfect if you want to test your skills and look back at your training of the lasts month.

Yari: Describe a typical day on your life when you're racing. Is there lot of difference between BMX, enduro, DH and XC?
TLAP: Enduro is the most different from them all. Is more traveling and discovering new places. When you race in Dh, BMX or XC you have one track and 1/2 or 3 practices day on the same track. Your week is like a clock and you do the same in all races. Can be good if you know yourself perfectly.

As an Enduro Racer I really love Enduro, we have less time practicing more stages, sometimes we have shuttle sometimes not. Rules change at every race, that’s why we have always to adapt ourself to the program. Trails change and places are new. I think the EWS is today a real special dreaming series , if you have the passion you have to do one of them !

Yari: What advices would you give to anyone starting cycling in general?
TLAP: Take your time, step by step. That’s the thing. Don’t go too fast too early, learn your way and your skills. Biking is fun for everyone so respect others for what they do or try to do. Feel free, don’t be ashamed and go out for a loop! It gonna give you some life points!

DH Men, always a test for every rider (EWS Finale Ligure 2017, top 5 overall)

Yari: To help us to enjoy more our rides what set-up would you advice or recommend for our bikes?
TLAP: Smooth is fun & easy. Strong is faster & harder. You have to choose Wink

Yari: Tell us about what you do when you are not racing.
TLAP: First I love to see my friends and party.. a lot.. man, serious please.. yes I like to share thoses good moments of life. See my family and friends is always the first thing I look to do while not racing. Then I like to learn things. Actually I like to learn to use my camera by my own, make some photos or videos for the fun. I like to teach how biking is good for the beginners. When I got the time I read some books. And for sure I love to chill around with my cafe racer Honda 1990 as my born years & drink coffees. Enjoy everything and be open to more things too! Just live the life & stay wild you know ;-)

Yari: How do you see the current MTB panorama in France and its future?
TLAP: In France MTB is really active. From my point of view there are too many e-bike but looks like the future here, and I love too ride mine just at home not as a race. We have a really active girls group with more and more riders every year, sounds really good for the sport. Seasons looks to be more access for the summer activities and biking take part, there is every year much more people looking to try the sport. I recommend to do it, be with a group and learn, have a good time and start again. People here looks so happy while doing this stuff, I like to see thoses smile on their face. It feels as a big family having fun. Future is on the mountains.

Yari: How do you help to increase or support MTB in France?
TLAP: I’m active in my club and try to teach the youngest generation to do the same (if they want). I support young riders if they need some advices or new point of view.

Smashing through rocks on Dolmen trail (EWS Finale Ligure 2017, top 5 overall)

Yari: Can you talk about your recent injury ?
TLAP: I was on my way to the Andes Pacifico and my inside ears exploded in the plane. In the way down the bearings have not been respected in my ears just because I was sick at this moment. It was hard because I totally loose my balance, I had some headhack and nobody found what happened during those 2 weeks. When I was back in France the third week I have been on a hyperbaric box and they found the: barotrauma. I had 3 differents treatments the following weeks. My body loose all its power because I was unable to sleep during this period. The noise on my ears was so high, my body was in trouble. It was the hardest thing I’ve never had. When you broke a leg you know you have for 6 month recovery. At this time the doctors were terrified and told me that there wasn't any recovery way for me. And that I have to live with the tinnitus in my head for life. Because my brain had an trauma and now my brain is disturbed. It was really hard time not to know what happens. Not to sleep is just horrible because you loose everything, power, strength, motivation ect. But I didn’t want to stay in this mood, I force myself to do all effort possible to be back as possible as I can.

Yari: How is you recovery ?
TLAP: I had to do a lot of treatment to help my body. I do some osteopathic cerebral, lot of Kinesthesia for my balance, I do some yoga to be out of everything, I tried hypnosis when I was not able to sleep. I broke 3 helmets in the pasts 3 years and it can be a consequence of some little brain injury not repaired. So this time I really had to repair all my body before starting again what I actually do.

My last appointment with doctors will be to see a neurologist the week before the EWS Olargues. This doctor repair the differents head trauma and shock of the National French Rugby men Team. So I hope he can fix back my brain and stop all thoses song & headache inside.

bigquotesNow I can sleep between 6-7 hours with 2/3 times waking up, it’s not enough to be in form but enough to be able to ride my bike. Its pretty good compared to the pasts week. I’m on my way to find back myself. I work on it.

Yari: How do you truly feel?
TLAP: I feel my body so out, I’ve never felt tired like this. It’s a damn strange feeling, it’s look like it’s not myself. But I have to accept this new element and say to myself to do things as you can. I’m so grateful to be able to ride again, this is the first thing. About the physical condition we will see later. At the moment I’m more happy that ever.

bigquotesCould be harder, I have still my legs and arm so let’s do it.

Yari: What’s your plan for Olargues & the rest of the EWS season?
TLAP: My objective in Olargues is to be able to finish the 4 days. I haven't done 4 hard days on the bike since my injury. So let’s roll out there and see what happens. If I finish the race I'm gonna be happy. And then I just plan to give my best and do things with love. Ride everywhere as possible and enjoy all second with my bike or not !!!!

Yari: What music are you listening right now?
TLAP: Rap-Hip/Hop-Jazz-Reggae-Disco-Rock, I love it all.. I do a bit of battery as a kid now I listen all.

Yari: A preferred movie or TV serie?
TLAP: The RedBull motocross series Big Grin

Yari: Preferred food?
TLAP: Tacos

Yari: Which you prefer: a camper van or a Ferrari?

Yari: Future plans?
TLAP: Dreamed plan is to travel around in a van , discover news places and ride more trails , feel free and live this life with love.

Thanks for your time Thomas! Hope to see you fully recovered ASAP!

You can follow Thomas on the following social media:
web site

Text by: @elyari Photos by: @elyari and @tlapprod


  • 2 0
 Great inside interview!
  • 2 0

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