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Justin Lafleur took part in a BMX training camp

A great experience in Colombia for a Coteau-du-Lac athlete

durée 07h00
6 février 2024
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Marie-Claude Pilon
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Par Marie-Claude Pilon, Journaliste

Almost a month ago to the day, 13-year-old BXM athlete and Coteau-du-Lac resident Justin Lafleur flew to Colombia. Although tourism was part of the trip, it was mainly to take part in a Team Québec training camp that he flew to Medellin from January 6 to 16. Interview with the young man to take stock of this South American escapade.

"It was a really fun experience. The trip was more about training first and foremost. We were often all together with our coaches and BMX world champions from Colombia. They'd share tips with us in Spanish, and our coaches would translate what they had to say into French," he sums up. 

The trip enabled the young man to acquire a wealth of technical and practical knowledge that will undoubtedly help him progress on the track, and in his career. One of these was learning to master a course designed partly in clay, and partly in asphalt in the curves, bends and at the start and finish. 

"Over there, the track where we trained was half asphalt concrete and the rest dirt. It's different from here. The dirt bits were smoother, but it hurt more when you fell on the concrete parts (laughs)," he adds. 

Sightseeing to keep your heart rate up 

It wasn't just on the track that Justin was able to keep in shape, but also off it on a hike with his teammates. "We went to the Piedra del Peñol, which is a big, extremely high rock, and climbed it. To get to the top, you have to climb 740 steps. Let's just say we did our cardio that day (laughs)," he continues. 

During the sightseeing portion of the trip, Justin was also able to take a cable car to the top of two Colombian mountains on a couple of occasions, experiences he more than enjoyed. 

What about the climate, altitude and jet lag? "The temperature was warm, but not humid, which is quite pleasant when you're training outside.The altitude didn't bother me, and neither did the time difference, since Colombia is located in the same time zone as us. So I didn't have to make any adjustments in that respect," he shares. 

On the food front, Justin also made a number of discoveries, including exotic fruits not found in Quebec.

Participation in the World Championships as early as March 

Justin's year 2024 promises to be an emotional one.Among the major events to come in his life will be his participation in the World Championships, scheduled for May 6 to 13 in Rockhill, South Carolina. It will also be his first visit to this part of the United States.

How does the young man see his participation in this major competition? "It will be a good challenge.Over there, the track is partly dirt except for the corners and the start, which are asphalt.We don't have many tracks like that here in Quebec.I think there's only one in Bromont in my memory. I'll be wearing Team Canada colors for this race. I'll also have to deal with the altitude, a factor we don't really have here. It's definitely going to be an extra challenge.So will all the other participants," he adds.

Between now and the start of this important competition, which will be his first of the year, Justin is training at home during the winter season. He's working on his lower body, as well as using weights to build muscle mass.

His first race in Quebec will be at Pointe-du-Lac in Trois-Rivières in June.

Next winter, he will again take part in a Team Québec training camp at the same venue.

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