With a gold medal and a silver one on his chest, Samson Deriaz was one of the stars of the last Junior World MTB Orienteering Championships. This is the main topic of the interview to the Portuguese Orienteering Blog, adding a set of important details that define him as an athlete and as a person.
The season is over and it's time for a well-deserved rest. How do you feel?
Samson Deriaz (S. D.) - I feel really happy about my season, it was the best in term of results so far. I managed to have good races during the French selections and mostly at the open races organized during the World Cup in Alsace. So I felt strong and self-confident when leaving to Portugal and I think it helped me to race the way I did. The results I got in Portugal have been the perfect ending of the season, and it was an amazing time!
Do you still feel the excitement of being on top of the podium listening “La marseillaise”? How was that day? Let me guess: You wake up and you said to yourself: “It's gold time!”
S. D. - No, I hadn't planned to win this gold medal, even if I wished so. But my state of mind before the race was good and I was motivated and really focused on what I had to do. We listened good music on the way to the course and I think it helped me to be focused. And it was a wonderful feeling to win this race and to be on the top of the podium. I was only 3 seconds faster than Sauli Pietikainen so I was very thankful about winning and I said to myself “At last I achieved this medal!” because it was my first individual one in an international Championships. And I have to say that the “Marseillaise” time, with all the French team singing with me, was really strong and emotional.
After the gold medal, you reached the silver in the Long Distance ...
S. D. - Before leaving to Portugal, I knew my shape was good, as well as my orienteering skills. So my goal was to bring back, at least, one individual medal and another in the relay because, in my opinion, our team was quite strong. But two individual medals, including a gold one, has been more than I could expect. I still have been disappointed about our fifth place in the relay because I think we could have been better.
How boring life can be without Orienteering?
S. D. - For me, Orienteering is a way to make each sport more interesting and more exciting. So, even if I also like to practice MTB or running without orienteering, it's always funnier with a map !
How did you meet MTBO and what do you see in this discipline that makes it so special?
S. D. - I started to practice Foot orienteering when I was a child, and I also used to practice MTB with my father and with friends, but not very often. I think I was ten when I took part in my first MTBO race and I did it because my club needed someone for a relay. After that, as I had enjoyed it, I continued and I finally practised more and more MTBO and less and less FootO. What I like in MTBO is that it makes us able to join MTB and orienteering in the same sport. I also love the speed, the excitement of the races and the total focus that we must keep. And of course, I also love the friendship between riders !
I would ask you about your training routine.
S. D. - I live in Lyon because of my studies, and I'm in the High Level Sport section of INSA, my Engineering School. This section allows us to have lots of time to train and to compete (we do the two first years of the school in three years) and offers us the opportunity to see a mental coach and an osteopath. So I train mostly around Lyon, and mostly on road bike. Baptiste Fuchs is my coach since the Summer of 2014, so he helps me to train cleverly on the physical part. I use to train between five and seven times a week, with intensity, sprint or long bike sessions, but also all body trainings.
What are your most valuable skills? What part do you work the most?
S. D. - With the help of Baptiste, I had a huge physical progression during the two past seasons, so I think I can say it is my greatest strength. The mental and technical parts are my weakness, but I saw the mental coach of my school section last year and it helped me a lot to avoid more mistakes and to be more focused. Yet, I still have a lot to improve and I will keep working this part of our sport, even if, for now, I almost only train physically during the week.
I'm sure that you’re following the big events and all the Elite athletes along the season. What moments / athletes impressed you the most? Is there an athlete which is an inspiration for you?
S. D. - Of course I follow their results ! And I can't wait to race in the Elite on the World Cups. I take inspiration from all the French athletes, but Cédric Beill is for me the most impressive and his four gold medals in 2014 show how strong he is. I'm always impressed about is ability to make the right choices during the race.
Did you already start to prepare the next season?
S. D. - We already had a training weekend with the French team with a meeting to explain how we will be selected for the Summer competitions. And I also restarted to train, but not just on bike. I run, swim and do all body trainings.
You still have one year in the Junior category. What are your goals for 2017?
S. D. - For my last year in Junior category, my goal is to get at least the same results as last year, both in the World Championships and in the European Championships.
Would you like to share with us your biggest wish?
S. D. - My goal is to join the French Elite team and to get a medal in this category. A gold one would be fine!