Étienne Hubert

I should thank my parents. They took me hiking from a very young age and gave me a love of the outdoors. And they put me in a kayak for the first time.

My first memory is of just going around in circles. The sport is very technical, much like swimming, and it takes years to ingrain good habits on the water. I've been a junior and senior world champion and finished seventh at the Olympic Games but I'm still learning all of the time.

Like any elite sport, there are good things and bad things along the way. You have to be very selfish sometimes and it is easy to find yourself cut off from real life, in a 'bubble' which is only about one thing. But I love the challenge of the journey, looking ahead to the next goal and wondering how and if I'll get there.

Any victories along the way are always nice as well, of course.

Cycling is a key part of my training routine but it has always been more than that. Sometimes I have to ride alone but if possible I like to ride in a group, it's a great contrast to my day job which can be very individualistic.

When I was younger, I would spend time exploring by kayak and by bike with a group of close friends. This gave us all a taste for adventure and it is still there now. I've ridden across amazing landscapes in Patagonia, gone from Eindhoven to `Sedan on an old 'dutch style' bike and crossed through Andorra in the deep winter with plastic bags over my shoes.

The next trip, by bike or kayak, is always the best.

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