Obsessed With Mountain Biking

The NSMB Podcast: Ep 7 – Yoann Barelli

Words AJ Barlas
Photos AJ Barlas
Date Oct 21, 2020
Reading time

For many of us, riding bikes begins as a childhood activity, belting around the local neighbourhood, learning to wheelie and launching off gutters. But in some parts of the world, it goes beyond an after school activity. Neighbourhoods riddled with kids outdoing each other on the bike can build into pushing for national titles. These hotbeds of talented young riders develop more as the years go by, leaving a legacy behind.

It turns out Yoann Barelli grew up in such a hotbed in the south of France. He and his brother started riding together with the future world champion, Fabien Barel but the town is also home to legendary downhill racer, Nico Vouilloz. There’s much racing history in the streets there but for Yoann, a slightly different path was taken.

Most listeners will know Yoann for his exuberant personality and, as it turns out, it played a large role in securing his first professional contract. But as he’s matured, his outlook on life and racing has too. Yoann shared how he got started in the sport, how the more recent events in his life and the world have shaped his career, and his thoughts on the environment.

Topics discussed:

  1. Starting riding and racing in the South of France
  2. Taking time to travel and learn English
  3. How to be a Pro Rider video and how it actually worked
  4. The Enduro World Series giving riders a chance at a career that wasn't there before
  5. French lines and how the EWS has evolved
  6. Cutting back the amount of racing
  7. Starting the Into the Gnar coaching business
  8. Racing for the thrill
  9. Finding ways to progress as a pro-level rider
  10. Injuries and their impact on racing
  11. Cleaning up the environment
  12. Becoming carbon neutral

Links mentioned in this episode:

The NSMB Podcast: Obsessed with Mountain Biking is available on all of your favourite podcast apps:

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+1 Velocipedestrian
Pete Roggeman  - Oct. 21, 2020, 8:12 a.m.

Great job on the pod, AJ, and thanks as always, Yoann.

But really just came here to say that that video was amazing.


+1 Velocipedestrian
AJ Barlas  - Oct. 21, 2020, 8:35 a.m.

That video is so bloody funny! Maybe it's time for an updated version, Yo?


+1 Mammal
Pete Roggeman  - Oct. 21, 2020, 10:37 a.m.

It's perfect already. I don't know if it could be improved upon.


+1 Pete Roggeman
AJ Barlas  - Oct. 21, 2020, 10:39 a.m.



+3 Pete Roggeman Velocipedestrian AJ Barlas
Mammal  - Oct. 21, 2020, 12:16 p.m.

Same. I've got time for most things Barelli, and look forward to the Podcast after work. 

That said, the video is probably the funniest thing I've seen all year, I can't believe that didn't float around the circuit a bit more in 2013!


+3 Pete Roggeman AJ Barlas Mammal
mrbrett  - Oct. 21, 2020, 9:42 a.m.

I had a coaching session booked with Yoann in Sept but had to cancel because of the smoke. Hoping to get some better weather and try again next summer! I like his energy and believe I would learn a lot.


zeedre  - Oct. 21, 2020, 3:51 p.m.

he seems so calm now . . .


Chris  - Oct. 21, 2020, 4:17 p.m.

Yoann - what knee surgery are you considering?  There's no replacement meniscus available at 'our age'.  I'm 51, ride every day but a moto accident a couple years ago and torn meniscus and subsequent meniscetomy have left me with bone on bone OA.  I certainly couldn't run now.  I can barely hike and am starting to feel it riding.  Can't fathom knee replacement or inactivity :-(


AJ Barlas  - Oct. 22, 2020, 9:05 a.m.

Damn Chris. It sounds like your knee is in rough shape. I too have had a meniscus tear that required surgery but by no means as bad as yours or Yoann's. Even with that I suffer from some knee pain and have to manage it constantly. Hopefully, you're able to manage it moving forward and stay active. Do you take any supplements or anything to help with joints etc?


+1 AJ Barlas
Chris  - Oct. 22, 2020, 6:58 p.m.

Yeah this last one was bad.  I've had a couple tears/partial menisectomies on the other knee over my many years with no consequences.  But this one + my age + genetic disposition=not great.  I do take turmeric which has some studies to back up it's anti-inflammatory properties on the order of NSAIDs.  It mitigates the inflammatory response Yoann mentioned.  Glucosamine+chondrotin was shown to be snake oil in meta studies.


[user profile deleted]  - Oct. 24, 2020, 9:53 a.m.

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