What is balance? For Belgian athlete and nine times nine-time world champion Kenny Belaey, it’s riding his trial bike over a 20m long slackline from one rock to another, over a 120m drop in La Plagne, France.
A world premiere, the man with 12 world medals prepared for more than a year, doing up to 80 attempts before he finally crossed.
“The moment my wheel touched the actual slackline for the very first time, the only thing I could think of, was: this is impossible,” admits Belaey, looking back at the stunt he performed on La Roche Fendue, a rock located in the ParadiSki resort that groups Peisey Vallandry, Les Arcs and La Plagne.
“Every second on that slackline was a nightmare. Every inch gives a different feeling because the slackline constantly moves, changing the surroundings and making my orientation points disappear.
“There were numerous factors which came into play: the wind affecting the position of the drone, the limited time window and change of light, fatigue, the thin air. I especially underestimated that last one: at an altitude of 2700m, the air is so thin, providing less oxygen and making every effort so much more exhausting than on ground level.”
Kenny ‘The Magician’ Belaey has won 9 world titles, 6 world cups, 4 European titles and numerous Belgian titles. Up until today he is the absolute record holder in terms of UCI world championship titles with 12 medals out of 14 participations.