Here's how FMX riders study abroad

If you have an account with a famous social network that begins with an F, you might have been aware othe launch of Charly's Academy but had no clue about what it was besides a shield-shaped logo stating it was coming soon.

Well, now you'll know exactly what it's all about under the sponsorship of DC Shoes Europe and Moskova.

Charles Pagès, the French FMX rider who suffered traumatic brain injuries in a 2010 crash that left him in a coma for a week, decided to create a crazy kind of contest with a few FMX friends ready to perform all kinds of silly -- but funny -- things.

Without knowing anything that was going to happen to them, Josh Sheehan, Maikel Melero, Andrè Villa, Taka Higashino and Thomas Pagès "competed" Aug. 20-22 in Hossegor, Pagès' hometown. Three days, six of the best FMX riders around and four fun events per day that just came out of Charles Pagès' twisted mind.

Below are my attempts at describing the high jinks and competition. You might not understand everything, but who did really?

Day 1
Event 1

"Je te tiens tu me tiens par la barbichette …"
This is a variation of a children's game, "I hold you, you hold me by the chin, the first who laughs will have a small swat." But under Charles' rules, you have to breathe helium before talking, then try not to laugh. If you lose, you have a choice: Blow up a balloon under your T-shirt, find a ping-pong ball in a big bowl of pasta with your mouth or get a nose hair pulled out by the winner. Sweet and soft appetizer.

Event 2
Jujitsu

At the Moskova room in Capbreton, our riders had to face a jujitsu pro athlete and try to resist as long as possible before giving up. If you have never done any martial arts before, you don't want to be subdued by this muscle man. Funny thing, however, the jujitsu pro was actually surprised by the arm strength of these guys.

Event 3
Belly flop contest

At Charles and Tom's house, competitors had to jump from a window and do a belly flop into the pool. The guys were evaluated by noise of the splash, style of the jump and redness of the skin after the jump. You know, they are professional FMX riders and not scared of many things. Their standards are quite high … and funny.

Event 4
Goon riding time practice

At the track of St. Vincent de Tyrosse where the Pagès' FMX park stands, this is the contest of crazy, stupid riding on a motocross bike. Skills required: stupidity, fun, ugly style, ugly gear, ugly bike … They all were able to be quite creative.

Jean-François Muguet

Maikel Melero tries to avoid eggs and tomatoes -- and a time penalty -- in the minibike, eggs and tomato challenge.

Day 2
Event 1

Skiing and monoskiing the dunes
On sand dunes close to the beach, dressed with old, ugly and loud clothes, the riders competed in a ski contest. Judged for style, distance and fun. The advantage here on the style went to Villa, the former ski athlete from Norway. All of them won in the fun category.

Event 2
The tractor wheel

This time they had to go down the dune but inside a rolling tractor wheel. The goal is to go as far as possible, of course. It might look easy, but it was quite hard, bumpy and jumpy. Not comfortable at all.

Event 3
Master chef

On the beach, two riders had to put plates on tables in opposite directions. Easy enough, but the two opponents are linked by an elastic cable to increase the hilarity.

Event 4
Minibike, eggs and tomato challenge

On an endurocros-like track, you have to perform the best time while your opponents are throwing eggs and tomatoes at you. Rotten eggs and tomatoes, of course. Each impact on the rider will be a time penalty. Yes, it all came out of one very twisted mind …

Event 5
The "Flamby" race

The "Flamby" is a kind of flan dessert. Participants had to swallow them while performing crazy stunts that could make them throw the desserts back up, such as swimming in a pool, spinning around 10 times, climbing a hill blindfolded with flippers on your feet and jumping down a plastic downhill slide, trying to go as far as possible to get bonus time. These athletes were surprised at first, but Sheehan, Villa and both Pagès brothers finally did it several times to get better results. Perfectionists.

Day 3
Event 1
Hossegor Bridge

More simple. The guys had to jump the nearly 25-foot gap of the bridge in Hossegor. Not such a big deal for these athletes who are accustomed to performing tricks over 25-meter gaps. Some might have been a bit too confident. For a few, the belly flop contest was being repeated … and hard.

Event 2
Surfing

Well, in the summer in southwest France, it's the time and the place to surf. So the six FMX riders got to show their skills on the boards. They can do that too.

Event 3
Circus school

During his recovery from injuries, Charles Pagès spent lot of time at the circus school to rehabilitate his balance and reflexes. So they had to perform many different stunts, and many of them look like tricks on the motorbikes. If you fail, you had to perform new stunts but with an electronic stimulator turned up to the maximum on your leg, triggered randomly by your opponent. It stings …

You had to be a talented, daredevil athlete in pretty good shape to be able to perform at this first Charly's Academy. It was all about extreme sports, craziness and fun, lots of it. Jaws were in serious pain after laughing that hard during three days of nonstop shenanigans.

The festivities concluded in the same spirit with a trophy ceremony at an incredible pool party. The win finally came to Villa, but all of them had a blast performing this crazy stuff that developed out of Charles Pagès' brain. Will there be another? Who knows?

Jean-François Muguet

To the victor go the spoils: Andr Villa celebrates his championship at the pool party.

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