Monday, August 13, 2007
Ended up doing 21 miles, bits of the North Face trail and the Lawson Park descent. The Hustler was excellent, only weighing 26.5lbs meant it was so easy to ride up the hills, but also very chuckable over trail obstacles. The build was very cross-country, I reckon my build will be 4lbs or so heavier (heavier forks and wheels primarily making up for the difference), which should make it around 30lbs. The frame is very well made, and the headtube area is pretty burly, the tubes being square section here, changing to circular section down by the bottom bracket. Feels good on the downs, but some decent forks (Rockshox Coil Lyriks arrived from the states last week - got busted for £100 import duty though) with 20mm through axle along with a 70mm stem will make the steering precise and direct, the 90mm stem fitted felt like a large scaffolding pole, and the Marzocchi XC700 forks were flexy and clunky - no buttery smoothness here - can't wait to get my frame now, although still not got a confirmed date for this boo :( pretty much got all the parts to build it now apart from the frame!
Mountain of Hell Video
Marcus has done a top job of editing the Mountain of Hell footage, check it out here:
I won't get fooled again! Cheers to Marcus for a job well done,
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Looking for a lightweight travel full sus - this weighs 26.5lbs apparently, however my build would include Rockshox Lyriks (20mm through axle security) and a possible coil shock upgrade later (this could be a good megavalanche bike) so will be a bit heavier.
We'll see how it rides, possibly meeting up with Tom for a jaunt in the Dales, other option being a Dalby forest recce....
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
Actually Wrecked Kit list:
2 x Maxxis High Roller 60a Rear Tyres
2 x Maxxis Minion Super Tacky Front Tyres
1 x Crank Brothers 5050 pedal (crank side needle bearing in many pieces)
3 x Mech Hangers
1 x Specialized Saddle (bent rails)
Probably Wrecked Kit List:
1 x Rear Mech (currently on a bent mech hanger so hard to tell, but I reckon its twisted)
1 x Rear Wheel (in need of some serious truing - possibly beyond repair)
errrr - thats it. Not too bad for 4 weeks in the alps...
Monday, July 30, 2007
And heres a shot from the main event:
Also, heres links to some helmet cam footage I took of the start: http://www.retroengineering.co.uk/mega-start-exp.mov (17MB) and of the mass slide down the second steep snow slope: http://www.retroengineering.co.uk/mega-slide-exp.mov (10MB) - probably best to right click and save as.....
bye for now!
Sunday, July 29, 2007
So Megavalanche day dawned and we made our way to the lifts for 7:30am. It took a while to reach the top, and we were ready for action at 3300m at around 9:30am. The ladies went before us and 20minutes later off we went!
It was carnage from the start, my lack of snow riding skills meaning I was being overtaken, although I didn't crash and there were people going down all around me. The second snow slope I picked my bike up and slid down on my arse, as did lots of other people (great helmet cam footage of this)
So onto the rocks, and lots of traffic, most riders seemingly unable to ride the dop offs and causing queues (I was shouting "ride it, ride it!"), in my helmet cam footage you can hear my brakes squeal all the time as I am keeping my speed in check because of slower riders in front. The helmet cam footage comes to a sudden stop as I somehow manage to crash with a front wheel washout....
The next singletrack section was better, with the helicopter coming down real close and taking lots of shots (maybe I'll make it into Dirt magazine) - then onto a fast grassy section into ADH. Lots of people cheering, and we went through the bike park where I jumped onto the fun box and back off much to the crowds satisfaction!
The bottom half of the track I had not practiced (bad idea) - but there were lots of climbs, lots of singletrack, muddy river crossings, super fast forest descents, the tinyiest bridge over a ravine where I missed the bridge and had to bunny hop the ravine. At 1hr 18mins I had to stop on a push up some singketrack in the woods. I was feeling spent at this point.
I arrived in Allemont in around 1hr 35mins. The winning time was 48mins, and Mat got 14th place in the MEGAPROMO with 1hr 10mins (awesome riding Mat!)
Not sure of my position yet, but I guess somewhere around 230 out of 400.
Absolutley amazing trail to ride. It has every kind of surface you can imagine, climbs and huges descents, switchbacks, muddy sections, flat out forest sections, the trail has it all. It takes all your concentration and fitness to keep the bike going for over an hour over extremely hostile terrain.
You should try it :D
I'll be back next year....
Having a bath now I am goosed......
UPDATE: Results are now in, and the MEGAPROMO (megavalanche 2nd wave) and MEGAFFINITY (megavalanche 3rd wave) look to have been counted together, so I managed 346th position out of 611 in 1hr 37mins 24.920seconds
qualification results here http://www.internet-diffusion-2.com/photos/pdf/77.pdf
MEGAPROMO results here http://www.internet-diffusion-2.com/photos/pdf/87.pdf
Saturday, July 28, 2007
Onto qualifying, as mentioned I now had a helmet cam and camcorder setup hurray! for now anyway. So we got upto the start at around 8:40 (10am race start), no queues for the lift, in fact we were in the first telepherique to go up.
The atmosphere was good, the day was bright and clear. Nico lined up on the first row, I was directly behind him on the 3rd. And they were off! I had a crap start as usual, and probably 30 or 40 people passed me, through the big switchbacks then onto the rocks and the 2 snowfields. Unfortunatley, the camcorder must have got knocked as I kind of fell over in the first snow field, and it stopped recording boo! Anyway to the second snow field, and I noticed a few people taking a different line not touching the snow (always a good idea) The line was down a massive rock, very steep, so I did it. Then operated my hydraulic seatpost and started pedalling down thw first bit or fireroad, where I passed Nico. Yes its true. He had a puncture.
He passed me again probably 10 minutes later at an amazing speed.
Anyway to cut a long story short, I pedalled the climb and passed around 10 people, and even overtook a couple on the steep switchbacks (ah if only the camera had worked :(), nearly went over my bars in the woods (very very nearly and it would have been a steep landing) and finished the race in approx 41 minutes. I had previously only done around 80% of the course in that time, so I was fair motoring over my other practice runs. Nick finished a couple of places behind me, after 3 crashes, and Jason finished ahead in something around 39minutes. Well done all, it was a tough race.
Don't know if that is good enough to qualify for the 2nd wave for the main race, we find that out tonight at 6:30pm. It could be close, or I could be miles away. We'll see
Was a great race though - if I can improve my starts then that would certainly gain me a lot of positions.
We then had a spot of buffet lunch after a short trip up the hill in a big bus (Jason, Nicks and my bikes in the underbus storage lockers, everyone elses in a trailer) and then went back up the hill in a lift to catch Guys qualifying run. We had a most amusing time next to a large off camber rock "encouraging" riders, with shouts of "allez allez allez", "pedal pedal", "concentrate", "not down there! uphere!"
There was a French woman with a dog, to whom I cried "get that dog of the track, this isn't the Tour De France you know" - Jason had a lot of funnies, at one point a bloke in a cow costume (!) rode past to shouts of "Go Cow, Go Cow" and to the following riders, "The cows in front"
Guy came through and seemed to be having issues with his gears.
So I'll attempt to get some helmet cam footage of the race tomorrow, and I'll tape the knob that moved and spoiled todays filming up with gaffer tape.
A thoroughly enjoyable day :D
The google map thing of qualifying is here : http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/player/3468130
Friday, July 27, 2007
Take it easy Matt, hope your able to ride again soon.....
Thursday, July 26, 2007
- Then its onto gnarly rocks, lots of drop offs, super narrow singletrack traversing even steeper rocky slopes. I was riding like a girl, smacking my pedals everywhere, just not feeling in control of the bike at all. When we eventually got to Alpe d'Huez, I was ready for chucking it all in. After some lunch (kindly provided by Rob) I remembered that I had messed around with my rear shock, in fact I'd lessened the preload (I have always thought the spring was too heavy for me and I wasn't getting full travel) - explaining why the bike felt alien and I was hitting the pedals all the time. So, a few turns of preload, and a few more for luck saw us heading up the lift to try Mats' recommended black route (8) down to Oz Station. Ah! this was more like it, still a little stiff and nervous but certainly improved. A great run this, a bit of everything, fireroad, steep switchbacks, rocky slab sections with drop offs, a rooty descent through trees, I can see why Mat likes this one so much. We stopped at one point to check a (I think Dutch) riders condition after a crash, he was OK, and then came a film crew to film Mick Hannah descend the route we just took. Mixing it with the stars!
Anyhow, confidence returning, we ascended from Oz upto the start of the Mega qualifying route. I have done this a few times now, so its starting to become do-able at speed, still not got a line sorted through the 2 snow fields early on, but ripped the rocky section, passing at least 10 riders with punctures (my tubeless rear holding out, probably put a new one on for qualifying). Finished with a blast down the blue and the ladder jump again (love that now)
Everyone came through unscathed, and Jason, Nick and Guy have VERY kindly offered me a bunk in their apartment for the nights before qualifying and before the race itself, to save me the 40-50minute drive from 2Alpes. Fantastic offer guys, which I will most certainly take you up on. Not be long now.....
Also bought a new rear rotor from the Hope guys (I had bent the other) - they let me have it for 100Euros (£67) they are £80 on chain reaction (they are the V2 vented ones - and you can tell by the way I haven't mentioned my brakes that they have been working flawlessly - most other folks have had a moan or two about brake fade...)
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Did most of the qualifying route again, and on the climb (yes CLIMB) into Oz en Oisans, I spotted a familiar face, couldn't place him however. Saw him again having lunch in Oz witha coulpe of friends, and they kindly invited me over. It so happens it was Jason, and I recognised him from a picture he posted to the "Megavalanche update" thread on singletrackworld.co.uk. The 2 friends were Guy and Nick (I hope I got that right!)
Anyway we had a great lunch, Jason had lots of tales of a broken hand and seperated shoulder last year, and Guy got worried (he was on a XC style Intense 5.5 - I reckon a top bike for the Mega if you can muscle it through the rough stuff, you'll get back in spades on the climbs) We then headed off to the top of the qualifying route. Here we have 2 snowfields to negotiate, I did the first OK, but snaked big time on the second. This is around 2600m, so the snow is slushy and has lots of tyre tracks in, very difficult to ride, for me anyway!
Onwards, I heard a crack from the direction of Guy, thought it was a flat. Anyhow it turned out to be the crank arm with the bolt in moving round on the splines - hopefully a mallet sorted this out on return to base. So 3 of us finished the top part of the qualifier. My rear tyres wrecked again, won't be surprised if I puncture again tomorrow (boo) - new tyre for qualifying methinks - bringing all these tyres is really paying off - this section is super rocky and they are sharp as anything, really difficult to ride smoothly. Finished off with the fast blue with the ladder bridge jump, no problem at all at speed now and arranged to meet tomorrow morning at 9am.
Tomorrow is sign on day for the Mega itself, I'll get my race number (71) and I'll be qualifying in the first wave at 10am on Saturday (numbers 1-200), with Nico Vouilloz himself having the number 1 plate. Watch out Nico! Nico is used to going fast, he was also the French Rally champion in 2006, and previously won the World Cup downhill series 10times. The man is literally a legend. He rides for Lapierre Bikes, and last year he won both Mountain of Hell and Megavalanche: http://www.cycles-lapierre.fr/lapierre/en/actualites/Nico-Vouilloz-wins-the-Megavalanche
Should be interesting to see how many seconds pass before he disappears into the distance :D
(can't embed it coz this sites pants :))
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Went to Alpe d'Huez today, to pick up my weeks lift pass (part of the Megavalanche entry) and ride a couple of the trails. Did more or less all of the Mega qualiying route. Nice and muddy after the rain of the last few days.... ended up at Oz en Oisans, where the lift area was busy with hundreds of downhillers practicing for the Sprint Avalanche race tomorrow (Sprint Avalanches are normal 4-6minute downhill races, one racer at a time against the clock) - I entered this race, but the course is pretty gnarly (rode it last week) and I don't fancy breaking myself for Mega so I am giving it a miss. Picked up my race number as a memento tho :)
Also, whilst lying in this morning, my Speedball seatpost arrived and was rapidly fitted. Used it today - first thoughts? Crap clamp holding the seat. Lots of "play" in the saddle. However, come to an uphill, hit the lever on the bars and up she pops. So I rode all the uphills in the qualifying route, at one point passed lots of guys pushing - if I can do this in the race I think its my best bet for qualifying in the first or second waves (realistically, the second!)
Back to practice at Alpe d'Huez tomorrow
see ya! :D
Sunday, July 22, 2007
To cut a long story short, my left hand was numb and I thought I had frostbite for half the race, so rear brake action was intermittant. The pain when my hand started warming up again was immense. Other people had this issue I think I saw at least 5 people at the side of the track clutching their hands. I continued on without stopping :D The climbs were painful, but I felt held up on most of the loose singletrack sections. Who knows without the crash?
The Double Black was fun, lots of sliding, and pile ups and avoiding fallen riders. The footpath to Venosc was insane, just lots of steps, wet slidey rocks and wet slidey drainage pipes.
Finished in the time of 1hr 10mins 23secs, in 214th position, out of 314 starters. I'll settle for that :D
(Mick Hannah http://sikmik.com/, World Cup downhiller finished 19th in 47mins and the winning time was 39minutes 13seconds!!!!! shit thats fast - and this is cool, in 17th place, Bernard Millet, born 1958 i.e. 49yrs old, in 46mins 10seconds, he kicked the 24yr old professional rider Mick Hannahs arse!!!)
However, after the adrenalin wore off, I appear to have busted a finger, probably on the ice crash, I think I bent it backwards a fair way.
Rest day tomorrow, the lots of pain killers and onto Megavalanche Practice......and not to crash on the snow at 47mph :D
Saturday, July 21, 2007
Friday, July 20, 2007
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Matt and Graham (met them in Alpe d'Huez) are coming over tomorrow morning to help out with practice. I need it!
Just watched the helmet cam footage of last years race, lots of people came off on the double black section, so that made me feel better, however the fact that the descent to Venosc isn't via the red track but by a footpath (you can see this path from the lift and it looks very steep - there are lots of steps in it, and with it being a footpath none of the corners are bermed) made me feel worse.
Anyhow the time is nigh - unfortunately sans helmet cam because the hard drive unit keeps making corrupt files, we guess because of the vibration.
I have a possible solution for the Megavalanche, however that relies on French eBay, so I am not holding my breath. Just means coming back next year to get the footage!!!
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
The courses for the Mountain of Hell qualifying and race are now marked on the ground. The main race uses a black rated route called "Double Black" (see what they did there - on the 2Alpes VTT map - this route is listed as number 30 out of 31 in difficulty!). Never tried it before, did today. Came off four times. Super steep (steeper than the Sprint Avalanche track from yesterday) - brakes are pretty useless, you just end up sliding both wheels and losing control. Random large dropoffs litter the track. Saw a couple of guys who could actually ride do it, they made it look easy. I made it look shite!!! Anyway, I intend to practice this section - I figure if I can ride this then the rest will be easy. Or thats the plan.
I am sporting a nice yellow and red knee from where my knee pads slipped round as I went down for the last time. The good thing was I ended up taking a red route to get down to the bikepark - and found this easy, the other day i could hardly ride that. Steep learning curve here we come. What these trails are going to be like in a race situation with some crazy foreigner on your back wheel god knows!!!!
VTT is the French version of MTB it means "Vélo Tout Terrain" literally translated it means "Bicycle any ground"
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
So I met the guys half way down the second half of the mega qualifying route. This consisted of a horrible fireroad climb (heres hoping my Speedball seatpost turns up), followed by the narrowest of single track cut into the side of a large hill, followed by lots of rooty switchbacks and then another climb then descent to the lift station.
We took the lift back up, and was convinced to try a black rated downhill – the route used for the Sprint Avalanche (a pure downhill race run in the middle of mega week).
Now that was interesting – Graham said it was steep, yes sure was, the track crossed huge rock faces, then into steep bermed very rocky corners. Altogether hard work, but great to get down in one piece. I think with another couple of goes I could ride 99% of it without a foot down. You really have to be committed and fast in your riding here, there is no real room for error.
So onto the Mega qualifying track top part. After a couple of large switchback corners, we were straight across a mixture of huge rocks and snow. I hit a snow field and the front wheel sunk, to throw me off and re-break my visor where I repaired it after a crash in Les Gets. Then the track picks up the red rated route down, and here we got our first look at Nico Vouillez riding with a couple of his lapierre teammates or mechanics or whatever. I am sure he appreciated the broken peak style I was rocking. The red route is a mass of rocks and drop offs, very sharp rocks too.
So much for tubeless, I had noticed over the last few days what I initially thought were oil spots on my rear tyre. They were in fact small holes that the sealant had seeped through and sealed. I should have seem this as a warning sign, as today the casing of the tyre ripped and the sealant wouldn’t seal it, did I mention how rocky this part was? After 10 minutes of trying to remove the tubeless valve and then fitting an innertube I was good to go again. If this happens again in the qualifier, or even worse the main race I am knackered from a time perspective. New tyres for each day methinks……
Finished off with a beer, and full of dutch courage went to blast down the short blue rated downhill track underneath the Troncon lift. The course is around a mile long, not technical at all, but lots of jumps and tabletops to launch off, as well as a couple of bridge style drops offs. I have had a problem with drop offs ever since I broke my collar bone in Morzine, but I knew if I could follow someone off I would be ok because I would know I was going fast enough (too slow and its nose dive and SHATTACK! time) - So we stopped at the bridge first time down, and scoped it, then I followed Matt down - woo hoo! did it no problem. So back upto the top, this time a full run including the bridge and no stops, I was smoking and did it in 2m30s, proper drifiting in some of the corners (mostly flat or very slight berms). Next run we stopped and took some photos (above and below). Once again Nico came down with a couple of others, unfortunatley he didn't jump the bridge, because Matt was just set up to get a photo of me and we would have had a top photo of him. Got his mate tho :D. Anyhow thanks to Matt and Graham, who I shall hopefully be riding again with next week doing more Mega practice.
Monday, July 16, 2007
Ben Nevis is 1344m, and Scafell Pike, the highest peak in England, a mere 977m.
So, 2000m of descending is like riding down Snowdon. Twice. In 40 minutes.
Do you see?
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Alped'Huez looks pretty good for trails, a nice blue rated one runs under the lift and too a little bike park with some wooden structures and a little cabin to drop off, so I'll start there, and move higher up the mountain as my eye gets in. A red I spotted looked pretty steep, there were strategically placed crash mats on some of the rocks, and I think that section may be on the Mega qualifying course - deep joy!!!
Saturday, July 14, 2007
The top part has an optional red rated section called "canyon", and this takes you over some snow sections. Haha now that was amusing! My first attempt to ride on snow, albeit slightly soft snow ended in 2 spills as the front wheel snaked all over the place and dumped me off. At least it was a soft landing, I was laughing my head off!
The initial descent from the gondola goes down quickly, but there are a couple of sneaky climbs (32m in total), climbing at 3000m or so with full face helmet and low seat sure takes it out of you.
Half way down you pick up some other trails, including a road section that is strewn with golfball sized rocks - hold on tight and keep the bike pointed in the right direction. I hit 36.1mph there, and finished the whole descent in just short of 30minutes, giving an average speed of 17.6mph for the 8.77m miles and 1461m vertical descent. Not too shabby.
So that was pretty much the Mountain of Hell route, apart from that starts half way up the ski slope on the glacier, and adds a red section to the end of 2miles with an additional 827m of descending (down to a village called Venosc) just for extra pain.
Heres the graph from the GPS software (altitude in feet because it won't let you mix metric and imperial measurements - should be height in metres and speed in mph hey ho)
You can also see the action at motionbased here http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/player/3291572
By the end, my hands were completely numb, I had taken some Ibuprofen before hand to keep the hand pain at bay, so pain wasn't an issue, but numbness was :)
Lunch now then back out, perhaps to try that leg down to Venosc.
BTW forks not leaking anymore since yesterdays fettling :)
Friday, July 13, 2007
Did my bit for european relations as well, a French rider had a puncture in front of me, and he had spare tubes but no pump (!), fortunatley for him I had a pump on me, and I pumped his wheel up, which was a good workout at 2200m. On that note, I think I am becoming acclimatised to the elevation now, pushing the bike around seems a little easier, doesn't feel like an imminent asthma attack (not that I have asthma but I guess thats what it feels like) - In fact due to the fact the french are lazy, I missed the lift that closed at 12 by 5 minutes, and I had a 200m climb over 2km to push the bike up. What fun!!!! All good training I guess....
Also stripped the forks down as per previous post, and they were pretty mucky under the seals, so gave them a good clean and re-oiled and had a run down the green. Still a little oil around, but hopefully that is just float fluid from the seals. We'll see I guess, still got plenty of fork oil left, worst case I'll ask Tim Flooks to send some spare seals over. The job was pretty easy, only a 5mm allen key needed....
It just came apart in my hands guv:
Think I'll do the run from the glacier at 3200m tomorrow.....
The highlight for me was falling head first into a swamp on the Chavannes downhill in Les Gets and breaking the peak on my helmet - how I laughed :)
Anyhow, arrived in 2 alpes to glorious sunshine and dusty trails. Did the blue rated run on the Pied Moutet side (No.9) 4 times. A fabulous track, super smooth, a few jumps and steep drops but generally about speed (no rock gardens and no braking bumps either). Its 3.5km long and drops about 440m, fasted time was 6m:30s, average speed therefore ~32km/h or 20mph. Fastest I clocked was 31.9mph :) (just call me data) - on the fourth run I had a spill, one of the flat corners (i.e. not bermed) I hit a little too fast, was getting tired at this point, weight all wrong and the back end span round and I went down, all happened quite fast (GPS shows speed of 30mph at the time!!!) - no lasting injuries, my knee guards have a nasty gouge out of them and another jersey ripped.
I also got this shot of Pic Blanc, this is where the Megavalanche starts from. I have circled (badly) the lift at the top (3300m high) that is pretty much the start of the race. Hopefully, it then continues down the other side of the mountain, as the side that faces 2Alpes is nearly vertical:
One final thing before I head off to get my 6 day lift pass - I noticed oil coming from the seal at the top of the left leg of my Totem forks yesterday after the runs down the blue. Arrrggghhh I cried, thoughts of having to get a new pair sent over passed through my mind, I really don't want to use the Enduro now the VP-Free just rides so well and the forks are awesome. Anyway, a quick phone call to Tim Flooks - master of all things Mountain bike suspension put my mind at rest - apparently the seals on the Totem aren't too great, they get bunged up with mud (Morzine mud in my case) and dust, causing them to bulge and then leak. Tim said don't worry about it short term, but you may want to remove the fork lower legs and clean the seals up, then replace the oil.
The only problem, says I, is that I don't have the correct weight oil (15wt), only some Fox Float, and some Fox Suspension fluid. No problem says Tim, mix them 50\50 and put 20ml in each leg, job done! So a job for later is to do that (removing the lowers is easy, just remove the allen bolts from the bottom of each leg (ones also the rebound adjuster) and drain the oil. Then tap gently and slide them off, holding them upside down so that any muck near the seals falls out rather than back into the leg) - Big thanks to Tim for the info - check him out for your shock servicing needs at http://www.tftunedshox.com/
DIY fork servicing here we come....
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Saturday, July 07, 2007
Been a fantastic day in Morzine today, woke up to this view from my apartment:So off I went in search of a free lift pass, and a trip upto the Pre La Joux (or Chatel) bike park. Soon discovered that all the rain they have had here this last week plus the number or riders around has turned most of the trails into a thick brown soup (I was here last Sunday for the Passportes and there was only a couple of muddy sections then) - Still time to get the mudslide down vertical downhill trails head on..... First run was a nightmare - it was very slippery. However on the second run, got the hang of it a little, more tails slides than I know what to do with - but most of all FUN stuff. Heres the bike after a couple of runs:
Still, ended up nailing some of the runs, the slidey mud and no mud tyres did make for some interesting moments :D and managed 3000m of downhill, half of the Passportes....
Heres a few shots from the top lift of the bike park mmmm nice alpine sunshine :)
Finished the ride with a blast down the road from Avoriaz to Morzine - couldn't face more mud!!! Managed 38mph according to the GPS.
Things learned today : you don't really need a back brake, it just messes things up on mud. Finally learned to brake with front brake only, lots of weight over the back obviously, but this is a very effective braking method. On steep downhills, the last thing you need is your back wheel locking up, because things start going sideways from then. Front brake all the way! In fact I rode from Avoriaz to Morzine round many switchbacks using the front brake only.... Maybe these dirt jump types are right (or is it only a back brake they use? Can't remember drinking mutzig now)
Mutzig - 7% and the only blonde I am getting tonight :D
anyhow - took me 2 hours to clean the bike, had to remove the crank, there was no way the front mech would shift into the small ring, in fact you couldn't see the small ring anymore... that mud dries like steel - at least it was sunny and warm for the event.
Forecast - more rain. Hey its just like England - only no work, good beer on tap and great riding only a lift away.....
The good news is that 2Alpes and Alpe d'Huez are much more rocky and higher than here, so that rain will probably fall as snow - bring on the Megavalanche!!!!!!!
Thursday, July 05, 2007
Saw this cylindrical building:
and this field of sunflowers on the way back:Also had a Subway - however the metric system has demoted "foot long" to a mere "30 centimetres" - still had a BMT though, with everything on as it was easiest :D
Anyhow, off to Morzine for 6 nights tomorrow morning - hey I may actually get out on the bike whilst I am there ;) - However lack of Internet access may make this my last post for a few days, unless I can find an Internet Cafe or something.....
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
Very slippy, not really muddy but a slippery surface to the trail. Saw a marmotte run across the trail at one point, good to see the local wildlife enhoying itself. Anyhow it took 17mins to descent the 800m, not sure of the length of the trail as I didn't have the GPS on (will do next time)
Second run, about halfway up the lift it started snowing! So as I descended this turned to rain, and I didn't have any tear offs on my googles, so had to stop every few minutes to wipe them, not that it made much difference as I was actually in a cloud at this point. Great to fly into a berm knowing that on the other side of it is a sheer 2000m drop, only you can't tell because its just more cloud (!) The trail seemed to get even more slippery, I guess with the fresh rain on it, and one or two sketchy moments with the back wheel washing out and sliding all over the place going into berms (the berms with a 2000m sheer drop on the other side) - sure focuses the mind....
Hosed the bike down at the lift station, and headed back to the apartment for a brew and some lunch
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
Monday, July 02, 2007
Greeted by a my brother Marcus and a brew, I unload the car, which seems now to contain a whole bike teams equipment:
A day or twos rest is in order now - some nice food and a chill for a couple of days. Off to Lyon on thursday to take Marcus for his Cisco exam, and then back to Morzine (to use those free lift pass vouchers - thanks again Glen, Ian, Dan, And and Gary) on Friday. May get a day riding in 2 Alpes on Wednesday - see what the weather does......
Which stopped as soon as we came to the first of 315m of climbing, a small section of road to Morgins. Ah now I doubt a heavy bike and full face helmet is such a great idea. No matter, still over 5500m of descending to go..... onwards to Morgins, then Champoussin;
between Champoussin and Les Crosets, we have the first incident of the day, Glen snaps his mech hanger under mysterious circumstances which may or may not have had something to do with some riders stopped on the trail...
Here is Ian and Glen making fire - sorry thats trying to remove the broken hanger from the mech. This never happened, so 30minutes later Glen became Chainless boy No.1. (more of chainless boy later...). This small hiatus allowed us to get our breath back, and get some pics:
and so it continued, to Les Crosets and then Champery, from there onto a belting fast descent for lunch in Les Linderets jumping or manualing drainage ditches all the way down, avoiding riders became as much of a sport as riding the trail. A sneaky beer with lunch for some too.....and Glen gets the Mavic guys to help recover his mech... Some mention of the weather by persons who shall remain nameless (!) as there was a possibility of a storm sometime in the afternoon. Regardless, we continued onto Morzine and then Les Gets, where a tannoy announced a dirt jump competition, and a puncture for Glen. Fairly tired at this point, just over half way around (!) Up the Chavannes lift then down to Morzine, including a horrible climb, or in my case push. Plain sailing now up the Super Morzine lift and Zore telesiege for a good descent back to Les Linderets - pushing on now as the clouds had started to gather.....I somehow (because of riding slowly) lost the guys on the way into Les Linderets, and in a state of confusion got the next lift upto the Chatel Bike park - while they had a beer in Les Linderets. However, this was good, I got chance for protein bar and a few moments of reflection on the ride so far.
Only one more lift to make from here, then a big descent to Chatel. In steps Chainless Boy no. 2, as Gary rips his rear mech of on the Chatel loop called "Panaoramic". Still Gary rode like a demon with no chain, only being held back on the uphills.
So final descent into Chatel, I was running on empty - I was a passenger I admit, and whose that on a storming run? Its Ian, ripping not at all like a man on the last run of a 3 day session in the alps. I managed to keep it all together, to meet Ian by an electricty sub-station(!) absolutley buzzing with his best run of the weekend - gowan lad!
As we arrived in Chatel, the heavens opened, and a well needed beer was consumed.
Big respect goes to Ant for riding the whole thing on his Inbred - and to everyone for giving me their free lift pass vouchers - cheers guys - a great day.
So, it took us 9hrs 20mins (moving time of 6hrs 14mins - 3hrs stood or sat around!) - and we managed 6154m of descending (just double checked my data and it says 20191ft or 6154m), and covered 61miles (this including the lift journeys)
My maximum speed was 37.2mph (best ever)
Take a look via motionbased and google maps at the whole thing here as recorded by my GPS: http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/player/3174233
Saturday, June 30, 2007
Small issue when I tried to fill up with gas at my planned stop near Troyes. The connector is different to the UK Arggghhh. I had been warned of this but plain forgot to check. Fortunately, they handily sold a converter at the station as well. Panic over. LPG (or GPL as it is known here!) is around 0.70 Euro a litre, more expensive than the UK, but unleaded is 1.70 Euro here in the Alps so much cheaper than that.
Hotel is great, I'll get some photos, a large painting of a cow is on the wall in a psychedelic style, I think photos are needed to see what I mean there. (Update - heres the cow)
Registered and got my pack for the event tomorrow, I am number 3201. Weatherwise, according to the tourist centre, there may be storms tomorrow afternoon, so an early start is in order. The lifts close in the event of storms so that no-one gets struck by lightning.
Spoken to Glen (airscool) and I am meeting up with him and a couple of other BadBrainsers for food at 8:30pm in Chatel. Then early to bed.
Thursday, June 28, 2007
I set off for the ferry tomorrow afternoon - can't wait - meeting Airscool etc. in Chatel on Saturday night
see here http://www.passportesdusoleil.com/index.jsp?SDP_CHANGE_USERLANG=en
bring it on!!!!
Monday, June 25, 2007
As long as I remeber the bikes, I will be happy.
Need a list, must start on it tonight :D
Oh BTW, I "accidentally" bought a Santacruz VP-Free off eBay, so that will now be my weapon of choice in the Alps, the enduro acting as backup bike.
8.5" of travel? You got it
12mm Bolt through rear axle? Its there
Been to Llandegla a couple of times on it and it flies - very jumpable as well. Hopefully won't get me into too much trouble :D
Friday, March 23, 2007
Monday, February 26, 2007
2 x Hope V2 brakes with vented rotors (+plenty of spare pads)
PUSH'd '07 Fox VAN R rear shock (thanks to www.tftuned.com for excellent service)
2xEX823 Tubeless rims with Hope ProII hubs
6xVarious Maxxus Tubless tyres (1 month in France will see the end of a few of em methinks)
Hope - Keep it British
got a 50mm Thomson stem coming from www.aspirevelotech.com in the states as well
on the not so bouncy front, I am mostly riding an On-One 456 at the moment. Lightweight and steel, goes great uphill - everything the enduro is not. Apart from it flies downhill as well. Still not upto the mega tho, or maybe........
Off to the Lakes to wheebase for a demo day on Saturday, "demo-ing" a Rocky Mountain something. Meeting up with some old friends (old as me at least!) from Uni (Tom + Jenny). Should be fun! Biking then Beer - a perfect combination.
Monday, January 22, 2007
Thats a smaller version of the mega that takes place from the top of the glacier in Deux Alpes at 3400m .
I have booked my leave from work - all of July! I will be staying in 2alpes, with assistance from doublehigh (www.doublehigh.com) and filming of both events from doublehighfilms (www.doublehighfilms.com)
Just noticed that the Fat Wheels festival is in La Grave on 7-8 July as well. Looks like its gonna be a busy un! (www.fat-wheels.com)