Megavalanche 2016 - Women's Race

Jul 9, 2016
by Ben Winder  



Today saw the women race down from Pic Blanc (3300m) descending 2500m to the valley floor, which took just over 50 minutes of racing. Within that 50 minutes, there are a whole host of things that can go wrong. Some described the race more as an obstacle course.

Riders had to head up to the top of the mountain early this morning, around 6 am. It was fresh up on top, so everyone had to do their best to stay warm, a bag drop is offered by the organisers so riders can take some extra warm clothing without having to ride down with it. The glacier had been pisted ready for racing, and first thing this morning it was sheet ice. The start was delayed by about half an hour to allow the sun to start to soften the snow.

With race runs taking over 50 minutes, there is a lot of possibilities for things to go wrong. Fastest qualifier Cecile Ravanel landed herself two punctures during the race, which knocked her out of contention. Pauline Dieffenthaler took the win here today and amazingly, she took her first Megavalanche win 9 years ago.

Winner Pauline took it steady on the top glacier who was in 4th after the first corner. She managed to overtake the three other competitors and took the win.
Winner Pauline Dieffenthaler, took it steady on the top glacier who was in 4th after the first corner. She managed to overtake the three other competitors and took the win.

Megavalanche 2016 - Women s Race

An early and busy morning for the lifties.
An early and busy morning for the lifties.

It s was a stunning morning to be above 3000 meters.
It was a stunning morning to be above 3000 meters.

Pic Blanc.
Pic Blanc.

Hundreds of bikes lay down at the top as the E-bike race Mega Challenger and Mega Affinity all happened this morning as well.
Hundreds of bikes lay down at the top, as the E-bike race, Mega Challenger and Mega Affinity were all raced this morning as well.

Pauline Dieffenthaler.
Pauline Dieffenthaler.

Megavalanche 2016 - Women s Race

Morgane Jonnier and Bex Baraona.
Morgane Jonnier and Bex Baraona.

Cecile Ravanel keeping warm.
Cecile Ravanel keeping warm.

Megavalanche 2016 - Women s Race

A start line reverb bleed.
A start line reverb bleed.

Megavalanche 2016 - Women s Race

Pauline s winning tire choice Michelin Wild Grip R.
Pauline's winning tire choice, Michelin Wild Grip'R.

And it begins Left photo Laurence Crossman-Emms
And it begins! (Left photo - Laurence Crossman-Emms)

It s key to get of the snow in a good position as its pretty tough to find overtaking spots further down this means full commitment out of the gate. Photo Laurence Crossman-Emms
It's key to get off the snow in a good position as its pretty tough to find overtaking spots further down, this means full commitment out of the gate. (Photo - Laurence Crossman-Emms)

Remember if you fall. Hold on to your bike. As the girl on the right found out you can end up quite a way from your bike and it s pretty tricky to make it back up. Photo s Laurence Crossman-Emms
Remember, if you fall, hold onto your bike. As the girl on the right found out, you can end up quite a way away from your bike and it's pretty tricky to make it back up. (Photo's - Laurence Crossman-Emms)

Bex Baraona found a bit of un-pisted snow.
Bex Baraona found a bit of un-pisted snow.

Megavalanche 2016 - Women s Race

Pauline Dieffenthaler.
Pauline Dieffenthaler.

Carnage.
Carnage.

The track snakes its way down this stunning glacier.
The track snakes its way down this stunning glacier.

Megavalanche 2016 - Women s Race

Photo Laurence Crossman-Emms.
Photo - Laurence Crossman-Emms.

Ruts quickly formed on the freshly pisted course.
Ruts quickly formed on the freshly pisted course.

Megavalanche 2016 - Women s Race

This was actually one of the quickest ways down the steepest section of snow.
This was actually one of the quickest ways down the steepest section of snow.

Estelle Charles came down into 3rd place.
Estelle Charles came down into 3rd place.

And the riders snake off into the distance an onwards to the rest of their at least 50 minute ordeal.
And the riders snake off into the distance and onwards to the rest of their (at least) 50-minute ordeal.

One happy Pauline Dieffenthaler.
One happy Pauline Dieffenthaler.

2nd place for Britain s youngster Bex Baraona.
2nd place for Britain's youngster, Bex Baraona.

Slightly disappointed by two punctures but Cecile Ravanel was still in high spirits. She knows it s just the nature of the beast.
Slightly disappointed by two punctures, but Cecile Ravanel was still in high spirits. She knows it's just the nature of the beast.

Megavalanche 2016 - Women s Race

1st: Pauline Dieffenthaler
2nd: Bex Baraona
3rd: Estelle Charles
4th: Emily Slaco
5th: Birgit Braumann

Tomorrow the Men will take to the course for finals. Stay tuned for our final update then.


MENTIONS: @BWinder




33 Comments

  • + 6
 I have a friend who has been fighting cancer for the last 6 years and the only reason he can still ride with us and probably why he is still alive is because he rides a while. Bash them as much as you want, you don't know how awesome they are until it's your turn
  • + 4
 Beautiful pictures for sure but I'd love to see more sections lower down. After the snow you've got big rocks, after that you've got some nice flowing singletrack (which indeed also is being shown in the media). But what you never see is all the people cheering at you when you cross Alpe d'Huez, the climbing after that, the switchbacks in the woods... It really is a very complete mountainbike race and I can imagine people would be put off thinking it is all about sliding on your arse down a ski slope. That's only a small part of it (obviously, considering it is summer now) and there is a lot of good riding lower down even if you're not competitive (and you end up in the Mega Affinity).

That said, still beautiful pictures Smile .
  • + 2
 Stop being a bunch of judgmental pussies. The euros brought us enduro. Perhaps they see a future in something else. Try new things first so that you can have an informed critical opinion. If you find yourself on a good one E-bikes are mega-fun to ride.

Should e-bikes be covered on a MTB site? Probably not but you shouldn't all get your panties in a bunch if they're mentioned.
  • + 4
 Would be tiring to casually ride that course let alone at race speed. A true test of endurance and stamina and these women slayed that mountain. Much respect.
  • + 6
 Why do you need an E-bike? Is there any climbing is this?
  • + 5
 Yep, a shitload if it's anything like it was 9 years ago.
  • + 4
 There's definitely some climbing in the race. My first year I had to ride my DH bike, since I snapped the frame on my All-Mountain bike in the qualifier, it was one of the most exhausting experiences of my life.

Skip too around 6:20 for a look at the worst climb.
www.redbull.com/en/bike/episodes/1331577057092/four-by-three-dan-atherton-s-enduro

No need for E-bikes though!
  • + 3
 I ride dirtbikes and I ride mountain bikes. They are both fucking great. E-bikes are pure lameness
  • + 3
 I love the "sur le cul" picture, ahahah!!!
  • + 2
 They have had an E-bike race there for a few years now. Just a French thing !
  • + 1
 Who was the lass on the pink bike frame from Ben Deakin's video? She absolutely killed it going off the line down the glacier. What a performance.
  • + 1
 Scanned through. Found "The glacier had been pisted"
Found something about ebikes
Brain interprets "Glacier dislikes ebikes" while knowing full well the meaning of "pisted"
  • + 3
 What a bunch of goers. Well done to every single rider I say.
  • + 2
 Aye, big props and much respect to everyone that rode. Hope it was as much fun as the pics made it out to be.
  • + 1
 Bleeding reverbs are beginning to be a common site on trail rides and what not.
  • + 0
 When you knockers have heart problems or cancer and have been riding all your life an e-bike actually makes a lot of sense and they are great fun too boot!!!
  • + 1
 The photos make me miss my prime lenses. Good job Ben.
  • + 1
 Yeah Bex , smashin out some snow roost!!! Pinned as always ya crazy mofo!
  • + 1
 Fuck yes Bex! Go on cocker!
  • + 1
 Samhillsquanch
  • + 0
 At the end the reverb was working with fruit juice instead of oil..
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