New for 2019, the UCC's European Mass Start Series is a five-round season that sends racers down huge descents, and because that's not rowdy enough on its own, you do it with a few hundred other nutters. You all start on snow or a glacier, too, because why not, and you're pretty much racing blind.
The standout event in the series is the infamous Alpe d’Huez Megavalanche, a 20km race that starts on the Pic Blanc glacier and provides 2,600m of elevation drop. The other four stops are known as 'Maxiavalanche' events and see competitors tackle a qualifying run on Saturday that determines what group of 100 to 300 racers they roll out with on Sunday.
It's not just a single race run, either, with two timed laps on Sunday that will range from 10 to 15km long and offer 1,000 to 1,500m of descending.
European Mass Start Series
Vallnord - 16 June (Maxiavalanche)
L'Alpe d'Huez - 14 July (Megavalanche)
Cervinia - 28 July (Maxiavalanche)
Meribel - 25 August (Maxiavalanche)
Ax 3 Domaines - 15 September (Maxiavalanche)
If you're not familiar with the insanity of the Megavalanche, check out Ben Deakin's POV below video from this year's race. Heads up with a colorful language warning, though, so turn your sound off if you're offended by a bit of cursing.
If there's a race series, there has to be a champion, and the champion of the European Mass Start Series gets a free ticket to the Megavalanche event on the warm and tropical Reunion Island. Just east of Madagascar, Reunion Island is a French department in the Indian Ocean that just happens to have an active volcano that stands 2,632m tall. Sounds pretty neat for a mass start, long-form downhill race, doesn't it? Just throw a little lava into the mix to keep things interesting.
The overall champ gets a flight, accommodation, and entry fees covered to the Reunion Island Megavalanche, while first and second place losers get €400 and €300 consolation prizes.
Because the series takes place in Europe, you know there's also an e-bike category at each round: ''The Marathon Downhill tracks always have some short but tricky uphills where most of the people won’t say no to a little help,
'' says the UCC on their website. If you have little ones between the ages of 7 and 14, there are kids races down the easier bits of the adult courses, too. It's worth pointing out that the UCC is a sporting event company that doesn't have anything to do with the UCI, despite their acronyms being pretty similar.
If all of the sounds appealing to you, you can check out the rules of the series right here
before signing up
Who's interested? Maybe bring a spare set or four of brake pads?