We are in Alpe d'Huez for the 2019 edition of the MegaAvalanche. A brutal mass start DH race of 22km and 2600m of descent, with the start line at the top of the Pic Blanc glacier, 3300m above sea level, and finish line in Allemont, in the French Alps. The Mega attracts riders from diverse nationalities, gathering around 2000 participants each year.
Weather has been good all week, with just some thunderstorms on Wednesday. Forecast for the weekend is nothing but sunny weather and temperatures ranging from 7 to 20C at the ski resort. For now, the snow at the top of Pic Blanc is a bit soft, hardening the ride on the few first km, although it is expected to find the white soil more hardpacked for the race on Sunday.
Last years winner Damien Oton is out of the race due to his severe crash a few weeks ago. Riders to watch are Jose Borges (second place last year), Remy Absalon (more than 10 times winner) and Kevin Miquel. In the women field, there is 2018 winner Axelle Murigneux, and the top EWS riders Ines Thoma and Rae Morrison.
The riders have been practicing both the qualification track and the race track for the last few days. Qualification rounds are this Friday, with finals being held on Saturday and Sunday.
Another Kiwi, free-rider Conor Macfarlane, posing at his 5 stars room for the week, enjoying the van life.
We've been experiencing some big lines for the gondolas this year.
The doors to 3300m asl.