Megavalanche 2017 - Race Day

Jul 9, 2017 at 14:37
by Ben Winder  


Race day at the Megavalanche saw disaster strike. At 7:00 AM my phone rang and I was told the race was being changed due to high winds. The lift to the top of the mountain was unable to run, the glacier was off the cards. Instead of a start at 3300m, they moved to 2100m, without any snow, glacier or helicopter. This still left riders with 1300m of descending, and over 23 minutes of racing.

It was a bit of an anti-climax for everyone involved to miss out on the glacier, but there’s nothing anyone can do about the weather. Damien Oton took the win, closely followed by Francois Bailly Maitre and then Martin Maes.

Megavalanche 2017
Stormy skies rolled in early this morning.
Stormy skies rolled in early.

Pic Blanc was left untouched today.
Pic Blanc was left untouched on race day.

High winds in Alpe d Huez.
High winds in Alpe d'Huez.

Megavalanche 2017
A different gondola was used this morning as the other went to high up the mountain into the winds.
A different gondola was used as the other went to high up the mountain into the winds.

Bikes lay down whilst riders went searching for cover.
Bikes lay down, whilst riders went searching for cover.

The piste bashers were left open which made a great hideout for the riders. Remy Absalon and Nico Quere looking up into the weather.
The piste bashers were left open, which made a great hideout for the riders. Remy Absalon and Nico Quere looking up into the weather.

Craig Evans.
Craig Evans.
Josh Bryceland.
Josh Bryceland.

Megavalanche 2017
Megavalanche 2017

Damien Oton.
Damien Oton.

Remy Absalon.
Remy Absalon.

Thomas Lapeyrie.
Thomas Lapeyrie.
Martin Maes.
Martin Maes.

Megavalanche organiser George Edwards was out working on the start arena to make sure everything worked out well.
Megavalanche organiser, George Edwards was out working on the start arena to make sure everything worked out well.

Riders began to make their way to the start line a short pedal from the lift station.
Riders began to make their way to the start line, a short pedal from the lift station.

Sam Hill didn t have the weekend he was looking for here a puncture in qualifying forced him back to the fourth row. He finished his day in 78th position he s looking onward to next year for his return to the Mega.
Sam Hill didn't have the weekend he was looking for here, a puncture in qualifying forced him back to the fourth row. He finished his day in 78th position, he's looking onward to next year for his return to the Mega.

George explains to the riders the changes to the day.
George explains the changes to the riders.

Megavalanche 2017

The lineup is set...
The lineup is set...

And drop in not quite as an impressive start as the glacier but high speed and total carnage.
And drop in, not quite as an impressive start as the glacier, but high speed and total carnage.

Megavalanche 2017

Megavalanche 2017

The dust in the first corner seriously impaired the guys vision there were a few big crashes in the corner.
The dust in the first corner seriously impaired the rider's vision, there were a few big crashes on the corner.

Megavalanche 2017

A section of the qualifying track was used to link onto the main Mega track. This section is usually down to single file riding but only a few hundred meters out of the start it was a free for all.
A section of the qualifying track was used to link onto the main Mega track. This section is usually down to single file riding, but only a few hundred meters out of the start it was a free for all.

Megavalanche 2017

The storm really rolled in for the Mega Amateurs Jamie Edwards taking a foot off around and sliding around this corner.
The storm really rolled in for the Mega Amateurs, Jamie Edwards taking a foot off around and sliding around this corner.

The front of the pack pedal away into the distance.
The front of the pack pedal away into the distance.

Joe Adsett.
Joe Adsett.

2nd placed Francois Bailly Maitre.
2nd placed, Francois Bailly Maitre.
Number 1 Damien Oton.
Number 1, Damien Oton.

Throughout the rest of the day the weather switched between sunshine and storms. A shame about the cancellations this year but we ll be back next year for some more glacier action.
Throughout the rest of the day the weather switched between sunshine and storms. A shame about the cancellations this year, but we'll be back next year for some more glacier action.


MENTIONS: @BWinder




55 Comments

  • 12 1
 I recall the same happened in 2008. I think the qualifier track can be more tricky in places than the finals track though I understand these photographers like to picture the glacer and long weaving ribbon of rocky singletrack (rarely do they display anything below Alpe d'Huez) but I also appreciate that the organizers look at rider safety too. If the helicopters can't go that high, you can't helilift anyone off the mountain.

That said, back then the qualifier track got linked to the finals' track so after Alpe d'Huez you were still riding down to Allemont. Didn't they do that this year?
  • 12 0
 I was there in 2008. It was snowing on the glacier,so we started from the top of the quali track (2900m). This year it seems they started next to the first station (2100m).
Bad weather at altitude is no joke.
  • 1 0
 @nozes: Yeah, was there too in 2008. Thunderstorms at the beginning of the Mega-week, then sun all week but it was a bit nerve wrecking in a way because we knew the race conditions would be much worse than what we got to practice in. And yeah, early morning race day these clouds came rolling down the mountains.

But if they started at 2100m this time, the toughest rocky bit has indeed already been. But the link to the finals' track that year was in or even after Alpe d'Huez (at about 1800m), right? So they could still have connected to the finals track. Any clue whether they did that this year too, so race down to Allemont?
  • 1 0
 @vinay: I can't really tell,from the few pictures we've seen.
That year we went left at the 2100m station,for a fresh cut track and joined the Mega track above Alpe d'Huez. I'll have a look at this year's track on Strava later.
  • 2 0
 Aggreed... I rode the Challenger from the snow on Saturday... it was Carnage.. slush buttersoft watery snow.. not much oxygen and spectacular.. but the Mega track has so much more to offer... ruts.. a wood full... big switchbacks.. rocky drops... fast single track... lots of dust an energy slurping fire road climbs... awesome and the photographers should make more work of that too...
  • 9 1
 I was there too back in 'nam 68
  • 5 0
 @yeti-monster: Nothings the same since Nam
  • 1 0
 Agents will never be orange again!!
  • 3 4
 Mtb bikes and glaciers are a silly idea anyway, I bet most were quietly glad Wink
  • 2 0
 @Matt115lamb: Yea we were, admittedly it did take the essence out of the Mega but many of us were happy that we would actually get a decent start instead of having to ride snow that was mushed up by the first and second row
  • 1 0
 @vinay Yeah they still went down to Allemont!
  • 1 0
 @vinay: The race still finished in Allemont
  • 2 0
 @vinay: it has been to Allemont this year. Saturday races took off from the Pic Blanc! Smile happy to qualify badly Smile I was racing from the glacier
  • 9 0
 Rider 1613 took a VERY French line...
new.metacafe.com/watch/11528915/man-caught-cheating-in-the-megavalanche-race

Funny how Joe Connell's Facebook has closed suddenly and all the footage on YouTube has been removed...
  • 1 1
 This guy is gunna be hung out to dry , same as the USA lion killer ! Feel sorry for him already !!
  • 4 0
 @Matt115lamb: From the Megavalanche Media Team:

PRESS NOTE
N°1613 Disqualifié / 1613 disqualified
Thanks for your testimonies and your “self-control” that allow us to respect sport etic
by merely disqualifying the number 1613 Joe CONNELL who doesn’t respect the rules.
He was 27th at the Megavalanche, that means all competitors
after him will be advanced from one place.
  • 7 1
 Congratz to ZÉ Manel Borges, for the 4th place!
  • 2 0
 In 2014 the weather was very wet, it was snowing and freezing and they could not go from the top, the mud as you got near the forest was crazy, my bike was so gummed up with shit my wheels would not turn, the mud added about 20kg weight to my bike, when I got home I had to fully service my dropper and shocks as mud and shit got passed the seals.
  • 2 0
 maybe they should have changed the programm. as the weather forecast says a long time ago that it will change on sunday. perhaps I dont know if that was possible as the programm is always very compact. but the mega should definitely start at the glacier.
  • 7 2
 It should be renamed Miniavalanche.
  • 3 0
 Still larger than Maxiavalanche
  • 3 0
 @llop-art: Microavalanche...Nanoavalanche...Picoavalanche?
  • 1 0
 @dea7hadder: we already have the nano avalanche in Sintra, Portugal! 4 editions so far. check it on youtube! www.youtube.com/watch?v=gxNKd4ZQTsM
  • 6 0
 How did the Ratboy do?
  • 4 0
 Josh Bryceland came 65th.

You can see the results here www.timingzone.com/megavalanche-alpe-dhuez-2017/#1_BD6E72
  • 2 4
 Josh Bryceland came 65th.

You can see the results here www.timingzone.com/megavalanche-alpe-dhuez-2017/#1_BD6E72
  • 2 3
 Josh Bryceland came 65th.

You can see the results here www.timingzone.com/megavalanche-alpe-dhuez-2017
  • 24 1
 @jimram: what place did Josh get?

where can I see the results?
  • 8 1
 @rrolly: jeez find a link or something. No one will know on here
  • 4 0
 @rrolly: darude sandstorm
  • 1 0
 @rrolly: Do a barrel roll
  • 1 0
 The organizers seemed to be 100% confident in the weather because evidently they did not have a plan B and strongly improvised with the preparation of take-off in some other place available for the lift ...
  • 3 1
 What sicko laid his bike down on the drive side?! (Clue: It's a Santa Cruz)
  • 2 0
 Depending on where the right hand pedal is, the derailleur may not even touch the ground.
  • 2 0
 Someone who doesn't pay for derailleurs
  • 1 0
 Oh come on that was never a thing anyway.
  • 1 0
 Its a gearbox , it just doesn't matter any more
  • 3 1
 And the winner is the guy who knows the cheat lines, the spirit of xc lives haha
  • 3 0
 Rider 1613 was a very naughty boy.
  • 1 0
 And still getting away with it...
  • 2 0
 @Smevan: and he has been caught out lying about the reason he took that line

. Speaking to the rider on Monday, he told us he had been nudged down a bank off the side of the singletrack by another rider and felt terrible when he realised where he was. He claimed he hated seeing French lines at the EWS and that he had probably only gained 15 places.
“Fair enough”, we thought – young kid, probably got caught up in the standard Megavalanche carnage and did what he had to to keep his race going. It’s not worth getting him in trouble for a few page views, Ben Deakin clearly thought the same and the video has pretty much gone from the internet.

This morning, a new video has emerged. Friend of the mag Aidan Bishop posted up his view of the race that shows the incident from behind. We’ve slowed down the moment in question below and you can clearly see the rider chooses to hop the tape while being given racing room by the rest of the pack.

Read more at dirtmountainbike.com/videos/rider-1613-disqualified-footage-emerges-megavalanche-french-line.html#yAT1b2pHPEB1UjUM.99
  • 2 0
 Is that Adam Sandler next to Craig Evans?
  • 1 0
 Was there a rider there without a helmet? One of the pictures near the top, front row.
  • 3 3
 Nice to see the pro's getting shelter... everyone else, including my buddy, didn't.
  • 5 1
 Well that was not true as Martin Maes did stand with us talking about tech and tracks and EWS, such a nice and relaxed guy....outside... ????... some Frenchies took one snowmobile and the 50 to one guys took the other I recall... it was not that cold btw...
  • 4 0
 Your buddy needs to man up, it was not that cold and the pros only got shelter because they took the initiative to climb in the cab of a snow plow before anyone else - and you cant really generalise them to pros either
  • 3 0
 @Downhill1Enduro1James1: at the MOH the weekend before we had -5 degrees and high winds at the start up on the glacier. Noone had shelter, people were acting like penguins. Man up, boy.
  • 1 0
 @Muckal: ^this
  • 1 0
 @Muckal: was i complaining??
  • 1 0
 @Downhill1Enduro1James1: think he was calling me, boy. :-)
  • 1 0
 Challenger category ran saturday from the glacier.
  • 1 0
 I was there
  • 14 0
 I'm assuming you mean Vietnam?
  • 1 0
 @IllestT: haha :-)

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