So just what is the Mega 2RX? In a previous life it was called Maxiavalanche, a mini-Mega if you will. With a mass start on snow, there is definitely a feel of the Mega in the air but the general atmosphere is far more relaxed, and the riding a lot more enjoyable with fewer big consequences on the trail.
Round two takes place this weekend here in the Italian alpine resort town of Cervinia, overlooked by the world famous Matterhorn, and is an absolutely stunning place to be riding bikes. With fast chairlifts, it takes less than forty minutes to make it from the town in the distance all the way to 3500m, although the true snow sports take place further still up the mountain in summer. With Friday for open practice, followed by official practice on Saturday morning, there is no shortage of riding available. The entry, much smaller than the 2000 seen in Alpe d'Huez, is split into heats with qualifiers first taking place on Saturday, followed by a two race run format on Sunday. So another weekend, and another weekend of riding on snow. Not quite the normal summer holiday but given the heat wave hitting parts of Europe at the moment, not totally unwelcome!
Despite sharing the format with the renowned Megavalanche, the Mega 2RX is significantly shorter than the larger race at a shade under twenty minutes for the qualifier here in Cervinia, and an expected sub twenty five minutes for the finals runs tomorrow. But that doesn't make it an easy race when it comes to fitness, you're still going flat out for a long time, against your rivals, and with altitude to deal with. It's hard, but perhaps without the capital H of the Hard that the Megavalache can serve up year after year.
The piste here is also certainly smoother, more flowing, and features less steep sections than its big brother in Alpe d'Huez, and that actually makes for a more fun (and altogether less scary) ride. With a well groomed and freshly frozen piste speeds were once again nudging 100kph in early morning practice today, and once the tape lifts on finals tomorrow, it's expected that speeds will climb higher still. Snow on track makes way eventually for bare rock, which in turn gives way to alpine meadows crossed by streams. These seemed to be significantly deeper by the time mid afternoon qualifying took place, all thanks to the sun which gradually increases the rate of melt from snow and ice as the day progresses.
With passing difficult in the singletrack, it's all about the push on snow and rock up top for the majority while those with a real eye for a gap can still make a move or two stick on the last five minutes into the town itself. Altitude drop for the qualifying was approximately 3200m to 2050m with the final dropping from a starting point of 3500m. Hard work, great views, fantastic racing; it can only be the Mega (Lite).
Here are the qualifying results, stay tuned for the final action tomorrow:Qualifying Heat 1:
Cervi 2013 Resultats Qualifs Run 1 by Alasdair MacLennanQualifying Heat 2:
Cervi 2013 Resultats Qualifs Run 2 by Alasdair MacLennanQualifying Heat 3:
Cervi 2013 Resultats Qualifs Run 3 by Alasdair MacLennanQualifying Heat 4:
Cervi 2013 Resultats Qualifs Run 4 by Alasdair MacLennanQualifying Heat - Women:
Cervi 2013 Resultats Qualifs Run 5 Ladies by Alasdair MacLennanwww.avalanchecup.com/Images courtesy of Liam Moynihan (Dudes of Hazzard)