Bye bye england!
After a day at euro Disney for my son Elijah – bribery for the horrible amount of time he had endured in the car seat on this journey so far – we then began our second stint drive to Alpe de Huez which consisted of 6.5 hours of beautiful scenic driving and a lot of CD's to avoid the boredom from driving and the terrible French radio stations that absorbed the air waves around us!
Finally the roads and trees break to release an amazing view of the dramatic terrain that valleys us, only guided along by the road and the ice blue rivers that lay beside the road almost point us to the source and our destination.
Finally some mountains!
Arrived at the summit
After a nervous night's sleep in our mint house in Burg d'Ossian – we set off up the famous 23 hairpin road to the Mecca for so many mountain bikers that is Alpe de Huez.
After collecting our lift passes we headed up to ride the Mega Avalanche Qualifying track which features the most technical sections on the course. After meeting some fellow Brits who helped direct us towards the course we were soon on the track and beginning our line choices and just trying to learn the track whilst having fun in this beautiful postcard background environment.
Pinning on the qualifier track
After rocking out the qualifier track a few times – we headed off to do our first descent of the Mega Avalanche course.
After some shaky moments and a puncture we casually made our way down the mountainside into the abyss below – but this abyss was just littered with some of the best flowing single track I have ever ridden. The bike was feeling great and I was having fun – and after getting lost twice on the Mega long track we eventually arrived at the finish line to wave goodbye to the bus transporting bikers back to the top – and we were told we had 1.5hrs until the bus returned. Time for some shade and ice cream to escape the mad sunshine that was beating its way down on us.Day 2
We planned an early start, but after a late night – we arrived at the Gondola 2 hours late, but just as eager to get our ride on. The late arrival was due to a few things…
1 – I got up late.
2 – I had a hole in my rear tyre.
3 – plans are plans – so they go wrong sometimes!
Today's plan was to run the qualifier route and also hit the Mega Avalanche race track again.
The qualifier route – that we were led to believe was the qualifier route was a gorgeous piece of singletrack that weaved its way from Alpe de Huez to Oz – descending the mountain in a series of hairpins and beautiful mountain traverses – this was mountain biking in its finest! It was a phenomenal descent worthy of recognition and possibly my favorite section of track I have ever ridden.
Hitting the scenic singletrack
Carrying on the singletrack into the view below
After a Gondola from Oz back to Alpe de Huez we then began a descent down to Allemont which is the official finish. Today I felt strong and positive about the track – and it was crazy to see how much the track had changed in under 24 hours after the hordes of mega riders had ridden it since we had yesterday. Although it had more breaking bumps and people on the track – I was feeling faster and more confident on board my bike – and most importantly I was really enjoying it.
Finding some pace on my short travel rig
After a minor mechanical on my mate's bike caused by the biggest thorn I have ever seen - we finished our dusty descent in Allemont wondering how on earth this track can be raced by so many people at one time – I quickly realized the challenge isn’t riding this track – it's racing it!Stay tuned for more from the Mega