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Showing posts from July, 2013


High quality trails, high quality riders & high temperatures!Tiff from 'Dream Guides' & Biggie wanted to get some training in at Morgins before competing there on Sunday in a timed race down all four of the trails. (the camera didn't come out till the afternoon so no pics of Aussie Chris, Tiff or Biggie I'm afraid)

          Chris' photo's here: 1 , 2 , 3 , 4
Rich, Tom H and I headed over early to get going in the heat.  We headed over and down to Martigny, along the Rhone Valley and then back up again in about an hour and half.  It was pretty busy in Morgins with the local market as well as people from the Portes du Soleil and other local Swiss towns making the trip up for course practise.  The trails where not too bad though.  We just had to make sure we always pulled over properly, and before starting riding again we'd have a good look up the trail for any fast locals we might cut-up. 

We started on the 'blue', and compared to the Les Houche…

A no riding weekend

I've not ridden this weekend.  Luckily it was for good reason's, and I'm not talking about the girlfriend.

Friday I was in North Wales for the last part of my UK Mountain Leader course.  It was so very hot up there!  Thanks to IMFGA guide Paul Warnock for passing me, perhaps my previous excuse of being rubbish at rope skills because I'm a mountain biker is not passable now. Best of luck to him with the continuation of British Cycling's new mtb leadership courses.

IML summer training in autumn is next.

The following day I was at my cousin Richards for his wedding to the beautiful Michelle. A lovely day at Belmont Abbey & the Perkins family farm in Herefordshire. Roast beef, hog roast, cider and jokes about townies.

After a 5 hour delay at Bristol I'm back in Cham for work, then hopefully some riding will follow soon.  Check back for something inspiring, or at the very least, a tip on where not too ride!

Les Houches Bleu

I was unable to make the opening day due to girlfriend family commitments, but was able to get a few laps in on Sunday to check it out with local Andy from Bluebired Chalets.

Its actually quite good, there are some great berms, there are some poor berms, theres crappy grass piste sections and there's wonderful peaty soft fun sections.

Andy pointed out a couple of the red sections which are yet to be finished, but all in all it was great fun for a few runs and the Prarion lift seemed busy with bikers!

Bennevy Ripping

1600m of spectacular pedal powered descendingFollowing on from my recce a few days ago, and still on a bit of fitness buzz after 3 weekends of lots of lift riding with friends, I headed back up to la Flatiere.

Today I descended all the way down to Servoz. 600m of descending in about 11mins!
After a bite to eat I started my second climb of the day, this one around 700m vert, in 27.C heat, ouch!  I cruised up the road through le Mont, up to Lac Vert where I caught my breath and then up more to les Bennevy.  My previous ride up here earlier this season had found difficult conditions with patches of snow and many tree's down.

The descent starts through a meadow with a few flowing corners before dropping into steep, tight corners, then into the tree's for some loam and big roots.  I came across one tree about 300m from the beginning, but otherwise the descent was clear!  Awesome.  The trail begins technically with roots and rocks and drops, but it gradually picks up speed the further …

Route Cleared

Tree's have now been cleared from the switchback descent that starts from les Grosses Pierres above Servoz. 
I climbed up through Coupeau to la Flatiere/Samoteux to see what the latest status of this hidden gem of trail had in store.  I'd been down earlier in the season and found quite a bit of wind/snow damaged to tree's.

My original plan was to descend all the way to Servoz then climb back above Lac Vert for fitness and check out another trail which had huge ammounts of fallen tree's.  However the train is not going yet, who knows when it will start, 6th, 8th, 12th?  And I have no intentions of ever riding up through Vaudagne on a bike. So I cut back around to la Flatiere, up to Lac Noir, and down singletrack all the way to les Houches.

PILA: Berm Factory in Dust City

PILA!What a day, where to start?  Perfect berms and dusty-ness.

Four of us headed to Aosta to ride the resort of Pila, about an hours drive away including the Mont Blanc tunnel (€25 return with my tunnel pass, and €5.10 road tolls each way).  A long slow gondola ride takes you to the main 'bike park' area.  We did a couple of runs riding perfect downhill trails, with perfect berms, then decided to head down the 8km freeride 'home run' and get the gondola back up before it shut for lunch at 12:45.  What a run, more berms, jumps, drops, roots, tight turns, and a whole ton of dust!  AMAZING.

After ascending we then stopped right by the chair lift for a mega sized lunch.  I had a gnocchi cheese feast and the other 3 lads had Gran Paradiso sized portions of tagliatelle ragu.  All of this was washed down with an espresso to get us moving again.

More laps followed lunch as wed tried out the variations that litter the small, but diverse bike park area.  There everything from gnar…

The greater Le Tour area

The last day of June must be spent riding footpathsDespite the Mont Blanc marathon being on, it wasn't going to stop us riding at le Tour. Or the guide (who I had actually transfered a few weeks before) trying to tell us off for riding a trail,  he was actually very nice, but once I mentioned a lack of arrete municipal he seemed a little put back and gave up arguing. (please let me know if you know any official word otherwise on le tour trails)
The lower downhill track has a few nice new berms, and a few completely random new berms.  So one lap down was enough.
We headed to Catogne area to cruise the turns and flow before nipping left and back towards Vallorcine.  Just above the tete de la Balme chair is a wonderful meadow, where I did some impromptu flower Identification (still got lots to learn for my IML).

I was interested to drop down to Vallorcine to see what was going on, the lifties everywhere had told us the DH course was shut. So down the 4x4 track, but luckily for us mountai…

Flegere & Brevent pre-bike ban singletrack

1st Run:Out of the Flegere gondola and around the walkers we headed down to the right towards Argentiere.  Fast across the piste to begin briefly reminds me of the soon to be  suffering Mont Blanc marathoners who will be climbing up here.  Its short lived as you enter the tree line into rooty and rocky singletrack.  Part way down we turn right for La Joux which drops you into a path with some very commiting little chutes. This is up there with the best of Chamonix tech (only the minor path nearer the Flegere home-run featuring even tighter switchbacks).
2nd Run:Andy had to begin heading home to get ready for guests arriving at his chalet so from Flegere we headed down the the beginning of the downhill course to see how its holding up.  See photo's on chamonix descent facebook group for the north-shore with nails sticking up!  It was pretty lame, and we cut down towards Chalet Floria.  This trail features some great corners with loads of sneaky high lines into the corners which are …