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Showing posts from May, 2014

Black Forest Photo's from a pro

Lars Veenstra Photography  Back in Chamonix-land the day after:
Many thanks to Lars!


The Black Forest, Germany is the flow capital!Recently I was lucky enough to get asked to help out with a "Blast" / "Ride with the locals" event in the very bottom left hand corner of Germany.  Close enough to France that at times your phone picks up a French network and close enough to Switzerland that it only took 3 1/2 hours drive through from Chamonix (same as going to Finale). For many people attending this weekend it was more like eight hours drive, the Netherlands is a long way away!

Weiss (wheat) beer was drunk as people arrived on Thursday night, and for the rest of the weekend as a matter of fact... When in Germany...

We awoke on Friday morning to rain.  Jarno the organiser was in no rush to get started but soon after the rider briefing he had me, Lars (photo/video's) and local guide Andreas in the shuttle van driven by his Super-Dad Peter.  The riders would follow an hour later in 2 shuttle loads. It was drying up now and at the top of the first specia…

10 Seconds, 5,4,3.... German Flow Preview

Weiss beer in the Black Forest

Gang of Four *now with photos*

A day of fours at our dear Saleve

Everything was looking good.It had been dry for several days, we’d all got time off work and we had a big vehicle to transport us down in style.
This was Ellie’s first time to Mont Saleve,my first day downhilling on the mid wheel sized Mega, plus Tom and Andy’s first day of the season out on their big downhill bikes. It was most definitely going to be fun.
The top section of trails criss-cross over and around each other till you get to the little tunnel bridge.We went left for the more direct route to the steps.And when I say direct the trail does nearly go straight down the hillside.Here became the first session spot of the day with a high line visible that none of us managed to get onto.Whilst we shouted encouragement to Ellie we had a look at various line options for the next lap.
After we all zoomed down the road, cut through an overgrown section of trail we came in above the steps. There used to be a little section of drops and steep roll-ins on the …

A mixed May

Riding the weather patternsThe weather has been very changeable these past few weeks.  Which has kept a few of us keen for searching for nice ski turns, and some of us keen for finding sticky 'hero' dirt for our mountain bike tyres to grip into.  We visited the Vanoise but got shut down on skiing the Grande Casse as the guardian warned us of wind slab. Still we made the most of it on the Vanoise Glacier and spring conditions.

I've been riding on setups that are actually fairly similar.  My Scarpa Freedom SL ski touring boots are pretty light, but far from ski-mountaineering race boot lightness.  They do the job on the up's but they are so good on the descents.  My Nukeproof Mega AM is also on the heavy side, but it can get up the climbs.  However once on the descent it's amazingly capable!  The latest technology available in all areas of outdoor sports is simply amazing and is making everything so much more enjoyable and potentially achievable.

For ExampleDoi…

Old trails, new riding

Le Tour Balcon and Merlet
I think 26 Inch is dead. Or is it just 2014 Season mountain bikes in general that are so good?  I've ridden a rocket ship today that kept speed on some of the roughest trails in Chamonix Valley.  Sure Jared Graves would still be much faster than me on his 26", but I had fun scaring myself on a "trail bike".

This is the beginning of my fourth summer in Cham and I started on a classic trail down from Le Tour towards Argentiere, the Petit Balcon Nord.  There's still a few patches of snow around, but mostly the trails are dry buff, and fast, but that's cos of the bike right?  

Just before dropping down at the crossroads above Argentiere I decided to turn left.  There are a few trails up there I've not ever ridden.  I've meant to get up there however the right time has eluded me.

My new Nukeproof Mega AM Pro 275 is longer than my downhill bike so the trail back down with about 20 switchbacks was perfect training.  Enduro roll's a…