One of those pure adventure days *warning mega photo post*Ali-venturing as it's been known by over the summer. When Ali from trailAddiction gets grand idea's in his head it always leads to hike-a-bike. Read here on DIRT Mag about a previous mission, its the highest rideable peak in the alps! A special team was organised: A top ten finishing team from the Bivouac Enduro, Mael and Max, Ali, myself and Fred the mountain bike mechanic from Mavic. All keen, all stupid? And then my alarm went off at 04:30. Time to eat and drink as much as possible. I hadn't been up this early since ski touring in refuges last winter. In my tired state I did subconsciously know how to load the bikes onto the trailer, it's easy after doing it everyday all summer. We drove up towards Val d'Isere, then turned left up a singletrack road. It was around 6am, and it was still pitch black. Slowly the sun began to rise: And the hike-a-bike continued and turned into carry-a-bike, but with the su…
Summer is here, and after fantastic spring riding in Southern France and then all over Valais, Aosta and Haute Savoie with good friends it's been time to get back to summer guiding, taking hikers around the Tour du Mont Blanc circuit. There's much worse things to do, but with three weeks off the bike I was itching to get back on some trails.
With a carefully planned week between tours I was excited and made some plans to hit up some classic lines, and some new stuff too. It's mid July now, so in Chamonix valley you have to think carefully about where to go to miss the crowds, and to avoid going on the bike ban trails (July & August). Luckily it's still easy to find quiet trails in nearby resorts, or to simply drop round the back of a hill away from the frontside lifts. It went a little like this:
Day 1- La Thuile with Wayne of newly qualified French legal mountain bike guiding service Chamonixmtb.com . Enduro race venue at it's best, rough and raw.
Verbier is a very mixed place. There is great piste skiing & free-riding and access to world class ski touring, but more often its known for it's decadence. Huge picture perfect chalets with wealthy families and their beaufituful/handsome ski instructors fill the resort. And if not that, the seedier side of ski resorts, the bankers with their paid for woman. . .
Talking of horrible, those exposed switchbacks half way down from the Chateau were bloody horrible, lucky the rest of the trail was very good fun.
Well of course, its Swiss Valais, the footpaths are "tip top" and the lift companies are bike friendly. There were still a lot of pistes open for skiing, but after 11am you can use the lower lift from Le Chable to Verbier to access the snow free trails that lead back into the valley floor. Time to explore: