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Gang of Four *now with photos*

A day of fours at our dear Saleve

Tom H a nice double.  Photo by Andy

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 right hand side, near the house that overlooks the cliffs.  However as this house seems to be in the process of being re-built it has a fence that stops you riding this small area.  As a replacement there had been a new line cut in on the far left of gully.

After carrying our bikes down the steps we made it onto the ever loose and steep bench-cut section of trail near the quarry.  Ellie said she had the brakes on full all the way down as if to say she was an amateur and scared.  We all did too!  Even this though couldn’t stop Andy from taking a tumble and running about 20 meters down the precarious trail till he luckily found a good tree to grab hold of.

The great thing about Saleve is that the carpark is right by the lift so you can go back to have snacks and drinks whilst keeping an eye on when the next gondola is going to leave.

Lap 2: Flow session keeping right all the way down to the village.  This trail is so good that is worth the 15 minute pedal back up to the steps.  It’s such a great gradient the whole way with little jumps, minor rock sections and some great banked corners.  Nothing too difficult, just flow-tastic!  The Mega on trails like this is in its element! So fast!
After the steps and quarry viewpoint us 3 boys took the right hand turn which is very steep and highly commiting.  Basically once you enter it your surfing your way down and using all your best bodywork placement to get your bike around the switchbacks. Tom took a tumble but was able to hug a nearby tree and stop himself.
Tom H railing a berm. Photo by Andy
Ellie sat out the 3rd lap so we took our time to get some great photo’s and let her sleep in the van…
Racer drop on a flow line. Photo by Andy

On the landing of the big double. 27.5 love. Photo by Andy
Lap 4: Cokes, a big eared little dog and fine views.  Plus the usual banter. We did what I think is the main classic downhill line down to the steps.  Everyone was going well. Ellie and Andy were making drops they hadn’t on previous laps.
Gang of four
Then disaster struck, Andy struck his hand on a tree.  As I stopped he desperately tried to get his wedding band/ring off.  I briefly thought he had dislocated his finger and he wanted the ring off before he pushed his finger back in.  But he was just being safe incase the finger swelled.  Luckily all it was, was a big cut to his squashed little finger.

Andy nailed the very final drop twice after Tom showed us how to rail the corners leading into it.

There was still another ‘4’ thing to do.  McFlurry’s from Annemasse.

4 were ordered, all slightly different but we think framboise (raspberry) came out as the best sauce.

The Fours:
Tom (thanks drive!), Andy (thanks for bus), Oli, Ellie (dirty girl) 
x4 Saleve laps descended
4 McFlurrys eaten

notes on the Mega: I think I will be selling my downhill bike.  the only place the mega got slightly unstuck was on extremely steep and rocky sections.  you could feel the tyres squirming a bit, but thanks to my 'ghetto tubeless' setup I didnt have any issues.  on the top flowy bits Tom said I was pulling away from him.  i jumped big doubles and drops like i would on my dh bike.  i like to flow, i like singletrack, i like slow steep and tech and i am happy to survive down death grip rocky chutes. with the dropper post it also climbed back up with ease. the mega is awesome!


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Many thanks to Lorne for some of the cracking photos :