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Showing posts from April, 2015

Le Môle, 1863m

Four years of mountain gazing finally pays off with some of the best descending in all of Europe!
The drive between Chamonix and Geneva can get very boring even though there are many different mountains and valley's to look at.  Le Mole above the town of Bonneville has been on my ski touring list for a long time but some how things came together this past week and me and Tom got up there on our mountain bikes. 
Mid week in April, during a long spell of calm, sunny weather brought more than just two British mountain bikers out to the Chablais. Probably 200 walkers up and down the mountain.
We set off very slowly from lac du Mole knowing we had 1400 metres to climb.  We started on quiet village roads chatting about nothing in particular as we slowly gained height.  We arrived at the beginning of the off-road just as sweat began to gather on our foreheads.  All the walkers were starting from here, but we still managed to overtake many as we winched our way up.  There were many sections …

Sunday classics

Get a van and a group of bikers together, take it in turns to drive, eat lots of bread and cheese and ride more...
It's not always about the trails, it's about the whole day as complete package. Friends new and old for the beginning of the season, a small selection of classic Chamonix trails to descend, a van to use as an uplift vehicle, plenty of food to eat, sunny weather and lame banter.

First two laps were down from the lower Merlet carpark to the bottom of Copeau.  A descent not ridden so much under pedal power due to it's "short" nature compared to the Merlet to les Gaillands descent.  So why not rip down it twice thanks to van power! Some of the lower corners were so fresh and loamy you could really gamble with high speeds and drifting.
Merlet laps back to les Bossons due to tree felling.  Fast and fun as ever.  Is the right turn variant 2/3 of the way down better?  It's a hard decision. But more loamy-ness near the bottom is fun to drift.

Mythical Magazine Trails

More trail hunting, Chablais, Haute Savoie, FranceI think it was last winter when DIRT Mag (RIP){recurring theme} printed two articles on the state of Morzine and the northern French Alps.  Many of the pictures where from Chamonix, but remained unamed in the captions in what I can only think was a ploy to keep the location's secret.  For me, it was easy to spot, a Cham local, the Le Tour trails have been mentioned on this blog many times and will continue to be written about.  
There was one other photo in these articles that caught my eye. It was of a very specific looking modern metal cross somewhere in the pre-alps before Morzine with a stunning looking ridgeline coming off it. Thus the hunt began, first online. It didn't take long thanks to google and to find the location of this cross. Today the hunt continued out in the mountains, after talking about it all last summer. Finally it's been ridden! Unfortunately plans to go with Rich fell through when he pu…

The ascent is pleasant

Guide book exploration in the Val d'Aosta, ItalyI have several very good ski guide books including the now out of print Anselme Baud "book of death" that can reach €500 on eBay.  However, up until recently I hadn't owned any mountain bike related books. This changed when DIRT Mag (R.I.P) mentioned a Val d'Aosta guide book.

The best thing about spring is being able to take part in your favourite winter and summer sports.  So on my first day off, straight after the most recent storm to hit Cham we were up in the first bin of the Aiguille du Midi to ski the Cosmiques Couloir.  I could have turned home satisfied after my first turn which kicked snow up well over my head. But it was rude not to carry on searching... The next day after reports of muddy Chamonix trails it was time to go to the "sunny side of Mont Blanc" in search of dry trails.  I flicked through my new book and found one suitable just 20 minutes from the exit of the Mont Blanc tunnel. "The…