Here’s how they describe it on the Mega website…
“Neither Cross-Country, nor Down Hill but a real discipline. Racing MEGAVALANCHE require many skills which are coming from MTB fundamentals, it means: strong, dexterity, endurance, sliding sensations, knowledge of how to manage effort and to fix well you bike, riding spirit, trajectories, flying sections, braking …
Cross Country riders and Down Hill ones will be on the same line on equal terms. Some will use their athletic power and endurance, during an hour of effort and others their technical skills on every trajectories and also go fast into tricky sections, jumps and so. But at the end everyone will fell sliding motions, using wonderful trails.”
Here’s a run down…..
You start off in the snow on the glacier at Pic Blanc high above Alpe d Huez. The altitude is over 3000 metres, and even going downhill you’re breathing hard. Hanging off the back of the saddle using one foot as a ski, riders crashing everywhere. After the glacier you’re into boulder fields, with some big steps and drop offs (the most dangerous are signed). Some off them were way beyond me. After a couple of miles you are into fast single track on a narrow shelf, with the odd rocky section to keep you on your toes. Next there’s some tricky steep switchbacks. As you get nearer to Alpe d Huez the gradient eases a little, but not the speed. There’s one or two rises where you can make up time on riders on DH rigs.
Down through Alpe d Huez to the roar of the crowds! Straight out the other side onto a very fast section (uphill on your right), as you traverse around and down the mountain. If you went off the edge of the trail here you could fall hundreds of feet (I kid you not). Following a steep climb of around 200metres that saw most riders pushing you’re into superb single track with a mixture of fast flowing sections, steep switchback sections, rocks, roots. A couple of bus stops that almost stand the bike on it’s nose. It’s hard work, some riders just stop by the side of the track to take a breather!
Into the final few kms and it’s incredibly fast. The dappled sunlight under the trees combined with the dust mean that you can’t see a lot of the roots and rocks, so they can’t hurt you. ha ha! Eventually you drop out into the main street in Allemonte then sprint for the finish.
It took me 1:33:28. The winner did it in 48mins!!!!!!!
Loads of people crashed. Crashing in the snow wasn’t too bad as you slid, and as long as you didn’t slide into rocks, or get hit by someone, you were OK. I saw lots of people with slings and bandages on who crashed in the qualifier and couldn’t make the race day.
My stock Kona Coiler Deelux was great, fitted with Maxxis Minions
and DH tubes. Lots of people puntured on the rocks.
It was Mega!!!! 🙂
Carla for coming with me. Yeah, I could have gone on my own, and she insisted that she was only coming with me so that she wouldn’t have problems trying to get a broken me + a van back from the Alps, but it meant I ate properley, could find things, and got where I was supposed to be on time.
Si ‘Superfly’ Paton for sorting me out with some ‘proper’ tyres and tubes. I just couldn’t believe how much difference they made.
All the people on singletrackworld that helped me decide to go do it!