If you are thinking about entering the Megavalanche this year, you might want to hurry… Every year the Megavalanche gets bigger and bigger. It might already be out of control, two separate Megavalanche events would be better I’d think. In 2007 there was no mass-start for everyone, and to be honest THAT’s the Megavalanche. Mass-start with a thousand crazy bikers on a snowy glacier. Yeah!Anyway, this year entries are now open. You can register here at activeeurope.com
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Here it is, the elaborate and final report of a week in Alpe d’Huez to ride the Megavalanche. I promise I won’t mention the Mega (unless with good reason) again for at least 6 months.
This years Mega: Pour moi au ci, the terror, the stuff that broke, the helicopter ride, the pizza’s and much more.
It’s sunday, I just witnessed the Megavalanche from a spectators view. I didn’t race after a crash yesterday in the qualifier. I was about 10 minutes on my way, good position, well in front with some girls in sight I was going to overtake… when I got run over by a guy that was trying to catch up with his wave and well, his excuse was… “my brakes are dead”.
It’s friday and we’re getting ready for the qualifiers tomorrow. This week has been awesome, done some great riding and I’ve got the track reasonably dailed. The qualifiers are for the different Mega’s that are being ridden on sunday. There’s the Megavalanche, the best 508 riders of the qualifiers. The Mega Pink, all the women that finished the qualifiers. The Mega Promo, the next 500 best riders and the Mega Affinity. That’s a bit stupid though. All that didn’t finish in the top 1000 will be given the chance to ride the Mevalanche with a chip, but no mass-start. They have to depart between 10.15 and 11.30 and have to pass Alpe d’Huez before 12.30.
For a lot of guys, this means no mass start and no Megavalanche experience! I’d wish they had mentioned this before. It’s a smart set-up but not fair to most riders.
For the girls on the other hand, it’s spectacular! About 60 women are to start, our own qually wave and our own Mega start, between the Megavalanche and Mega Promo in. It’s awesome for us!
No pictures at this moment, more to come!
Haven’t been updating for a few days, crazy riding and scarce wifi over here, but I’ve got it now. We arrived on sunday and did a short session on the qualifying track and connecting to the downhill here in Alpe d’ Huez. It’s one of my favorite parts of the track and the qually is by far the best track over here to ride. Our friends arrived sundaynight and we rode together on monday for a full day. Managed to ride most of the qually and the bottomhalf of the Megavalanche.
Op de Megavalanche moeten we nog een paar maanden wachten. En ergens is het maar goed ook, want je mag best een beetje trainen om deze race leuk en/of goed te kunnen rijden.
De Megavalanche is een marathon downhillrace die start op de top van de Pic Blanc bij Alpe d’Huez, op 3330 meter hoogte. Aan de Megavalanche mag in feitte iedereen deelnemen en de start is een massaal gebeuren van bijna 1000 deelnemers tegelijk. Sinds 2004 is er een aparte promoklasse voor de snelsten van de kwalificatieraces (puur formaliteit voor plek op startgrid). De promoklasse bestaat uit ca. 300 deelnemers, uitgezonderd vrouwen, junioren of senioren en start een uur eerder dan de ‘gewone’ klasse.
Build a bike:many bikes even from DH to singlespeed. Especially when you are a novice: you’ll learn a lot! Ride at night:at my local trails even in snow (3) Ride in the snow:Megavalanche baby! Ride in another country:nothing but I would say
- Sleep next to your bike: With your bike next to you in your hotelroom doesn’t really count. Sleeping under the stars with your bike next to you: still on my list.
- Explore a new trail: I still consider this open, a new trail like a trailhunter: not fully done!
Cross a mountain range:High Atlas in Marocco and some Alpine crossings. Ride a race:This Bike Attack was one hell of a race! Visit a bikepark:most awesome times!
- Ride to the sea: going to do that next summer when my buddie and I are riding the Trans Provence (yeah baby)
I have here for you, enduro events for 2012. Bare in mind that dates may change, always double check before you leave home! It’s rumored that IXS will organize an enduro cup in Germany, dates will be updated when they come available.
EASYPHONE CUP 2012 (Belgium)
4 March : Esneux (Parc du Mary).
29 April : Sart Tilman (centre sportif).
27 May : Ovifat (remontées en téléski).
1 September : Burnontige (Ferrières).
23 September : Neupré (champ. Wallonie)
5-6 May Metabief
27 May Transvesubienne
13-15 Juli Mountain of Hell
10-12 August Trek Bike Attack
22-30 September Trans Provence
23-24 June Maxiavalanche Andorra
16-22 Juli Megavalanche Alpe d’Huez
4-5 August Maxiavalanche Cervinia – Italy
17-18 August Maxiavalanche Are – Sweden
1-2 September Maxiavalanche Auron – France
15-16 Oktober Maxiavalanche Flims – Switserland
24-25 November Megavalanche Ile de la Reunion
Dates “1001 Enduro Tour, le championnat régional d’Enduro VTT des Alpes-Maritimes”
12 february – RALLYE HIVERNAL DE LEVENS
1 april – RALLYE FREERIDE DE SOSPEL
29 april – ROCH’ABADIE
13 may – ENDURO DES MERVEILLES
10 june – ENDURO DE ROUBION
8-9 september – ENDURO PORTES DU MERCANTOUR
23 september – ENDURO DE GOURDON
7 oktober – TRÈFLE VÉSUBIEN
4 november – ENDURO DE CAP D’AIL
In Mayerhofen, Trek is showing the new bikes for 2012 to the press and dealers and one bike stands out for me: the Trek Slash. A 160mm pedal and downhill genious that’s like the small Scratch or a beefier Remedy. To be honest, that’s the only thing that could convince me to leave the Remedy for something new. Can’t wait for the specs, but for you all, here’re the details found on Bikeradar.com (also more on the steeper and slimmer Remedy).
Catering for the increase in Megavalanche/Downieville style enduro downhill riding Trek are releasing an all-new Slash model to replace the 2010 Scratch Air. The Slash addresses the need for an easier pedaling, lighter bike that’s more capable of going head-to-head on demanding descents.
Pitched at the 60 percent downhill/40 percent uphill rider, it fits the need for a more butch Remedy, coming with a 66° head angle and 160mm of travel delivered by a Fox 36 TALAS or RockShox Lyrik fork up front and a Fox RP2 rear shock (RP3 on the Slash 9). Internal cable routing, ISCG tabs and Mino Link come as standard.
From the pressrelease
For 2012 Trek is launching the Slash, an all-new 160mm travel bike designed for the growing endurance downhill market. Developed in partnership with Trek riders Rene Wildhaber and Ross Schnell, the Slash has the perfect suspension, geometry, and parts spec to dominate the endurance downhill scene. Taking advantage of Trek’s Full Floater and EVO link suspension designs, the Slash is paired with a DRCV shock and Active Breaking Pivot rear end to allow for maximum pedaling efficiency no matter the conditions. “Slash is defined by a lot more than just its travel — it’s the whole package of commanding steering, superior suspension, and a parts spec that rivals some DH bikes in durability and performance,” said Trek Mountain Bike Product Manager John Riley. “If you’re riding events like Megavalanche or Downieville, this is your bike.”
New Remedy, steeper and sleeker
YEAH! Bike Attack is my new favorite event! It’s on my for-sure list for next year and I’ll tell you why. The Trek Bike Attack is a 20km enduro downhill race with 2000 meters of descending and 140 meters of climbing. Starting at 2861 mtr at the Rothorn and arriving at Churwalden at 1240 mtr.
On Saturday is a qualifying race, the result places you in the grid for the race on Sunday. If you don’t qualify (eighter not participate or not finish) you have to start from sector 0, with about 600 people in front of you. Oh, and the qualifier finishes at the ‘tallstation’ of the Rothornbahn (1500 mtr) and is about 8km’s long.
Goodbye, my beloved Conti’s
My friend and I did a few training runs in the morning before having to qualify in the afternoon. Ilja had a total of 4 flats during these training-runs and I felt blessed I was spared the inconvenience. But oh… I should have known better…
Ilja bought brand spanking new Nokian DH type tyres, because the Mountain Kings weren’t keeping up with the pace. The Nokians kept perfectly btw! He finished the qualifier in 26 minutes and placed himself in the 6th sector on the grid.
My qualifying race was terrible! All the flat’s Ilja suffered that morning, I had to catch up on in the race… unfortunately. I had 2 inners with me, but a 3rd flat was enough to prevent me from finishing. I walked back to the middle station and took the lift down. There I also bought new Nokians, only to discover I had shredded my beloved Mountain Kings to pieces… If I had listened to myself (in the review I stated: “not suitable for downhill”) and or checked the tires for wear and tear before the qualifier, I might have found myself in a better sector. I now had to close the line in the final sector. But yeah… I wasn’t there to win, or was I. I was stoked for Sunday though. Race day here we come!
Like the Megavalanche, the Trek Bike Attack is well organised and racers are invited on top of the Rothorn in stages. They all kept to the schedule and the mountain was filled well in time. This meant however having to wait a long long time. We took the post-bus to Rothornbahn and arrived at the middle station around 9:30. Way too early, so we chilled in the alpine meadow and arrived at the Rothorngiphel around 11:00. Again, way to early, because the race starts at 13:00 so we just bored and waited and waited.
12:45 all racers reported in the right sectors and after the briefing the starting-signal sounded promptly at 13:00. The poor sods in sector 7 took the time to see Wildhaber sprint away and disappear before we even took one step forwards. Finally there was movement in the crowd and we slowly moved foreward. We actually had to walk as far as the tiny bit of snow we had to cross and what I noticed that the spirit was “gemütlich”. No elbows, no shouting and most people smiling and making fun of the situation: having to walk down the hill. Past the snow we could get some pedal-strokes in, but had to get back in line on the next singletracks.
Arriving at ‘the gallery’ I could seriously get into gear (praise the “Joplin”) and I actually got competitive passing people and not being to polite about it. I found that being polite doesn’t get you anywhere. They eighter don’t hear you or don’t care and in the worst case care a lot of being passed by a woman. So I continued shouting “left!!!” and was on my way. You would find ‘traffic’ at every ‘technical’ piece or singletrack, the biggest traffic jam was is the nice rocky singletrail near the middle station. It was going really well until there, I passed quite a few people and even caught up with my friend Ilja. We walked the singletrail together and moved on separately from there. He eventually crashed and lost an contact lens, having to continue with one lens.
I made it past the middlestation at about 25 minutes, which got me stoked even more. Rushed through the very nice berms towards the ‘tallstation’ and discovering what 140 mtr of climbing actually feld like… like blowing up!
140 mtr uphill is nasty!
It was hot, bloody hot. Did I say the forecast was awful? Couldn’t have been more wrong, sun sun sun and about 30º walking up because you blew yourself up in the first half. But I didn’t care, this first half is the most fun you could have on a bike and I was very happy with my riding there (and the Nokians did splendidly, not as grippy as the Mountain Kings, but perfectly grounded the Remedy with their excessive weight).
I took my time in the climbs, trying to recover and save some energy for the final km’s downhill. The second half has a few km’s through the woods, with roots and singletrail, and ends with a very nice steep downhill. I gave the Remedy full control and it rushed down like a maniac. With it’s owner smiling like a maniac. Pushed the final km on the pedals towards the finish and crossed the line 29th in the women’s-class at 1.13 hrs.
Give me more!
Giving the fact I started at the end of the line, this made me feel like a million bucks. I passed a fair amount of people, and finished in a decent time if you ask me. Next time I’m back with a hunger to finish the qually in say 30 to 25 minutes and having to start in a proper sector on the grid. Yes, I am competitive, but just as long as my passion for riding goes. I want to do as well as I am capable of, and I have a strong feeling there is room for improvement.
The Trek Bike Attack is less technical then the Megavalanche, but way more challenging then the PPdS. It’s more a downhilltrack like the qually-track off the Megavalanche is. The top 8km’s are fast, soooooooo fast!! And soooo much fun. But it’s no wonder the Mountain Kings got shredded there, the wonder was they lasted as long as they did.
The Remedy however feld right at home, even in the fast and rocky parts. It didn’t feel too ‘small’ or inadequate in any way. It’s the perfect bike for the Bike Attack, and the perfect bike for me. Only the Juicy 5’s did meet their limit and Elixirs are on their way.
Oh, the funniest thing. Our first names are printed on our number plates, very cool for the nice people who are watching to cheer you on by name. Especially when they think it says “Tina”.
(ps. Hi Bella!)