Any excuse to visit the Alpes is good enough for me. Dutch magazine FIETS invited me to go to the Roc des Alpes, the Alpine version of the famous Roc d’Azur festival. We needed some brilliant pictures for an upcoming edition and we got to ride and cover the event as a bonus.

The event has so many types of rides, it’s hard to choose. Eventually I choose the All Mountain ride on saturday (54km) and the Enduroc on sunday. Saturday we had to wait for the lift for a long time. The PPdS has 11 starting points and thus spreading the crowd, this the Roc could easily try two, we had 3 lifts in the ride and 2 where in the village of La Clusaz. The lifts in this area do not go as high as the PPdS, so we had to climb the rest ourselves. Not often very steep or impossible to ride, but I tell you… it was a lot of climbing!

The downhills where hard too, difficult trails and challenging verts, plenty of mud and roots made us go slower and sometimes even walk. Near the end of the day I was tempted to skip the last section, glad I didn’t. MORE climbing of course, but finally a nice fast decent going home and we finished with a big smile.

Sunday I was knackered. I did the Enduroc but I was very tired, I enjoyed it anyway. 5 stages and the 3rd was very technical. I did the whole weekend on the BMC Fourstroke FS29 Trailcrew. A 100mm 29er with 120mm travel up front and a Reverb in a basically xc race oriented frame. It looks the bomb and it rides very fast. Fair enough, it’s hard work in the Enduroc, but the All Mountain ride… I enjoyed every minute. Light and fast and superb suspension system. It’s a long bike, longer than I would choose, but I must say I get used to it. Especially because I like the speed! A full review will be published in FIETS magazine of Juli (Dutch though) and I hope BMC can spare this bike a little more because as I said… I’m kinda liking the speed!

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One more thing… I got a chance to try out Five Ten Shoes. I’ve been riding clipless since I can remember, even though I tried flats in 2003/2004 ending in a nasty calve injury. Five Ten we all know because of the epic performances of Sam Hill and thanks to Greg Minnaar we also have Five Ten clipless shoes to choose from. The shoes look nice and I know of the reputation of the sole. Would it be anything for me?

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What surprised me the most, was that the shoes where so light! I tried the Freerider VXI and I’ve been told the sole gets even better for 2014. So what should I do… 😉 I know for lengthy rides I’ll do the Minnaars or Cyclones and for the technical rides… these wonderfull Freerider in red/black because they look awesome (also because my wife ‘stole’ the black/blue Danny MacAskill away from me that where actually my first choice.)