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Showing posts from September, 2013

Verbier

The 'want' for big bike shreddingRich wanted to get out on his new DH sled again after several weeks of intense Alpinism. This suited me and Tom H so we made plans to go to Verbier.  We've ridden a lot in les Houches/St Gervais area and we can explore again another season.  Plus we are all heading off in different directions over the next few months before winter arrives so chances to hit up Saleve, Crans Montana, Verbier, Chalais, etc may be slim.
There aren't any photo's I'm afraid as we barely stopped all day long! Bad blogging, but we just kept going, floaty little jumps, big jumps, drops, rocks and perfect berms.  There may only be 3 main lines at Verbier, but they are so well built they all deserve several laps to get into the flow of them and know the best lines and jumps.  There is steep tech on the red line, but not Cham style so you can open it up on the big bikes and zoom round berm's into a large root garden's and floaty jumps.  The yellow li…

Queens day

After riding with Jo off-road on our VOIE TOLLER TMB adventure I realised he was trying to sit down whilst descending.  A classic mistake made by new comers.  About 4 years ago I had taken him around Cwm Carn in South Wales where he'd survived aboard my Dad's old Stumpjumper.  In return for that he'd taken my on a multi-day walk in Snowdonia that was surprisingly fun.

With the lifts closing, a borrowed bike to use and some Queens to see in the afternoon we Montee-ed the lifts of le Tour.  Before dropping down the Green Piste de Descent I gave a two minute how-to ride a downhill mountain bikes talk. And then I went...
"Oh its rough on my hands, its dangerous this sport!" He said as we re-grouped about 50 metres down the trail.  We did a few laps and he actually preferred the Blue over the flatter Green.  He was getting fast on his borrowed hardtail!

With Jo's increasing speed and confidence we where joined by Tom H for more downhilling action. Me and Tom railed s…

September cruising

Not much to report since our epic TMB ride. Just cruising and smiling!

Last weekend Brevent and Flegere closed so I ticked off many of the classic descents that litter that side of the valley.  Fast, tech, tight, everything you could dream of, right from Cham!

After a few very wet days, where I was luckily working, I've visited les Houches and le Fayet, again for classic trail riding before they close next weekend (29th).

It's that time of the season where a trail bike would be great to access some stuff around Servoz or Vallorcine. However I've only got my downhill bike now so there is talk of Saleve, Verbier and Crans Montana trips as these places stay open a little later and are within an hour or so's drive.

http://www.crans-montana.ch/ete/fr/vtt/ticketsvtt

http://www.saleveautrement.ch/Pratique

http://www.verbierbikepark.ch/

Tour du Mont Blanc: Voie Toller- Just heading home...

Sometime around 21:10, Le Fayet, Haute Savoie, France (580m)Somebody's office building in the backstreets, some guys are sat sheltering from the rain drinking cans of Red Bull.  They were discussing yet another new route back to Chamonix...
Me and Jo were now 17 hours in, we'd done around 5300m of climbing.  My Sunnto altimeter watch had re-started itself.  Either it can't handle 6000m of vert or I've got memory stored up on there I don't know about.  We had the last 500m of climbing left to do up the horrendous Vaudagne road to Les Houches and onto Chamonix church.
The Red Bull really helped and we were soon going the up the road, the quick route, the Voie Oli to this Jo route.  It went really well, with lights off to avoid detection, a quick sprint and we were at the beginning of Vaudagne before we knew it.
We caught our breath, and shared a caffiene energy gel.  We cruised up the Vaudagne climb in good time, 30 mins?  We made calls to say we were heading home.  As …

Tour du Mont Blanc: Voie Toller- Savoie and Haute Savoie

15:20 Col de la Seigne (2516m), French/Italian boarder- 12 hours riding/walkingThe descent into the Savoie and Beaufortain Area is the only area where there in no phone signal for a sustained period.  In the back of our mind we knew there were refuges around should the weather turn, but we kept going.

A quick Oringina break in les Chapieux and the push began up to the Col de la Croix du Bonhomme.  I was not looking forward to this, so about 20 mins further up we had some caffeine energy gels to help us up to the top.


18:30- 2433m At the Col de la Croix du Bonhomme (2433m) we could see the dark clouds approaching from Annecy direction.  Everyone at the Croix refuge was getting settled in for the night, for us though, as the wind picked up, we put all our layers on.  We still had an hour or so of light.  This is exactly what we had planned as the traverse to the Col du Bonhomme is quite challenging hike-a-bike terrain and at high altitude. We traversed and reach the Col du Bonhomme in about…

Tour du Mont Blanc: Voie Toller- Italy

10:30- 6 hours riding- Val Ferret, Val d'Aoste, ItalyThis was our first off-road descent of the day and we both knew it was steep to begin with so took it easy.  Jo with his slicks, and me with Euro brakes (front and back on the wrong side of handlebars) we rode a reasonable amount, hopped some drainage channels, and shouldered our bikes down the rocky steps.
We came out of the mist around the Elena Refuge and we joined the firetrack down.  Big wheels, tyres and suspension allowed me to open it up a bit, however Jo took it cautiously with his rigid forks.  In no time at all we were zooming down the road towards Courmayeur and FOOD!
11:30- Supermarcato, Courmayeur
With our bikes lent up outside we bought cans of drink, crisps, chocolate, cheese, sliced meat, bread rolls, focaccia and a giant slice of watermellon. €15 each and much to the dismay of the supermarket workers we stuffed our faces: 12:05- Ascent of Val Veny, Italy As we left Courmayeur we were now committed to getting to Cha…

Tour du Mont Blanc: Voie Toller- Leaving Chamonix

03:30- Chamonix Church, Haute Savoie, FranceThe overnight storm had quickly past and we set off fresh legged with smiling faces towards Switzerland.  Jo wasn't on his "ultimate touring setup" but his old touring machine, a Specialzed Hardrock 26 inch wheeled mountain bike with old slick tyres, V-brakes and rigid forks...
At 04:35 we crossed into Switzerland, past the busy Emosson dam electricity plant and pedalled on up to the Col de la Forclaz.  By 05:40 we were in Martigny Switzerland.  My 29ner zoomed down the descents with high pressured tyres and Jo's LED headlight lighting up the road alot better than mine. Martigny was the beginning of the climb to the Swiss/Italian boarder. 35km's of road lay head of us, then the off road would begin. Would we be able to ride it, or would we already be so tired we'd have to push up the footpaths? It was getting light as we turned off the main road that leads the lorries upto the Grand St Bernard Tunnel.  We turned our li…