A breakdown of early season riding conditions in the steeps and deeps of the Northern French Alps
At the beginning of May there was still snow on the Peit Blacon Nord between le Planet and le Tour.
Me and my Chamvan boss Wayne also found above Servoz and Chalet Ayeres that there was too much snow to be able to drop in from the normal trail head. Once we were on the trail it super dry, leafy and fresh! You couldn’t carry too much speed into corners as there wasn’t the grip for late braking manoeuvres.
|Cutting through the snow|
I was then lucky enough to spend the whole weekend riding at Saleve. On Saturday morning whilst my friend did some extra University studies in Geneva I took the opportunity to check out some new trails. What I found was deep leaf cover over cruisey trails, but with some nasty climbs out of them. One might be worth a repeat with some enduro boys as it finishes in Esserts-Saleve...
In the afternoon I took my first ever ride along the top of the Saleve range with my friend for some nice field and track riding with views of both Geneva and Lac Annecy! We got all the way to the Grand Piton about 10km from the top lift station. We cruised back and headed into Geneva town for burgers and expensive, but good Swiss beer!
I got a last minute invite to join Andy and some other Cham riders for a ride at Saleve on Sunday. I’ve ridden many times at Saleve with Andy so I couldn’t say no. Especially as Laura had even more Uni projects to work on. Geneve Jardins Botanique will have to wait.
All the classic trails were riding really well! But there has definitely been a big increase in traffic since this time last year. With this in mind we headed over and up to Petit Saleve to show the boys the fast trails there. It didn’t disappoint and we zoomed down on great singletrack with huge grins that made the climb well worth it.
|Geneva and Lac Leman not hiding unlike the unknown rider on the loaned Canyon...|
And finally this week, before work and rain (snow at 2000m!) got in the way I had a big day up to Le Mole with Frenchie Mael, who is super fit from riding with his colleagues from Swiss bike shop Cross Roads. We zoomed up the road, and then destroyed the awkwardly steep and loose fire road climb to break out above the conifer tree’s.
It was cloudy over the big mountains, but we still broke out into a good sweat on our way to the summit and our cheese/cornichon baguettes. The Swiss don’t stop for lunch apparently, they just keep going all day on fruit& nuts!
The top of the descent in the open high alpine singletrack was really hard packed which made all the little corners that bit sketchier as you couldn’t push too hard for fear of loosing all grip. Once into the woods the trail swooped its way down for what felt like a long long way. At many points the trail follows the contours so I would see Mael directly in front of me, but actually there was a cheeky blind corner between me and him.
The trail ends, and I remembered it from last year, on a section that is mighty fast and barely downhill, just pump and follow the undulations ready for big grins at the bottom!
|View back into the high mountains|
|Saleve in background|
Meanwhile back in Herefordshire my parents are out checking the spring conditions on my Dad’s favourite local trails.
|Mum getting her drift on|
|Blubells as fas as the eye can see|