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Showing posts from October, 2016

2000 rewards closer to home

"My Swiss friends are riding in the dry today", said Mael as we stood outside a cafe in Chamonix underneath his umbrella.
A plan was made in my head. Let's use the Dorenaz lift to gain some height and hopefully find the driest trails in the area.  Aosta Valley was full of snow, and the Haute Savoie was soaked through.

3 hours after leaving the carpark we made it to the top of our climb, 100 metres or so above Col du Demecre.  However there was snow.  Maybe there had been some preciptiation in Valais after all?

The snow needed some serious care due to the exposure of the slope that the trail traversed across.  Luckily it was that grippy type of snow and below you could see glorious Swiss high alpine singletrack disappearing off into the larch tree's and joining the trail me, Bas & Jarno had done in spring.  The one with a horrendous scree field down climb section that rendered the entrance to the descent pointless. New entrance found:



Lower down the grass was damp whi…

Southern Road trip Autumn 2016

Ups and downs...of trail snobbery

Meeting Wouter at Nice airport was always going to cause issues.  First off it's a long way from Chamonix, even going through Italy fuelled by cappuccino's, and secondly, Rob's van was already had three bikes and us two people.  Somehow we managed and when Jamie arrived the following day we made as much use of his rental Fiat 500C as possible.
Sospel. Home of Trans Provence.  When you drive into town and see the head of the Enduro World Series pulling up to a bar after a days riding you feel like you've hit gold already.
With high hopes we set off the following morning up a long fire-road, Bever Rally came down with their shuttle vehicle.  Wow, what have we got instore up here?  VTT internet site has loads of routes on this hillside, as does Trailforks, this should be Provence gold.
I excitedly dropped in first, when was this trail last ridden?  There's old enduro lines, but now it's full of debris.  And that's how it continued…

Le Mole & Dirt Magazine trail in one day

Shuttle crew day
The day started early with 2.C temperatures, Autumn is here then?
With the trailer loaded we set off on the 1 hour drive half way up Le Mole hoping we would break out of the clouds.  No luck, 5.C and 50 metre visibility greated us at the carpark.
We set off, cold legged, and with mixed feelings about what was ahead.  Luckily after the first big effort we broke out and the views alone were worth the struggle!

It wasn't cold at the top, we even broke into a sweat on the way up and the views were still majestic in every direction, 360 degree's.  Coming up we could feel how dry and hard packed the descent would be.  We were all excited, and after a few photo's by Humpo, warp speed was engaged.  The noise of tyres scrabbling for grip as you come into a corner is both scary and magically energising.




As we hit the tree line, we also entered the mist level and it got dark and slippery.  Those of dressed in black to look " enduro " and cool disappeared.  At on…

Somewhere you shouldn't ride, and somewhere you think you shouldn't ride...

French travels afar and much much closer to homeI was in Corsica last week for a holiday.  A holiday, but you live where you want to holiday?  A friend had been guiding there for the whole of September so I went out to join him for a client free few days of island warmth.



I flew into Ajaccio at 0730, my friend was on his last day guiding, so I took a walk from the beachside town up into the mountains.  Think of Finale, just with a bit more French, so good bread to make lunch from & a warmer sea to swim in(though there is an ever real Italian influence all over Corse).
We did one of the best canyon's on the island.  And the jumps and abseils into gorge lined pools was great fun. A new sport to add to the list of gear purchases.
After another night eating great local food and chestnut flavoured beer we set out on a pretty big hike. 1500m vertical with a lot of scrambling.  We hardly stopped all day and we just beat the guide book time of 7 hours.  Two fit guides!  Those Corsicans a…