Sunday, 20 July 2008

Megavalanche 2008

Upon taking my first ride aboard a gondola, my intitial thoughts were 'wow wee, there's a lot of grey rock'. Sure, I'm used to shredding our domestic trails but nothing could have prepared me for the Alps.
The Team and I arrived one week before the Mega, thereby allowing time to acclimatise to the altitude and the colloquialisms for "PRO RIDER COMING THROUGH".
It's true that the Brits are making the Mega-style races their own. While making little impact at the top of the field, the mid to lower end of the pack was at least fifty per cent British. On one practice run I passed at least fifteen guys and three girls, all British (and all understanding my calls to pass). This was four days before the race and it was as I flew past one whipper snapper that I realised I was really on it, mind, body and bike all at one. ON IT.
The day before the qualifier was spent resting. The boys and I took time to fettle with bits and bobs after watching the non-serious Mega racers compete in the sprint-avalanche. The evening was spent carb-loading whilst catching highlights of Le Tour.

Thanks to finishing as one of the highest placed English-speaking non-pros in the previous years' MegaEnduro, I enjoyed the luxury of being gridded on the second row for my qualifying heat. I chose to take it easy as I didn't want to jeopordise my chances on race day. Despite not having ridden some of the qualifier I eased in to the top twenty, earning myself a start on Row C for the main event. Not wanting to detract from the brave attempts of the competition, I was amazed with the ease in which I passed everybody on the climbs. My Lapierre certainly climbs well. I was slightly dissapointed with the seeding that the organisers had implemented as Lapierre and I were getting seriously held up on the descents.

What awful, awful weather. And we top riders were expected to be at the start line by 7am! My casual approach to joining Row C meant that all the prime positions had been taken. Essentially I ended up in Row C-and-a-half. Not a problem I thought. However, following the scary Euro-pop beat that precludes the start, a thousand fully hyped, fully armoured, fully grown men made for such chaos at the start that my chances of finishing as the best-placed non-pro of Welsh heritage were dashed within 10m. Undetered I got up, back on the bike, made lots of places on the snow, then crashed again. This time I suspect it was the tyre-pressure differential – whilst inflating the tyre at approx. 800m above sea level I hadn't factored in the difference this would make at 2500m. The resulting lack of grip meant that I had absolutely no chance of making it as the highest placed English-speaking contact lens-wearing non-pro on an orange bike.

When I finally finished (barely inside the top 100) I could not hide my disappointment. Shaking hands with the highest placed French-speaking semi-pro on a dual-crown bike (whom, incidently, I have had the better of in the past) was in the least of my interests. I promptly refused the finishers' chilli con carne, dusted myself down, grabbed my orange Lappierre and heading back to the top of the mountain. By now, everybody had long since started the race. However, not everyone had finished – I must have passed at least 200 riders. Boy did it raise my spirits to see so many beginners giving it their all. Some asked how I managed to ride so fast. On any other day I might have told them. Not today though. Right now I was beasting myself in order to become faster, stronger, and ultimately more winning-er.


  1. You guys totally rock. Keep up the good work.

  2. I'm fed up with this 'blog' fuck all has happaned with the Nailing Bouys for ages, what the cunt flap is wrong with you piss chunks?