Tuesday, July 06, 2010

The Alps - Day 4

Day 4 of our holiday saw us head over to Switzerland for a bit of action on the Swiss National course.

We headed up the Super Morzine lift and headed along the fireroad towards a rocky trail that drops you into Lindarets. On our way we spotted what I guess was a bunch of school kids heading down a trail we opted out of on Day 2 in case it got a bit wild. After a gentle start it turned into a fairly rocky trail, leaving me feeling sorry for the kids on their hire bikes with fear in their eyes.

It smoothed out however, and turned into a nice flowy trail. This smoothness was short lived when we took a wrong turn that definitely couldn't have been part of the trail; it was one of the most knarly rock gardens I'd ever ridden, with the added hazard of low lying tree branches (think neck level). I felt sure I'd end up on the floor in some painfully horrific crash,but it was too late, I was committed. I made it to the bottom with only a little dab after a blow from a branch.

We made it down to Lindarets without further incident and headed up to the top of Avoriaz. From here, we found and awesome flowy (but rutted) trail I railed all the way to the bottom of the Mossettes lift. After taking this lift up to the top, we were greater by chilling winds and clouds meaning visibility was low.

Standing at the top of the Swiss National, we couldn't even see the first corner, only 50 yards away:

Undeterred, we set off with the cloud soon clearing.
The Swiss National throws you in at the deep end with steep switchbacks with certain death if you manage to go over the top - thank goodness there is catch netting!

It maintains its steepness all the way to the bottom, with a point, shoot and hope rock garden, some big jumps that egg you on into trouble and heavily breaking bump infested berms to keep you on your toes. We headed up the other side to hit a track called. 'shorty' (due to its length) which started out smooth, fast and flowy, but soon turned to a mess of breaking bumps.

From here we headed back up the mossettes lift and down towards 'rutsville'. On our way, we stumbled across a large unmelted glacia. We figured it'd be fun to attempt to ride across it but promptly failed. I don't think I've had wheel spin at such a low speed; if my back wheel wasn't spinning uselessly in soft ice, the front wheel washed out in the same, soft ice. Still, it was laugh.

After a short lunch stop, we headed down rutsville, back up to Avoriaz and down the road towards Morzine. On the way we headed down 'Run of The Mill', a track our host at Rider's Retreat in 2008 had a hand in building and kindly showed us. A steep track running down the side of a shear drop.

After making it to the bottom, we headed back to the Rider's Retreat for a quick breather and I headed back up alone for a few runs of Pleney, hoping to catch the other lodgers, but after 30 mins of sunbathing at the bottom, I headed up and set off. I quickly caught up with some riders that wouldn't pull over so I tool one of the sneaky offshoots to overtake them and headed up to the old rooty section of pleney (it was the line in 2006 but the high berms were added in 2007). Another steep section, with a series of root drops a couple of feet deep. I got a bit excited through here and let go of the brakes, feeling totally on it. My bravery was soon rewarded by being bucked off the bike and onto my back facing down my trail. Fortunately, no bones broken, and no skin broken, I only suffered from bashed knees which are already seizing up! A fun run and a good reminder I am only mortal!

Posse: Alex (Socom), Dave (Iron Horse Sunday)
Mechanicals: none - some rattles from the previous day cured by fettling last night and Alex spent a bit of time fettling his forks. - Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone



dozer said...

I see Switzerland (we have photos :-))has not changed much, at least fog is better than rain. I think we saw bits of the Swiss national and stayed cleared. Have you tried going straight over the top and down into Champery (nice views) rather than coming straight back down shorty? And next time you have to go back down the road to Montriond call in at the bar next to the lake and say hi to the English bar maid from Les.

Dangerous Dave said...

Nope! Not changed at all. I think there's been cloud/fog every time we've been there.

We are considering heading over to Champery (DH) but Alex's braking finger was playing silly buggers so we decided to opt out of anything too taxing. Views from the top of Shorty are awesome enough so I'm sure Champery is even better! Am I likely to receive a slap for Les if I say hi to this barmaid?!