Well, as many of you may have gathered, i recently went to Morzine for the Passportes.
We did it by car and JEEEEZ, that's a bit of a hike. Left the house at 3.30am and got to our place at 5.30pm. Bit of a long day, but plenty of banter helped pass the time really well. Instead of going out for a quick hour, we decided to get drunk instead, well, a little bit... the Peroni went down really well.
Next day we wandered round like lost souls, not really knowing where lifts went, where the runs were, what was the best, how we got lift passes. But with a bit of chatting to people who looked like they knew the script, we were well on our way very soon.
I was riding the Bionicon with 160mm front end and 170mm rear travel, Formula K24's running 180's both ends. I was soon to realise just how much use they actually were.... LOTS.
We started off on the lowest rung of the Morzine ladder, the Green Downhill. This was a strange trail.... VERY steep in parts, but a bit rubbish in all honesty... didn't really flow at all. But that was probably as much the fault of our inexperience in something that's just SO SO steep. So much so that within about 4 minutes my rear brake had gone insane due to heat/pads and was grinding and rubbing away and wouldn't rotate. After fixing that, we made the rest of the trail and ended up very disillusioned with the whole run. It just wasn't great, i think we were more expecting a bit more of a zig-zig down to give a flow.. instead of the quickest way down humanly possible.
We then jumped back on the lift and thought we'd give the Blue a try... That for me was much better...much much better. But for the others, they still came away with no smiles really on this run. It's a very rooty DH run, tight and exceptionally techincal in the roots/rocks... but the Bionicon really did a fantastic job and was sure-footed and went down brilliantly.
One of the lads threw the towel in at this stage, his 120mm Stumpjumper really not having fun and inspiring him. So, we headed over on the small XC route to Les Gets. To be honest, the XC was more what we're used to and that was actually really good fun
Once in Les Gets we were watching some of the younger cool kids showing off getting plenty of air-time and feeling a little out of our depth. But we jumped on the next lift and up to the top of the Red. Well, blow me down, this was SUPERB... really good, fast, flowing and fun. A couple of chicken-runs for the old boys who can't jump... but really really good. By this stage i'd totally fried my pads, front and rear and the brakes were squealing away. However, we enjoyed it that much, we did the Red twice more
Evening beers, pizza and fun was beckoning. However, the rear of the Bionicon had snapped 2 spokes and was way way out of true. So a trip to Torico bikes in town. "my wheel is bolloxed, fix it please lads"... Well it cost me 5 euro and a pint of Peroni for the mechanic, it was sorted and perfect in 15 mins with new spokes and running true...
Day 2 brought the day of the 'event'. It wasn't actually as BIG as i expected, but when out on the trails, this grew with more food stations, villages and lots of riders. It's almost impossible to go into detail of the full day, it was after all about 80km of riding, through countless villages, varying terrain and loads of great banter. There was a couple of cracking fast flowing DH type sections. However... God there were ROCKS... rocks rocks rocks... i think at times we did about 3 miles of rock garden !!!! certainly made my rock skills come on in leaps and bounds. One of the boys took an 'over the bars' moment and hurt his back/ribs... but nothing too serious.
The views were truely amazing, never having been to the Alps i was totally in awe of the whole situation. Friendly people, stunning villages and amazing weather.
The final descent was into Morzine (sort of) and after chatting to the guys on the trails i was a little worried.. It turned out to be a ridiculous gradient root garden.. just tonnes and tonnes of roots, with 2' or so drops and jumps to clear the next roots... by the end of it, i'd boiled my brake fluid, the lever almost coming back to the bars. The thing that stunned me the most on this (and other) section, was the speed you pick up if you even let the brakes off for a second... the accelleration is just instant and you're back to 30mph flying into the unknown LOL.... Scarey stuff at times.
Day 3, i was out on my own.... not something i wanted to do in all honesty... But, none of the other guys were playing, so i had little option. Up to Les Gets and 3 runs on the red, then back on the XC trail over to Morzine and on the Blue.... i was done.
The 3 days has brought me on as a rider a lot i think, increased my confidence a LOT... gave me sights i'd never seen before... and i had a bloody amazing time. However i can't help but be a bit disappointed with Morzine. I was expecting a bit more fast, flowing and fun. (Like the Les Gets Red) and less off the tight techincal and rooty/mess/rocky stuff. The cracking fun stuff IS out there.... but it's strung between 3-4 other rides to get to it.
I'm very very very pleased i went to Morzine... even more pleased i bought the Bionicon the day before i left LOL. The 29er would have been pure hell.
There's 4000 more things i could write... but i'm out of time i'm afraid and have to finish cleaning the bike.
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