Morzine 2013 - part two

Day 3
Another early damp start and unusually a bus ride, took us up into the mountains. Straight away we dropped into  some pretty treacherous descents and around a slightly slower (31 mph) and rather edgy Panoramic. DangerMayst seemed to excel on the rocky red descents but soon disappeared after Panoramic, only to re-appear safe and sound clutching some brake parts. The now well used M5 bolt and tape once again saving the day. After the initial descents including the avoided road jump we arrived at the tangled network of runs that all start & end at the same point, these kept us busy building lactic acid for the next two hours. 3 were open and after sampling all,  the green Serpentine, with tall carved berms that seemed to go on for ever, was voted as the most fun and all apart from BigAir’s jump (which had no landing ramp and removed all his lungs contents), provided some of the best rides of the day. Wary of the time we moved one valley closer, which enabled me to overcome my fear of the big ramp & air bag a couple of times. Then the least favourite trail of the day with its high consequence jagged rocks and hooked drop offs was decided against only to be repeated immediately, to collect the dropped sun glasses. Eager to miss the inevitable storms we dropped through Avoriaz and avoiding the swearing forest we made the descent by road. No one noticed whether they had Strava on or not, but ferocious corner exit pedalling, narrow handle bar grip, chin on the stem, slip streaming, car bullying and rear wheel lifting last minute pre switch back braking would ensure no one would doze off. All tactics including using the front of a van were used, as for the pedalling, generally it made no difference. We arrived back at the cycle shop as the heavens opened and Happy Hour was pursued. Later 1 and ¾ inches of rain fell over 3 hours which saw torrents of water, sand and gravel washed into our building and the market square, just as they were nearing completion of the Hog Spectacle and so the night long clean-up operation begun. As we all plugged into Strava screams of 44.4mph turned into mummers as 44.7 was announced, 44.9mph, then the magic 45.0mph not to be beaten time was revealed by one over-reading device – He’s not coming again. 

Day 4 - Aches & Pains Day
3 full on days were taking its toll and there were painkillers and Monster being ingested by mid-morning. But as the Les Gets and Chavannes trails started to dry once more in baking relentless sun, adrenaline cut-in and everything but enjoying these fast as you like, Marmots’ last day choice, awesome runs were soon forgotten. We started with the non-stop, no longer a seven but six minute run, Chavannes, several red and blues, before the long and fast open cross country descent into Morzine. This was made special by Big Air removing the barbed wire fence with his bike and legs and laying on the floor in order to direct us safely cross the 25mph bridge. But his was not to be his only bike exit today as another berm-detour-run-off-down-the-hill without your bike incident occurred, on camera? Oh yes. Unplanned berm exits were something I think we all safely achieved this year. I am sure CarefulButFaster does not need reminding of his big off in Morzine 5.1 (Higher & faster still) last year, but…… Time & time again I remind you to not follow me, luckily in this case, our line astern re-enactment of the 5.1 big off excursion, was safely navigated back onto the piste.  In the afternoon we crossed Morzine and to Zore to enjoy the fast tight berms & new monster table tops. Plenty of opportunity to stack, with cameras rolling, but it was everyone around us loosing skin or trapping body parts, including full use of some catch fencing. And then the final car overtaking - road race, down to Morzine, enjoyed 40mph coasting (by most) and reasonably pointless 43mph pedalling, dropped us back to give sad farewells to the heaviest, widest and most expensive bikes we ever ride. We felt smug at not injuring ourselves and most importantly, safely looking after our adopted son.
Finally the storm cycle was broken and the evening mellowed to accept our leather clad fellow bikers evening’s entertainment, that was going to keep us from our beds. The first band were fair, even good in places, but the headliner sucked like your granny on egg and reminiscent of a Bad French Doonican, he seeped through our tightly shut windows and shutters until someone eventually pulled the plug around 1AM.

A swift and precise 12hr Mr Pain driving experience got us to another rubber gloveless border crossing, popped out the other side into the only traffic jam we saw (M25) and we were still home in time for Maysty’s Ovaltine.
2013, Faster, deeper and mildly moist  (Not a porn movie, it’s this year’s catchy tag line) and importantly only minor scrapes.  It is possibly the best thing you can do with far too many clothes on and really, we do OK for a bunch of old guys.

2014; The Chinese year of 50 year olds, will you join MMMMMtb chapter for MZ7.

Morzine VI - part 1

This year Darren had carefully booked the adventure for the now infamous Woodbridge Surfers Extreme division 6th outing to the Alps to coincide with and pander to his other secret loves. Chaps and face hair.
So it seemed appropriate that given our central position within France’s largest Harley Davidson gathering, less than 100 metres from a 20 metre speaker stack and directly facing the stage, that we should attempt to blend in. To help us mingle fully and properly fit in the Surfers Extreme embraced change and renamed the group and indeed our own names to reflect the kudos which we would gather. So the Melton Mounted Moist Marmot’s MTB chapter evolved and with our new names, which embraced our characters, such as BigAir, DangerMayst, Bruiser, MisterPain and GoinCarefulThisYearButSomehowFaster&inFront OfYou and so with all our new facial hair, we were truly part of the local scene. (Marmot is a kind of Alpine Beaver, not normally visible but seen a lot more this year).
Prior to all this with some 12 hours of travelling in Mels Mystery Machine, we arrived slightly early, enough to book our steeds for the week, check out the pad and sample some cold filtered nectar before laying out our armour  ready for the next day. With some trepidation, big hopes of sunshine, dry trails and forearms of steel, it was off to bed.
With the breakfast team pumping out the eggs early and all squeezed into our gear, we very quickly realised just how hot it would be and just how bad that would smell after four days.
The first day was off to Les Gets, with its moon crater like berms and mass of interconnected trails, we slowly all overcome the fear of the first outing and maybe slightly acclimatised to the high level of lactic that a six minute handstand could produce. With the trails drying fast under the baking sun, we had not realised that the moisture was not disappearing, merely a temporary lifting. With all the excitement of the fantastic runs and BigAir’s brake lever bolt dropping out, we had not noticed the clouds had turned black but with bolts of lightning we quickly gained height to location where we could freewheel home from. As the clouds built and surrounded us the rain lashed down and as a lightning bolt struck below us and umbrellas tore at their mountings, we eventually realised apart from the two that had stripped to their vests and cling filmed the rest, we were the only ones, fool enough to be up there still. A little over an hour later, as the rain slowed, we gently eased our way down the now treacherous trail back to Morzine. Having already scouted the Happy Hour unwinding drinking hole, we judged the day to be really great success, our bodies said we could have stopped at 3PM, so vowed to avoid the rain the next day, by starting even earlier and getting home before the rain.

Day two. 24 hours later - 3pm. We huddled under a tree, stretching water proofs over everything we could! Then heading off not really knowing a route home, but assured that the torrential rain which had started to form 3 inch deep mud rivers, was not going to make it easy and also that plans are best not made in the pub. Earlier in the day it was decided that the Moist Marmots were going to cross the border and dive into Switzerland, Pain, Mr Pain had planned the route and the early start got us ahead of schedule. It was not long before the temperature was dropping and we exceeded 2000M. There was plenty of snow still left which created its own amusement as it is slippery and cold and funny. As we crossed the border, the trails changed, fast , rugged, daunting and we repeated a particularly challenging trail near Les Crosettes, before fear of weather, being 3 valleys away from safety and with no passports, we headed back to France. 
La Panoramic , is a gently sloping trail which meanders all the way round a mountain, dropping you majestically in a natural valley , surrounded on all sides by some the most beautiful mountain scenery you could imagine, for you to gently enjoy. Or alternatively you could pedal wherever you can (to top the speed up), you will see none of this scenery (hopefully), hold on real tight, spend only 80% of the time on the ground, for the twice-as-good-as-any-roller-coaster ride, touching on 30mph, will have you  gripping everything you have. Turn on Strava and release the beast. You decide what happened. 2 laps full on, don’t look down, with BigAir landing off the trail twice and Careful Dave in a ditch, we counted our good fortune that nothing else mad would happen that day and we headed off to the next valley. Strava on, can we break 40 mph from Melanie’s corner down to Chatel? With that lovely loose shingle feeling of two punctures, all we managed was 36mph on the gravel, shale and jumping drain ditches!

Chatel is another natural picture card bowl surrounded by snow topped mountains, lined with trees, picturesque streams gently babbling past the many Alpine hut restaurants, completely ruined by a huge Burn jump air bag. As we cruised by, watching the mindless idiots with no respect for their limbs, fire themselves skyward, BigAir stopped, pondered and decided that maybe he could try this, he is young he had a note from his parents, so off he went. Me, well I couldn’t let him do it on his own. As we stood in the queue, it dawned on me what I had let myself in for. As I neared the front I could hear my heart, if Duncan did it what choice did I have, well actually, if I let Duncan go first, I could do the smaller jump. I can’t remember being so scared or more relieved when I landed. The second one hurt a lot as the bike escaped me so I had to do a third. BigAir was getting big air so we were glad we had called him that. And so after a massive sugar entry and a forth jump we headed off, knowing if I came back, I would have to do the big one – Shit what is wrong with me, I still feel nervous saying it. Well nothing would stop Duncan now, well luckily for him, the tree which also could not stay on the mountain, did. As we came above Morzine the storm just dumped on to us. We found ourselves dropping through heavily rooted now mud rivered trails, which were just easier to ride then walk. As I picked my routes I could hear, like a wolf in the woods at midnight,  DangerMayst gently encouraging himself, with the F-word at full volume, as the near impassable trail caught him out once again and caused him to use his shorts as mud anchors. As Pain and I arrived at the accident scene, a wisp of a girl was just helping BigAir back up the mountain side, from his and his bikes resting place, jammed on a tree. Not really learning off he went again and a little later I was confronted by just his bike, stuck axle deep upturned in a hole. At 3mph eventually you would overtake the sheet of mud falling down the mountain side and safe riding could resume. Half an hour later, very muddy, very tired, we welcomed Happy Hour once again.

End of Part One  - Part Two Coming Soon – Photographic & Video evidence to follow soon after.