Yesterday arrived in ADH (Alpe d'Huez) at around 4pm to try the blue and dial the helmet cam in. After a couple of runs, my lefthand pedal started to sieze. So I took it down to the trade area and a nice man on the Magura stall used a deep 10mm socket to remove the axle (I didn't bring any deep sockets - oh the shame!) - Anyway the needle bearings next to the crank had completely failed on my Crank Brothers 50\50s. So time to bring out the old faithful DMR V12s (had them since my Kona Bear)
Onto qualifying, as mentioned I now had a helmet cam and camcorder setup hurray! for now anyway. So we got upto the start at around 8:40 (10am race start), no queues for the lift, in fact we were in the first telepherique to go up.
The atmosphere was good, the day was bright and clear. Nico lined up on the first row, I was directly behind him on the 3rd. And they were off! I had a crap start as usual, and probably 30 or 40 people passed me, through the big switchbacks then onto the rocks and the 2 snowfields. Unfortunatley, the camcorder must have got knocked as I kind of fell over in the first snow field, and it stopped recording boo! Anyway to the second snow field, and I noticed a few people taking a different line not touching the snow (always a good idea) The line was down a massive rock, very steep, so I did it. Then operated my hydraulic seatpost and started pedalling down thw first bit or fireroad, where I passed Nico. Yes its true. He had a puncture.
He passed me again probably 10 minutes later at an amazing speed.
Anyway to cut a long story short, I pedalled the climb and passed around 10 people, and even overtook a couple on the steep switchbacks (ah if only the camera had worked :(), nearly went over my bars in the woods (very very nearly and it would have been a steep landing) and finished the race in approx 41 minutes. I had previously only done around 80% of the course in that time, so I was fair motoring over my other practice runs. Nick finished a couple of places behind me, after 3 crashes, and Jason finished ahead in something around 39minutes. Well done all, it was a tough race.
Don't know if that is good enough to qualify for the 2nd wave for the main race, we find that out tonight at 6:30pm. It could be close, or I could be miles away. We'll see
Was a great race though - if I can improve my starts then that would certainly gain me a lot of positions.
We then had a spot of buffet lunch after a short trip up the hill in a big bus (Jason, Nicks and my bikes in the underbus storage lockers, everyone elses in a trailer) and then went back up the hill in a lift to catch Guys qualifying run. We had a most amusing time next to a large off camber rock "encouraging" riders, with shouts of "allez allez allez", "pedal pedal", "concentrate", "not down there! uphere!"
There was a French woman with a dog, to whom I cried "get that dog of the track, this isn't the Tour De France you know" - Jason had a lot of funnies, at one point a bloke in a cow costume (!) rode past to shouts of "Go Cow, Go Cow" and to the following riders, "The cows in front"
Guy came through and seemed to be having issues with his gears.
So I'll attempt to get some helmet cam footage of the race tomorrow, and I'll tape the knob that moved and spoiled todays filming up with gaffer tape.
A thoroughly enjoyable day :D
The google map thing of qualifying is here : http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/player/3468130