Wednesday, July 25, 2007

More practice, more friends, injuries and knackered tyres....

Went up to Alpe d'Huez again today, arrived at around 11am. Got a text from Graham saying he had a bad crash and I quote "handlebar into goolies" ouch! I think this was during the Sprint Avalanche.... Hes not sure about making the Mega qualifs now :( Get fit soon Graham.
Did most of the qualifying route again, and on the climb (yes CLIMB) into Oz en Oisans, I spotted a familiar face, couldn't place him however. Saw him again having lunch in Oz witha coulpe of friends, and they kindly invited me over. It so happens it was Jason, and I recognised him from a picture he posted to the "Megavalanche update" thread on The 2 friends were Guy and Nick (I hope I got that right!)
Anyway we had a great lunch, Jason had lots of tales of a broken hand and seperated shoulder last year, and Guy got worried (he was on a XC style Intense 5.5 - I reckon a top bike for the Mega if you can muscle it through the rough stuff, you'll get back in spades on the climbs) We then headed off to the top of the qualifying route. Here we have 2 snowfields to negotiate, I did the first OK, but snaked big time on the second. This is around 2600m, so the snow is slushy and has lots of tyre tracks in, very difficult to ride, for me anyway!
Onwards, I heard a crack from the direction of Guy, thought it was a flat. Anyhow it turned out to be the crank arm with the bolt in moving round on the splines - hopefully a mallet sorted this out on return to base. So 3 of us finished the top part of the qualifier. My rear tyres wrecked again, won't be surprised if I puncture again tomorrow (boo) - new tyre for qualifying methinks - bringing all these tyres is really paying off - this section is super rocky and they are sharp as anything, really difficult to ride smoothly. Finished off with the fast blue with the ladder bridge jump, no problem at all at speed now and arranged to meet tomorrow morning at 9am.

Tomorrow is sign on day for the Mega itself, I'll get my race number (71) and I'll be qualifying in the first wave at 10am on Saturday (numbers 1-200), with Nico Vouilloz himself having the number 1 plate. Watch out Nico! Nico is used to going fast, he was also the French Rally champion in 2006, and previously won the World Cup downhill series 10times. The man is literally a legend. He rides for Lapierre Bikes, and last year he won both Mountain of Hell and Megavalanche:
Should be interesting to see how many seconds pass before he disappears into the distance :D

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