Sunday, July 22, 2007

Mountain of Hell Finale

Firstly, I qualified 219th in the end (was 170th after the 3rd wave)

It poured down with rain all last evening, so thoughts of the Double Black in the wet kept me awake.

I got up at 5am this morning (orders were to be at the lift for 6am) - It was till dark, and very misty. Not a great prospect for a race from 3400m.

Got ready (wearing a water\windproof jacket to keep the cold at bay, was due to be -7 with wind chill at 3400m) and was down at the Tourism Office for 6ish. What a dreary sight, still dark, a few people milling about in the mist.

As the light came, so did the people, so I found out I was in line 11, and had to be at the lift at 6:30. Up we went, and what a sight as we rose above the mist - bright sunshine and lovely cold mountains...

At 3200m there is a restaurant where I took shelter from the terrible cold - and met up with Rohan an English guy I had spoken to at qualifiying yesterday. We asked each other what the f#*k we where doing up a massive mountain at 7am.

And so for the first bit of snow riding down to the funicular (underground train) that takes you upto the glacier at 3400m. The snow was surprisingly grippy, not slippy at all.

Even colder up there and we laid our bikes on the start line (11 in my case)Lots of dancing to keep warm, and a little AC\DC and we were off. The announcer said in French that there was some melted sections towards the bottom of the glacier and to brake before then because there was no grip after. I obviously took no notice of that. From the airhorn start, I pedalled like mad, and gained several places, actually clashed handle bars with someone at one point but we both stayed on. The sight of 400 bikers flying down a clean stretch of glacier was pretty amazing - I was going pretty quick, then people started to go down directly in front of me so I started to brake, which didn't do much. As I got closer to the melted section I realised I was going wayyyy to fast, so I think(!) I decided to lay the bike down rather than plough into the section with water and fallen riders in. So I crashed into the ice, and started to spin round, checked there was no-one going to hit me, and held onto the bike until it stopped. I got back on, only to realise my left hand (rear brake) was numb from the cold (I must have dragged it through the ice) and my levers where moved up into the wrong position. Anyway, across the snow again passed the funicular, and a little uphill where I stopped to correct my levers. I also checked my maximum speed at this point (probably 3 minutes after the start) and it was 46.8mph! So I crashed at nearly 47mph :D

To cut a long story short, my left hand was numb and I thought I had frostbite for half the race, so rear brake action was intermittant. The pain when my hand started warming up again was immense. Other people had this issue I think I saw at least 5 people at the side of the track clutching their hands. I continued on without stopping :D The climbs were painful, but I felt held up on most of the loose singletrack sections. Who knows without the crash?

The Double Black was fun, lots of sliding, and pile ups and avoiding fallen riders. The footpath to Venosc was insane, just lots of steps, wet slidey rocks and wet slidey drainage pipes.

Finished in the time of 1hr 10mins 23secs, in 214th position, out of 314 starters. I'll settle for that :D

(Mick Hannah, World Cup downhiller finished 19th in 47mins and the winning time was 39minutes 13seconds!!!!! shit thats fast - and this is cool, in 17th place, Bernard Millet, born 1958 i.e. 49yrs old, in 46mins 10seconds, he kicked the 24yr old professional rider Mick Hannahs arse!!!)

However, after the adrenalin wore off, I appear to have busted a finger, probably on the ice crash, I think I bent it backwards a fair way.

Rest day tomorrow, the lots of pain killers and onto Megavalanche Practice......and not to crash on the snow at 47mph :D


Trailrat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Trailrat said...

You mental bastard Dazz!

Muchos respect mate!!

P.S. When will we see you on a proper hardcore bike ride again? (Tuesday Pootle).

Picky BBMBC.

(removed the 1st post 'cos I forgot to sign it!)