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Trig's Alpine road trip

Now the nights are dark and riding is almost on hold, I've dug Trig's Alpine road trip photo-blog out of the inbox. It's now up to remind all you aspiring couch potatoes what the sun looks like and keep you motivated for next summer!
Article Pages
1/ Trig's Alpine road trip
2/ Alpine road trip - Part 2
Not the Port Du Soleil....

I've been running the club annual trip to the Alps now for 7 years for on average between 25-40 people. In that time I must say that mostly due to laziness, most of the trips have been to the Port Du Soliel, but last year we all decided that we really had had enough of the agro-atmosphere, total absence of women, crappy out of date and poorly maintained tracks that we've all done waaay too many times. So enough talking about it - this year it really was time for the Alpine road trip.

I've done road trips before, but not ones that involve an LDV mini bus, 3000 miles and 9 smelly blokes for 2 weeks...

So a quick run through - as you'll see, I've tried to let the pictures do most of the talking. Here goes...


Packing in strong wind and rain. Some old dude crashes into the van door. Shit, not the ideal thing to set the holiday going. I was quietly really pissed off about that, but put it to the back of my mind. Still the door sems to close and lock, but the hinges are well bent.

Set off at 7pm. Spirits are obviously on a 'we're going on holiday' buz. Pick up Blake and Andyboy from Bedford. Worried that there really might not be enough space for everything. There is....just.

No sleep. Even in the M25 traffic jam at 2 am!
And I'm told this is normal?!

This provokes early use of the getto toilet. The 5 Ltr bottle was nearly full.

Ferry over, no hitches.

Drive through France, pretty much the whole day Saturday.

Arrive at Carrefore in Grenoble at 7pm French time - so a 23 hour trip (remember the clocks are behind in France).

Go to Liv's for well needed showers. Drop off freeride bikes in Liv's garage.


Loads of energy. Drive to Les Deux Alps. First test of vans hill climbing powers. Goes up fine. Ride the black run at 2 Alps. Its a brand new course and has only just been raced on 1 hour earlier. Course is turbo steep and pretty tough. Did the rather dangerous huck with no pads - probably shouldn't have - still too excited.

Meet up later and do 9 cross down the lower track. Course is just repeated shaley switchbacks. Best drifty corners I've ever ridden. 800m drop and lift stays open till 8. Too many runs! My legs are killing.

This gives an idea of just how much packing the van needed.

Drive to Alp d'Huez in the evening. Fix/make a chain device en route actually in the van while its driven.

Cool air keeps the van cool up the 21 switchbacks. Worried that the engine will blow - shouldn't have - it's fine and the fan works. Crawl up at 15 mph, but I don't care as long as it makes it. It does!

Celebration beers. Even if the van breaks now, it doesn't really matter anymore.

Camp under the main lift in Huez next to Course Du Vash (cows). Chuffing moo-clang!


I rest as my legs really do hurt from yesterday, plus there's a light rain shower. Some go to the Sprint course, others some of the single track woods - which are everywhere. Sign on and get lift pass. Some have trouble with doctors note.


Sprint practice proper. No rain. The course is dusty dry by lunch. Sign on in Oz en Oisans. Track is probably the bast DH race track I've ever raced. Perfect difficuty level for such a mixed field. Main difficult bit for me was steep rooty chute with sharp 90 left exit. Meet up and ride with Simon. Most corners have a cut - gotta remember. Brilliant off camber field finish.


Nervous start to Sprint race. No practice, just straight into race runs. Most people have trouble with this format. Difficult to remember the track, but seems fair for all. 2nd runs are much better. Average time is about 5 minutes. I get 5.10, happy enough, not really that bothered - just didn't want to embarras myself. Simon comes 2nd in his cat. Chuffed. Liam and Eddy drive back to Liv's for DH bike exchange.


Relax. Sign on for Mega. Liam and Eddy return with freeride bikes. Late start then practice the Mega race track. Blow me there's a lot of snow - way more than last year - at least a full mile of snow. The snow rips my shin pads and fills my shoes. Ride the rest of the trails and remember just how long this track is. Go right to the bottom and then back to Huez. Probably to Snack 2000.

Get your 'freeride on'...

Time for a ghetto shower. There were free showers at the sports centre, but that's all of 500m away so this way seemed the best idea (at the time);


Mega qualifier practice. Track is quite intense, plus harder than last years with an additional tech middle bit. Loads of punctures and slams, though neither for me. Still riding in XC helmet with no pads as I'm still struggling with altitude. Shades are crap for riding - make eyes sting and full of dust.

You might not be able to make it out clearly on this photo, but Andy is holding the 'Orama-metre', which briefly twitches from 'Adventure' to 'disaster' when the van blows the top off the fuel pump. Fortunately it fixes with zip-ties (no, seriously)!


Mega qualifier. 3rd or 4th race pack me and Liam line up together. Not aggresive enough through early turns and lose a ton of places. Make up equal number of places and finish where I started - 40th. Not great but comfortably in Mega. Liam is 18th and super chuffed. Mink is in Mega too and quietly glowing about it! Everyone else in promo but Grande - he's super pissed. Baz and Andyboy took out some serious trash. Middle fire road climb is a bastard. Hite Rite seems to work.

Baz is crowned as 'Trash King' for taking out the most amount of trash - 138 riders passed in the qualifier!

Next page :: Alpine road trip - Part 2 >>>

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More articles from the 'riding | feature' section:
[ Trig's ATC 09 roadtrip ] - posted on 30th July 2009 by Trig.

[ Pila, Tignes and Les Arcs 08 ] - posted on 30th March 2009 by John Wootton.

[ Pinning the Atherton Gap ] - posted on 11th August 2008 by Phil.

[ Trig does Benalmedena, Malaga, Spain ] - posted on 1st January 2008 by Trig.

[ Trig's Alpine road trip ] - posted on 16th November 2007 by Trig.

[ No Place Like Home. 008. The Final Installment ] - posted on 9th October 2006 by Trim (and Ali).

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