Home Forums Bike Forum Megavalanche 2024

Viewing 23 posts - 1 through 23 (of 23 total)
  • Megavalanche 2024
  • fooman
    Free Member

    Tickets go live January. Sponsored by Chain Reaction. Problem?

    I said I’d take my son when he’s old enough, which he is now, and I might as well do it too.

    Is it doable for a mid pack Enduro rider? Is it worthwhile even if you don’t qualify for the glacier start?

    We do a few Enduros each year, he’s way quicker than me but I’ve maybe more stamina.

    1
    sharkattack
    Full Member

    Totally doable for an average rider even though it’s probably ten times longer than you’re used to.

    Still worth doing wherever you qualify as long as you make peace with the fact that it’s a traffic jam rather than a race for most people.

    Northwind
    Full Member

    TBH I’m not sure how useful a comparison with UK enduro really is, partly because of the difference in scale- a diesel powered slogger will probably do a lot better in the mega than on a 3 minute UK race stage. But also because of the technicality- both the mega courses are simpler than a typical mainstream UK enduro (though, making up lines on the fly adds a lot of challenge!)

    When we did it, I just wasn’t fit enough- couldn’t find any breath at altitude and basically died on the glacier, so I ended up quite far back by the first singletrack and it’s just really hard to make any progress from there. Still had a great time though.

    I’m midpack in a scottish enduro but was just coming back from a broken arm so I was way off my normal pace both fitness and skills-wise, but still qualified pretty comfortably. I’d have been very bummed if I’d not made it into a mass start tbh, so much of the event is about that madness. I’d have had a better ride, but that wouldn’t make up for it. That said everyone gets to do a quali mass start (and the quali for me was the better of the two events- not as massive but a better course)

    I guess my main thoughts were about “mega as a holiday”, which was how I was approaching it… Because that part didn’t work out that great for me. Practice and then the 2 races suck up more of your time than I thought unless you plan to absolutely busk it, and outside of the event frankly ADH isn’t that great, it’s not somewhere I’d go to if not for the race. We spent a few days over in les 2 alps beforehand which for me was a much better trail network, and a nicer town too, but still far from the best the alps can offer.

    Having said that, the newer lift from Allemond should improve that mightily- the bus service was crap frankly and pretty much defeated the purpose of staying at a lift resort, having that lift up should really open up those lower trails.

    I would definitely do it again but I’d rather do a week at white room or similiar, so it’s got to be like every 4 years or something, or some year when I’m feeling flush and can do 2 holidays.

    kimbers
    Full Member

    i think everyone starts on the glacier

    just in different heats

    its not so much like an enduro race here, just a really long alpine downhill with some pedally bits

    fitness and practice riding rocky stuff before you head out also make sure bikes are fully serviced b4 you head out and take plenty of spares

    its a brilliant experience 

    mc
    Free Member

    so it’s got to be like every 4 years or something

    Next year would make it 5 years…
    However I’m not wanting to be in anyway responsible for any sense of humour failures!

    mc
    Free Member

    The main thing that puts me off doing the Megavalanche more often, is AdH is a pain to get to. The only realistic option is to drive there, either all the way from the UK, or fly to Geneva and rent a car.

    As Northwind has mentioned, AdH isn’t that great a resort. It’s more a long weekend kind of place, and although Les Deux Alpes is a bit better, again it’s really only much good for a few days riding.

    It’s why I’d suggest driving, then spend a few days either side of the valley. Or if you want to go all out, the Mountain of Hell is usually two weeks before the Mega.

    As for the Mega course, what kind of stuff do you ride in the UK?
    Glacier is a case of surviving, and the extent of snow remaining. I’ve done it where the first access road was pretty much snow free, and the snow stopped part way down the long steep section, then the worst was 2019 when I done it with Northwind, and the snow only stopped before the reservoir, so the first road then the long traverse after the steep section section was hard going.

    The rocky sections vary every year. They’re generally not that technical, but can contain lots of quite gnarly short steep section/drops, it all depends on how they tape it, but they’re often in amongst large rock slabs, so failure is likely to hurt.

    Once you’re past the town, it’s all fairly mellow. But don’t be surprised if they add some sneaky climbs. I’ve done it three times, and after the town, the route has noticeably varied every year.

    zerocool
    Free Member

    Do it, it’s bloody amazing fun. Every MTB rider should try it once.

    1
    Northwind
    Full Member

    mc
    Free Member

    However I’m not wanting to be in anyway responsible for any sense of humour failures!

    That wasn’t this me, that was some other me!

    jamesoz
    Full Member

    I returned this year for my 2nd 25th birthday. I’ve done 6 I think, great fun, met some great people. I usually qualify near the front or at the front of the challengers, which is actually ideal for a middle aged mid pack racer. I much prefer longer stages so it suits me.

    Like Northwind I fall apart at altitude, especially in the soft snow like this year. 

    twistedpencil
    Full Member

    The snow this year was a brutal mess. I crashed in quali and ended up front row of the amateur race, so a rest on Saturday which i needed to ride the stiffness out of the body.

    The organisation this year was poor compared to previous years, so much so that the main was delayed by nearly an hour and the set off without the last three or four rows… they went separately about 15minutes later.  The Amateur race was worse, I was lined up on the front row for over an hour. But when the tape drops you forget all about that and have fun. Managed to get down in 14th so was buzzingbon Sunday afternoon.

    Do it!

    dyna-ti
    Full Member

    With climate change how long until its megarockyroute ?

    stingmered
    Full Member

    Squats. Start doing squats now. And press ups. Every day. . You’lll thank me in July.

    5 times Veteran. (And last time finished the ‘proper’ race in 51 mins in the top 100.) It’s brutally hard, not technically just on your body.

    edit: sorry I should say, it is technical , in that you’ve got to be used to riding technical, exposed rocky terrain at speed to make headway. But for me the hardest part is fitness and strength, especially as it starts at 3200m. Bloody good fun though. Everybody should have a crack once in their life.

    SSS
    Free Member

    Well worth it. Im not a DH’er or enduro rider at all, im an XCer.

    When i was there i was in a qualifier heat (of 200) and was in the 5th row (of 25). I let EVERYONE go in front of me so i wouldnt have anyone T bone me from behind.
    I got to the bottom in 134th place out of 200. Jolly good fun – even if i was like a fish out of water.

    I bought a Commencal Meta 5.5 specifically for the Mega (this was 2010)

    We flew to Geneva, hired a car and stayed in a rented cabin for the week.

    jamesoz
    Full Member

    The Amateur race was worse, I was lined up on the front row for over an hour

    Was the same in the Challengers. An hour wait, I got a decent start and made the first slope upright. I went too far left, got bogged down in the snow and had to try to run/stagger.
    I’d lost my spine guard so had a full upper jacket. I nearly died.
    Was glad of it when a stupid pedal strike topple over. when in traffic sent me off the side of the trail on the jagged rocks after the snow.
    Had my first Largely traffic free run through the woods with, I think a German rider following, I offered to let him past but he was happier following.

    HobNob
    Free Member

    TBH I’m not sure how useful a comparison with UK enduro really is, partly because of the difference in scale- a diesel powered slogger will probably do a lot better in the mega than on a 3 minute UK race stage. But also because of the technicality- both the mega courses are simpler than a typical mainstream UK enduro (though, making up lines on the fly adds a lot of challenge!)

    I agree with this, although I haven’t been since 2014, which was the year of the apocalyptic weather & I vowed never to go back again.

    It’s pretty hard not to qualify for one of the mass start races if you can ride a bike & dont have a mechanical in qualifying. My only advice, which I am sure is still valid now, is think outside the box when it comes to lines & don’t be a sheep.

    Ive started quali on the back row, in the pack & on the front row & always finished somewhere in the top 20. Just go very hard at the start where you can overtake a lot of people with kamikaze moves, before you get stuck in the single track.

    I qualified 3rd in my heat in ‘14, so was on the second row for the main race, which was pretty wild, but the snow is considerably easier to ride at the front when its not rutted up, managed to stay upright & somewhere in the top 30 off the snow, yet its still a traffic jam all the way along the alpine traverse, whether you are near the front, in the middle, or stuck at the back from experience.

    Whatever you do, you cannot be too fit for the race, and you will never experience arm pump like it, being stuck in a train of people dragging brakes in all the wrong places will blow your arms up like nothing ever before.

    10 years on, still not got the desire to go back 😆

    zerocool
    Free Member

    When I did it in 2007 there was decent snow cover at the start (I’d never seen a ski run before so was surprised by how steep it was), the middle section was dry and dusty and then the wooded parts were fun as I could use my experience of riding narrow, slippery and  muddy British woodland to really hammer down, couple this with some dodgy ‘mates race style’ overtaking and it was ace fun and made up a few places.

    if I went again I wouldn’t do it on a 40lb freeride bike and I’d make sure I was a lot fitter as a lot of people passed me on the uphill bits (and the start as well), but I managed to hold my own on the other descents. I was an average, unfit XC hating DH rider back then and bikes weren’t really up to the task yet (either too delicate or too heavy). You don’t need to be mega fit or skilled to do it. We went as a group of 10, all chucked in a fiver and had our own mini-race, winner takes all (and then buys the first round) sort of thing as there was no way any of us were going to be at the pointy end of the main racing.  The crazy mass start has to be experienced as none of the videos do it justice

    You can get a week of riding out of Alpes D’Huez and Les 2 Alpes easily (a car or van helps).

    SirHC
    Full Member

    Proper tyres and the biggest front chainring you can pedal.

    So many people puncture as they are running Exo tyres, downhill casings only, maybe even a proper insert in the back.

    Overtook loads of people who were spinning out on the fireroad between the start and the lift station in quali, managed to fit a 36t on the reign I was riding back then. Dont want to be in the 10th, as it will skip and jump, best to be firther up the block.

    superfli
    Free Member

    It was an experience. Like @Hobnob I did it in 2014 and conditions were fkn awful. To make matters worse, we were staying in a tent in Allemond and it rained the entire week! This and the fact that I got knocked off in qualifiers, which bent my forks and broke my helmet put me right off doing it again. Shame as the course if brilliant and bang on for my sort of fun. Just not so up for the mass start carnage really

    jamesoz
    Full Member

    @superfli, were you knocked out at in the big start line pileup? I dislocated my shoulder in that, and again later when someone anchored up near the lift station and I rear ended them.

    superfli
    Free Member

    @jamesoz no, it was at the end of the rock section not far from dmc gondola. Some guy hit my bars whilst overtaking on single.

    4
    fooman
    Free Member

    Well I made it to the Megavalanche with my lad and had a buzzing week. Riding was about our level with the qualifier perhaps the most technical but once you learn some lines it was also the most fun part. We did one full Mega practice run from the glacier to Allemond, Id say some things were harder than we expected – the snow was much more of a slog than we hoped – others easier as it wasn’t as steep or technical as we’d feared especially last half.

    We don’t normally race with armour but after practice decided to hire some, while I’m pretty comfortable with my own riding, in a group situation and lots of pointy rocks we decided it was a good idea. My lad qualified front row of Challengers while I was demoted to Amateurs after a crash, which I couldn’t blame on anyone else but was glad of protection.

    It did mean racing on different days but I was able to support my boy while he could support me on my race day so actually worked out nicely. Sadly there were storms and rain over the weekend and the organisers took decision to start on the qualifier course – I wasn’t too bothered by this as we had ridden the full course and I really enjoyed the qualifier anyway.

    My son got down fine with only one minor crash on a slippy berm of all places, but by the time I raced it had been raining for nearly 24 hours solid so the bottom became a muddy slop fest. I made it down but I had to pull mud from the rear wheel a couple of times as it had jammed, so I wasn’t really feeling it but still finished only about 15 mins slower than he did. I had enjoyed the qualifier course so much we went up and did that again after the race!

    One thing we did notice is other competitors were not as tightly wound as you get at UK events, most people were there as a personal challenge not trying to extract every last second from the course. I don’t think I’ll rush to do it again, I found it quite stressful week with the race hanging over us, but would definitely visit Alpe d’Huez in future. The wife who is more an XC girl really enjoyed the area and bike park riding in a way she wasn’t expecting, and there’s more to explore than we had time to do with the racing so a 2025 visit is on the cards.

    jamesoz
    Full Member

    I think I recognise the face on the left from the end of qualifying.
    I threw away a number 3 start, it’s a cool number but I think maybe I put myself under too much pressure. Survived a bar tangle at the start, stayed mostly upright and actually pedalled on the snow sections.

    Dropped it all on my own on an easy right hander, knocked the wind out of myself, with half the trail embedded in my lid. Watched a constant stream of riders go past, the video says I was stopped for nearly a minute.

    Jumped back on the bike and got slowly back into the groove, did some passing in the fun middle bit and the climb,  also went the wrong way near the finish line.
    I assumed I was in Amateurs, but was something like 56th and in Challengers.

    Unfortunately it became clear after fitting new pads, digging out the spare crash helmet I was too injured to race or in fact walk.

    jamesoz
    Full Member

Viewing 23 posts - 1 through 23 (of 23 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.