- What kind of protection do you a c t u a l l y need? (PassPortesSoleil)
knees and hips for me, with the odd shoulder thrown in.
riding everything from DH to easy
I prefer knee/shin personally as it covers the picked up stones and low sticks/branches on the shins. Got IXS Assault which I like.
Elbows hardest one out there tough to find good ones that stay in place and let your arms work. Ended up with a set of soft pad Alpinstar ones that seem to work quite well.
I got a 661 Assault suit, non rigid spine & shoulder pads about 10 years ago that still gets used. In the end it won’t stop breaks but it might ease the pain a bit.
For hips I got some of the Dainese armoured bib shorts
(not with the knee shin attached) great things for hip bones
If your happy with the rest stick with it, if your pedals have a cage it might make life easier if you get in and out a bit. Never ridden anything other than clips out there really.Posted 4 years ago
OK, OK, I know! This totally depends on where and how you ride and on what part of your body you usually end up falling.
– I’m a cc-/trail-rider on a hardtail with SPDs
– I’ll give Pass Portes du Soleil a go this year (and feel a little brave doing so), I’ve been to the Alps before and felt fine
– I don’t fall very often, if I do it tends to be shoulders, hips, head, knees in that order
– I usually ride on forest trails with very few rocks or roots, no rock gardens
So what kind of protection should I get (I have a trail helmet and gloves)?
I thought of the obvious initial knee and elbow protection and in addition a back-pack with integrated back-protection. Then again I havn’t covered the shoulders yet but might not need the elbow protection that much.
Concerning the shoulder protection: I don’t want to go full upper body armour as that would be overkill for my kind of riding. In the end I won’t use any stuff that I have to take on and off all the time.
What do you ride?
What do you crash on?
Is there a light unobstrusive shoulder protection that you can ride all day?
Many thanks for any reply!
hockPosted 4 years agojohnheSubscriber
I’ve ridden the Passportes before with no extra protection other than my normal helmet and gloves. I also ride each year in the Portes de Soleil with the same outfit. Having said that, last year was the first where I started wearing knee pads, and they undoubtedly saved me from a broken knee! But that was on a 4-5 foot drop off from a wooden jump.
For me, it all depends on the type of trails you’re riding, and more importantly, the way and speed you’re riding them. I tend to ride red trails reasonably slowly (compared to the downhillers). If I was flying down the downhill trails every day, pushing myself to go faster and faster, and go bigger and bigger on the jumps, I’d start wearing protection more often.Posted 4 years agojambalayaSubscriber
The PPdS isn’t technical riding, the majority doing the event have just gloves and a normal helmet.
However knee/shin pads are useful inc for rocks that fly up from the trail. I’ve seen some pretty nasty gashes on riders who’ve fallen with no protection, the ground is generally hard and rocky.
For shoulder protection you can wear padded undergarments/compression shirts like 661 do. For PPdS event I wear normal helmet, normal full finger gloves, shin/knee pads and the 661 padded shirt. If you are going to be riding more difficult trails and riding aggressively then more armour is a good idea. My mate had a massive otb at speed on a black trail and was certainly glad he’d rented body armour with a back protectorPosted 4 years agomattbeeSubscriber
My attitude to it isn’t so much that you need the pads etc because of how gnar the riding is, but more that you’re on holiday. Do you really want a silly fall on day one to leave you stuck in the chalet for the rest of your time there when a set of pads could have seen you still riding?Posted 4 years agoddmonkeySubscriber
For me knee pads, gloves, good enduro or full face helment are the essential items. Extra stuff a good idea as well but depends on your personal preference. I always find its too late to put it on once I’ve fallen off… my elbows suffer a lot in this way. It also depends how hot it is, I really struggle in full body armour and full face helment when its 30 in the shade.Posted 4 years agoSuperficialMember
I’ve got a friend who has some of this stuff:
Looks nice, definitely way less bulky than full armour and feels as though it would help in a tumble.
Since you’re using chairlifts (right?) then it’s not such a huge factor wearing slightly warmer kit. If it’s all lift-accessed then you’ll spend most of your day going downhill – in terms of hours spent descending you’ll probably do more in a day there than you do in a month in the UK. So whilst PPDS might not be any more gnarly than UK XC-style downhill sections, you’re covering a lot more ground, and you’re not sweating up hills. I wear knee pads for that reason (although, like you, I reckon shoulders/hips are more vulnerable). Leave the full-on pressure suits and full face for proper DH riding.Posted 4 years ago
Knee pads fo sure. The 661 base is a good idea – I have one for trips such as that.
Two options with knee pads in my book:
– ‘Soft’ knees (such as 661 Kyle Straits) that you wear all the time.
– ‘Hard’ knee / shins (such as Dainese 4X) that you velcro on at the top of the descent, which leaves you less encumbered on the climb. Also a good time to don elbows.
I’ve done both but in the Alps tend to err toward the latter, assuming you have time to stop and armour up. In the UK, where rides tend to flow more from climbs into descents and back into climbs again, I wear soft knees.
Get some good glasses too.Posted 4 years ago
The PPdS has a lot of pedalling .. it’s not lift assisted DH riding .. IMO it would be a pain in the arse to be taking pads on/off all day, your mates would not be impressed.
If that’s the case, I’d go soft.
I’ve taken hard pads for rides where you climb for two hours to then descend for 45. If there’s lots of pedalling with descents chucked in (so you’re traversing, rather than going up/down) then soft makes more sense in my eyes.
Take some elbows too – you can always take them off if they’re too hot or annoying.Posted 4 years agodoctorgnashoidzMember
Last year I had a regular XC lid, gloves, knee and elbow pads. I’d have liked a full facer in hindsight. The knee pads were a pain, I found them very uncomfortable. But then I also saw some bad injuries requiring the helicopter.
I went with factory fitted nobby nics which was a mistake, make sure you take some tough rubber. The terrain above Champery between Switzerland and France is real rugged in places. I rippped a rear tyre wall, didn’t notice until the next day that the tube was bulging out. Considering I went for the day it could have been a costly mistake.
In summary, xc lid is ok as long as you ride within yourself.Posted 4 years agoNorthwindSubscriber
mattbee – Member
My attitude to it isn’t so much that you need the pads etc because of how gnar the riding is, but more that you’re on holiday. Do you really want a silly fall on day one to leave you stuck in the chalet for the rest of your time there when a set of pads could have seen you still riding?
Aye, this. Pads don’t often prevent big injuries, they just don’t get the chance, big injuries are rare. But little ride-spoiling injuries or even bloody annoying scrapes and bruises are pretty common. One thing missing half a ride when it’s your local.Posted 4 years agot_i_mMember
OP: it depends on your level of riding. i.e. how competent you are and how hard you want to push it.Posted 4 years ago
Personally, I’d go for arms, legs and normal/xc helmet.
While I’ve not ridden the actual PPDS I’ve ridden the area and done 80km+ self organised day trips in the area that follow similar routes to the PPDS.
I’d view PPDS as a lift assisted mountain tour ridden at a decent, but within yourself, pace. It’s a great way to learn the area. The flat out riding should really be left to another day when the trails are less crowded.ajcMember
Ridden In the area loads and done the event about 5 times. You will see every variation of bike and protection. Every year there is more and more armour on show due to the increase in uk storm trooper fashion, the trails haven’t become more knar. That said it really hurts to have rocks flying up at your shins, which happens a lot if you ride at a decent speed. Knee/shin and maybe elbow is a good idea but upper body compression suit jobby is overkill and if its hot you will cook. Also take big ass tyres. It never ceases to amaze me the number of fat knackers you see getting surprised they have punctured there light weight cross country tyres. Your riding buddies will not thank you for missing the last lift due to 6 punctures in a day.Posted 4 years ago
We’re treating it as a long day of normal trail riding. I think everyone has maintained their bikes a bit better than they would on a normal weekend but nobody is doing much different to a standard all-day ride.
Oh, I fixed my slow puncture (I’ve had it for 2 years), so that’s a bit different.Posted 4 years ago
when did PPDS become the Megavalanche?
It didn’t. But it is a “50 mile cross country ride” in the Alps, which is a little different to the UK.
The classic Whistler injury is two broken wrists – people come out and hit A Line straight off the plane, with no ‘bedding in’ to the area. Big jump, over the bars, direct journey to A&E.
It takes me a day or two to get my head round the sheer scale of the Alps every time I go there, and I worked there as a guide several years back. In that time I’m a nervy rider as I find my feet, so to speak. Why not take a few precautions?
Also take big ass tyres. It never ceases to amaze me the number of fat knackers you see getting surprised they have punctured there light weight cross country tyres.
That too. 🙂 Although how you get a big donkey in your tyres is beyond me…Posted 4 years agoddaySubscriber
While I agree it’s not the technical riding, its when you start getting tired. It’s a boatload of downhill, and many are not used to doing that amount of up-out-the-saddle. You get tired, you make mistakes.
I just looked at where most of my bike related scars where, and went for covering those. (knee pads!)Posted 4 years agovinnyehSubscriber
It’s a fairly long day out, and can be tiring both mentally and physically. There’s some very fast riding in places, and potential for some big stacks if your attention wanders. I’ve done the event several times and have crashed each time. Can be a bit tricky in the greasy stuff, not many rocks though, but knee pads at the least will give you some protection. My only crash in the rocks I got away with, but it slowed me down for the rest of the day.Posted 4 years ago
Riding on ordinary days out there I always wear knee, arm and armoured shorts and undershirt, there’s a lot of potential pain off the ppds route, which is technically straightforward.nickjbSubscriber
Snow? Have I missed something?
That one isn’t live, but there is still a bit of snow at the top.
Looks OK on most of the riding bits:Posted 4 years ago
Rode it when it was the FreeRaid in 2000 and then you got timed on the sections and just rode the bits in between in your own pace. I was guiding at the time and did it on a Rotwild RDH with Full face and Dainese but it was early season and I had a full season to work. And…. having done it again 4 years ago there was a LOT more DH in it in 2000. The course uses a lot of wide open dh bike specific trails whereas it used to use a lot of paths and walking trails. Last time I did it on a Pitch and I mistakenly wore my Full face and knee pads, and wished Id just worn my XC helmet as the amount of fire road climbing meant I took the bloody helmet off on the climbs anyway.
If its day one of your hols, wear your normal lid and a bit more padding than you would here. But, its not a race any more so take your time and enjoy the beer and wine at the food stations!Posted 4 years ago
Tyres are fine. Tubeless?
I like the idea of backpacks with integrated protection, but have never actually tried it – if you do I’d be interested to hear how you got on.
Also, take a 3L res – it gets warm in the sun up high! Lower down there’s lovely alpine troughs to stick your reservoir / head into.Posted 4 years ago
got myself POC Joint VPD 2.0 knee-protectors and an Evoc FR Enduro back-pack with protection. Both had the best initial fit.
Shins were too far off what I would normaly ride. Will stuff some papers into my socks if stone-chips get too bad. :O)
Upper body stuff too bulky or useless. :-/
I. Will. Better. Ride. Sensibly.
Off to Les Crosets in a couple of hours. :-))Posted 4 years agoigmSubscriber
Knee and shin (hard), but mainly for protection from stones that get thrown up.
Elbow and fore arm (hard), to protect the nice riding top I had from snagging on the vegetation.
Gloves and open have helmet.
But then I don’t ride fast enough to hurt myself when I fall.
I did it a couple of years ago on a superlight with just a normal helmet and gloves. I was not fast and got passed on the downhills by loads of imperial stormtroopers but really enjoyed it and did not feel unsafe.
Sounds familiarPosted 4 years ago
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