The Megavalanche

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Get yourself to the Alpe d’Huez in the South of France, for the most insane mountain biking race of the year.

The Megavalanche descends nearly 3000 metres down a vertical glacier, meaning that this event is really only for the most hardcore cyclists.  Ideally, you want to arrive a few days early to give yourself the best chance of finding the quickest routes down the rocky gardens and icy trails.

What does the Megavalanche entail?

There are qualifiers and a finals day. Only the top 35 participants from each qualifying race get through to the main race.  Besides the Megavalanche, there are also events for kids (Kids Mega) and also loads of great single tracks for you to explore.

The varied terrain of the course, especially the initial stage with icy-snow making it extremely treacherous.  Heavy rock gardens in the latter stages make planning your route a must.

There are 10 heats of 150 riders, with the fastest 35 from each heat going through to the final.  Making 350 riders in total that make it into the final race.

There are 10 heats of 150 riders, with the fastest 35 from each heat going through to the final. Making 350 riders in total that make it into the final race. Photo Welovecycling

What Do The Riders Say?

Ondrej Barta (30) from the Czech Republic entered the 2018 race after his friend told him there were still some last minute spaces available.  It had always been his dream to enter the most insane bike race in the world!

Here is some of what Ondrej had to say about the experience.

The first three kilometres, it was a pure downhill madness on snow. In this total chaos, I managed to pass about 70 riders and made it to top 30.

The final part was led on a downhill track that took about 10 minutes. After the overall time of 48 minutes, I made it to the finish avoiding any technical failure, ending on the 67th position of 350 riders of the final heat, or of all 1500 riders registered for the race. 

Megavalanche has been one of my best mountain biking experiences and I really and honestly encourage to take part in the event. 

Source – We Love Cycling

Some Tips To Get You Down To The Bottom

Prepare the body

It’s a very intensive week, so get out in high altitude for at least an hour and half at a time.   The start of the race is even at over 3000 meters! so the more higher altitude training you can do before, will better prepare you for race day. 

Set up the bike properly

A wide bar and short stem will make riding in the rough stuff a lot easier.  

Sprint training

During the race it gets congested, so to give you the best possible chance to nip past slower riders, interval training is important (From 30 secs to 3 minutes is advisable).

Map out the route as much as you can

It’s impossible to know everything about the course, but identify general areas that prepare yourself to enable you to make crucial gains on your competitors.

Important to ride relaxed

Riding with a loose grip will allow for blood flow in your arms, avoiding your arms ceasing up is essential.

Diving with the Greenland shark.

Essential equipment

For more information, you can visit the main site here.

 

Costings

Sign-up for the Megavalanche Alpe d’Huez on the engage-sports.com website. Registration is restricted to 2200 participants max, professionals and amateurs. The registration fee ranges from 67 euros to 75 euros + lift pass (47 euros for 6 days) + insurance (19.80 euros for 6 days).

 

How to prepare the bike

rough and raw

sore on the bike , sore on the body

 

A full run down of the bike, suspension, gears, making sure all your bearings are in good condition,  so you dont run into problems when you’re out there.

dry fast and loose and you can get tweeked and fixed will make life easier once you get out there.

service and suspension

grease and bearings

inner tube tire leavers, co2, if you get a flat on top of the glacier theres noone there to help you. Theres no uplifts its just you and the mountains. maybe bring a spare tire as its a long week. (tuesday through to sunday) gear cable and spare chain. Things you may not will break at home but may break out on the mountains.

 

Protection – comlusoru – full face, knee pads, heavy duty gloves, coat, tinted lenses snow is quite bright.

 

Need to wait for up to 2 hours waiting for everyone to filter in, and it gets cold at the top, so a base layer is recommended. Tuck it in your pocket so you dont need to carry a coat the whole way through the race.

 

In preparation

As soon as you arrive get out for a ride.  The elevation 3000 meters is really high so its important to acculmatise asap, otherwise once that race starts it will be extremely tough. 

ride some of the tracks – it may look dry but its gonna be slippy due to the loose nature of the gravel.

 

The most unqiue race in the world. At the top you’ve got the snow, icy conditions.   After the snow, you’ve got the wet rock as the snow meltwater flows down the mountain.

You’ve also got climbs, its tough and physical again at altitude and also steep terrain that requires a high level expertise to traverse it.

With over 2000 riders trying to veigh for the racing line they want, its became tough battle between the riders.  You need to get stuck in and be prepared to fight for your own space.

What do you tweak on your bike for race day.

Lean towards a comfort setting.  its a long time as it takes over an hour for most people.  Soften the suspension, run heavier duty tires, trying to get the bike as robust as possible. you are going to make mistakes as you won’t be making the right lines everytime.

Long day – starts 5 am and won’t get finished until 11 or 12am, every though the race only lasts an hour. Bring some food with you.

Keep smiling, its early morning, feel nervous and daunting that high up for the race.  You can also smell the fear, but just be happy, remember you are there for the fun!

 

 

 

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