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Matt Page- second day at the Mega Avalanche.

| Blog, Mountain Biking Uk | 08/07/2011 09:15am

The nerves have been setting in for Matt Page on his first outing to the Mega Avalanche- here’s his report from day two. At time of posting this blog, Matt’s in his qualifying run- good luck Matt!

On Wednesday I rode the qualifier course, it starts at 2800m up and its 11km long. Today we went right up to the top, Pic Blanc at 3300m altitude. It is the highest lift at Alpe d’Huez and where the main Mega Avalanche race starts.

I had no idea what to expect, there has been lots of talk about the glacier, or lack of it! I met up with a group of Brits including a few who had ridden in previously, Martin Astley of Hotlines and Duncan Ferris of DMR bikes, they have both done well too so I hoped to pick up a few tips. Reaching the very top there really is nothing that can prepare you for it. I’ve watched the videos and seen the pictures but nothing does it justice.

It is high, it is steep and it is like nothing I’ve ridden before. The start is in the snow, deep horrible slushy snow with a few deep tracks through it. I’m not sure about the top guys, but I certainly couldn’t ride it. There are intermittent sections of snow & rock for the first few kilometres where just staying upright will be my main goal, and a pretty tough one too. One section traverses an icy slope before heading down it. Touch the brakes and you hit the deck, as I found out!

Once past the snow it becomes a big rock strewn track with a few absolutely crazy rock drops and step-downs. By the time we got to them I’d lost my bottle and decided to walk several of them and I certainly was not alone. It is a good few kilometres until it starts to become more ‘normal’ of alpine riding, with single track and rocky tracks that I am now confident enough to ride.

We only rode the first half of the course to Alpe d’Huez so I will be riding the bottom section blind, although everyone seemed to think it was point and shoot and not too technical. To round out the day we all headed to the top of the qualifier course for a look at the start. There are a few crazy lines all the way down which are known as the ‘pro lines’ which I can’t even imagine riding, but Martin & Duncan were making them look easy. Often the hardest part is spotting them, rather than actually riding them! The qualifier course is being ridden quite a bit and it is getting badly cut up and new lines are forming, which are often quicker. The “pro lines” are obviously the quickest but take some real commitment and a clear track.

My Rocky Mountain Slayer is amazing and I’m happy riding it and I think I’ve made the right kit choices, except perhaps not having full knee/skin guards. I don’t want to jinx too much before the races though. The only let down is me and my riding, but considering how little of this type of riding I do I think I am doing OK.

Tomorrow is qualification day. I’m in heat 9 of 10 and lucky enough to have a front row spot. All I have to worry about is 180 people behind me all wanting to take the same line through the first corner! My aim is still to qualify in the top 35/200 in the heat, which is what it takes to make the main race. It won’t be easy, but if I have a good start then it might be possible! Once that is over I can start worrying about the main race. We’ll keep you posted on Matt’s progress- hopefully he’ll qualify without a hitch and will be ready for the big race. Don’t forget that Rob, Jamer and Ric are also out there- we’ll let you know how they’re doing when we hear from them!

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