Category Archives: Road trip

Four have fun in Finale

After the race briefing. You miss the sea in Chamonix.

It’s de rigueur to make some sort of “season finale” style pun in reports on the Finale EWS round, what with it being the season final in Finale and all. Instead I thought I’d go with a nod to insufferable English kids books of the ’50s.

A reference that it seems will be lost on many of you as Google analytics tells me more than 50% of readers are “not UK” so you probably didn’t suffer Enid Blyton at school. I also wonder why quite so many folk are interested in this crap, you can’t all be robots (01001000 01100001 … [Read full post]


Coffee. Apparently caffeine is a drug, so another road rule ticked.

A change is as good as a rest. Apparently. Road biking is definitely a change from mountain bikes, but I’m not sure it’s a rest.

A game of word association is unlikely to link Chamonix and road biking. Or me and road biking for that matter, but I tried a 29er once (twice now I think about it) and it didn’t seem that bad so might as well give this road biking lark a go. That and I had friends in town who wanted to go road biking.

Hence a quick bit of internet research later a very much not … [Read full post]

Pila. Pinning/pining.

Start with a banger. Pila summed up in 1 shot, dust hanging in the air, a fun berm, and as a tribute to Dirt mag, backlit rider with reflective goggles on.

A long time ago in a galaxy (small highland town) far, far away….

The first copy of “Dirt the downhill mountain bike magazine” arrived, some time later than it did in the rest of the UK as that’s generally what happens when you live in the north of the UK. For a bunch of kids who were doing a mix of BMX and motocross on bikes totally unsuited to the job at hand, and definitely not wearing lycra, it was a revelation that there were actually other people like us. All over the place.

Obviously we all started buying Dirt.… [Read full post]

Last chance to see. Samoens

Ooo I do like a loose dusty berm these days.

Life is a temporary affair. As an organism you get between a few seconds and a thousand or so years on earth. As a species it seems you get about 10 million years until you’re outta here. As a rule, it’s the mass extinctions that’ll get you. There’s probably been five already (alas details are sketchy, there’s not many folk left afterwards to keep a record), which between them mean that 99.5% of the species that have been, have been and gone.

Today we’re possibly going into a sixth mass extinction with species getting the chop at a rate about … [Read full post]

Saleve: The trail strikes back

It could have been worse. We could still be there.

Saleve is not that well known for it’s biking, but on the off chance you meet someone who’s ridden there one of the things they’ll tell you is it’s a bad choice in the wet. Slick and slippy mud coating roots and smooth limestone with steep gradients to maximise your travel from the trail and bike if/when you fall.

It’s wet just now, but Sandy and I figured it couldn’t be more wet than Chamonix where May started with the average monthly rainfall dropping on the 1st, then the 2nd and 3rd not being much drier. As a … [Read full post]

Verbier. Open for business

Shot possibly used in umpteen bike magazines over the years.....

Miss us?

Winter has been. Maybe not quite gone, but certainly been. Spring is here with her promises of skiing in the morning and biking in the afternoon. Of course it rarely works quite that perfectly, but it’s still been good to get either a good ski and a short ride, or a short ski and a good ride in. Tuesday was the latter, a short ski in the morning followed by loading up the car with Spencer and Nina for the first road trip of the year. To……………

Verbier. But then you probably guessed that, what with the blog … [Read full post]

Hallowed ground

Sandy heading for the sea.

Every game has its Mecca. A site that unless you visit you can’t call your self a true believer. For Elvis fans it’s Graceland, gamblers have Las Vegas, alpinists Chamonix, Muslims err Mecca. For #enduroist (or mountain bikers as we were known before the number symbol was misappropriated) it’s Finale

And just like Mecca at hajj, mountain bikers must go Finale for the superenduro/EWS finals.

So we did. And lo, it was good.

The reason to head at EWS finals time (apart from Nina racing in it) is that a bunch of new trails get made and marked out for … [Read full post]

Champex Lac: Seasonal discrepancies

Lorne on the high switchbacks of the trail of the day. I think he preferred it in winter though.

Deja vu? After 2 weeks of near constant rain it seemed the Scottish summer was over in Chamonix. One day of sun meant the trails were dry (mostly) and spirits were high (mostly). It also meant everyone had headed out to enjoy the trails.

Eager to ride some fast downhill trails, preferably with well build berms, a trip out of the valley was called for, and where better than Pila?

Turned out plenty of other folk had a similar idea and the queue for the Mont Blanc tunnel was backed up at least 60 minutes, so we headed to Champex … [Read full post]

Les Contamines, no bad.

The official Les Contamines trail being attacked by Nina (too dark for photos in the woods alas)

After 2 weeks of near constant rain it seemed the Scottish summer was over in Chamonix. Four days of sun meant the trails were dry (mostly) and spirits were high (mostly). It also meant everyone had headed out to enjoy the trails.

Eager to ride some empty downhill trails, preferably with well built berms, a trip out of the valley was called for, and where better than Pila? Spence would even get to take his DH bike, and the rest of us could sit and eat ice cream or drink coffee.

I guess plenty of other folk had had a … [Read full post]

La Thuile, not racing.

Stage 2 on race day, looked pretty good!

The world series of who’s best at ‘going out and riding their bike about a hill and calling it ENDURO’ has come to La Thuile, which I reckoned was probably the best place I’d been for ‘going out and riding a bike about a hill and calling it ENDURO’ when I first rode there a few years back, so that seems pretty fitting.

As the E.W.S. races are open to everyone I thought it would be good to head through the tunnel and ride against the world’s best. Alas work was less interested in this idea and thought it would … [Read full post]