Passportes du Soleil weekend

The peak mountain bike season started this last weekend with the traditional season opening event the Passportes du Soleil. It's a brilliant event attracting around 6000 mountain bikers to the various resorts that make up the Portes du Soleil and are linked by the lifts. The weather was good Friday, terrible Saturday and really good Sunday - mixed bag.

This was the first big test for the lift system and in particular the measures in place to cope with the Pleney being out of action. For those who don't know, as an alternative the two chair lifts adjacent to the Pleney are now running so that downhillers can access Les Gets without pedalling and there are two buses with specific mountain bike trailers carrying 30 bikes running all day long between Morzine and Les Gets. Things seemed to work really well with no significant queues that I could see or two chalets full of guests commented upon - all worked well for everyone which bodes well for the rest of the season.

As ever all the guests participating in the event had a brilliant time although admittedly the Saturday participants described it as "epic" given the conditions. You could read that either way. Whatever, they were smiling under the face mud packs. I've not actually done the event for a couple of seasons now but everyone loved the variety of trails catering for all standards, all comers and all bikes. And at the end of the day it's a brilliant vibe to share such a massive and varied riding area with so many other like minds.

I managed to get a big back county MTB ride in yesterday and had a great time. It was only my 5th time on the MTB this year but I expect those numbers to stack up significantly now all the lifts are running. We used the chairlifts access Les Gets and then disappeared off around the back of Mont Chery for a little bit of pedalling to access some brilliant singletrack trails eventually descending into Saint Jean D'Aulps.

Even though the sun was out and lifting the temperatures to around 25 degrees plus the ground was damp and greasy in places (and un-believable muddy in others) making for some demanding root and rock outcrop action. Have to admit to being a little bit fair-weather these days so initially I was struggling a in the slippery conditions but eventually things dropped into place.

Some of the mud sections were un-real, proper gloop but it was all a good laugh and that sun soon dried everything off. A big tiring ride so we ended up in Chez Rogers in town refreshing on a few beers .

The Tour de France is keeping me entertained in the afternoons and I'll be doing my own tour stage next Sunday in the Etape du Tour. Cannot wait for that. It's stage 20 of this year's event based around Annecy. Doesn't seem too long at 125km but that just means you can ride harder, it won't be easier. Hoping to do another good ride this year and top last years' 53rd place (scratch). I got a seeded start on the grid so no excuses!

Think I'll take it easy this week with a couple of road rides and some none pedalling MTB.

More snaps here.

Bonne descente

Phil

“Bike riding in the Alpine paradise of Morzine, the Portes du Soleil and surrounds. Brilliant singletrack, hitting the bike park courses, back country hiker biking to the less well known technical descents and anything else in between. When I’m not doing that it’ll be riding the best Alpine road bike  routes right from my Morzine doorstep.

Love riding bikes and there isn’t a better place to do it than Morzine. Hopefully this little report will give you an insight into the Morzine biking scene, what the trails and roads are like and other useful bike riding information.

Ps. In the winter there will be a little bit of ski chat, not much riding to be done when the trails are under metres of snow and the roads are all icy and wet.”