2015 Saas Fee Glacier Downhill Race video
Dirt’s alps based correspondent Richy Taylor raced the bonkers Saas Fee Glacier Downhill last weekend and he fired us this cracking video and the following race report, well worth a few minutes of your Friday time so read on!
Words and video – Richy Taylor
The 12th annual Saas Fee Glacier downhill bike race took place last weekend and boy was it carnage. The friday afternoon practice was an interesting inaccurate experience, the pistes were slushy and moguled having been skied on all day, I basically tomohawked down the entire mountainside using my handlebars as an ice axe to self arrest. One small diversion through the snow park to hit the medium kicker line put my stoke levels right back where they should be. All I had to do was don the mud spikes for race day and it was game on.
6am, cue race day. At this hour in the day even the black birds are still rubbing the sleep from their eyes. A few of the German hardcore were still looking a tad inebriated from last nights party. Nerves started to creep in on the way up making the butterflies in my stomach flap their wings a bit, causing a couple of porridge flavoured farts to waft through the air, much to the hungover Germans disgust. I laughed.
Upon arrival at the top, the sun was just poking its head up to reveal one of the most spectacular starting points for any bike race in the world. The place was buzzing.
The format of the race had changed slightly to help with seeding and limit damage control. The infamous ‘Le mans’ 100 metre dash had been scrapped. Sprinting at 3500m at 8am can be detrimental to your health especially if nursing a hangover. At the back of the grid were the ‘chewbaccas and crocodiles’ here to soak up the occasion and at the front were the jostling spandex clad serious racers aiming to take the prize money.
Huge credit to the Saas Fee piste grooming crew, the track was looking fresh, flat and hard packed. I knew that the next 11 minutes of my life would be a full gas blur trying to control the carnage as best as possible.
Adam Orr from Scotland romped home for a 25th place, Britain’s best result, well done the Innerleithan fireman. On fire! I ranked 64th after a comfortable but big crash on the piste. From being high sided to getting back on my bike I must have slid about 70 metres down a black piste. The key to a good result is a clean run, this means avoiding the deep snow ruts and assuming the death grip for 90% of the race. Hang your balls out for some serious high speed snow drifting.
The Saas Fee event organisers were really a credit to themselves with everything running as smoothly as expected in Switzerland.
We would love to see more British boys and girls come out and test themselves on the 5.5km course with an 1800m decent down red and black pistes.
2013 certainly wasn’t the year of the bat (featured previously on dirt mag) but who knows, maybe 2016 IS the ‘year of the rat’ All I know is that this race is a one of a kind and is something that has to be experienced at least once.
Last but not least, I wish Rowan Sorrell a speedy recovery, his antics here 2 years ago were legendary, mostly in the village bars, helping to drink them all out of Jaegermeister. He knows what this race is all about and we hope he’ll return one year.
I hope you all enjoyed the video and race report!