The Scottish version of the Megavalanche took place at the weekend at Glen Coe, Scotland with Joe Barnes taking the win.
Hardtail fanatic Iain “Ace” Woodley jumped at the chance of racing when he heard that a helicopter was involved. Here’s his part one of his report:
At last years DH enduro Frazer dropped the plan on us in the bar, we where all sold as soon as “helicopter” was mentioned. That was a while ago. A lot has changed mostly fuel prices which pushed the fee up, then the lack of snow killed off the piste bashers running the bikes to the summit, it was a gamble by no fuss to even think about trying this event, they pulled it off, a lot could have gone wrong, if the weather changed the Heli would have been grounded, variables out of no fuss’s control (it did get windy) the floating nature of the event as well, late march/early April, then April, then May 1st then 6 days before the date it changed to April 30 the day i was planning to travel up…..royal wedding made sure the motorway was quiet when i went, i got there friday lunchtime to hear that Frazer was having trouble staying upright somewhere on the mountain marking the route, so its a bit steep then ? the staffers in the ticket kiosk asked if i had been up there before, i havent but i can manage Fort William ok….. the locals think thats the easy track and i might have issues on there mountain.
I spent the afternoon up at the fort looking at the new track mods and taking photos for HTN (be another blog on that), got back dossed in the carpark, rolled out for a whizz at 5.30am, still quiet in the carpark so dozed off again, rolled out at 7.45 to sign on, and then wind the piss out of Frazer (i grabbed a dirt at the fort).
We are now both endtroducer club members. Sign on get the race plate, try to find out how technical the route will be, like any cliff drop offs and stuff. I had no idea what to expect and have only seen the muddy NPS?SDA race photos of a year or two, i opted for a burly technical steep tight rocky track and went for a short wheelbase high BB singlespeed to roll over rocks and not rip off a mech, i didnt expect to pedal as it would be super steep. I got a few things wrong there, but then no one has ridden this before and it wasnt like the Mega where you can do lots of research on what to expect.
The plan was we now had to shuttle our bikes to the start line, then come back down for the brief at 1pm then get our flight time and fly back up. There was a last minute cheap ticket for chairlift only access, a few of these spent the morning playing on the lower sections while we treked up. The original plan ment we wouldnt see the track until we started, this way we could walk down the whole thing, this did put a lot of minds at rest as it wasnt as severe as we expected.
I wasnt the only HT Sam Holdsworth rocked up on a Evil Sov. Our final descent goes to the edge of the photo and drops down to the chair lift station. The up coming BDS race track zig zags down the left side of the lift towers (another blog got some ariel track shots).
chair lift ride 1.
Thats the next chairlift, from there we had to carry the bikes as its only button lifts to the summit at 1108m, ok some of you out there will be like “only 1100m thats a hill” well over here on our small island this is the highest longest race to happen, we are used to 1-3 min tracks and Uk uplifts tend to do more damage to your bike than racing it, we just dont have chair lifts over here, and Fort William DH is only 650m, for scale its way smaller than the Mega for the UK its as big as its going to get.
Over the hump and drop down to the single chair lift. This was interesting as its not geared to carry bikes, and that is a V12 resting on my tackle taking the weight of the bike, i was too excited to notice the pain as i have never been on a chair lift or this high up before.
This went from 720m dosent say what height it stops at.
The course went to this lift then off to the right across the plateau then looped back round to the track and down to the first lift station, we hit the top section of the BDS track then off out over the moor and looped round back down to the bar/finish.
Push up the track time.
We turned off the track as the snow was slushy and hard going, really hard work now to hike a bike.
The start line, what a view, a rest and time to head back down.