Mountain biking Alps trails as a way to spend a holiday has, in recent years, grown exponentially in popularity. As the panorama of holidaymaking as a whole shifts towards the active, whisking along a trail on a sturdy mountain bike while taking in stunning Alpine landscapes seems to have taken pride of place in many a cyclist’s preferential list.
Within the demographic that makes this type of holiday a way of life year in and year out, however, two groups should be singled out from one another. On the one hand are the couples and families to whom mountain biking Alps courses is very much like biking in the English countryside: simply a nice way to spend a day out together. The other group tends to take this type of hobby rather more seriously, and will strive to not only better themselves as cyclists, but to find the hardest and most challenging events to participate in each year.
It is to this specific group that the Megavalanche caters. Considered one of the pinnacles of mountain biking Alpsevents, along with the Pass’Portes du Soleil race, this downhill freeride attracts hundreds of cyclists from across Europe, who seek to experience the thrills and spills it offers first-hand.
On A Downhill Course
The concept of the Megavalanche is simplicity itself. The race starts 350m-400m above sea level, high up in one of the many steep Alpine mountains. From there, contestants launch on a wild, steep downhill course, the difficulty of which is the first of many factors that make this race suitable for only the most experienced downhill mountain bikers. Families and amateurs not used to this type of event will no doubt be put off by the high risk associated with this event, which is always something to consider with downhill biking at the best of times, and especially with a speciality course such as this one.
Another factor that may drive mountain bike enthusiasts away from the Megavalanche is the amount of preparation it calls for. Getting one’s body into the correct shape for mountain biking Alps trails is already rather challenging, and much more so for a gruelling course such as this one. It is important that riders taking part in the Megavalanche be in tip-top condition not only physically but mentally too, as negotiating the course requires a combination of sharp reflexes, constant attention and physical fitness. As such, many riders who simply want to take in the Alpine sights while pedalling along may not think themselves apt for properly tackling this event. The price of a speciality bike, which is also essential when taking part in an event of this type, may be another stumbling block for less committed cyclists.
Those who do take the hobby seriously, however, owe it to themselves to experience this competition at least once. There is a reason the Megavalanche is considered one of the pinnacles of Alpine mountain biking, and it needs to be experienced first-hand to be properly understood.