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10fifty Mountain Biking Diary - 2005

Things got very busy as you can see and Ian didn't quite manage to live up to his weekly reports. However, read those that he did manage to post in the 2005 diary archive. Look out for next year when he will post more!

Friday, 22nd July 2005, Hard Mountain Biking and Hard Holiday-ing

A welcome return to the hard riding and hard drinking posse of Liam, Len, Jez, Bo and John with guest star Ryan from the Lakes. A pretty heavy night down at the MBC upon arrival was all that was needed to start the first ride off on Sunday. Heavy heads soon cleared as the top of the Col du Possette made itself known taking the best way to travel, the bubble from Le Tour. A heavy duty first time descent for John and Bo who had not been out before awaited amongst the roots and switchbacks of just about everybodys favourite trail, The Possette.

Suitably impressed with everyones descending prowess it was time to inflict a little Alpine pain into everyones legs with a trip top see the Miage Glacier the following day. Ryan even though he had been training in the hilliest of hilly places, The Cotswolds, found it the hardest climb of his life which to fair really isn't too far from the truth. The descent down from Le Truc is worth the climb itself but after a quick coffee and some lunch it was time to get the main bulk of the descent over with. The singletrack that clings to the side of the mountain is both sublime and down right scary, a fall and it could all very quickly be the feature of a 999 special!

Everyone in one piece the next day we hit the Argentiere Glacier ride. Again the views came out to play but Johns rear hub was not and even the respected bike mechanic Ryan could not fix it. John then had to ride the descent on a very expensive chainless bike. As payment for his mechanical skills, Ryan thought that he deserved a lie down and decided that the best place for this was one of the stream crossings, soaking wet but laughing he tackled the rest of the descent with rare skill and style!

Trient was next on the list, superb as always with Bo giving it his all on the top nasty shaley section. Jez certainly gave his new five spot a right old seeing to and was a happy man about his new purchase.

It was with a tear in my eye that we said goodbye to the boys, mainly because Len would be married the next time I see him and his legendry "tails" will be no more and that I had to pay for a new door handle for the chalet after Bo discovered his newly aquired Alpine strength.

Sorry that there was a bit of a gap between entries we have been too busy enjoying Chamonix's mountain bike trails to want to write the entries!


Friday 9th July 2005 - Road Bike Tour Du Mont Blanc Story

I must say I was pretty surprised that myself and a select few were to do the first road bike Tour du Mont Blanc. Mountain biking has always been "The" sport for me, but slowly and surely I had gotten into the whole road bike thang and the prospect of riding the TMB in three rather than five days was all of the encouragement I needed to get it organised. With fresh shaved legs and jersey pockets full of gels, me, Nick, Stevie and Andy set off to the first col of the trip the Montet. An easy few hundred metres of climbing later and the col was in the bag and with Switzerland beckoning and the ridiculously fast descent down to Martigny very much on our minds, we flew up the Col de Forclaz to our first refueling stop.
The descent to Martigny was an absolute blast, braking hard into the bends and then sprinting back out of them was pretty close to the thrill of riding some choice singletrack. I know there will be some people that would disagree but fast push bikes+two inches of rubber on the ground+mental French and Swiss drivers= a pretty exhilarating ride.
Next up it was the steep... (continued on a seperate web page to save space!)

Road Bike Tour Du Mont Blanc Story


Friday, 24th June 2005 - Return of the Free Mountain Bikers

It was the return of the freeriding boys this week minus the freeride bikes and body armour, so normal mountain bikers then. With only three days of proper riding with work was calling them all back on Thursday it was time to get the big guns out.
The Col de Possette, Chalet de Miage and Trient were all on the cards as all of the guys wanted to ride some trails that they hadn't before. Half of us went up the front climb of Le Tour and the other far less foolish members went up in the bubble car. Bright red faces and complaints of sickness and dehydration at the top only goes to show that granny ring climbs on loose fire roads in 100 degree heat is not a good thing to inflict upon ones body. Salt sachets consumed and it was off to the Possette. After a brief lunch stop the superb descent was soon lapped up, with Jerry and Carl taking especially impressive trail detours!

A few Hoegardens down at the pub, kept us nicely hydrated for the brutal of brutal climbs up to Chalet de Miage. Dropping down from Bellevue, Gate and S challenge were attempted by all with only myself and John being able to come up with the goods, which with Johns bike being longer than the Chamonix valley is no mean feat! Fuelled up at Champelle, the long grind to the top at Le Truc was started. Shaun and JD set the pace with me holding onto their shirt tails just behind. Fifty minutes or so later it was with very sweaty jerseys that we crested the rise and arrived at the Chalets of Le Truc. Absolutely fantastic views all around made the climb more than worth it. Once we were back together we descended down to the Chalets at Miage and to a well earnt sarnie. The descent is technical and switchbacked and gave everyone a right big grin on their faces. superb. We took it easy on the rest of the descent due to the exposure on this super buff bit of singletrack. Laughing and reliving the days ride it was with pleasure that we took the train back up to Cham.
Everyone was desperate to do the Swiss run and after the last couple of strenuous days the cable car got the thumbs up. Carrying across the odd couple of snow fields saw us arrive at the start of the descent. It gradually builds as you descend with exposed smooth singletrack at the top and tight switchbacked and rocky stuff at the bottom. Everyone really shone on the way down, putting new found skills into action. As always the road climb back to the Col De Montets was a bit of a slog but as always well worth it for the drop back down to Cham.
Beers and food rounded the few days off and the inclusion of the music festival was a real bonus. Happy, tired and well impressed, the best yet apparently, the boys left for sunny England.


Thursday, 16th June 2005 - Banging Week's Mountain Biking in Chamonix

The start of week two started off with a big bang. Well three in fact, Robins Stans No Tube set up was giving him some problems after the plane journey so he slapped a couple of tubes into his wheels instead. Bang one was before we left the chalet, his tyre exploding, showering him with latex sealant, nice. Fifteen minutes into the ride and it was the turn of bang two, leaving his inner tube in shreads. That fixed ten seconds later and his other tyre blew off the rim, nearly giving one of the local OAPs a heart attack! Deciding to bail at this point, Robin and Leighann went home and contemplate the complex structures of air retaining structures.

Steve, Simon, John and myself continued on the valley ride with the Brevent extension, a cheeky little loop that adds a certain something to the first ride. After the climbing up the valley it was time to introduce them to switchbacks. With some coaching they soon were starting to get the hang of all that weight back feather the front brake type of thing. The Sud provided its normal fantastic fair and with the Marie deciding to regrade the lower section the cheeky left hander was taken, dropping everyone out by the golf club.
Tales of trail mastery was aplenty in the chalet that evening, the only thing to dampen the spirts was the thought of the Col Du Joly climb the next day.
Hammering with rain we drove down the valley to Les Contamines and parked up with enough road before the main climb to warm up on. Steve and Simon were quite concerned as to where the climb starts from, hoping that it was from where the van was parked. Dissapointed they "climbed" to the start of the climb.
Neadless to say everyone got to the top and absolutely loved the slick rock descent down to the ND Gorge church. I drove the van down to the Thermal park and met everyone with dirty great grins on their faces.
Rain greated us the next day so a quick, (three hour), spin around the valley was just about enough for all concerned and gave Steve and Simon a chance for an early beer and Leighann and Robin time to prepare for the mountain of molten cheese they were to consume the next evening on the cooks night off.
Lac Vert with some "easy" climbing and smooth descending was voted best ride of the week so far with Leighann riding some of the technical sections only to come a cropper on the pavement outside the chalet!
All of the votes were not quite in yet for the best ride of the week as Trient and Switzerland were still to go on Friday and missing out this particular beauty would certainly be on the rude side....

Tuesday, 7th June 2005 - Monster Mountain Biking

After a monster day yesterday, the mountain bikers were still surprisingly up for some more punishment. I thought that by going to the Animal Park and then maybe Nose Breaker it would give him the option of bailing out if they were too battered. A tough road climb later, all with the rather nice view that you see here, and it was lunch. After lunch and a rather fine lesson in Alpine descending he decided they weren't done for the day so off it was to the beast of a fire road to nose breaker. A rather tired Jean-Marc got to the top of the climb and readied himself for the descent. A good job the old boy had some body armour on, he luckily didn't reinforce the name of the trail but after his riding, it could be renamed, 'rolling around in stingers not knowing why you fell off trail', but it doesn't quite roll off the tongue though!
Cake and coke soon revitalised him back at the chalet, that combined with a sauna had him looking forward to the next mountain bike ride on Thursday.


Monday, 6th June 2005 - The Start of The Mountain Biking Season

8.00 am and the big red bus is finally on the move. With lots of kit and many, many mountain bikes the old girl is rammed to the rafters and rareing to go. Four hours later and we are in the Euro tunnel, France and a summer of mountain biking awaits us on the other side.
Off the other side and its the start of the drive proper. Correct music selected, window wound down and packet of proper driving food, crisps, in my gob, we settle into the seventy mile an hour trip through some of France's flatest lands. Mountain biking can't be big around Reims!

There is no need to go into the rest of the drive needless to say after eleven hours and a rather rude diversion around Geneva we found ourselves at 10fifty's new home for the summer's mountain biking, Mont Blanc Lodge.

In order to acclimatise properly to Chamonix's high altitude after the drive and the altitude increase, I thought it prudent to drink wine with Nick untill 5.30am. All was well in the world until I was informed "Ooh look its daylight!" At that point the thought of doing battle with holiday chalet set up was one that did not fill me with sunshine and happiness!

A mere few hours later and with very ropey instructions in one hand and a nail gun in the other, dehydrated and in need of some salty booze absorbing food, it was time to do the final chalet work. When I say me I really mean Nick who has rebuilt Mont Blanc Lodge, so I held bits of wood whilst he did all of the hard work with John the freshly qualified engineer lending his critical eye.

Cut to a few days later and the shopping done and the holiday chalet up and running it was time to take the trip to the airport and visit the perfectionist border guards with big guns. All went well and with the first of this season's mountain bikers aboard it was time to see if I could remember how to cook properly. A mighty feast of pate, beef hot pot and poached pears soon answered any doubts that I may have had as to my culinary skills. With everyone sitting around in the chalet, fiddling with the many boys-toys and barely able to lift their stomachs off the couch I knew that the first night had gone well.

The Chamonix valley ride was next up, I had forgotten how good the mountain biking is on this piece of trail perfection. Roots, rocks and some singletrack lovin was all I needed to remind me of why I do this every summer. Its a tough job but some guy with big side burns has got to do it!

30th May 2005 - New Mountain Bike Holiday website goes live

Its like the final thing that had to be done before we went down to Chamonix for the mountain biking season start. There have been plenty of other preparations going on to. As we are a mountain bike holiday specialist we are not in Chamonix all year round, until the ski /bike companies. This means everything has to be transported down and back each season. Luckily the 10fifty van is up to the job with huge capacity and a great sound system for the 560 mile drive down.

The website is looking good after a lot of work, but as with any new site there are going to be a few dodgy links. Please let us know if you find any! We also hope that you enjoy the enhanced content from holiday preparation to what the weather is going to be like for mountain biking.

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