Morzine 4 – No Rest for the Wicked

Slightly different format this year. Decided to drive down to avoid all the delays and constraints imposed by flying. So it all kicked off with a 12 hour road trip starting at 03:00am on the Sunday. Long but relatively uneventful journey via Eurotunnel with the sat nav estimating an arrival in Morzine at 16:00 (French O’Clock). One wee stop and three cans of Red Bull later we arrived at the apartment, bang on 16:00. Couple of beers, bit of food liberally sprinkled with carbs and relatively early night ready for day 1.

Day 1. Les Gets. Picked up the trusty GT’s and headed off to the familiar runs of Les Gets to ease ourselves in slowly. Took things uncharacteristically easy for a couple of runs then started to get into the swing of things as we all got the feel for the bikes and conditions. Not a good plan to come a cropper on day 1. Must have done 10 or so runs in the morning and needs to drop back to Morzine for some running repairs and lunch. Suitably sorted, we returned to the runs of Les Gets for the whole afternoon – up and down continuously and probably the most rides we’ve ever done in a day. Back for a beer and carbs and some beer with the video highlights to analyse.

Day 2. Avoriaz, Les Lindarets, Chatel. Up the beautiful Super Morzine lift with views over to Mont Blanc and then the only real pedalling required to get us over to the drop down to Les Lindarets. Good idea to put the seats up a bit for the short cycle so we all paused and adjusted. Then the first little prang. As we swooped down from the lift into a short woody section I thought my seat was tipping back so I reached down and pushed it forward – ejecting the seat post and saddle from the frame (raised it too high) and into the rear wheel and mech at the same time as sitting down on the missing saddle. Bike locked up and threw me sideways across the gravel and stones to an embarrassing stop in a cloud of dust. Good old body armour. No real damage – just felt a bit of a prat. Down to Les Lindarets and up the other side where we picked up the fantastic green run down into Chatel. Not difficult but once up to speed there were some great jumps and fast berms – seemed to go on for ages. Spend the afternoon on the lower red/blue runs through the woods where Dave H decided to explore the ditch on the wrong side of a berm! Long haul back using the very slow lifts out of Chatel and Les Lindarets and back on the road from Avoriaz – right under the massive cliffs. Probably 4 miles and no pedalling – fantastic. Went for a swim – but there was some sort of power failure at the pool – so we didn’t – had some beer instead.

Day 3. Les Gets and Morzine. Weather still holding and it looked like we may get four full days riding this year – usually we have at least one day where it’s very wet. Back over to Les Gets again and up and down the fantastic switchbacks with the handlebar-cam pointing back to the rider for some excellent chin-cam footage. Discovered a rubbish woodland trail that kept petering out and managed to take me prisoner over the handle bars – won’t be doing that one again.Protracted lunchtime devouring huge pizzas. Should really have spent the afternoon digesting like a pride of lions after a water buffalo – but didn’t. Instead over the other side of the valley for the quieter (and steeper) infamous black run. Not as scary as the first time we did it but none the less a real challenge to keep control when the rear brake is locked, front brake feathering on the point of locking and still accelerating towards a 90 degree left turn back into the woods! Another excellent day rounded off with home cooking, beer and video analysis.

Day 4. Les Gets, Morzine. “So chaps, what shall we do for our last day?” Had to be back to Les Gets for a final go and a bit of jumping practice and more goes on the moon crater sized berms near the town centre and lift. General standard and confidence running at a reasonably high level. Combined with some last day bravado unfortunately resulted in Dave T missing a tight turn just after the moon crater and flying over a small, new berm like a Harrier taking off from an aircraft carrier. But he can’t fly and I came round the same bend a few seconds later to see the tell-tale cloud of dust and off-piste rider indicating a bit of an off. Rode very slowly back down into Les Gets for lunch and an ice pack for the new wrist rapidly growing on Dave’s existing one. No other option but to take a gentle road ride back to Morzine and the doctors. While Dave waited for the French services to have lunch and a siesta the remaining four nipped up and down the Morzine red/black course for a final hoorah – albeit a little subdued. Dave eventually regrouped with a plaster appendage and some excellent x-rays which provided hours of amusement with the home cooking and beer.

So – four full on days of excellent riding. Doesn’t really get any better. Until Morzine V perhaps…

Morzine IV – The Movie, is in pre-production as we speak.

Steve W's London 10K

Sunday was London 10k for me.

Paul and Karen (who some of you know from the Dunwich Dynamo) secured some free passes again this year, but this year upgraded to VIP. This meant meeting in a swanky hotel a few yards from the start. But rather than finding the room full of fat celebs I had expected there were half a dozen elite athletes looking superhuman and doing yoga on the floor. One exception was a chap who looked grateful to see us greeting me with: "I'm guessing that you're not one of the elite athletes?" ... Thanks.

We emerged blinking into the sun with a Coldstream Guards fanfare to see 25000 runners queued up down Picadilly looking across to the start and us Elites warming up, very embarrassing. I've never had a stronger desire to be able to touch my toes, every lunge and stretch suddenly took on comic proportions. Starting one yard behind the Kenyans and Ethiopians, there was nothing for it but to run as hard as I could for the half mile or so past the queue of onlooking queued runners. Even then you couldn't see the elites for dust. Consequently the first km wasa lung busting sub 4mins! I overtook no-one all race, but with a flat course through central London and good conditions, I clocked a (provisional) surprising 41:40. Chuffed. Great Day.