The season has steeped up a notch with the Passportes du Soleil last weekend signalling the opening of the full lift area. With three days of unbroken sunshine and 25+ degrees, summer definitely feels like it has arrived.
The Passportes is always a great event and consists of a tour around the full lift area and also a bike show in the host town. For most of you reading this, the riding in it is a little on the tame side, but it’s a good way to explore the region and brings some 10,000 or so riders into the region.
The Passportes du Soleil in Les Gets
The ‘bike show’ part of the Passportes is also pretty good, it’s not exactly cutting edge, but the clever thing about a mountain bike show in the mountains is that you can actually take the bikes out for a proper test too and really see whether you want to part with your hard earned.
The ‘Bike Show’ during Passportes week
This year I did the Passportes on the Saracen Ariel and again it blew me away that it can be quite so good at going both up and downhill, I was flying past people in each direction and having a ball of a time doing it. I didn’t stop for the 4 or so hours it took me to complete the main part of the circuit (Morzine, Chatel, Morgins, Champery and home again).
The Saracen Ariel hiding in the grass
For the past week a lot of pro’s have taken advantage of the lull in the race calendar to visit the region. We’ve had Sam Blenkinsopp, Cameron Cole and George Brannigan staying with us and also spotted around the mountains where Steve Peat, Brendon Fairclough, Emmeline Ragot, Fionn Griffiths, Anne-Caroline Chausson, Nicolas Vouilloz, Fabien Barel, Sabriner Jonier and I’m sure more that I didn’t quite catch a glimse of. It goes to show that even at the top level this region is considered the place to come.
Riders Retreat staff on top of mountain – the dog doesn’t work for us
It has recently been brought to my attention that there are a lot more girls on bikes this year. You may think that such a thing shouldn’t need to be ‘brought to my attention’ but there we are… I think the increase has been gradual, but role models such as Rachel Atherton and Tracy Moseley have surely played their part in showing that mountain biking isn’t just for us guts. Morzine also has it’s local girls only club – Dirty Girls Ride, lead by local riper Amie Marsh. It’s great as it lets the girls get together to share tips and encourage each other.
The ‘Dirty Girls Ride’ in Les Gets and at The Burger Bar
A rather nice package of a Contour HD GPS and Drift HD 170 Stealth headcams dropped through the door courtesy of Action Cameras. The idea is that we are going to put together footage and GPS plots of as many of the tracks out here in the Portes du Soleil and put them onto the internet so that you can plan your days and see what the riding is all about out here.
Contour HD GPS and Drift HD 170 Stealth
In other news, the new black run on Pleney is pretty much finished now and the drainage issues further down have been largely resolved. The re-worked new official tracks on Super Morzine are flowing well and are lots of fun – headcam footage coming soon!
New Black Run on Pleney
There’s lots to explore now that all the lifts are open, so I’ll most likely be drivelling on about new tracks and developments shortly, but from what I saw over the weekend there’s plenty to get going at.