Kye Forte’s visit to Morzine with Fox Head Europe and Rude Lodge
Video by Jon Drew, words by Kye Forte
Pro-BMX’er and Team Wideopenmag downhill racer Kye Forte got a too-good-to-turn-down invite to Morzine. Would he survive on just back-flips and fist-bumps alone?!
Having only been to Morzine in the winter and never been riding there you can guess how keen I was when Fox invited me out for a few days of shredding with some of their other team riders. Yeah, keen as mustard.
Downhill mountain biking is still fairly new to me, so packing up a downhill bike into a bag with all the gear required for riding in the Alps, in comparison to a BMX is a headache. I was certain on arrival that a brake hose would be ripped off or a disc bent! I arrived at Bristol airport nice and early which seems to be a running theme in mountain biking (another thing that’s a headache compared to BMX!). I met Jon the camera man, John from Fox and Tahnee Seagrave. We flew out with the orange airline and landed in Geneva with all the bags and bikes in one piece. It turned out my packing wasn’t so bad after all!
John filled us in on the plan during the transfer out.
“We’ll be staying at Rude Lodge, it’s a new Chalet that Fox are sponsoring. Everything is on the house and we’ll just be sessioning everyday”
It getting better by the second…
“Oh and Kye” John added “there’s a famous berm to berm gap that you could flip tomorrow morning if ya like?”
“Uh ok, what’s it like?”
“Ah it’s easy, flat gravel take off, blind, flat rocky landing!”
Sounds ideal …!
“I expected this trip to be pretty different from the hundreds of unruly BMX trips I have been on in the past!”
We arrived at the Rude Lodge and Iago Garay (World Enduro racer) and Francisco Pardel (Portuguese National Champion) had also turned up, both of whom I had never met previously. Now, my approach to riding is focused enough but I like to keep it as relaxed as possible and I know some racers can be intensely serious about their riding, sleeping, eating and especially what they drink. I expected this trip to be pretty different from the hundreds of unruly BMX trips I have been on in the past! Within minutes though I had a beer in hand and I knew I was going to get on with all the guys!
We had a late start the next morning as the weather had come in and it was actually snowing higher up the mountain! It turned out that we had landed in town the day after the end-of-ski-season party and the lifts were shut and Morzine was dead. Nothing was open, most places were boarded up and the only people in town seemed to be hungover! It was pretty different from when I was last there for New Year in 2009 and the place was packed!
With no lifts running we did some shuttling instead. The first stop was the famous berm to berm jump in Les Gets that John had suggested I should flip. It took one look and I knew there was no way I would be flipping that jump! I was pleased to hear it had been a wind up and we got the trains and the clip-count rolling.
Next we went to a well known bit of track off the Plenny that wasn’t covered in snow. We sessioned a couple of corners, then a super slippery, root-littered chute. It was then that I realised how fast Remi Thirion actually is! Everyone else braked before dropping in over the crest but Remi pedalled into it. His corner speed was insane. He’s great to watch!
“we got on really well relying on swear words, fist bumps and funny faces as communication”
Geatan Vige is the Commencal team’s first year junior rider. He speaks little English but was super friendly and we got on really well relying on swear words, fist bumps and funny faces as communication. He must have been studying Remi well as, again, he was ridiculously fast. When he’s not farting he’s pedaling and certainly not braking! Definitely someone to keep an eye on!
Next up I found a nice jump and started sessioning it with Iago. He was doing some serious scrubs on his trail bike and was easily keeping up with everyone on their big bikes. With that I decided it was time someone got on the floor and subsequently lost the front going into a fast left hander on some nice icy leaves. Bloody hell it hurt! I was certain I had broken my hand, it was agony! But after pacing backwards and forwards the pain started to wear off and I was able to ride down the mountain for the last run of the day!
“I threw out a couple of tricks for my flip-thirsty team mates”
The second day we were up even earlier and up riding the switchbacks on Super Morzine before moving higher up and riding a big table-top jump. The weather and setting were perfect! It was nice and warm with blue skies and snow covered peaks as the backdrop. The main run-in was covered with snow so we improvised and were all doing a cool little hop over a hole and into the back of a berm to get speed.
The jump was quite big and required a lot of speed to clear it. Again everyone was egging me on to flip it! I did think about it for a second but the deep muddy rut in the bottom half of the take-off and the flat lip weren’t that appealing! I threw out a couple of tricks for my flip-thirsty team mates and although they didn’t get the flip, I think I kept them happy enough with the knowledge I could in fact do stunts on my DH bike as well as my BMX!
“For the first time on the trip I could smell my brakes over Viges farting!”
We all rode down the remainder of the trail and Kaos Seagrave took us back via a steep secret track which was real fun. For the first time on the trip I could smell my brakes over Viges farting! We all made it down and back to the Chalet just in time for it to piss it down … so swiftly made our way to Bar Robinson for a pint or two of Mutzig. It was a great end to an awesome few days riding with some new fast Euro pals whom I hope to ride with again soon.
Big thanks to Fox for sorting the trip and to Rude Lodge for looking after us so well, I’ll definitely be back later in the summer when the lifts open!
Check out Rude Chalets here and more action from Kye Forte here.