IXS MacAvalanche, Glencoe

May 02 2011

The IXS MacAvalanche was a No Fuss announcement at last year’s Hope Endurance Downhill. Stood at the bottom of the Nevis Range and imagining a mass start at Glencoe, a rugged monstrosity of a mountain, it seemed difficult to imagine the weekend ever happening, but happen it did.

Danny MacAskill Joe Barnes hannah Barnes Liam Moynihan IXS No Fuss MacAvalanche

On top of the World at Glencoe ski resort, it happened...

The format was pretty simple, get your bikes to the top of the Meall a Bhuridh, a Munro near the top of Glencoe and Glen Etive. This might sound problem free but with no bike facility on the upper chair, you had to mount the single man lift with your bike grasped tightly in front of you and no safety bar. The chair is aptly named the Cliffhanger.

Orange Bikes Glen Coe Ski Resort No Fuss MacAvalanche

Getting your bike to the top required a firm grip and a head for heights...

Lining up your bike at the start the snow was crisp and slippery, packed down and lethal , the track walk a sufficient opportunity to spot where you don’t want to be (and the realisation that 100 riders would probably send you there). Wandering down between the markers, there were infinite lines and endless opportunities to make a pass, or end up in a boggy nightmare if you didn’t choose wisely. This was no ordinary track walk, it took the best part of two hours between falling over in the snow and slipping into bogs.

Track Walk IXS MacAvalanche Joe Barnes Danny MacAskill Hannah Barnes, Liam Moynihan Ruari Watt

The favourites...

The full IXS MacAvalanche experience was yet to come, and Frazer from No Fuss looked particularly stressed as the helicopter flew in for the first round of uplifts, whisking riders to the top of the mountain in style.

Orange Bikes No Fuss MacAvalanche

It beats a cattle truck; the helicopter ran better than BA...

Duly assembled at the top, there were all the usual No Fuss faces, faithful to the unique style of racing and eager to be part of such a groundbreaking event. Lined up amongst the masses were the favourites; Joe Barnes, Rowan Sorrell, Neil Donoghue and Crawford Carrick Anderson. This was no normal event though, and with the likes of James Shirley, Liam Moynihan, Alastair MacLennan and Ruari Watt, there were plenty of contenders for glory.

No Fuss MacAvalanche Glen Coe Orange Bikes

Intimidating scenery as riders assembled for the start 

Waiting at the start line, participants formed a V-shape, mirroring the contours of the starting area. A sense of anticipation and fear hung in the air as we waited for the helicopter carrying MTBcut’s Stu Thomson and his moving picture camera.

No Fuss Events Orange Bikes MacAvalanche start line

The start line was fairly indistinct...

The cacophony of the helicopter brought with it the sound of Spook’s air horn, setting the riders into a charging rabble of adrenalin fuelled lemmings. Running for our bikes, the sprinters avoided the jostling as they made it first onto the open course and snow below. Fergus Lamb was the quickest onto his bike with James Shirley, Joe Barnes and Liam Moynihan in hot pursuit.  The track took an awkward left hand turn into the deeper snow and as the leaders made an instant gap, the throng behind attempted to channel between the markers and get some momentum into the white stuff.

Orange Bikes No Fuss MacAvalanche Joe Barnes

Fergus Lamb taking an early lead in front of James Shirley and Joe Barnes

Fergus Lamb took the first tumble, allowing James Shirley past who quickly suffered the same fate. Breaking into a run, most riders jumped their way through, opting for the quicker option instead of riding and the inevitable face plant.

Orange Bikes No Fuss Macavalanche

Some riders fared better than others in the snow sections...

As the race left the snow sections, riders had to negotiate the wild moorland topography as jaunty rocks, deep bogs and stream crossings all attempted to send you spiralling over the bars. Those towards the back got their first opportunity to get their feet properly on the pedals and make up some lost time, with plenty of places to pass between the widely spaced No Fuss markers and IXS course tape.

Orange Bikes No Fuss MacAvalanche

Picking a line across the tundra...

Breaking onto the firmer ground past the Cliffhanger chair, riders with height adjustable seat posts hit their button as the course traversed across the fell.  Sharp ditches and muddy ruts caught out the fatigued, as those with fresh legs powered on before careering straight down the hill towards the next lift station.

Danny MacAskill Orange Bikes No Fuss MacAvalanche

Danny MacAskill on the charge...

Hitting the top of the downhill course, riders got to sample a couple of manicured berms and jumps before swinging off the track back onto the open moorland, another opportunity to get on the pedals and claw back some time.

Danny MacAskill Orange Bikes No Fuss IXS MacAvalanche

...and grabbing some air.

Somewhere at this point in the race, a group of the top contenders headed off course, Ruari Watt, Danny MacAskill and James Shirley amongst them. Realising their mistake, they ran back up to rejoin the track where they’d left it, top marks for honesty, true gentlemanly behaviour even in the heat of the moment.

Ruari Watt and James Shirley No Fuss Events Orange Bikes

James Shirley and Ruari Watt; great riders, bad sense of direction...

Already down the hill and ahead by over a minute, MTBcut’s Joe Barnes took his Orange Patriot prototype to a comprehensive win. Taking just under eleven minutes to negotiate the mountain seemed a ridiculous feat, and without one crash, Joe was definitely the well deserved victor of the day.

Joe Barnes MTBcut Orange Bikes No Fuss MacAvalanche

Joe Barnes on the rampage over a minute ahead...

Finishing third on his Orange Five, Danny MacAskill proves his mountain bike credentials after duelling all the way down with Alastair Maclennan. These two riders represented the race for many, a mountainside duel as they grappled with each other right to the finish line. 

James Shirley and Ruari Watt took their Orange Fives to sixth and eighth respectively, despite their diversion and sprint back up the hill, they sandwiched co-favourite Crawford Carrick Anderson in seventh.

In the factory stakes, Jono Sykes comprehensively beat Dave for this week’s Halifax based glory, 48th and 54th as we continue our campaign towards World Champs selection.

Jo Cardwell Orange Bikes MacAvalanche

Jo Cardwell proving her Queen of the Mountains credentials... 

In the female vets category, massive shout out to Jo Cardwell. The inaugural Queen of the Mountains winner continues her Highland domination, this time on her shiny Orange Alpine 160. Good work Jo.

Respect goes out to Rowan Sorrell who raced with a freshly broken little finger. Representing for a Dirt Magazine article, Rowan strapped up his pinky and hung onto his Alpine 160 for a painful 30th place. MBR's Mick Kirkman took an impressive ninth, and Singletrack magazine's Jon Woodhouse took 33rd.

IXS MacAvalanche men's podium Joe Barnes Danny MacAskill

Joe Barnes, Neil Donoghue and Danny MacAskill take the inaugural IXS MacAvalanche. 

Hannah Barnes took her MTBcut Orange Five to the win for the ladies, fourty seconds ahead of second place Angela Coates. We're trying to persuade Hannah to dabble in a bit more DH this season...

No Fuss Events Macavalanche Orange Bikes IXS Hannah Barnes

Hannah Barnes on top of the podium at Glencoe Mountain Resort,  

The reaction to the weekend was incredible and at the bottom, it was unanimous adulation for everyone and everything involved. Frazer, Spook and Chloe from No Fuss Events coined the concept and together with Glencoe Mountain resort, put together a perfectly organised and groundbreaking event. Pete Scullion and IXS did an awesome job of sponsoring the event and helping to make it all happen. Finally, thanks to everyone who took part and made the day such a success, there were no injuries and everyone took the event in the best possible spirits, a complete blast of a day. Same time next year?

Download the full results here.

The MTBcut edit puts the words into perspective...



Thanks to Michael Bonney for the images, see the full set on our Facebook page and tag anyone you know. 

Next up, the No Fuss 10 Under the Ben.



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