Joe Barnes Euro Blog - Part Two
July 26 2011
The last couple of weeks have been a mixture of good and bad with some racing, hot lines, comedy euros and breakdowns.
After the Vaujany enduro we drove around the hill in the landship to the Mega. The race tracks were slightly different to last year and always have pretty slack taping so some good practise was needed. We hit the top of the mega a couple of times as this is where the deciding part of the race takes place. It was pretty gnarly this year combining snow, ice and scree. I had managed to fit my Five and Patriot into the van and went with the theory that if I got a good start I would be better on a bigger bike on the rough top section with a clear run in front of me to get a good lead.
First off was the qualifier and on a equally fun trail, this time mostly bermy and loose. I got a pretty good start and after the first minute got into 1st in my heat. Winning this and also getting the 2nd fastest time of the day, this put me in a prime position for the Mega.
The travels are well underway, living the dream...
What is the deal with the early start at these races? We got up at 5am, staggered onto the lift and got ready for the big run. I managed to drink some tropical juice, a caffeine drink and a GO gel. I was pretty wired for the race but then exploded the sugary goodness all over the snow. I felt much better after a good chunder. You learn something every time and this time was to not over do the sugar at 6am. Lining up on the start beside Absalon and Wildhaber with an empty belly and a lovely taste in my mouth wasn’t good.
The tape went up and the carnage prevailed. A chief beside me took a tumble on the snow taking me out and several others and once I got going could only watch the leaders pulling a lead as I was stuck behind folk. I waited patiently and got past a few with an entertaining cross scree dash to Alex Stocks' amusement who was following. With a few more overtakes I equalled last year's effort of 10th. I was pretty pleased and have gained some good experience for next year. Team spirits were pretty high with Liam in 41st and James 47th and a little celebratory mini golf session took place. Ruari’s disastrous non seeded quali meant he raced a later final but put in a good time for an overall position.
After dropping Ruari off for a flight home we went for a cruise about Grenoble with the hope of finding a scooter to relieve the feet from all the walking about. We soon got raging of the city and left for Les2alps with no scooter (we now have a pedal and pop on route to Morzine with friends from the more scooter rich Douchland). Les Deux Alpes is a funny place full of kids with massive t-shirts and tight jeans. There is skiing all year so it was pretty mobbed with ski chiefs cruising about on micro scooters.
Liam Moynihan enjoying the sights and sounds of Grenoble...
The Mountain of Hell was our second big mass start race of the trip and the trails were flipping sweet to ride. The quali was loose scree leading to tight wooded turns and finishing in loose berms. Myself and Liam were not seeded so started back row in our heat. We got on the power on the start straight and I went into 4th with Liam just a bit back. There was a cool fly off to big scree run out and I sent it off the fly off and swapped about into 1st in my heat. The final was really windy so the start was taken down to a lower level missing the snow. The Frenchies were less bothered about this than me and went for it on the gusty start straight putting me back in the field. I rode a lot of the race with Mark Beaumont, that was fun, but snook past down the bottom to finish 6th. Liam put in a stormer to finish 10th, horsing down in a horsey manner.
We are in Chamonix now with a van with no water pump pulley. It's stranded in a lovely carpark outside town unable to move. The lack of riding bikes has gotten slightly annoying but the part is on order and we should be on the road on Monday. We have resorted to filming random “dudes” action, buying bangers and xc rides to the garage and back.
The Landship isn't having an easy ride, healing vibes...
Hopefully in next blog we will be in Morzine and trucking after hitching a lift to the Maxi in Cervinia this weekend.
Cheery bye bye