Last night a group of 8 of us huddled around a table at the Horse and Groom to thrash out some ideas of how we can all get to Alpe d'Huez to race "The Mega".
For those of you who didn't manage to get there, or are still waiting to be convinced that it's a good idea, this is a summary of our estimated costs and arrangements thanks largely to the past experience of 4 time Mega veteran, Simon 'Big Burd' Truelove:
£75-100 per person
We're planning to take a number of cars and vans over the channel and drive the 787 miles from Somerset to Alpe d'Huez. This will cost approximately £300-400 per car (including fuel, tolls and ferry/tunnel),vans may cost a bit more, but the total travel costs will to be shared between everyone. Flying was considered but this is typically far more expensive (~£200 per person) and would also include the faff of organising transfers, hire cars and a sedative laced burger to get Ben Irons onto a plane.
We have 2 vans lined up for sure (taking up to 5 people and ~10/12 bikes), but we'll obviously need some cars too. Driving will be shared so that no one person is left having to do a non stop death-grip challenge the whole way.
£15-20 per night
Based upon 4 sharing a small self catering apartment. Some may prefer to stay in slightly more swanky surroundings, and this will certainly be possible, but the std accommodation need not be very expensive. Once we've got a firm idea of numbers, and lengths of stay, we'll be able to book this up (April ish).
During "Mega week" there are actually 3 events:
- Avalanche Enduro Vaujany (event similar to the Afan Mash Up or the event held at Kielder forest last year - a circuit ride where you only get time on the downhills)
- Avalanche Cup Oz en Oisans (a full-on, super steep, super tech downhill race)
- The Megavalanche (mass start downhill race starting on the glacier (pic blanc) and descending for 1 hour +)
The program for the week is as follows:
Monday July 5
Avalanche Enduro Vaujany (Seeding run)
Tuesday July 6
Avalanche Enduro Vaujany (Race)
Avalanche Cup Oz en Oisans (Practice)
Wednesday July 7
Avalanche Cup Oz en Oisans (Race)
Thursday July 8
'Bike Speed' (we don't know what that is either, but it sounds very french!)
Megavalanche (Free practice)
Friday July 9
Megavalanche (Qualifying races)
Saturday July 10
Megavalanche (Mega Ladies - Mega Challengers - Mega Amateurs - Mega Affinity)
Sunday July 11
Megavalanche (Mega Affinity)
Some people are keen to take part in the full weeks program of events while others are more focused on the Mega but are keen to go and have a taste of the Les Gets and Morzine trails too. So, we may go out in two groups, some going from Saturday 3rd July to Monday 12th July and others going from Wednesday 7th July to Wednesday 14th July (including travel).
Cost of entry/Lift pass
This is obviously dependant on how many of the events you choose to enter (prices converted from Euro's and are subject to currency fluctuation).
- Pack Platinium: Avalanche Enduro Vaujany, Avalanche Cup Oz, Megavalanche, Pass 9 Day £119
- Pack Gold Enduro: Avalanche Enduro Vaujany, Megavalanche Alpe d'Huez, Pass 9 Day £99
- Pack Gold DH: Avalanche Cup Oz, Megavalanche Alpe d'Huez, Pass 7 Day £91
- Pack Gold: Megavalanche + Pass 7 Day £82
- Pack Silver: Megavalanche Alpe d'Huez, Pass 5 Day £74
- Pack Bronze: Megavalanche Alpe d'Huez, Pass 4 Day £64
Other costs & considerations
- BC Race license / doctors note - either one is needed to enter the event, but the race licence is quicker, fail-safe, and comes with other benefits too. As a member of a British Cycling affiliated club you get a discount on this too. See here: http://www.southerndownhill.com/forum/index.php/topic,153221.0.html
- Food- We will have some self catering facilities, but there are plenty of reasonable eateries in the town. Allow about £20/ day to be on the safe side, though you could easily eat for half that.
- Insurance - You need to arrange personal cover, ideally something which covers mountain bike racing and your bike. Although available in the past, many insurance companies won't cover racing so do check!
- Kit and spares - you need to be prepared for a week of bike beating riding. Other than the obligatory safety wear (detailed in the next section) must haves include decent DH tyres, a hydration pack, spare tubes, pump, puncture repair kit, zip ties, brake pads, magic chain links, mech hangers and a decent multi tool (with chain tool). You'll also need a decent thermal layer or shell jacket for the 1hr wait at the top on race day.
- Bike - unless you feel that you have a chance of wining (and so care about every 10th of a second) don't ride your XC bike. What I mean is; ride a bike that is as robust and downward biased as you have so that you can enjoy the 2580m of descending rather than suffer for the benefits on a few uphill sections. The track is fast and very rough in places, don't be deceived by the head cam footage.
We'll add to this as and when we get any more information, but the Mega discussion will be on the club forum here: http://www.southerndownhill.com/forum/index.php/topic,201995.0.html so do check it out if you want to get involved.