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Les Gets and Morzine MTB

Mucking about with Quik

While I’m waiting for the rest of the house to get up so I/we can cook breakfast for Mrs M this morning I thought I’d muck about with GoPro’s Quik – their video editing software.

Anyway – it’s brief, clunky and not a masterpiece by any standards but here goes.

Just over 100 days chaps

Morzine Done

So that’s it. We’re down from the final run. One man slightly damaged (Mark T – shoulder tendons) and several legendary hangovers, but basically an all round success. 

Morzine is in fine form this year. You can really see the trail work that’s been put in (and is still ongoing). Les Gets was still looking a bit post-Crankworx gnarly and has clearly suffered with the rain. If you’re heading out here soon, I’d recommend staying Morzine and Chatel side – the fun is epic.

Everyone has benefited from some serious trail skills improvement this trip. This is the greatest benefit of visiting here in my opinion. It’s not necessarily the difficulty of the berms/drops/jumps – it’s the frequency – and the sheer number on any given run. As Buz described it – in terms of the physical effort it feels like doing press ups and squats – all day!

The weather has been very, very kind (30 degrees plus) and the beer  has been cold (but post-brexitly  bloody expensive)

Overall however, another win for Morzine as a superb MTB destination. Now all we have to do is edit together the Ridley Scott-esque amount of GoPro footage into something that does the trip justice.


Too soon to think about Morzine 2017? Nahh.

 Transition takes the Alps: Bandit, Scout and Smuggler

Well, we’re partly through the weekend of Morzine 2016. Two awesome days in and we’re all having a major blast. So while I sit here basking in glory and sun (in the hot tub) with a well earned beer, I thought I’d post some feedback on how the collective Transitions are handling the trails this year.

We have four Transition Bikes in attendance at Morzine 2016: two 650b Transition Bandits, a 650b Transition Scout and a new and shiny 29er Transition Smuggler.

All of the bikes are slightly different in terms of setup and kit, for example Matt’s Bandit has a Fox Float 34 versus my Fox Float 32, and he has the “oh-so-wide-internal-rim” Easton ARC’s vs my Hope Tech Enduros. Bob’s Scout is just “blinged-up” to the eyeballs with the best Hope and Shimano XT finishing kit and Dave’s Smuggler is just dangerously, worryingly fast. We’ve all “Morzine-ified” them with a disparate choice of tyres (Butcher Grid / Maxxis High Roller II for me, Dual High Roller II’s for Bob, Maxxis High Roller II 3c Max Terra / High Roller II for Matt and Butcher Grid / Purgatory Grid for David) and so far all is good.

I guess all of them are arguably ‘Enduro’ focussed bikes (whatever that actually means), not perhaps suited to the “blackest of black” Alpine backwoods runs but very happy in this terrain. Very happy indeed.

Fundamentally all of them are Transition through and through. Fundamentally all of them are awesome.

We’ve caned Chatel with a slew of Strava PRs and today had fun on the Les Gets berms below Nauchets working on bike control. The smiles are big. And we’re only one man down (Mark T had an end of day stack yesterday and sadly has ripped his shoulder tendons).

My Transition Bandit 650b


I’ve had a year of fiddling with my Bandit. Lots of things have changed, each making little differences to my Bandit’s ride feel.

My wheel change, I have to say, has been a revelation. The Hope Enduros are good, solid wheels which suits me down to the ground. Over the year and through this trip so far they have proved a wise purchase for me. Perhaps not the lightest wheels in the world, but hey, I’m not the lightest rider! The Hope’s have handled the incessant Morzine braking bumps, jumps, rocks and gaps with ease. They are happy here. There is no flex and they feel “rail-like” – real point and shoot kind of stuff. And they suit the larger tyres I’ve fitted for the trip. If I could sum them up in one word, it would be “trust”. I did however lose one spoke on the very last runs on the last day at some point. Seems trail marbles can get me wherever I go riding.

My wheels aside, the biggest change for me this year was moving to 1×11. Perfect for the Alps obviously but not bad in Surrey either. It was a love hate relationship to start with but I admit, it is a good upgrade. Ignore the less kit, less weight arguments. In real life it makes shifting a simpler process and for that reason alone just improves the ride. The Blackspire narrow-wide chainring is handling all that Morzine has thrown at it (they have marbles here too) and it’s perfectly matched to the Shimano XT 1×11 rear mech, which again, has handled the shifting duties with aplomb.

Brakes. Yeah. So last year I ran Shimano SLX brakes. Now the SLX is a great brake but perhaps not quite up to an incessant Alpine weekend of gravity related fun. Sure enough those SLX’s caved in after three days – Surrey they could handle, “Panoramique” down through “Serpentine” they could not.

But what about my upgrade to XT brakes for this year? Well, just to kick me off my “Shimano soapbox”, once again, after three days of incessant braking they had had enough. Or at least, the rear one had – the front brake was still OK relatively speaking. I think in truth, as the days progressed and the more tired I became, the harder I was starting to pull on the downs. Add in a good old bit of Alpine dust (which is just EVERYWHERE) to glaze the pads and my rear XT was squealing like a very cross piglet who’d been poked with a sharp stick. I think next trip I will just have to factor in a complete pad replacement / sanding / something at the end of day 2 and go with it.

However, was the upgrade worth it? In a nutshell – yes. I’ve compared my Strava times to last year and I was without doubt running much, much harder on the downs this year. The security provided by the XTs was worth the upgrade.

Now as for my serviced fork? To be honest I have not even thought about or even noticed it – and I think that’s probably it in a nutshell. My Fox CTD has performed flawlessly. I maxed out but rarely blew through my travel which simply meant I had time to think about “other” things on the trail – like the next obstacle. It’s smooth and very much not over-faced by the stuff we are riding. So if you’re riding the Alps – get your bounce fettled is my advice

Lastly, my mashup of tyres. Both the Specialized Butcher Grid and Maxxis High Roller have been absolutely fantastic in the dry Alps. Both provide a superb amount of grip in the loosest of berms or switchbacks. Just like my fork, I had total trust in them. They are performing. Period.

And that kind of sums up my my Bandit here in Morzine. As per normal, infinitely more capable than me, and infinitely flattering to my riding abilities. Whatever difference my kit changes this year have been, all I can say is my smile is “Transitionishly huge”

Matt W’s Transition Bandit 650b

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I have nothing but admiration for Matt riding his Bandit this year. Five weeks ago his finger was in four seperate bits following a crash at the Milland Enduro. However, with some excellent binding and some highly respectable riding Matt rode his Bandit like a demon all things said and done. I’m not sure he could let go in full Matt style so didn’t really get chance to evaluate the Easton ARC rims, serviced fork and shock but he had a smile on his face the size of Mont Blanc nontheless. The only major issue was brake failure of his brakes. Air was getting in somewhere and the rear brake totally failed despite a mid-ride bleed in Chatel. Matt solved this by fitting some Shimano Saints which sorted out braking duties in short order.

Bob M’s Transition Scout 650b

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So Bob’s still in two minds about his Scout. This is mostly to do with the utter love he has for his Orange 5 which also made the trip out here. Now Bob’s not a man of many words and I’m sure he was getting fed up with my constant questions (“How’s it feeling Bob”, “Feeling the joy Bob”, “Giddy-Up working for you Bob”, etc, etc) however, aside from the odd issue (his fork is not locking out post service) I think even Bob was reaching for the Transition Scout first – “Flowing well”, he said, and “Much more nimble”. I think we’ll call that a win.

David D’s Transition Smuggler 29er

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My Transition Smuggler’s first Alpine outing. In simple words – just outstanding! The bike is quick and tight through the turns, and oh so easy in the air. She needed some pressure adjustment on the front fork to get the most out of the travel but essentially that was it.

The Smuggler was much easier than the old Bandit 29er through the tight twisty stuff – it’s a proper “trail hooligan” through the berms, sometimes much faster than I can handle.

The setup is spot on with the exception of having to tighten up a spoke in the rear wheel (lucky spot in the chair lift).

In summary it’s just “all awesomeness”. My Smuggler feels light, supple and quick, limited only by the rider. And if I’m honest, if my old Bandit 29er turned up tomorrow, I’d turn it down. Fact.

Morzine 2016: Yeeessssss!

I just a little bit excited! Ok, I’m disgracefully unstoppably explodingly excited to be specific. In fact I’m more excited than “Excited Jack McExcited, winner of this year’s Mr Excited competition” (all due plaudits to Richard Curtis and Ben Elton)

So it’s been a long, long, long tedious wait for today ever since I first thought about the possibility of this year’s trip (as I ran down the Les Gets bikepark trail for the last time).

Since then it’s all come together nicely, so a big thanks to all who have assisted, ventured an opinion, put up with “incessant emails” and generally tolerated my “constant wittering” about it…

I confess I’ve been slowly counting down the days, and not metaphorically speaking, every single flipping day until we’ve reached this most halcyon of days…. departure day!!!!

This evening 15 of us TFITers/MRMTBers/Notable Others will be wending our way to Gatwick, Heathrow and Bristol to board flights to Geneva. We lovingly packed the MVOJ last night and uttered soothing words to our steeds as they were whisked away.

So speaking of the MVOJ, Andy T and Peter H are already “en-France dans le MVOJ” and are hopefully having a good journey. I’ll post some updates here if I get any during the day.

So all I have to do now is count the minutes until 4:00pm. For those of you heading out from Witley later – you need to be at Matt W’s to catch a van at 4:15pm. That’s now Bob, Mark, Matt, Steve, Tim, Malcolm, Leigh, Buz and Tig. Oh, if you’re looking for Mr B and Buz, they’ve been in a pub in Witley since 2:30pm…

Me, Craig D, Andy C and James G are heading to Gatwick straight from work. Andy P will be departing from Bristol later.

The flight out of Gatwick (North Terminal) is EZY8482, departing at 20.15. So, if you are reading this at work, can I just say “Passport? Wallet? Hand luggage?”. And I’ll see most of you in Gatwick later for a pre-flight pint.

Serpentine and Panoramique

So it’s Wednesday. Just today and tomorrow to get through.

To wet the appetite just a little, thought I’d post two favourite runs (for various reasons) from Morzine trips past over on the Chatel side. “Serpentine” and “La Panoramique”. Neither are too hard but both are fast, flowy and grin-inducing blasts of fun:

Serpentine (aka the Bermy one)

And La Panoramique (aka Mythical)

Things to do while waiting to go on an MTB trip

I’m bored. Really bored. Bored of work. Bored of waiting for Thursday. Just totally and utterly bored. I have reached that stage where all I can think about is mountains. And bikes. And bikes in mountains.

So, I’ve tried squeezing MTB words into meetings (referred to myself as a “code Bandit” who “Scout‘s for errors” earlier – quite pleased with that), I’ve tried playing Wiki Races (I’m rubbish) and I’ve been the first to volunteer on the coffee making front. And it’s still not the end of the day.

So, for anyone else who is bored staring at a computer, try the “Surrey Hills MTB Going to Morzine on Thursday Crossword” of joy…

waitingformorzine

Across

1. Favourite run?
2. Transporting peanuts
3. Malc’s new bike
5. Mexican outlaw
7. The Andy T and Peter H express
8. Bob’s least favourite game
9. Andy’s BMC
10. —-end

Down

1. Best encased in body armour
4. Last year’s lift call
6. What Malcolm thinks on the first lift
7. Where we’re going

Ok, so that’s another 15 minutes eaten up… Oh God, it’s still only Tuesday…

The MVOJ…

…She is a thing of beauty.

So a productive hour or so was spent yesterday afternoon fitting out the MVOJ to receive 18 ( dear God, yes it’s 18) bikes, bags and associated gubbins.

Matt W showed off his construction “skills of perfection” by using a set square in a “It has to be right” kind of way. Well it’s amazing what you can achieve with some pallets and screws is all I can say! However, we do indeed now have a two-tier “love tunnel” in the back of the MVOJ.

Back of fag packet measuring indicates that with front and rear wheels off (and maybe pedals, we will see) we can get 12 bikes on the bottom with the rest going on the top. This leaves plenty of other room for bags to fill in the gaps.

James G however is going the full monty, having apparently converted his YT Capra into a “Minecraft MTB”. Now that’s a thing of beauty Mr G.

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Just a reminder to all. Packing the MVOJ starts from 17:00 onwards this Wednesday at Matt’s house. Oh, and I have to say I am extremely impressed with the news that Leigh B and Buz are being dropped in Witley at 2:30pm on Thursday afternoon.

What to do with and hour and a half before the man n’ van leaves Witley? Oh.. yeah… pub…

Oh yeah – weather update – nom, nom, nom:

morzineweather3

 

Shred Like a Girl

So ze Bandit? She is ready….

Just finished my month-long (at least) procrastination on which tyres to fit for the Alps. I’ve “controversially” gone for Specialized Butcher Grid on the front and Maxxis High Roller II on the rear rather than my normal Schwalbe Hans Dampfs. I’ve never ridden either of these before so will be interesting to see what they make of Morzine. Not that there is anything wrong with the Schwalbes – I like them – but I figured I should try something new this trip.

I run my tyres tubeless, which I know is not everyone’s “bag of badgers”, but it works for me. Aside from, of course, the joys of getting TR tyres on the rim…

The Butcher (as are all Specialized tyres in my experience) was an absolute b*stard to get seated on the rim but I have to say the Maxxis slipped on like a dream. Maybe it had something to do with being hung up for an extra 20 minutes, but I don’t think so. But Oh My God – the Grid – is as stiff as a freshly starched cucumber that’s be frozen solid. I think it will withstand the most determined of Alpine Marmot attacks… if I’m lucky…

Both tyres are 2.30 but don’t look overly “chunky” on the Hope Enduro rims and both feel on the mucho tacky side – which is a good thing.

I’ve also fitted a fresh set of pads to my XT’s which I’m shortly off to bed in down a local lane then after that I’m gonna “move-away-from-the-bike-and-stop-fiddling-with-it-for-god’s-sake-it’s-fine-you-muppet” – to much procrastination can be a bad thing.

Oh yeah – the post title? So I was up at Tamed Earth earlier having a chat with Tom and picking up some lube and stuff and noticed a Pivot Mach (4 – I think?) in for some work. It had an awesome sticker on it which I highly approve of….

 

One teeny tiny week to go

Huzzah. Hurrah. And lots of other words that end in ah.

One week to go, yep just 7 tiny insignificant days to wait until we get some well earned French Alps wheel time in Morzine. That would also be 5 working days, 168 hours, 10,080 minutes or 604,800 seconds – calculators on the internet – gotta love them…

 

Some logistical things:

We are packing the van on Wednesday 6th July at Matt W’s place any time from 5:00pm onward. Turn up when you want, personally I doubt I’ll get there until after 6:15 / 6.30pm, but the van will be ready when you are.

Bring your bike, your ‘hold luggage’ bag and anything else you want to go in the van (and possibly a beer or two?).

In terms of getting the bikes into the MVOJ, I’m expecting that we will have to turn handlebars into your frame and possibly take wheels and pedals off, so come prepared for that. As with all van packing “shenanigans” it will be an evolutionary process.

Also this coming Sunday (3rd July) we will be getting creative with “pallets” at Matt’s place at about 4:00pm ish and are intending to construct some kind of “frame” in the van for putting things onto. Feel free to turn up and offer encouragement, point, laugh or other things if you want to.

Note: Bike padding will not be provided (I’m not your mum) so if you want your pride and joy protected from knocks and bumps and things – bring your own “padding”, “bubble wrap” or the “downy embrace of a mudbunny” yourself.

You also have 7 days or specifically one weekend to get your bike and kit in order, so if you’re missing anything (like I am) all I can say is “what the hell are you reading this for? Crack on.”

Personally I am spending Saturday doing last money transfers, fitting new tyres and bedding in a couple of sets of pads to take with me and packing my bag. I’ll also be sorting out my extra insurance through snowcard.co.uk in case that is something you have not thought about yet.

The Accuweather forecast for Morzine is looking encouraging (20 degrees + and “mostly dry”) but apparently at the higher altitudes there is an outside chance of some persistent snow lying around so adjust your kit accordingly.

Any questions – feel free to drop me a line and watch out for the last Official Morzine 2016 email coming soon.

Oh yeah – last pre-Morzine TFIT tonight. Anyone up for a gentle “no-injuries permitted” ride?

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