Search

Surrey Hills MTB

Tag

Les Arcs MTB 2017

Les Arcs MTB: The perfect bar?

It was clearly meant to be.

So the other day Mark T did a Google Streetview of Peisy Vallandry and quietly raised concerns he could not find a bar using this technique. I reassured Mark that it would be fine as we all know he’d have no problem finding a bar in Vatican City (never mind a French Alpine resort – he has “skillz” in the locating a bar department).

However this afternoon while I was interwebrowsing I happened to visit the Piesey Vallandry website and saw a link to “Bars and Tearooms” (cos you know, tea is important…).

And what do you know, there among a fine array of establishments was “Le Mojo Bar“.

There you go Mark. Clearly they are expecting you, having only gone and named a bar in your honour.

And maybe we could ask the owners if they’d consider renaming it to “Le Mojo/Geometron G13 Bar” over the first couple of beers!

15 days chaps

Advertisements

Les Arcs MTB 2017: So what MTB do you take to the Alps?

The Alps. They are beautiful, they are awesome, they are total-and-utter-shit-grin-inducing-fun.

They can also be bloody scary!

Particularly if like me (and I suspect most normal riders) you spend 99% of your time on local trails which, with the best will in the world, are mostly ‘hilly’ rather than ‘mountainous’.

I can still remember my first Alpine (Morzine) MTB adventure and the feeling of total joy when we all got to the end unscathed. Tim W and I exchanged a look at the bottom of the last run and exhaled in simultaneous relief. How in the name of holy bananas, we had thought, that had been managed was an utter mystery, because if I’m honest the kit we rode and the skills we had were frankly not up to the job!

I for example did Morzine 1 on my Giant XTC 26er – that would be Giant’s super light, short travel, narrow bar sporting XC bike with precious little suspension up front – dear God.

However to put that in perspective, Andy C did it (and another subsequent trip) on a RIGID On-One HARDTAIL! But he’s not human, so that’s to be expected.

Anyway, enough reminiscing – in 30 days (yep, that’s one calendar month chaps!) the TFITers are wheels down in Les Arcs for “The Foam Tour” 2017 and with this incontrovertible fact in mind I thought I’d take stock of the steeds we’ll be taking with us this year and also the kit they run. If you are Alps bound for the first time this year and are wondering what it is everyone else rides, hopefully this will help.

Bikes and Suspension

Our bikes, they are many and they are varied. We have MTBs from Transition, Specialized, Mojo/Nicolai, Whyte, BMC, YT Industries and Orange. They are all awesome in their own way and the kit they dangle does the deed week-in, week-out for our normal rides. But they are, in essence ‘trail’ or ‘Enduro’ focussed (whatever that actually means) bikes and not downhill monsters by any definition.

As per normal we are taking the usual “Cove” of Transitions. This year we have a 50/50 split of David D and Matt W on the Transition Smuggler with me and Bob M on the Transition Scout. The Smugglers have 140mm travel up front (up from the stock 130mm) via a Rockshox Lyric and a Rockshox Pike with 115mm at the back coming from Rockshox Monarchs. The Transition Scouts have 150mm Pikes at the pointy end and 125mm from a Monarchs at the back.

Mark T will be unleashing his Mojo/Nicolai Geometron on the mountains this year which is just a mostly terrifying concept. After having been “rudely unseated” from his Spesh Stumpy last year it should be an interesting ride for him. Mark’s Transformer Geometron (although this is subject to change – or rather it depends which button he presses or something) will be running 130mm at the back and 150mm at the front provided by Fox Float X Evolution and Fox Float 36.

Stephan F will be back on his Specialized Stumpy FSR with “enhanced tail end bounce” – after having riding a couple of donor 29ers during his ‘chainstay-gate’ episode, Steve has upgraded his rear to run a 130mm Rockshox Monarch RCS Plus in conjunction with his 140mm Rockshox Pike at the front.

James G will be back on his YT Capra with it’s “monster / more than capable” suspension, 170mm front and 165mm back provided by a Rockshox Lyric and a Rockshox Monarch plus. Arguably the most ‘Enduro’ of the bikes we ride, James’ steed is very much at home sprinting down the side of the most vertiginous Alpine mountain.

Malcolm W will be back for the second time on his Whyte T-129 with a crazy maniacal grin on his face no doubt. Malc rides the shortest travel of the TFIT 29ers with the Whyte equipped with 120mm from a Fox 34 Float at the front and Fox at the rear but that was no hindrance to his enjoyment in last year’s trip.

Andy T on the Carbon 27.5 Stumpjumper,  RockShox Pike 150mm, Fox CTD 140mm and complete with the SWAT opening to hold beer, pasties and painkillers (and some would say a small nuclear power plant to make him ride that fast…)

Both Tim, Tig and Craig will be on their trusted Orange 5 Pro 26ers. As Orange say, if aint broke, it don’t need fixing. Nimble and solid, trail absorption comes from 140mm Fox at the front and rear.

Lastly Andy C will be back on his now very familiar BMC Trailfox riding like a proper hooligan once again no doubt, enjoying the benefits of suspension like no other mortal man has deserved (having ridden the Alps three times on a rigid forked single speed On-One!). Bounce is provided from a Rockshox Pike RCT3 160mm up front and a 150mm Crane Creek DB Inline at the back.

Tyres

Best post-ride pub topic ever? Possibly true, but whereas Rockshox seem to be winning out in the suspension of choice at the moment for TFIT rides, tyres, well let’s just say the choices are many (and ever evolving – I suspect there may be edits here):

  • Specialized Butcher Grid front and back for both me and Bob M
  • Specialized Butcher Grid front and Slaughter back for Stephan F and Matt W
  • Maxxis High Roller front and Maxis Minion SS rear for James G
  • Maxxis Minion SS front and Forekaster rear for Mark T
  • Maxxis Ardent EXO up front and Ardent Race rear for David D
  • Malc, Bob, Tim, Tig, Craig, Andy T, Andy C I have no idea – but they will be tyres. Probably

Brakes

“There are many MTB brakes, but this one is mine…”

The variety in brake choice is less varied here but the requirement is the same – good stoppers with a reluctance to fade under descents of up to and indeed over an hour! It still amazes me how those pokey little brakes from Shimano, SRAM, et al actually manage it, but they do. That said I will never forget being behind David D in Morzine as the “stopper-pots” boiled on his Gary Fisher. Hysterical (with hindsight) and terrifying in equal measure!

The brake choices for the TFITers are pretty much uniformly Shimano XT, with one set of Zee’s, James G’s SRAM Guide RSC 4 pots, Matt W and Tim W running Hopes and rotor sizes ranging from 180 mm up to 200 mm.

Helmets

To full-face or not to full-face – that is indeed the question! Most of us (I suspect because we are all so devilishly handsome – *cough*) will be opting for full-face lids just because you’re in the Alps and it’s fundamentally a good idea. Bob has recently purchased the latest incarnation of the Bell’s Super helmet, the Bell Super 3R which looks cracking and feels lighter than the Super 2Rs.

Bell Super 3R/2R converts include David, me, Matt, Mark, Andy C, Steve F, Andy T, James, Bob and Malcolm with chinguards “very much” attached. Craig and Tig have their proper full-face lids and Tim is the last of us hard enough to brave the trails with his normal helmet. Cos he’s hard. And a bit mad…

 

So there you have it – a variety of kit on a variety of bikes with an extreme variety of riders. In summary it seems that Rockshox are the mostly favoured of forks and shocks, with 140mm or more travel the norm up front but a wider variety of shock travel to suit the individual bikes geometry.

It will be interesting, once again, to see how our very much “trail” focused bikes hold up in the Alps. We’ve come close but they’ve not yet been overfaced in Morzine/Les Gets/Chatel (yet) but what about on the back-country trails of Les Arcs? Only time will tell.

Les Arcs MTB: Obsessing about Mont Jovet

Yep it’s true. I’m thinking about this a bit too much!

We have a little over 3 months until we hit Les Arcs this summer for a weekend of MTB related shenanigans and on the Saturday of the weekend, Emily Horridge from The Inside Line is taking us on a little adventure up a small hill (I wish) called Mont Jovet.

Despite starting at the highest point possible in La Plagne we still have 500m to climb up to the summit with a “20-30 minute hike a bike” which I’ve heard described as “the hardest climb [on a bike] of my life”.

Gulp.

However I should caveat this by saying the descent from Mont Jovet has also been described as “the best descent of my life”. If I’m honest, I’m clinging onto that second description rather than the former.

However, in tribute to this current of my many obsessions take a look (specifically Mark T) at this “because it’s Friday” video from Yann L on YouTube:

Les Arcs: 100 days to go

Woop Woop there’s 100 days to go. That, by any definition, counts as a good day.

Yep, in 100 days from today the TFITers will be wheels down in Les Arcs for the “2017 Foam Tour” and the next 100 days cannot go quickly enough in my book. To slightly focus the mind of the TFIT massive – that would be 14 weeks and 2 days in old money.

Working on the principle of 3 rides a week thats only 42 rides until the Mont Jovet climb of pain…. *gulp*. However, the clocks have changed and we are in the realm of post-work rides so this is only a good thing.

So, what else do we need to know seeing as time is getting short? Over to our “man in the know”, Steve F for the details:

Super Important News

The 2nd Deposit of £200 due from everyone (excluding drivers) by 5th April. No excuses please. This will leave a final balance of £185 due around 15th June.

Other Important News

  • There is still a bucket load of snow on the hills – check out the webcams here
  • Steve is fully in control of all things Les Arcs – but ping him any questions if you’re in doubt
  • James G is now coming to the party after initially denying any interest and then swooping in at the last minute. It’s all about the “Foam Tour” t-shirt methinks. Anyway, we have now cancelled one of the hire cars and James has booked two smaller cars instead. Bottom line is we can all now fit in and this is a good thing
  • Emily has promised not to break any of us. Actually, no, she hasn’t
  • In terms of the new bike front, Matt has got his new Transition Smuggler, I have just taken delivery of my new Transition Scout (it’s large, black and a total trail nutter). Steve F has a mended and enhanced Specialized FSR and a certain Mark “Foam King” T has just taken delivery of one Mojo/Nicolai Geometron frame…
  • Mr F has produced an excellent tour logo – “The Foam Tour” and Matt “T-Shirt Inc” W is getting these onto t-shirts, I am contemplating a tattoo on my left bum cheek. Yes, it’s that good!
  • Don’t forget to get insurance for the trip. I used snowcard last year and found them ideal for what we are doing. Others are available.

So, if you’re chomping at the bit like me and just for your general perusal, enjoy the following nuggets of “Les Arcs Goodness” from the interweb and thanks to Anant Patel, PJ Channel and Vincent Pernin for sharing the love.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: