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PostPosted: Wed Jul 17, 2013 9:22 am 
Section Moderator & South West AEC
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Location: new forest
day 8 :D (a day late, french wifi sucks)

i met up with Kev Duckworth and his mate Ben, they had a day of downhilling planned, Kev has been out here a week or so and has done the mega avalanche enduro and is doing the mountain of hell this weekend before heading home, both these races are predominantly downhill but do have climbing sections in them most of the time the bikes are 6 inch travel bikes as opposed to full on downhill bikes, Kev is riding a Santa Cruz heckler for example with an air shock so is pretty happy going up as well as down.

we got on the lift to the highest biking point which is 2600metres, came out of the lift and started descending a weird gravel path thing, it was loose like sand but off camber and very steep, once off that awful barely rideable trail we found the actual downhill track and wow, berm, hairpin, steep, berm, steep, hairpin, more berm, more steep, braking bumps etc etc etc.

my hands and arms were in bits! it gets tough to brake and control the bike, i was almost relieved when we got to the bottom, Kev and Ben politely waited for me, they are both very good downhillers.

we carried on to another lift and then on to another downhill, it was called "666" so i/we had to do it. this one rolled better than the others as there were less braking bumps but was still very steep, this through us out at the top of the Venosc descent, steep, dusty huge banks and berms and it went on for ages but it wasn't too harsh so it was doable in one go.

we then got the lift back up to Les Deux Alpes and rode through town to the other end where there is another lift with a specific fun downhill, it's a little easier so you can play on it a bit more if that makes sense! with some of the downhills you can't see what's coming up but with this one it's very open and fast flowing so you can jump more with confidence whereas the Venosc downhill is loads of blind corners so the speed is alot lower.

after this i did one more downhill as it was getting to the point where i couldn't brake, holding the bar was becoming uncomfortable so i thought i'd better stop, Kev and Ben were still well up for riding so after lunch at at around 2pm i left them to watch the Tour in the hotel bar, it turns out they did about 3 more runs of the Venosc downhill as well as the main downhill here called the "fury" which i believe is the longest here.

the bar was very busy though, as you can imagine the Tour is big news here and the bar gradually filled as the race neared the end of the stage. there have always been someone to chat to as there are loads of english/dutch/swiss and not to mention french people who love it all here.

anyway, here's a few pics. :D

oh and the Patriot now has a new (to me) fork as my single crown Z1 freeride blew, not sure which model i have now as it has no stickers but it seems to work fine and has about 150mm of travel so that helps abit.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 17, 2013 10:27 am 
Section Moderator & South West AEC
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Joined: Mon Jun 25, 2007 3:33 pm
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Location: new forest
just found this from a local french photographer, from Mondays climb up Alpe d'Huez

:D


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 17, 2013 10:23 pm 
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Location: Heathfield, East Sussex
From all the reports and photo's I'd say the main missing ingredient at this year's poor excuse for a Mayhem was your infectious enthusiasm...

...great thread :mrgreen:


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 17, 2013 11:06 pm 
Section Moderator & South West AEC
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Location: new forest
cheers Stevo :D

day 9, rest day :D before the literal storm

it's pissing down outside at the moment, tomorrow, the alpe d'huez stage looks to be a wet one aswel, here's hoping it isn't, the pattern has been that the rain starts in the afternoon after a dry morning, hopefully that will be the worst case, i'll soon find out when i open the curtains in about 7 hours time! :wink:

today though was a rest day for me, i have ridden hard every day since getting here, whether it be uphill or downhill, mtb or road, but in preparation for tomorrow i have put bottle cages on the Demon and organised all my kit ready for the day on the mountain. the reason i want bottles on the Demon is that i will leave the hotel at 730am an likely not return till nearly 7pm, so with them and my camelback i will have 3 litres with me, i got through 4 litres climbing the mountain on the monday with a refill.

i intend to leave early, ride for about 1 hour down to alpe d'huez and commence the climb, i want to get to the church about half way up, this is "the dutch corner" 8) Geoff Waugh the photographer will be there as well as a large group of raving dutch fans. after the race has passed twice i then intend to descend to bourg d'osains to watch the finish in a bar, then ride to Venosc to get the cable car back to Les deux Alpes where i'm staying. that's the plan anyway, we'll see what happens!! :lol:

i have my rain gear so hopefully i'll be ok, waterproof jacket and shorts etc so hopefully once there i should be ok with a change of stuff to wait for the tour in.

i'll do my best to get some good pics :D


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 18, 2013 12:33 am 
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Joined: Sun Sep 05, 2010 1:10 am
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Location: Heathfield, East Sussex
Christ! I'm knackered just reading about it! :oops:


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2013 2:22 am 
Section Moderator & South West AEC
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Joined: Mon Jun 25, 2007 3:33 pm
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Location: new forest
day 10 :D a few days late!

Alpe d'Huez :D i opened the curtains and found it was dry, it had been really chucking it down until the early hours of the morning and i expected to be getting wet today.

i had breakfast, loaded up my bag with cameras etc and headed out on the Demon, i floored it down from Les Deux Alpes where i was staying via the old road, blasting past a lot of roadies on the descent which i think bothered them :D , this drops me out about 3 km from the start of the Alpe d'Huez climb, it was mental! people, bikes, team trucks everywhere! :shock: :shock:

my plan was to get to the dutch corner, mainly because i had heard it was the most fun, i started the climb, stopping here and there for pictures, both sides of the road were solid with riders with tour specific vehicles being the only things allowed up.

i eventually got to the corner and locked up the Demon within 5 metres of where i wanted to be so i could keep an eye on it, i was on the wall by the church wearing black shorts and a retrobike top if anyone happens to spot a pic with me in it anywhere.

the dutch were already in full party mode, then the advertising stuff came through and then went mental for the freebies and the girls on the back of the vans :D

i have some footage and pics so i'll try and edit something up over the next few days.

then the race finally came through, the crowd went so mad, so loud it was unbelievable in the flesh, when Bauke Mollema came through he had the biggest smile on his face but then he would as he's dutch! some riders seemed to enjoy the crowd, others did their best to ignore it and then others really didn't like it. one issue is that people were drinking, alot, this then makes them even more crazy and also lose their awareness of just how close they are which is when i think the issues start. overall i'd say it was good humoured and well intended but with the odd idiot.

the gendarmes did what they could to keep the road clear but it was and impossible and thankless task :?

before the second pass i decided to go down the mountain abit, i was just below the irish corner, which is where the trip fight was :lol: i got some really good pics, there were less people here so when i shouted encouragement most riders actually looked round at me, froome, kennaugh and cav all looked up, although my camera work wasn't always the best :facepalm:

after the race had gone past i started the descent, the mountain had apparently maybe 800,000 people on it and was a nightmare going down and eventually we were told to walk by the gendarmes, this was because some stupid fat idiot had smacked into a lady on the last section and knocked her out cold.

then came the slow climb back to Venosc for the cable car back to Les Deux Alpes in a slight bit of drizzle

all in all a fantastic day. :D

here are a few pics, and i'll upload the rest to flikr as i took a total of 1400 pics :D using the batch option on the camera

from the monday before,
Image
IMG_1535 by Dr. Branom, on Flickr
Image
P1100694 by Dr. Branom, on Flickr
Image
P1100705 by Dr. Branom, on Flickr

the day of the race at about 9.30 am
Image
P1100706 by Dr. Branom, on Flickr

after the first hairpin
Image
P1100708 by Dr. Branom, on Flickr

at the dutch corner before it got busy
Image
P1100709 by Dr. Branom, on Flickr

go on give me a kiss!
Image
P1100766 by Dr. Branom, on Flickr

there is a road in there somewhere, this is before the race was near
Image
P1100767 by Dr. Branom, on Flickr

this was dutch dancing although it looks like a crash!
Image
P1100776 by Dr. Branom, on Flickr

fans of Sky?
Image
P1100782 by Dr. Branom, on Flickr

froome/porte
Image
P1100979 by Dr. Branom, on Flickr

cadel evans
Image
P1110188 by Dr. Branom, on Flickr

froome
Image
P1110407 by Dr. Branom, on Flickr

i shouted "go on Chris!"
Image
P1110413 by Dr. Branom, on Flickr

contador looking tired
Image
P1110440 by Dr. Branom, on Flickr

this looks like i was in his way but i was tucked up against a high kerb and he was wobbling as he was struggling
Image
P1110560 by Dr. Branom, on Flickr

thomas voeckler
Image
P1110581 by Dr. Branom, on Flickr

peter kennaugh
Image
P1110679 by Dr. Branom, on Flickr

cav struggling but in the group
Image
P1110982 by Dr. Branom, on Flickr

philippe gilbert, world champ
Image
P1110993 by Dr. Branom, on Flickr

moi!
Image
IMG_1564 by Dr. Branom, on Flickr

was disappointed with this sign at the irish corner
Image
IMG_1565 by Dr. Branom, on Flickr

panoramic of the dutch corner
Image
IMG_1575 by Dr. Branom, on Flickr


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2013 9:16 am 
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Location: Heathfield, East Sussex
One of the best threads on the Forum...8)


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2013 8:57 pm 
Section Moderator & South West AEC
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Joined: Mon Jun 25, 2007 3:33 pm
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Location: new forest
if you can be bothered to watch 15 minutes, here is the full descent of Alpe d'Huez, this was from the monday before the stage on thursday, some good traffic dodging :D



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PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2013 9:39 pm 
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Joined: Sun Sep 05, 2010 1:10 am
Posts: 4756
Location: Heathfield, East Sussex
Oh my good God!Image mad dogs and Englishmen... :mrgreen:


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2013 10:11 pm 
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Location: Edinburgh
At least now I could do Alpe d'Huez in one direction, 'cos up ain't ever going to happen.


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