Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Road trip 2015, Pass Porte du Soleil and Tignes

This year’s road trip kicked off before we even started! We booked a return trip on the Euro Tunnel and on the day before we were meant to travel the Calais dock workers decided to throw loads of burning tyres on the road and block the port… Being resourceful chaps we booked the overnight Brittany Ferry from Portsmouth to Le Havre.

Day 1, Wednesday 24th June, drive
We arrived in France around 9am and took the long journey south, Greg and Simon in the van, Chris, Paul and myself in a car. That evening we met up again in the Les Get campsite all pretty excited about the next few days riding.

Day 2, Thursday 25th June, Les Gets

Greg, Les Gets bike Park
After kitting up we eagerly rode to grab a lift pass and headed up the Chavannes lift, at the top we elect to take the green (1) run to ease ourselves in to it. I say ease ourselves in to it, Greg, Simon and Chris all riding downhill bikes set off like a scolded cat with Paul and I just happy with the flow on our Enduro bikes. At the bottom we headed back up the lift and headed over to Morzine for a coke. After the stop we jumped on to the Pleney lift to ride back to Les Gets on the Blue and stopped for lunch.
After lunch we decided to ride the main red run, again the DH boys shot off, but for the first time I felt I could hang on to them, that until I needed to stop and let my hands recover! That run was awesome and had us all fired up for more so we headed up to the bike park and took in Triple 8 and The Shore, both relentless runs featuring berm after berm.

One last full run on the red we swapped hills and took the Mont Chery lift as you can use this to drop back in the campsite. On the top of the hill we gathered for a team photo and a goat walked past, oh how I wish I took a photo of this goat… On the trail you pass the top of the Air Line run before dropping down a very loose and rocky track back to the campsite.
That evening we headed over to Morzine for some fuel and a look around, I started to feel pretty ill; I don’t think I drank enough…

Day 3, Friday 26th June, Pass Portes.
Fortunately I’m feeling a little better but I had very little sleep, not ideal prep for an 80km event… We head of too Les Lindarets to sign on, get our number board and free gift (which was yet another bag) and head up de Chaux/ Fleuroe lift. At the top we take the main route around the mountain all the way to the bottom, this is a lovely flowy run and is a great start to the riding day.
At the bottom we follow the (red) trail which was another lovely run featuring lots of berms and even woodwork! At the bottom of this run we took de Pre-la-Joux lift up for the run in to Chatel, this start of very rocky and we all take a few hits from rocks flicking up, from this it’s a run where you can really open the taps and get some good speed on!
At Chatel we miss the food stop and head up de Super Chatel and make the first error of the day… All the signs pointed on way (rather than the direction on the map) and it ended up being a brutal road climb in the sunshine followed by a lame decent on the road down to the lake just before Morgins, very disappointing.
In Morgins we grab a little food and headed up de la Foilleuse lift and followed the route to Champoussin. Next is the Aiguille des Champeys lift and after a little push at the top you follow a goat track around the mountain and down the other side.
After this section we are looking for a DH diversion (that cuts out Champery) and are surprised to see it tapped off, we make the decision to go over the fence to ride it as none of us want the boring ride to Champery. At this point the guys a saying, ‘isn’t that an electric fence?’, I’m saying ‘no its alright’ just as I straddle it and get a few shocks to the part of my body which you would never want shocked! We all cross the fence (a bit more carefully than I did) and ride the DH, at the bottom as we cross the fence some more riders come down, obviously with the same idea as us.
Next is the long des Mossettes lift and at the top the DH guys take off. The decent is rocky and I try to get the gap back to the guys, which I did way before they all ran out of steam on the ‘moor ‘ section. Once the little climbs are passed it was a great run of rocky single track with Chris out front and me chasing, we make the end and wait for the guys to catch up, then we all ride together back down to Les Lindarets.
Back at Les Lindarets we collectively decide to call it a day, the climb out of Chatel kind of killed the ride for us and having ridden Les Gets/ Morzine the day before none of us wanted to go over old ground. We all grabbed a beer and agreed that we were feeling done with the Pass Portes, I love the event but it just feels done now.

That evening Paul, Chris and I grab a pizza, still not feeling great I leave about a third, this is a sign that I must have been unwell!!!!

Day 4, Saturday 27th June, Tignes.
The next morning we pack of and head to Tignes and set up in the campsite by the dam. There was a free shuttle that took us to Tignes le Lac and picked up our free lift pass. We head up the Palafour lift and hit a few runs. Tignes feels very different to the super-groomed bike park at Les Gets, very loose, lots of rocks and more natural. At the end of the day I try to find an AM run back down to the reservoir, but there is too much climbing involved for the DH guys so I turn around and signal to the guys to go back before they commit too much.
That evening we BBQ with a treat of a decent bottle of wine…

Day 5, Sunday 28th June, Tignes.

L to R, Paul, Greg, Si, Dan, Chris
The next day we head up to Tignes and take the Toviere lift to ride Kangooride, this was an amazing run, as good as anything and everybody is in high spirits and after a few more runs we decide to grab some lunch.

After lunch we decide to head up Palafour and ride the Tarte a Lognan route but Greg splits off to ride another route.
Before the run I spot a mountain lake and we all stop for photos, it’s here we have a bit of a ‘crikey, just look where we are moment’…

Dan by the mountain lake
Paul by the mountain lake
After the run we catch up with Greg who has a few niggles and decides to bail out, however Paul, Chis, Simon and I crack on. The rest of the afternoon is filled with some just incredible riding, photos and most importantly massive fun. 

We all head back down to the campsite very happy and tired; when we get there Greg has also cooked a Spag Boll, so we are happy and fed, result!

Day 6, Monday 29th June, going home.
The next morning we pack down and head our separate ways with Greg and Si making an early start to break the journey in the van and Chris, Paul and I in the car. When we get to the tunnel we find that Eurotunnel have cancelled our booking as we didn’t take the out-going trip, fortunately they got is a ticket but for a couple of hours later… to say we were not happy at this point is an understatement. Anyway we got home in the end and that’s all that matters.

For me it I have mixed feelings about this year’s trip, firstly I wasn’t that well, so I had to put up with an upset tummy while still trying to make the most of the trip. Secondly without the Pass Portes I don’t know if I want to go all that way just for gravity riding, as much as I like this style of riding (and I do lots!) I don’t think it’s enough for me anymore. Lastly I don’t like to think that other people are not enjoying themselves as much as maybe I was, and sometimes I just wasn’t so sure?

So would I go again? I’ll never say never but right now I think I would rather just go to Suiss Normandie, put on my back pack and just ride all day…. 


  1. Awesome ride!!! Beautiful scenery! Great that you fellows enjoy good bikes, good riding, beer and good food. Don't know what spag boll is but, but it seems you guys enjoyed it. Anyways, keep up cracking those bikes and salutations from Miami.

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