I was up at Glencoe last weekend for the Macavalanche organised by No Fuss events. It was the first time it has been run and it is the Scottish answer to the Megavalanche, albeit with a helicopter uplift!
I showed up late friday night, not knowing what to expect. I have driven past Glencoe, like most others, loads of times but never actually ridden it.
All i knew was it was a mass start race, first to the bottom wins. Simple.
Saturday morning we all took the 2 lifts up and then pushed our bikes the final climb to the start line up on the snow. Then it was time to check out the track, leaving our bikes at the top, so we could be reunited later with the help of a chopper.
The track was wild, literally. Just open and fast with some very generous taping. Lots of fast straights with boulders that had to be avoided and huge bogs. Not to mention the soft snow.
So, not long after i got to the bottom it was time to kit up and get ready, i was on the first chopper flight so had to get my ass in gear.
I have to say, i was more nervous about the Helicopter flight than the race, it was pretty damn windy and we were landing right on top of the mountain, about 30ft away from a huge drop off the back. It turned out to be amazing though, straight into the front seat of the 5 seater and within 2 minutes we were landing at the top. In all in took 4 and half minutes for the chopper to take us up, land to drop us off and then get back to the bottom! Nuts.
So i had chosen to ride my Santa Cruz Blur LTC, my Gravity Enduro bike. Earlier on, before i had walked the track, everyone was enjoying telling me that it was definitely a track for a Downhill bike. But i think they underestimated how rad my LTc is! haha.
So the time came around to race, we had to have a le Mans style run to the bikes because it would have been carnage if 100 riders went straight into the snow. Bit of a rant here- i know not everyone is there to try and win, but a lot were, like me. These type of races are pretty easy to cheat at if you really want to, the only thing stopping someone doing it is if someone sees you and dobs you in to the organisers. Something Fraser from No Fuss had made clear at the riders meeting. But at the start, more than a few people chose to start the run from up on the side of the hill, therefore missing out the hardest part of the run. Credit where credit is due, most of the fast boys (Joe barnes, Rowan, Danny Macaskill etc) made sure they didnt have an unfair advantage, but not all!
So we were off, a fall or two from me on the run, then we got the bikes. The snow was pretty much impossible to ride, i found out after someone ran past me flat out! So it was running for me as well.
I managed to get throught to about 5th from a pretty mid pack start. There was a gnarly, steep straight that i managed to get into 3rd on. I was behind Joe Barnes and Mick from MBR.
Into 2nd and not too far behind Joe. I was coming down a fast straight and all of a sudden, it was as if someone put a log through my front wheel. I hit a bog. I was on my face, then ass before i even knew i was crashing. My bike was cartwheeling down the track! Poor Blur.
So anyway, i jumped back on it and rode off, then realised i couldn’t actually see the course tapes anymore. I had got disorientated. I stopped i pushed back up to where i could see the tapes, but a group of about 5 riders had followed me and almost ran me over when i started to push. I shouted to them they were going in the wrong direction but they carried on. By the time i got going again, i could see the group had put a big gap into me, but as i got down to the fire road i could see them stuck in no mans land having to jump over bogs and streams. Unlucky!
So that was about all the excitement for me. By about half way down the fire track i still couldn’t see Joe, he was miles ahead by then. I got down the final fast straight and came into the finish, 1 minute behind Joe, with Danny not far behind me.
I loved it, what a crazy event. Even though i felt like my lungs were bleeding. I had a chest cam on for the race, borrowed from Stu at MTB Cut so hopefully that should show up on the web somewhere.