A few top tips to stay out of trouble prior to your races

  • Study the track maps as you will race two separate tracks, one for qualifying and one for the main event.
  • Build into the week, enjoy yourself but remember not to be cooked by day 3.
  • Smile politely and ignore. There will be a lot of advice given by everyone you talk to, some will be good, most will be very bad. Figure out your game plan and don't worry what everyone else is up too.
  • Enjoy the beers but remember you’re at altitude, your normal ratio will be thrown, for every 1 beer you have it will feel like 5 the next morning.
  • Everyone races for keeps: There is no “gentlemen’s agreement“ here, people will ride over your head if they get the chance, stay out of trouble where you can. Trust no-one, especially on the snow.
  • The French and British don’t consider it cheating when they ride over or through bunting to get ahead, speaking from personal experience. The general rule is everything is fair game if it’s not bunted.

The Checklist

  • Downhill tyres only: Plain and simple, if you ignore this advice you will hate life, if you are travelling with someone who doesn’t want to take DH tires, leave them at home.
  • Strong wheels with aluminium rims! You can always bend back rim strikes if you get desperate, there is a lot of rock on the mountain and each one seems like a magnet aimed at your wheels. If you can pack a spare rim, it’s worth it.
  • Big Travel: Minimum travel would be 150mm to get the most out of the week, in saying that be prepared to be passed by random Frenchies on what appear to be supermarket bikes.
  • Powerful brakes and spare brake pads: These are self-explanatory, your week will suck if underestimate this.
  • A good dropper post: Don’t be fooled by the all the descending, you will need a good dropper as there is a lot of pedalling mixed in with all the descending.
  • Fresh grips: Your hands will not be used to the pain you are about to introduce them to, fresh grips really do help.
  • Mud Guard: The weather can change at any second and when it rains in the alps, it rains!
  • Full face helmet: Compulsory. Enough said.
  • Pack plastic pants: If it's wet and cold, your arse will thank you.
  • Hand warmer heat packs: These cheap, simple packets fit inside your gloves or shoes and are the best things ever for alpine riding during practice. Open the packet, shake the bag which sets off a chemical compound and provides a slow burn heat pack for up to 8 hours, slip them in your gloves during the gondola rides or while in the snow. You will thank me.