Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Oh yes, The Brazilian Trail delivers!

Thank you liquid metal and Mister Finter - the sender of the liquid metal. Without you, my poor, battered Trek Remedy 08 would be toast. As it is, she is back to her movement-less best! Having thoroughly ovalled out the frame and various parts of the evo link suspension, she's all good again. Good enough for an absolute wrecking ball decent of the Brazilian Trail in the Valais region of Switzerland.

DAV_7539 Having done the chalet changeover in 30+ degrees heat, after a very busy week, catering for 8 people on my own, I was pretty much exhausted and definitely dehydrated before we left, but threw some pills down my neck for the headache and thought it would pass. It didn't. That said, it was a superb morning and having left early to beat the weather, Jamie, Willie and I were on the road just after 7am, enjoying the scenery on the way into Switzerland.




The first uplift is a tiny little local telecabine which fits 3 bikers and 6 people very intimately, as we found out. These little chairs run all year and are the up and down lifeblood of the locals living in this beautiful valley. Having paid at the top and bought the telecabine ticket, it was a short ride through the sleepy village above Chalais before getting into the brand new lift and being whisked up to the top.




Once out at the top, you are surrounded by some awesome scenery, with a short single track drop to wake us up and then the start of the traverse, towards the tooth being pointed at, above. We were headed to the col de cou which is on the right hand side of the pic below and a good slog/hike a bike up from the amazing plateau behind the waterfall dropping down the valley. Even though it was cool, with quite a stiff headwind, the sweating was about to start!



All worth it though as the view opens up at the top of the Col de Cou and the start of the Brazilian. We turned our backs on this, though, towards the thin ribbon of singletrack, contouring round the hill we had just come up. It was thin and quite technical in parts and a good warm up for things to come!





Sunday, March 24, 2013


Had a little walk up onto Salt Hill near East Meon, and a cracking pub roast lunch in the Isaak Walton after with Jay and Alice. It was very very cold! Saw this in the village on the way back into town-random!!! IMAG0482 IMAG0310 IMAG0306

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Dont d'Oche

The Dont d'Oche is part of the Chablais Trilogy, which also includes Mont Grnage and the Cornetts de Bise. Big lumps of rock, that stand in a great position, close to the shores of Lac Leman and can offer some awesome views. If you have driven towards Thonon from geneva, the Dont is the higher hill next to the spikey tooth like Chateau d'Oche


Having just got back from the UK and with busy season about to hit, there was just enough time before the winter arrives properly, to get one more day out in the hills! We had had snow whilst we were back in the UK, but have had a solid week of sunshine, so Chris and I thought that we would get as high as we could on the route and withdraw if we needed crampons etc as Chris doesn't have any. After a minor fuel issue, we started slightly late at 11:30, straight into the climb towards the Chalets d'Oche. d'Oche means green pasture and as we drew near to the alpage, we could see why. Then it was slog time, climbing up the grasss slopes before reaching shattered limestone rock and the start of the chimneys with some chains for the tricky bits.


Slightly higher up, we stopped to take some shots and were looked down upon by some Butan goats (this was what a woman we met called them, although I cannot find them on the web!) which were great!



After the goats, some gullies led to the refuge. Wow, doesn't really cut it. When you come out of the gully onto a 2 foot wide ridge with a refuge above you and quite simply an amazing view, it pretty impressive!


Anyway, after a spot of lunch we then headed up through some sugary snow and then on to the summit. Amazing views.




Coming back through the snow and ice steps was a bit sketchy (for me) but once past the refuge, we were down within an hour. A great day out in perfect late autumn conditions. 1800 meters of climbing apparently, which is why my knees now feel stiff! Bobbles at the ready, bring on the snow!


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Col de Fenetre Epic day out!

This has to be one of the biggest and most amazing days that I have spent on my bike! Full waffle to come, but here is a pic to get the idea of what I'm talking about...


ok, two...

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Mont Billiat

Whilst Steffi whisked Monty south for some sun and 'jump ins' into to the swimming pool, i stayed behind with the intention of doing some walking and riding. what happened was I squeezed one evening walk and a day's riding into a week - the rest, I managed to fill with work!

Having got the map out several times over the summer, there were a number of objectives that were on the cards, but there are to mountains that I can see from my house which have always drawn my attention. Looking down the valley from Seytroux, there are two distinct ridges of vertical limestone, opposite each other.

These ridges are the first 'big' things that you come across when driving up from Thonon and are (looking towards Lake Geneva from Seytroux) Mt Billiat on the left and Mt Ouzon on the right.

Mt Ouzon
Mt Ouzon

I chose Mt Billiat as I thought it had the more impressive looking outline! It was a Friday night and there was not a cloud in the sky and most importantly, no wind, as it looked pretty vertiginous from the map contours... I planned on driving up to the chalets at Mevonne, but the reality was that to do that, I needed a 4x4 and the right to access the road. My car was out of its depth before I had to give up the right to the road, so I pulled over and did the (quite long) slog up the road to the alpage pastures and chalets at the top.

I had set off at 4:30pm with the intent of seeing a bit of the sunset and by the time I reached the alpage at Mevonne, the light was incredible, just coming over the col and lighting up the sheer limestone cliffs behind.

I can't really do this sight justice at all. There was no one there, the light was amazing and there were about 50 cows jangling in a hidden meadow under the cliffs - it looked like a mini Yosemete with a bit of cow bell thrown in for extra atmosphere - one of the most amazing sights that I have ever seen in the mountains, anywhere.

Climbing up to the coll on the right, I then struck up the steeper ground towards the summit. This ends up traversing a steep (80 ish degrees!) grass hill side with some chains put in at the most exposed parts. The clay like soil is slippery when wet although ok for me as it hadn't rained for a few days. Following this traverse, you pop out onto a ridge which heads to the summit.

I was glad that there was no wind as it is about a meter wide in places with a considerable drop on either side, both at that 70/80 degree angle!! I saw one deer that bolted when it got my scent, other than that, no one!

Having topped out a bit before 19:20, I sat and enjoyed the view for a bit. You can see sooo many peaks and lake Geneva in its entirety! The fountain looked miniscule! Where are the pictures, I hear you ask? Well, I took my slr which had no cards in it!!!

After a bit I headed down and it quickly turned dark. The track through the forest went on for EVER and I was glad to see my car by head torch, feeling knackered.

I Found these shots on the web which come close to my experience!


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Radio silence is broken!

Its been a veeeeery long time since I posted anything on the old ibfc, which is tragic! Life has been bust this year, but I've had plaenty of adventures as we all have. It appears that blogging time is squeezed when running companies and chasing toddlers! I've got a free patch coming up with some time for walking and catching up, so I shall sort some posts out from our adventures this year... In the mean time you can see some of our skiing and snowboarding adventures on the alpine highs blog!

Here's a pic that Michael at Cuttin Edge Solutions took the other day. This was from a trip to Chamonix which might just have been the best single track riding I have ever done. That's quite a big claim, but with 25 minute descents on ribons of completely smooth then technical track, all taken at mach ten and a large penalty for overshooting the switchbacks, I think it might just be justified!

Sunday, September 09, 2012

South Downs Way

So, after fighting with my ankle for 6 weeks I decided to take a different approach. Lay off the MTB and climbing and focus on low impact stuff to keep my fitness up. The road bike has come back out and I have become addicted to Strava! My fitness has gone through the roof and after 5 weeks my ankle has realy started to show signs of improvement :-) Itzi and I finally got back on the MTB's last weekend and did a gentle downland amble of about 15 miles and that felt good, so this weekend we decided to ride from Petersfield to Amberley on the South Downs way, which is about 28 miles. A good test for my ankle and a good challenge for Itzi as she has never rode that far, especially off road with about 3000ft of ascent! The sun was shining and we set-off from Petersfield train station about 09:30. After some initial good progress Itzi got a puncture, followed by a brake failure, swiftly followed by a broken chain! Good job I'm an engineer! And then about 10 minutes later I looked up a descent from the bottom of Beacon Hill to see her dissapear into a hedge! After sprinting up the hill I found her OK, but a bit bruised and shaken! To her credit after a bit of bread and a cuddle she got back on to finish the remaining 15 odd miles-well done Itzi!!

Brilliant day out

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