Macalavalanche!


Early May brought the annual pilgrimage north, very north to the ski resort of Glen Coe in Scotland. The 11 hour drive got me there for 1am Saturday, enough time to get my head down for the early start 7am.

Glen Coe hosts the crazy Macalavalanche race, an event that’s enduro, downhill and mass start (on snow) all in one. What makes it even better is that it’s lift assisted using the ski resort chair lifts, so minimal climbing and fresh legs to pedal where it matters.
Sign on and first lifts at 8.30am up to stage one, a 50m long snow slope to start with everyone watching you set off and cheering those you made it down clean but bigger cheers for those launching over the bars as their front wheel got sucked into the soft spring snow. I made it nearly all the way before going head first into the snow getting a helmet full of the cold stuff. I weirdly got a Front puncture too and dog determined rode the stage on a front flat much to the sacrifice of salvaging my tire and my lovely DT Swiss rims.
We were warned how harsh and rocky the trails were but only on stage two did I realise this picking up another front flat in a rock garden on my second tire of the day. This time I was nearer the bottom and pushed on knowing I could claw back a big chunk of time on the final test if the day, the famous Macavalanche mass start race.
£64 lighter in the wallet and a magic Mary SG Fitted on the front wheel and I was ready for the third and final chairlift of the day.
After a hike a bike up to a 200m stretch of snow we were had the privilege of a brass band ( the Scots really know how to put in an event) playing as we awaited the big start. Despite my  bad luck on the first two stages I was still awarded with a front row seeded position.
I thought the snow, considering it was May would be soft and therefore suck the speed out of the start creating lots of crashes so I positioned myself furthest on the right near an out crop of boulders the size of babies head.
My plan was to head straight onto the rocks out of the mass start carnage and hopefully get a good start. My judgement was poor, the front row fired off, as I caught them out of the corner of my eye coasting into the distance I adjusted my line and launched into the snow also, this actually worked well as my entry speed allowed me to gain on the riders who had passed me and as we exited the snow and onto the moor I propelled from about 30th into the the top ten. Mach 9 down some peaty drops and bogs into the heart break 1 minute uphill climb, things were going well I had air in my tires and I was making headway’s towards the top 5 riders. As we descended again I had the top 5 within a few bike lengths. I managed to hold that position all the way to the bottom finishing 5th man down the hill and 1st in masters putting me 2nd in masters for overall accumulated time.
A good result considering I rode a good portion of two stages earlier on a front flat. Moral of the story for this one is ride within the capabilities of the bike and never give up. See you next year Macavalanche!!!

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