Generally, something will happen on a trip that will give me the title of an article, in this case it was listening to a podcast, Diary of a CEO. Steven Bartlett has been doing podcasts for a while and I had heard a couple of clips of the one with Jimmy Carr, as I drove to the Alps I gave it a listen, it’s interesting and gave rise to this title, cos that’s pretty much what this trip was all about, enjoying the passage of time.
Riding a bike, in the alps, what’s not to like, pretty much nothing to be honest. The trip was booked earlier in the year when dark nights and short days prevail, timing was late September, hopefully allowing some time to get vaguely fit, or fitter, as ever, you can never be too fit for a trip like this, not that I will ever be too fit for a mountain biking trip.
The Trans Savoie started off as a race by Ali Jamieson, of Trail Addiction, The Trans-Savoie Guided Enduro Tour Week – 6 Days, 25,000m Descent, 100% Alpine SingletracktrailAddiction – Alpine MTB Adventures
I’m no racer, so when I saw the riding offered as a guided trip, following the race route but with uplifts instead of loads of pedaling it sounded like a winner, turns out it is. There’s still some pedaling involved but most of the hard work is done by the van uplifts, this late in the season the ski lifts are closed as are pretty much all of the alpine villages and towns we pass through.
I did have a concern that I had booked on a trip with a group of 6 who all knew each other, as the 7th person it could be a bit awkward, as it is, I need not have worried, a cracking bunch on and off the bikes. Moe, Tom, Martin, Craig, Shaun, and Alex. They can all ride and in Martin, Tom and Alex’s case, their ability to drink alcohol and still function the next day is nothing short of remarkable. I have never, ever, not never witnessed people consume alcohol and ride fast, and I do mean fast the next day like these guys, gentleman, I salute you!
Our week starts above the ski resort of Tignes, glorious sunshine and blue skies, the long drive has been worth it.
We finish the day riding La Varda, a Trail Addiction classic, high alpine, big scenery and exposure, stunning backdrop.
Day 2, it rains, no pictures, great trails, rain, mist, cloud, slick roots and rocks, coooooold, showers and beers are most welcome at the end of the day.
A shuttle up and a climb see us up in them there mountains, big scenery and views, this is alpine riding, beats the hell out of opening and closing gates on bridleways back home.
Another shuttle towards the days end, a push up and we arrive here.
From here, its down…..well a little bit of up first.
This is big alpine pedaling and riding, the down is epic, fast, tight, flowy, technical, a real mixture, big views, big falls, the exposure is eye watering at times, there is a compulsory hike a bike section, some of which, could, maybe, be tackled if the drop to the right were not so huge, lower down the trail there’s a via ferrata clip line bolted to the mountainside, best ignore that and focus on the trail and the job in hand, staying online.
A night in a mountain refuge awaits, comfortable accommodation in a small alpine village, give the bikes the once over with a beer close to hand as the last of the sun disappears behind the mountains.
We ride Mont Jovet, a different trail to the one I rode before a few years ago, still a 40 minute or so climb to reach the trail head, fast singletrack interspersed with tight switchbacks.
At 2,294m or 7,526ft in English this ride affords huge view before dropping off into yet more classic alpine singletrack. Not without incident though, of the mechanical variety, Alex’s dropper post threw a thromby and had to be zip tied down for a fair portion of the ride.
Its been an interesting trip, I’m not sure how many more of these trips I have left in me, the technical side of the riding still floats my boat, I can see my lines and make them, nearly all of the time, the fitness aspects, well they are getting harder. If I only rode mountain bikes it might be easier but, kayaks and motorbikes have their space too and I might enjoy them more, it’s difficult to gauge. Steep, technical trails are my thing, sometimes the riding to get to them, well, hmm, not so sure.
Rode fast, took risks!
The full diary of a ceo podcast is here
Enjoying the passage of time, I am and I hope you are.
Big thanks to Ali and Gabi for organising, and the team for a great week of riding and chit chat.