zaterdag 15 juli 2017

AlpsEpic Your Epic Experience...

Friday 30/06 we left for the French alps... it's been a while and we haven't been biking there yet. So looking forward to what the French mountains had to offer this week :) 

Weapons loaded
Saturday late in the afternoon we arrived in Montgenévre the starting place of the prologue, and the two first stages. 

View from the campersite

Luckily the sun was out all the time

On Sunday we could sleep in and went for a recon of the course of the 11KM long prologue. Not a huge distance but  more than 300 altitude meters and reasonably technical. Only the directions on the track were not there yet. So afterwards we found out we did some parts of the track in the opposite direction 😏...

'Hautes' Alpes you said?

Lost the track here...
Afterwards we checked in and got our numbers.
A bunch of Belgian riders would also be riding this week at the Alps Epic.

Trying out 'the shirt' at the accreditation (made by ENDURA)
Monday was race day. Start of the prologue would be given at 1600hrs. Perfect to get super nervous for just 11KM. 
The start was given each 30", and we were almost last couple to start. We managed to finish 3th, not bad but we were not super happy either.  

Prologue finish
Tuesday: Montgenèvre- Montgenèvre first real race day, not long (61KM - 2750M+ ) but the organisation already repeatedly said it was technical. We first thought they were scaring us, but after the first climb, we were passing a few teams, everything went smooth and in the first real downhill it seamed they were so right. It wasn't just technical it was very hard, we had to get off and on the bike more than ones. Sliding on rocky parts, not getting our bike in to the tight curves. While other teams were just flying down like nut cases. After a little under 6 hours of suffering we arrived back in Montgenèvre. What a ride...

Where's that f*ck*ng trail?
Wednesday: Montgenèvre - Puy Saint Vincent (58KM - 2850M+) Another hard day at the office. The first climb was going great, the descents were harder, but today was all about the second climb... A monster climb, 9 KM straight to heaven. We have done it before; climbing a ski slope, but not this long. It was never ending... A lot of riders had to get off the bike, and walk up. We were doing great, although Peter wasn't really enjoying this and the downhill following wasn't a treat either. Riding in second position all day kept us going but at the last part of the ride the bad luck struck in... First a flat for me and in the last climb I got stuck on a rocky obstacle and fell. Not really good for the bike. We lost about an hour in time and finished 4th. 

I said: 'Where's that f*ck*ng traiiiilllllll....'
Thursday : Puy Saint Vincent - Arvieux (58KM - 2850M+). Going strong with in our mind that the bad day yesterday was long gone already. Also knowing what to expect when the organisation announced some parts would be hard we found the right flow. Technical parts were starting to go a little smoother and climbing was our game.

'No' nerves at he start
Friday : Arvieux - Risoul (63KM - 2800M+) Our best day of the week. Peter was getting better each day, I started off with sore legs. Strong climbing and fast flowy downhills. Riding hard until the end. Finishing with a long hard climb up to the skiing station of Risoul in steaming hot weather. We managed to pass the first ladies team and finish as second mixed team. Great day...

'Yes' nerves at the start 😄

Saturday: Risoul - Plan d'eau d'Embrun (70KM - 2950M+) Focus was on the third spot in the GC, the second team was about 50 minutes in front of us due to our time loss in the second stage. The team in 4th place was 40 minutes behind us, but we suspected one last attempt to attack from them. It became a long suffer fest, especially the last ascent. We knew there would be a walking part, but this was about 1500M of crawling straight up with our bikes on our shoulders. Hard to walk, impossible to ride and feeling like it would never end. The last descent was funny but we had to keep your hands on the brakes. After 10KM of braking we almost had cramps in our arms and hands. 
After almost 7 hours in the saddle we were very happy to finish the hardest stage race we have entered yet... 

For the last time. Where's that f*ck*ng trail!!!!!!😡
3th Mixed team Whoop Whoop!!    
All results here


It was a long, hard and hot week... 
And a great crew, fantastic food, a very personal approach and stunning views! 

Alps  Epic you were more than Epic to us... Maybe we'll see you all again 😘 next year...?

Now preparing (resting also 😇) for our next big goal this season. Sudety MTB Challenge in Poland.

Due to our enormous good partners, our bikes, our gear and our nutrition will also be up to the challenge.

Also we have to recommend this beautiful organisation. The organizers worked their butts off to make it for everybody an incredible, and unforgettable week. 



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