The inaugural Trans-Savoie 2013
The Trans-Savoie is six day Enduro and an epic Alpine adventure… 6 days, 20 timed stages, 20,000m of descent and 5000m of ascent though the French Alps!
Val D’Isere – Tigne – St Foye – Bourg St Maurice – La Rosiere – Les Arcs – La Plagne – Champagny – Courchevel – Meribel – Albertville – Areches/Beaufort – Megeve – St Gervais – Chamonix
At the beginning of the year Ali the race organiser sent me a message to see if I would be keen to race. I did some research, the route looked totally awesome!! I liked the concept of plenty of physical climbing and long riding days, then adding in chair lifts each day meant we got even more descending and mega long stages.
Ali has spent years and years developing the route and organisation. It’s some task, especially as most of the trails are public walkers paths and private land. The route took us to some incredible areas, really beautiful Alpine landscapes surrounded by big mountains and Mt Blanc getting bigger and bigger each day.
I think there were 27 nationalities racing… amazing!! None of which were French however, which is an even more amazing fact. It was a real pleasure to meet so many lovely people and share such a great week together. The staff and volunteers were great too, they worked flat out all week. It was great camping each night, camp life is awesome and way more fun than hotels. The weather was amazing all week, so we were lucky camping life was easy and all our kit stayed dry.
Each day we left camp around 8am then got back around 6pm, they were really long physical days. Even our ‘short’ middle day was a total epic! I was most physically wrecked on day 2/3 as I had really painful saddle sores. I think it was from riding up hills all day carrying a really heavy bag. Somehow it was no secret in camp, so lot’s of kind people would bring me all sorts of lotions and potions to diner for me to try the next day. It got better which was a relief, there’s nothing worse!!
The racing for me went smoothly all week, which was awesome and a relief to survive six days of racing with no big crashes or mechanicals. I brought spare everything just in case, but luckily didn’t need anything. A few guys rode with increasingly bigger cracks in their frames and missing spokes, but their bikes amazingly held together! I just rode smoothly and didn’t get too wild and risky, it’s a long race and worth trying to keep it clean.
There was a ‘wild card’ system, where each rider got one to use for a stage of their choice if they have a mechanical or come across walkers. It was great, not so much pressure knowing one stage could be thrown away (in which case the average position of the other stages that day was the position the wild carded stage would get).
The main problem on the trails was walkers, they do not like mountain bikers! Some got pretty feisty and tried to get us with their sticks and wouldn’t let anyone past, then one guy took down all the course markers. That was the only down side to using a few more public and well used trails. Rene Wildehaber even came flat out down a trail into a field of huge horses on the track! Rene is the hero of the race, riding with broken ribs from day three and continuing to dominate… then going on to get a top 10 at the EWS the next day! Massive respect!
I was really happy to have had a smooth race, I loved the trails and felt strong all week. Rene and myself lead from day one and continued to keep the lead and the wins!
A big thank you to Ali and his team! It was a real pleasure to race and ride with everyone over that amazing route! Lot’s of great memories, new friends and an unforgettable adventure… Cheers everyone!
Thankyou Cal Wootton @loam9 #loam9 for the riding pics!