UK Yeti Tribe Meet & EWS Valloire

Jun 27, 2014 by     No Comments    Posted under: Uncategorized

I packed up my van ready for a trip to France and Italy, and headed off for a month on the road. First stop was Peebles to see my good friend Dave Mackison in the Apex Graphics office, to put the decals on my van! It was a pretty big job and took a full day and a couple of very late nights, first finalising the design and then polishing up the van and applying the stickers. The finished van looks awesome in bright pink and Yeti Turquoise! Bike

At 5am on Saturday morning I picked up fellow Yeti rider Rosara Joseph from a local B&B, and we trucked South to Cannock Chase for the UK Yeti Tribe Meet. It  was great to go on some fun rides with lot’s of Yeti fans from all over the UK, all the Silverfish UK boys which is always fun, and also the Yeti team riders. It was a really fun weekend, and nice to break up the long journey to France with some riding.

signingTribe Meet

 

 

 

 

 

I picked up my boyfriend John from Heathrow as he’d been in Leogang filming the World Cup. As we rolled into passport control at the Dover Ferry Terminal, loads of blue smoke poured out of the back of the van. Not ideal right before a big trip! Some very friendly police men had a quick look at the engine, and thought we should call our insurance recovery to see if it was something serious that we needed to fix. DoverSome wide boy from a local garage arrived with his tow truck, told us we probably needed a new engine (which he somehow came to the conclusion by a 2 minute head torch inspection), then towed us to his own garage chain smoking the whole time. It was around 1am now, we were stuck in Dover with my lovely van blowing out lot’s of smoke, and a dodgy geezer telling us the van needed a whole new engine. What a stress!! I hardly slept! The next morning the old boy didn’t plug in his diagnostics machine, but somehow still knew we need a new engine, said we had no oil left (we did, it was half full), he put in 5 Litres of oil so it was then over the ‘max’ line! When his heavily tattooed daughter turned up, cigarette dangling from her mouth with a 1 week old baby in tow, we knew it was time to leave! He made me sign a piece of paper saying I was taking away a dangerous vehicle and then told my insurance company or some reason! I stupidly signed it, but at least we were out of there. We were supposed to be in the alps riding and preparing for the next race, but instead we were in a horrible hotel room in Dover with a broken van! That place is awful! We took it to another garage first thing in the morning, a clean and professional one with staff that didn’t smoke. The conclusion was that the turbo seals were leaking a bit of oil, and so producing smoke when backing off the turbo. I would eventually need to replace it, but it would probably last the trip. As long as we checked the oil level regularly we should be ok! What a relief it was relatively ok! We got the first ferry to France and started our trip!  Day 2 viewDudes

The third round of the Enduro World Series took place in the French mountain town of Valloire in the Savoie region. It is a beautiful little town surrounded by lush green valleys and impressive snow capped peaks. I had raced there a couple of years ago at the Enduro des Nations, and remembered it as a sweet place to ride, so I was really looking forward to riding the trails there again. , during the VALLIORE EWS round three. Valliore France.
It was yet another race format for the EWS, this time the rules were that of the French Enduro Series. It’s great how each race is so different, variety is good and it tests different skills. Friday was track walk (with no gondola/chairlift access) and race registration. As there was 12,000 metres of descending over the weekend, I decided that trying to walk up and down stages the day before racing was going to ruin my legs. Saturday was a practice run of Stage 1 then race run Stage 1, practice run stage 2 (raced twice), race Stage 2 then again as Stage 3. Sunday was the same format but on a different side of the valley. I really enjoy that race format, and find only one practice run keeps things exciting for racing. , during the VALLIORE EWS round three. Valliore France.
Having one casual roll down the stage first to try and take in as much as possible, then racing it and feeling it is still relatively blind was really fun. Much of the tracks had freshly cut sections put in for the race, so this meant that from the initial roll down practice run, the tracks went from barely there to a proper ridden in trail after 300 riders had been down. Day 1 start
Unlike Tweedlove there was no climbing to get to any stages, just a gondola, chair lift and on Sunday a long tiring descent too! It was strange not having any pedalling to do to get to the stages, compared to a good 4 hours of climbing each day at the last round!
Saturdays racing was on proper trails that had been used for racing over the years, and I remembered small sections from the race there a couple of years ago. Both stages were awesome, and very different!  , during the VALLIORE EWS round three. Valliore France.
The first stage started in the open – all fast, and a mix of dusty, rocky, grassy and rough which hammered the arms. The middle section went down fast singletrack through beautiful meadows and into fresh cut tracks in the trees which were pretty slippy! The bottom section had a tough fire road climb in there too! It was an awesome track!
Stage two/three was really long, rough and technical! My hands and arms could barely hold on after 5 minutes, so considering it was  20 minute stage just the length made it a challenge! It gave the body a proper hammering and trying to hold on and stay riding strongly at the bottom was really tough. All this being at altitude made it even tougher! , during the VALLIORE EWS round three. Valliore France.
I felt completely exhausted at the end of the day, and crawled into bed as John tuned up my SB66c ready for the next day of hammering myself down the mountain.
Sunday dawned bright and clear, and the heat was to play a big part in the day. Trying to stay hydrated and cool was a real challenge, and I was lucky to have loads of yummy products from Torq to help me get through the day. My brother Joe was really struggling in the heat, and was riding around at the top of the stage with his sunglasses firmly on and trying to stay in the shade!  , during the VALLIORE EWS round three. Valliore France.
Sunday was all a bit of a blur, with a huge downhill liaison adding to the beating my hands and arms were getting. I have to say, my new Shimano brakes are incredible, and really help on the long descents. Rolling through the finish line for the final time was a huge relief and I was happy to have just made it to the end. Lots of girls pulled out for various reasons over the weekend, so just finishing was something of an achievement. I was also happy to thoroughly improve on my result from Tweedlove and had a brilliant weekend, and I’m feeling better and better on my bike every week. Joe and I, finish
After the race we all ate a pizza to celebrate and headed south to Italy for a few days off the bike.
A big thank you to Sven Martin and John Parkin for the awesome riding photos!
See you next time! 🙂

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By: Rashid Azar