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European Diary 3 and 4! By Bob McCaughan

Back to Diary 1   Diary 2

Diaries 3 &4 Together due to deadline problems!

Hands up, I'm a bit late with this one. I'll blame a spell of pants weather and software problems. All the images have been taken on the Swiss DH courses or routes to/from and document a minor Irish invasion.

Swiss Courses
It takes 7 chairlift rides and some awesome scenery to get from Morzine to the DH courses at Les Crosets. The larger of the two is probably the same length as Fort William, but with twice the number of corners and greater elevation. It can be broken down to: Top 3rd ' fast gravel bermed and bus-stopped fire road, Mid 3rd ' very steep, tight bermed corners and plentiful crash netting, End 3rd ' fast terrain with big ole wall ride. Lots to smile about!
The smaller course is about 3 mins long with a collection of surfaces (dirt, roots & rock) and again plenty of steep corners.

Puncture Alley & Ruttsville (GR5)
One option back is to take this route from the Swiss border. Starting on a robust 40mph fire road (Puncture Alley), branch off and follow the path until it becomes one direction of 4/5 different interlinking singletracks (Ruttsville). Rocky outcrops and stream crossings make this a very interesting return journey to Les Lindarets and finally Morzine.

Diary 4 Intro
Got to know some of the excellent singletrack around Chatel (5 chairlifts from Morzine) and caught a short spell of a French national DH race in the past week.

Chatel Singletrack
There are huge amounts of skill-enhancing, fast-flowing trails (plenty of obstacles to keep you thinking) on the way to Chatel. Through traditional woodland and comprising undulating and downhill sections the routes are 99% rideable, well-drained and thoroughly grin-inducing.

Passing into the second valley (pass thru 1 to get to Chatel) we found another mega-technical, switch-backed trail, which while quite slow, was very challenging (read vertical) and satisfying to complete.

Chatel DH Course
This course has been changed over the past week, from a fairly fast flowy course by the (optional when riding) additional of a tres difficile section, employing the British method of taking the steepest hillside around and picking a course through it.
Comprising log drop-offs; very tight, off-camber switchbacks and stream crossings there's plenty to get your teeth into (or knocked out by!). The race piccys are from the fast bottom sections of the original course.



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