Mountain Bike Magazine SANI - Autumn 2018 - Page 112

RACE REVIEW | snow bike festival EXQUISITE EGGLI Day 2 was a proper, long stage – 35km and the conditions were still slushy but the sun was shining brightly so at least it looked more inviting. After a restart, due to interference from a local train, the riders were soon negotiating the slush once more en route to the first big climb of the stage, a 7km ascent of the great Eggli ski mountain. Once clear of the chalets and grimy road snow, and winding up through the forest, the beauty and purity of the surroundings is breath taking. The snow-covered trees exquisitely lit by the sun with crystal clear streams gushing through them. Picture perfect, Swiss chocolate box pictures wherever you looked. Once we left the forest road at the feed station, the going got pretty tough as there are just a few deep channels from the other bikes and if you catch the edge of your front tyre and take a low speed spill, it can be pretty tough to jump back on and get spinning smoothly enough to progress cleanly without just wiping out again. Summiting the Eggli was glorious, as the views of Gstaad and the surrounding Alps in the sunshine was something I won’t forget in a hurry. Great food and cheer again in the evening with South African hosts Meerendal giving out prizes for the day’s stage winners, then back to the “interesting” climb back into the bunk to recharge for the next day’s big stage. SLIP AND SLIDE Another 35km stage out to the scenic Lauenensee, a mountain top lake with great views down the valley. The stage starts with a bit of a shock to the system, straight after the starter’s gun you are sent up the first climb of the day, which is not too long but pretty steep, so no time to warm up before the heart is thumping away in zone 3. Earlier, we spoke about conditions having a major bearing on snow bike races as the basic surface is so affected by temperature and coverage. With the clear sunshine the day before, the temperature had dropped hugely overnight which hardened up the surface a whole lot but also made it more slippery. I discovered this the hard way after riding fast on the road for about 10km enjoying the new firm surface on the way to the Lauenensee range. As I approached the feed station, there is a 90˚ Andrew getting to grips with the fattie and the fresh dump of snow. turn off the main road and I was used to the good grip by this stage and turned the bike into the corner, going way too fast for a snow bike on this hardpack, and low-sided onto my hip and elbow, sliding about 10m. Luckily, ice rash is not as severe as tar and I rode away okay and up the incredibly steep “Lauenen wall” which was only rideable by pedalling extremely smoothly and carefully. The 4km climb up to the lake was actually really enjoyable, as the packed ice offered much more grip than the slush the day before, and after an enjoyable twisty rolling section at the top, we began the descent. I thought I was in a time warp as I got caught behind a horse-drawn sled carrying people dressed like forest folk in Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones. The final test was a very steep descent down an actual red flag ski run which had some skiers giving us some odd looks. Unfortunately, I couldn’t stay for day 4 due to other commitments but I was very happy to have experienced a new aspect of the sport I love so much and I’d highly recommend it to anyone who hasn’t tried snow biking. It would probably be a good idea to spend a day or two getting used to how they handle before starting the event, so you don’t end up with multi-coloured shins like I did. Happy biking, and see you in the snow sometime! 112 | MTB | snow day RACE REVIEW | snow bike festival EXQUISITE EGGLI Day 2 was a proper, long stage – 35km and the conditions were still slushy but the sun was shining brightly so at least it looked more inviting. After a restart, due to interference from a local train, the riders were soon negotiating the slush once more en route to the first big climb of the stage, a 7km ascent of the great Eggli ski mountain. Once clear of the chalets and grimy road snow, and winding up through the forest, the beauty and purity of the surroundings is breath taking. The snow-covered trees exquisitely lit by the sun with crystal clear streams gushing through them. Picture perfect, Swiss chocolate box pictures wherever you looked. Once we left the forest road at the feed station, the going got pretty tough as there are just a few deep channels from the other bikes and if you catch the edge of your front tyre and take a low speed spill, it can be pretty tough to jump back on and get spinning smoothly enough to progress cleanly without just wiping out again. Summiting the Eggli was glorious, as the views of Gstaad and the surrounding Alps in the sunshine was something I won’t forget in a hurry. Great food and cheer again in the evening with South African hosts Meerendal giving out prizes for the day’s stage winners, then back to the “interesting” climb back into the bunk to recharge for the next day’s big stage. SLIP AND SLIDE Another 35km stage out to the scenic Lauenensee, a mountain top lake with great views down the valley. The stage starts with a bit of a shock to the system, straight after the starter’s gun you are sent up the first climb of the day, which is not too long but pretty steep, so no time to warm up before the heart is thumping away in zone 3. Earlier, we spoke about conditions having a major bearing o ͹܁Ʌ́)ѡͥə́ͼѕ)ѕɅɔٕɅ)]Ѡѡȁչ͡ѡ)䁉ɔѡѕɅɔ)ɽ՝䁽ٕɹ)ݡɑѡə)ݡЁЁͼ)ɔͱ丁$͍ٕɕѡ)ѡɐ݅䁅ѕȁɥ)ѡɽȁЀ)她ѡ܁ɴə)ѡ݅Ѽѡ1Օ͕)Ʌ́$ɽѡ)хѥѡɔ́.h)ɕ܁ѥѼɥ)ݥѠѡѥѡ)ɕ͠յ͹ܸ(ȁ5Q͹܁)ɸѡɽ$݅)͕Ѽѡɥѡ)хɹѡѼ)ѡɹȰ݅ѽ)ȁ͹܁ѡ́ɐ)ܵͥѼ)ܰͱ(1Ս䰁Ʌ́͠Ё)͕ٕɔ́хȁ$ɽ݅)䁅ѡɕѕ+q1Օ݅tݡ݅́)ɥɕ)͵ѡ䁅ɕձ)QѭѼѡ)݅́Յɕ䁕光)́ѡɕՍ)ɔɥѡѡͱ͠ѡ)ɔѕȁ光)ݥɽ͕ѥЁѡѽ)ݔѡ͍и$ѡ՝)$݅́ѥ݅́$)՝Ё͔Ʌݸ)ͱ她ɕ͕)ɕЁ1ɐѡ)ÍȁQɽ̸)QѕЁٕ݅́ѕ)͍ЁݸՅɕ)ͭոݡͽͭ)٥́ͽ̸)Uչѕ䰁$ձe)х䁙ȁЁՔѼѡ)ѵ́Ё$ٕ݅́)Ѽٔɥ)܁ЁѡЁ$ٔͼ)Ս'eɕ)ЁѼ役ݡͻeЁɥ)͹܁%Ёݽձɽ)Ѽ)ȁݼѥ͕Ѽ)ѡ䁡ɔхѥѡ)ٕаͼԁeЁݥѠ)ձѤɕ́͡$)!䁉͕ԁ)ѡ͹܁ͽѥ