First race of the season, Puy St Vincent

Just arrived back in Morzine after the first race of the season in Puy St Vincent. I had never even heard of the place before so was pretty excited to get out of Morzine and go on a bit of a trip and see some more of France. We packed up the Battle Wagon and headed off the day before the race as its meant to be a 3.5 hour drive away but ended up being more like 6 hours due to a crazy amount of snow!

Kyle and Myles planning out le route!

this added a good few hours to the drive....

and so did this.......

Some of the guys needed to pop into Ski Clinic in Cluses to get some HF race waxes so that ended up being an expensive visit for them. The stuff is like 90 euros a block!!

Kyle 'G-UNIT' Wise off to buy some HF's!

Diet of champions! Can even order a beer with your Big Mac meal!

For most of us this was going to be out first proper FIS level race so we didn’t really know what to expect. There were 3 races over the weekend, 1 FIS and 2 Europa Cups so plenty of experience to be gained. We knew the level was going to be much higher and as it is the first race of the year there is always a heap of people there but I think it was a bit of a shock for most of us. There was 135 riders in the male category with 58 of them being of World Cup level which is a very daunting prospect especially as one of them was world number one, Pierre Voltaire!

this is what we arrived to in Puy St Vincent, a cubic butt ton of snow!

So we headed up the for inspection on first day and the course was looking sick! Really nice flow to it and pretty mellow and fairly easy to remember. Was running times of about 1.09secs on first day, 1.02 if your one of the top dogs. Got faster over the two days though.  Corse was as follows…

  • Out the gate popping straight away into a step down
  • 2 mellow rollers
  • left hand berm
  • right hand berm straight into…
  • 3 rollers. This was catching people out all weekend as the rollers came straight after berm. You had 2 options. Either pump all 3 or pump the first and double the last 2 which was the safe option. Some major crashes here this weekend.
  • step down
  • step down
  • Massive left hand berm
  • kicker
  • right berm
  • kicker
  • tight left berm
  • tight right berm
  • hip jump to left
  • massive dropping left berm
  • big roller
  • right berm
  • kicker
  • left turn into 2 rollers
  • Finish line!

The track from the chair

Track from the top and prep area at the top

Puy St Vincent

We only got one practice run to sort out your lines etc and then it was straight into timed qualifying runs so really had to make sure you had every line dialed, which I did not as was reflected in my time. I knew where I went wrong though and this was shown in the video analysis we did later that night. By the third day and after a grand total of 4 runs down the course I started to get my lines sorted and was feeling a little more confident. Everything was going sweet but my started to loose my line in some of the tighter sections so lost a good amount of time there. Goal for the weekend was to get top 100 which eventually I managed and pretty good set up for the rest of the season. For full list of all the results check out this link on the FIS site. Massive props to rest of the GB team for their results especially Tom Bankes for coming 16th, epic result!

Here is a few photos of the action in the rollers section which heaps of riders got caught out.

Lass going down hard!

Crashing into the B netting

Bankes going down hard! Unlucky this time mate but epic result.

After all the racing we were planning on staying and training on the course for few days however they decided to knock it all down as it was too dangerous which is a shame. So had a few drinks with the Dutch team and some random Slovakians which was very random but epic times! Got heaps out of the weekend though and good to get to use accelerators etc. Know exactly where I went wrong and what I need to work on so bring on the next race. This weekend its off to Sedrun for 2 FIS races and some better results! Might try put a few video clips to this post later on but can’t convert the crazy format that coach does video stuff on.

Tom and Jimbo

Kyle looking pissed off due to one of thee most minging hot chocolates ever!