First Timers guide to The Megavalanche!
Deciding wether to race this event for the first time is tough enough in itself. Once you have committed to the decision you will want some help getting your head around the event.
With so much going on during the event and so many unanswered question this Megavalanche guide will put you on the straight and narrow to help you plan your trip and hopefully give a good understanding of how the Megavalanche works.
Without further or do, Lets start with the biggest questions you probably have.
Can anyone do the Megavalanche?
Yes, you do not need to be Killian Bron to compete at this race. You will be drafted into your qualification wave at random which is a smaller mass start race on a different trail. The results from this race determine wether you race the Mega, Mega challengers or the Mega amateurs.
However, this race is not suitable for everyone as the terrain can be unforgiving and technical in places (Some riders walk the techy bits).
If you are a slower rider and just want to take on the event for fun/ride this legendary trail, the pace towards the tail end of the field is very mellow and civilised.
How much does the Megavalanche cost?
The Megavalanche is priced depending on how long you plan to ride and the extra events you plan to compete in.
As a rough guide, the 8 day lift pass including event entry costs €150.
Here’s a breakdown for someone driving solo from Calais.
Event entry inc lift pass – €143
Tolls – €80 each way approx
Fuel – 1.5 Tanks of diesel each way £300
BnB Accommodation – £420
Dinners + Beers – £250
Total – Approx £1200. It’s worth noting if you can fill your van and split costs then this could work out a fair bit cheaper.
Book your race entry here.
How hard is the Megavalanche?
There’s no two ways about it…. It’s hard! That’s not to say it’s for professionals only as anyone can enter the race.
It’s hard on bike and body, the air is thin and the uphill sprints are soul destroying. The mega really is the ultimate test for any rider. As far as the race trails go it can be as hard as you want it to be. The faster you go, the harder this trail becomes especially if you decide to take some of the ‘cut through’ lines. These lines are quicker than the main line but require a lot more commitment and skill to ride. As far as the main race line throughout there is only a handful of sections which can’t be rolled.
Where is the Megavalanche?
The Megavalanche race begins atop of Pic Blanc which is situated in Alpe D’ Huez in the french Alps. Alpe D’ Huez is well know for it’s incredible back country skiing as well as hosting the infamous mountain stages of the Tour De France multiple times.
How many miles is the Megavalanche?
The total distance of Megavalanche is 22 kilometres, the best riders finish the race in about 40 minutes whereas mere mortals are around the 50min-1hr 15 mark. The whole descent is 2,610 m from Pic Blanc, which stands at a massive 3,330 metres!
Check out this video which has even more helpful information about racing the megavalanche.
Megavalanche First Timer Tips
Calm the Nerves
From my experience, don’t delay getting up to Pic blanc and DMC2 to ride some of the race trails top to bottom.
Nerves from the unknown are at an all time high arriving into the resort and going up the gondolas for first runs. Once you’ve ridden the trails a couple of times it can help put you at ease as you know what you’re up against.
Stop at the tricky bits and take a look at some lines!
Prep the Bike
Get your bike in immaculate form, If there is a weakness in bike or body then this event will flush it out.
get your bike dialled to avoid faffing around during the week dealing with mechanicals whilst you could be up on the mountain enjoying yourself.
Get those brake pads changed, brakes bled and please do yourself a favour & set up tubeless!
Get yourself in the best physical shape as possible! The air is very thin at 3300 mts so great cardio is a big one.
Although this is the longest downhill race in the world, it doesn’t come without it’s pedal sections. There is some long traverses and a few punchy climbs, do your self a favour and get strong on the pedals.
Having great upper body strength goes without saying too. You’ll need this for the bottom third of the race trail where there’s some steepish awkward switchbacks.
Check Out Lines
Don’t miss out on limited access to the top of the Qualification trail. Throughout the week the top %75 of the quali trail is open for practise, at limited times towards the end of the week they open up the very top section which has a technical rock section and snow too.
Keep an eye out for when they open the glacier during the week. On race day this will be early and the snow section will be hard and compact (usually). When you practise during the week the snow will likely be more slushy and nothing like race conditions.
These details will be posted in your programme.
Wrap Up Warm
If you qualify towards the front half of your race, the chances are you will be waiting at the top for a fews hours while riders line up. Take a jacket to keep warm and then you can put this into a bag supplied at the summit. The event organisers will then drop bags in town for you to retrieve your belongings.
Eat Like A King
Head over to the main strip in Alpe D’ Huez and look out for Smithy’s Tavern.
Our friends at Smithy’s have got you covered with some massive burgers! Got get some!
If you’ve got any un answered questions then you can get hold of me here