Trans74 tripreport #1
“What about riding the best singletracks of the Haute Savoie in six days, linking up different bikespots with legpower and skilifts and spending the night in remote mountain huts?” I reply to Remko when he asks about which bike trip I recommend next. It's one of those alpine dream trips that I have been thinking about for years. I am really stoked to give it a go and I know this group of people is made for an adventure like this. Luckily Remko's answer is clear: “Ok, that's the one, let's do it!”
Transseventyfour mountain bike trip, part 1
It's Saturday when the guests arrive; five men and one lady from Holland. After preparing our bikes and bags for the coming week, my wife and private chef Jessica comes in to prepare us a home cooked meal. While enjoying this tasty meal, we talk about the plan for coming week. I realise that not only are the guests a bit nervous, but so am I. It is the first time I have organised this trip. There are some trails that I haven´t ridden yet and some huts I have never stayed in. So even for me as the planner and bike guide, the coming week will be an adventure!
Day 1: Mountain biking from Samoëns to Chamonix
The weather looks great when we leave on Sunday morning. We start with a little warm up ride to arrive at the telecabine in Samoëns. Two lifts in a row are taking us up to the Tête des Saix at 2150m. As the warming up has been done already I decide to start with a challenging trail straight away. It looks like a wildlife track, which is not marked on the map. A few wake up calls (and one proper over the handle bars) later things are getting more gentle. We link up some nice trails, mainly down and a bit up, finishing with a descent that brings us to the Arve valley. It's lunch time when we cross the beautiful Lac de Passy, where we enjoy an amazing lunch at the restaurant on the edge of the lake. The weather is great, the first trails were fun, the views from the terrace are amazing and the food is good. The tone of this week has been set!
With the human batteries charged we continue for the second half of the first day. After a short and flat ride we arrive at the Tramway du Mont Blanc. This railway is more than 100 years old and definitely not the quickest way to get up the mountain. But who cares when you look out of the window and see those impressive peaks and the Bionnassay glacier. From the Col de Voza we take a nice rooty enduro trail down to les Houches from where it's only a short ride to arrive in Chamonix. Another hour later we arrive at the first hut where we will spend the night. Although it's beer o'clock, we cannot resist a bath in the stream next to the hut. What a treat for the aching muscles after this first big day on the bikes!
Day 2: Mountain biking in le Tour and Vallorcine
The room was, let's say, cosy with some snoring but a nice breakfast gets us going for day two on the bike. We ride up to the village of le Tour where we buy a liftpass. This gives us access to the bikepark of le Tour and some amazing trails around Vallorcine and le Trient. We start with a few rides in the bikepark. The trails feel pretty natural and offer some nice features like shores, berms and jumps. It's always good to ride these kind of trails to find the skills and confidence.
The lunch spot is awesome again! Chalets de Balme has amazing mountain food and unbeatable views of Mont Blanc. After lunch it's time to move on to the natural terrain. From the Swiss border the options are endless and nearly every trail is a good one! Larch trees are dominating here, giving the terrain and the trails a special look and feel. Each trail delivers 1000m of downhill, sometimes flowy and fast and sometimes rocky, rooty and techy! We take the telecabine up to Vallorcine for the last and best descent of the day. It´s nice and dry, but focus is needed on this trail as it has some sketchy sections. The last part is really fast and so much FUN! It's three o'clock when we arrive back in the village. We take off another layer, fill up the camelbags and have a bite before we start the climb. The last time I climbed up to this refuge I felt fine but today is different; it's hot and the the steep parts feel steeper than before. After 1,5h climbing Frank and I spot a little stream which we can't resist. With the hut in sight we enjoy the best outdoor bathing session ever, including a 5 star view on the glaciers opposite! Twenty minutes later we arrive at the hut as well where we find the others washing their clothes in the local stream. The beers are cold, the meal delicious and the beds comfy enough to get us ready for the next day...
Day 3: Mountain biking from Vallorcine to St Gervais
At 8:30 we are on our bikes again when the trails are bathing in sunshine already. This 3rd day starts with an amazing descent that has it all; flow, rocks, speed, hairpins and roots. After one ride we are all stoked for the rest of the day. A little climb and a long and fast descent brings us back to Chamonix for lunch. When we take a first bite of our sandwich the weather starts to change. Dark clouds are rolling in and a thunderstorm is not far away. We decide to move on as quick as we can. Slippery when wet things get even more exciting, but we stick to the plan and ride some great single tracks down into St Gervais. I even found a new trail which I haven't ridden before, something to do with a fairy chimney... Arriving at le Bettex gondola we are surprised to find the telecabine still open. In the meantime the rain is back and turns the trails into muddy streams. An one hour later we arrive at the next refuge, soaking wet, but happy because there is cold beer and … a hot shower!
To be continued ...
Are you getting stoked about this awesome trip? Join us this summer and book your place from 13-20 July for the next transseventyfour enduro adventure!