Trans74 tripreport #2
“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 2
Day 4: Mountainbiking from St Gervais to la Giettaz
On Tuesday it's still wet and grey outside and we struggle to leave the cosy hut. We give it a go anyway and five minutes later the clouds start to open up and we are spoiled with a bit of visibility. A balcony ride including a little hike a bike section brings us to the start of the descent. My mission on this trip is to ride at least three nice singletracks a day and this might be already the winner of day three! Although it's wet, we have enough grip to speed up and enjoying this amazing trail that winds down through the forest.
A skilift and some cool trails through the forest later we ride into the posh village of Megeve. This place has more fur than Goretex and it's always fun to ride through the town, all covered in mud. Instead of 'a pain au kaviar' we prefer to have kebab. This village might not be known for it's kebab, but I can tell you that they have some good stuff here! Megeve invested a lot in mountain biking over recent years, but last summer their vision has changed. Most of the chair lifts (at the Jaillet side) were closed so all of the good trails were inaccessible. The only lift still open is the Jaillet lift, which brings us up in the right direction. The hike a bike sections in the clouds is tough and definately not everyone's favorite, as no one knows how far the summit is left.
Finally we reach the ridge line at 2000m. It's misty and grey and we the group has no clue where they are. Luckily I have been here before and know a great trail down the ridge line. We drop our seats and shred down a cool single track all the way down into the next valley, changing the Haute Savoie for the Savoie. A road leads us to the village of la Giettaz and soon our chambre d'hôte pops up. The friendly owner is a taxi driver as well and offers us a ride to the local pub and back. I dare to say that she rather sticks to her job as chalet host. The tartiflette is tasty, the wine is fine (and seems to be unlimited) and the genepi and la gnôle even better. And did I tell you about the hottub and sauna already?
Day 5: Mountainbiking from la Giettaz to la Clusaz
It's Wednesday and we are halfway this Transeventyfour mountain bike adventure. We start with a climb up the Col des Aravis, back into the Haute Savoie again. A fast and flowy trail leads us down to la Clusaz where we buy a lift pass. The pass gives access to 3 ski lifts offering some amazing trails at both sides of the village. Some like the manmade downhill tracks, but we definitely prefer the natural enduro trails. Ambassador Kilian Bron has done a great job building some challenging trails, accessible by the two chairlifts at the Crêt du Merle side. The terrain in the forest is loomy but steep and the corners are tight, so focus is needed!
In the afternoon we ride some great lines starting from the Bellevue gondola. The downhill track is pretty cool with some playful features in the forest, but again we like the enduro lines even better. Mountainbikers from Holland are usually not king in riding hairpins so guess where I like to take them to push some limits? A cool and challenging trail (marked T4 on internet) leads us back to town, offering some nice and tight corners. With a bit of advice and input everyone is improving quickly. Scanning your line, moving hips and shoulders and above all committing is key. It's time to find our way to our next hut so we take the first chair lift up again. A balcony trail and a climb by a forest road later we arrive at our remote hut. The weather is changing again and with the first drops of rain we arrive at the refuge. When the others aim for a well deserved beer, Frank decides to use the leaking gutter as a shower. We are the only seven guests tonight but probably as noisy as a group of 70 hikers, all stoked about another awesome day on the bike. Today it's finally fondue time! We dip an endless amount of broken bread in the cheese, accompied by many bottles of local wine.
Day 6: Mountainbiking from la Clusaz to Samoëns
As I wake up I realise it's the last day of this amazing trip already. And a big day again; connecting le Grand Bornand with Samoëns, with the support of an uplift to and some ski lifts in les Gets. Lumberjacks and singletracks don't go well together and another piece of forest has been taken down. Through the mess I try to find the entrance to a nice trail. Struggling to find our way through some dense bushes I finally find the single track which seems to be worth the effort.
A cool balcony trail through the forest and a semi manmade trail down to the valley brings us into the village of le Grand Bornand. On the way down someone tells us that the telecabine is closed for the season. I am surprised by this news, as this is not matching my plan. When we arrive at the cabine a friendly lady tells us we are lucky as it is the last day of the season. I love it when a plan comes together ...
At the top we decide to treat ourselves with coffee and cake. What follows is a cross country ride up to the Col des Anes. From here we follow a bumpy cow track, followed by a gravel road. The farm at the bottom of the alpine pastures is remote and located in an area where wolves are spotted reguarly. To protect their animals against these intruders a lot of farmers use the Pyreneen guard dog, called 'patou'. Because of the serious need and the remote location of the farm, these three dogs seem to be even more agressive than usual. So although they are walking behind a little fence (or better say corde), we decide to step of our bikes to walk for a while.
After following the road for a moment, there is another single track hidden in the forest, which leads us to the parking where we will be picked up by Serge. Serge is running a taxi company in the summer and in the winter I work with him as a snowboard guide. In the car we are chatting about launching another alpine dreamtrip and how awesome it would be to explore the mountains on a splitboard while spending the night in an igloo. Backcountry Basecamp was born!
Half an hour later we arrive in les Gets. We unload the bikes and go for a burger and a beer. Only one more mountain is seperating us from our starting point Samoëns. Two chairlifts bring us up to 1500m and 20 minutes later we are standing on the summit of la Bourgoise. It's such a special feeling to be here, knowing that this mountain bike dreamtrip became a reality! The views from my local mountain are stunning and so are the different options back down to Samoëns. Most of the group have ridden the Bourgoise before on one of the other trips they joined us. I'd like to finish this bike adventure in style, so instead of following the obvious ridge line, I decide to take a sharp corner to the left. A new trail is opening up. It's a 1000m gem, offering 3 sections; a flowy first part, a rooty second part and another fast en flowy third part, with some tight corners in it. The confidence and the skills has grown during last week and so is the speed. On the last stage I hear some different 'hurrays', knowing that everyone is nailing the switchbacks in the back.
With smiles from ear to ear we arrive into the village of Samoëns, where we enjoy an amazing meal in la Reposette and a luxury sleep in one of the hotels of Samoëns. The first Transseventyfour enduro adventure has been completed;
I love it when an AlpAdventure comes together!
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!