What is Megavalanche
If you are an avid MTB rider, you are most probably already familiar with this Race of Races. Ever since 1995, each year (with the exception of 2020, which we will pretend never existed), thousands have made this pilgrimage to shoot down from Pic Blanc, towering at 3,330 m. During the 20-km trail to Allemond, riders will go through snow, mud, dirt, asphalt, forest trails, stairs, and more. The best part, though, is the absolutely stunning view throughout most of the track. The entire race will go down 2,600 m to the very bottom of the Allemond Valley.
Megavalanche is an adventure any professional rider should experience at least once in their lifetime. However, if you have any doubts about your skills, be sure that Pic Blanc and the following 20 km are definitely not the places to find out you lack any vital techniques.
As usual, all riders will rush down the southern slope of the famous ever-white (and not very imaginatively named) Pic Blanc. Unfortunately, due to global warming and severe heat waves throughout Europe in the past few summers, the start has come to have more and more bald spots, which, sadly, makes the whole initial descent more dangerous. Although this year’s winter was very promising with lots of snow, at the moment, another heat wave is torturing these parts of Europe, so the chances are there will be even less snow this year.
The starting slope is dangerous enough with snow but the whole thing becomes even more extreme when you have sharp rocks instead of white powder beneath you. Moreover, it has been recorded that some riders exceed 80 kph in this section and the first turn is always a hotspot for crashes. However, instead of sliding away, with rocks beneath, you can hurt yourself seriously. Hopefully, the organisers of the event will take care of the situation and sprinkle some artificial snow before the start. The rest of the track is predominantly dirt, so it would be better if there was some moisture but still, if you are there, you will manage to compensate for the slippery ground with ease.
Megavalanche is more than a race. It’s an experience, and shockingly it’s one terrific place to take your whole family if they are into mountain biking. The 9-day event will feature some awesome kid-friendly opportunities, a dedicated child race, a women’s race and an e-bike start. Along with the mass start, there will be several other options to show off your skills and even have some joyrides on the magnificent slopes above Alpe d’Huez.
The main event will start on Friday when the kids will have their showdown. After this mild warm-up, the grownups will start their qualifications. The start will be from Dôme des Rousses (2,810 m), and riders will have to descend a kilometre to reach Alpe d’Huez. A total of 1,950 riders will try to get to the main event but only 350 will have the chance to ride the glacier.
The qualifications will be divided into ten waves of 150 people, from which only the first 35 (from each wave) will qualify for the final. The day will end with the Ladies’ qualification, where 99 women will try to reach the final on Saturday, and the e-bike challenge, where 160 participants will try to get to the glacier start.
Saturday will start with e-bikers rushing down the glacier, followed closely by the ladies who will start 15 minutes later. The boys who couldn’t qualify for the main event will have the chance to experience the joy of riding the glacier and feel the rush that the main event gives each rider.
Finally, on Sunday, the show-stoppers will take the stage. The race will start at 9 sharp, and hopefully, it will be as exciting as ever. Then, just about half an hour later, the winner will be welcomed at the stage in Allemond where, in the early afternoon, the best of the best will be rewarded. I can’t wait to see who’ll be this year’s champion.
Reserve the dates
If you haven’t packed your bags already, you should start right away. The Race of Races will take place on 3rd July but the entire event will start on Monday (27th June). To become part of this magnificent event, you will need to hope there are still some free spots left. All you need to know you can find here. Now, take your bike and have the time of your life. And when it’s time to hit Megavalanche, believe me, that’s guaranteed.