Post by Mary on September 20, 2017
The autumn colours are beginning their display in the Alps, which marks the end of our summer season. Jamie is currently away guiding our last trip of the season – a self-supported Chamonix to Zermatt. It’s the perfect way to complete his long summer of biking. The Alps are beautiful at this time of year with the changing leaves, the fresh dusting of the snow on the peaks, cool crisp mornings and warm sunny afternoons.
We’ve had another brilliant Ride the Alps season, our 15th and one of our best. Many thanks to all of you who have ridden with us in 2017. The season began with our usual Alpine Singletrack long weekends in May and June – the perfect way to warm up the lungs and the legs for the summer ahead. Then it was straight into a series of point-to-points – a Tour du Mont Blanc, a Chamonix to Zermatt and a Tour of Monte Rosa.
We no longer take a van and driver on our Tour du Mont Blanc trips because we’ve found a reliable taxi company that provides a cost effective baggage transfer service. It’s made the TMB a very reasonably priced point-to-point adventure. You can also ride the route in 5 or even 4 days if you’re fit so it’s a good option for those of you with less money in the mountain biking holiday fund.
Our first Chamonix to Zermatt of the season was probably Jamie’s toughest trip with multiple injuries and our first ever helicopter rescue. Fortunately Jamie was able to draw upon his years of mountain experience and handled everything admirably. It was a real shame for some of our guests who had to miss out on parts of the riding on such an excellent route but thankfully both injured riders are healing well.
The Tour of Monta Rosa was a pilot trip and what an incredible tour it is – a glacier crossing, a profusion of 4000m peaks, bike park fun, technical singletrack, breathtaking views and some tough hike-a-bike sections. It’s definitely our toughest trip both physically and technically so it’s for experienced Alpine mountain bikers only. We will probably be running two more pilot trips in 2018 – with guests this time – whilst Jamie perfects the route. So if you have ridden point-to-point trips with us before and you’re up for a challenge let us know.
At the end of July Jamie had a lot of fast, fun Alpine Singletrack riding with four very talented teenage boys (and a very capable Dad!). It was a lift assisted week of singletrack heaven and one of the boys remarked after one ride “That was the best day of my life!”
We had a great Eiger Tour in August with a group Jamie last guided on the Chamonix to Zermatt 10 years ago. It’s always a pleasure to welcome back previous guests and catch-up on the years in between.
The last trip before our mid-season break was a family Alpine Singletrack week. Another couple of teenagers, younger this time but also very useful on the bike with bags of enthusiasm. Mum and Dad both rode too and everyone had a point-to-point taster with an overnight in the beautiful Refuge de Bostan www.lerefugedebostan.com
After our family holiday in Italy Jamie got back on the bike with a 4 day TMB sandwiched between a couple of Alpine Singletrack short breaks. As much as we love to welcome back previous guests it’s great to meet new folk and all of our last few guests have been new to Ride the Alps. Our American TMB riders enjoyed a “once in a lifetime” trip with great weather and super-positive vibes.
This year we’ve organised seven self-guide Tour du Mont Blanc trips. These have been a real success and self-guide is a great low-cost option if you have enough mountain sense to follow the route and look after yourself. Our package includes the provision of GPS data and 2 maps with the route marked on them, booking your accommodation and luggage transfer between hotels and answering any questions you may have about the route. This can include a call with Jamie to talk through the route.
We’ve been lucky enough to have our friend Soren Rickards, a very talented professional photographer, along on two of our trips this year. He produced some amazing photographs of our Monta Rosa Tour and a Tour du Mont Blanc. You can see his photos on our facebook page @ridethealps but also on Soren’s own website www.sorenrickards.com
We usually get a long autumn with plenty of good weather right through to November so we’ll still be out riding our local trails for the next couple of months. If we have time we’re hoping to make a trip over to the Beaufortain to explore the riding there before the snow comes. And once the snow does arrive we’ll hang up the trail bikes and bring out the fatties. Don’t forget that you can bike all year round in the Alps these days. If you are interested in giving fat biking a go then please do get in touch with Mary at [email protected] and check out the fat biking page on our website.