Yesterday, we drove over to our old home Les Gets, France for the opening of their summer season. The lifts were opening for the weekend and I wanted to try riding a downhill bike at their bike park.
I managed to hire a brand new Scott Voltage FR30 and helmet from a very nice man at Ski Fun, as well as borrowing Mr R’s knee pads. The major first hurdle was to buy a lift ticket – as usual the French chaos was evident – no queues, wrongly labelled tills and people just standing around everywhere. I eventually bought 2 day passes for 15€ which was not bad value.
We queued to get the lift up, with Mr R giving me instructions on how to load my bike on the lift which I did all wrong and the liftie had to help me – oh the shame! At the top, we picked up the green (easy) trail and I found out for the first time what a downhill bike felt like. I felt like I was watching a downhill run from someone’s helmet camera. The bike felt smooth and quiet, in fact all I could hear was the Schwalbe tires in the trail and my breathing. I was grinning from ear to ear when we reached the bottom – what fun. A second run of the green trail was even better as the new brakes had bedded in and were grabby and strong.
We broke for lunch in the shade with a chance to air my sweating legs (yuk) from under the knee pads. Luckily we brought lunch with us because unless you wanted a sit down pizza or omelette there was nothing else on offer. Whilst I love a pizza, I don’t particularly want to sit in a restaurant with mud on my clothes and smelling like a dog!
After lunch we got the lift back up and tried the blue routes. They were steep, muddy, rooty and twisty. But again, much to my surprise I loved it. The bike felt totally different to my Orange Diva and although I could have ridden the Diva on these trails – it wouldn’t have been as much fun. We did 2 runs on the blue routes and then one final run on the green to get back down. It wasn’t until we did the green run again that I realised that I’d improved quite a bit from when I’d first started out that day. I felt faster, a bit smoother and very, very happy.
I want to go back next week but for now I’ll rest. Just about every muscle in my body aches today, from my thighs to my hands and everything in between! I’ve just treated myself to my own POC full face helmet and knee pads too so next week should be even better 🙂