Here we are… First post LIVE from Dirty HQ in Meribel, France. Absolutely pumped to be in France and here in summer again, but more on that in a moment. Allow me to dive right into the first day that was heavy on driving and unfortunately svelte on riding. Firstly, here are two dreams you don’t want to have about planes… while sleeping on a plane:
- That its crashing… Badly… not that there would be anything other than badly in an A380
- That its been overrun by dogs with laser eyes that commence eating passengers… WTF
Luckily, I had both, which was awesome, especially when you have issues working out the actual status of the first one when the person next to you wakes you up trying to mount you in a bad attempt to climb over to go for a piss… Promise it had nothing to do with the sleeping pill…
Back on sweet sweet earth, it was time to get down to MF road tripping BUSINESS. Early Big ups to Europcar (we support those that support cycling… Aside from SHAM) who had not only respected the fact that I only work in Black or very very very dark grey, preparing the Dirty Skoda team car to perfection and even going the extra mile with appropriate signage, befitting not only the occasion, but our intentions as well:
So – Overnight 12 hour flight, first time driving a manual for a loooong time, wrong side of the road and navigating solo. Nothing to see here people… Nothing at all. If getting into the wrong side of the car was a bad early omen, then perhaps I should have had a coffee before peeling out of the parking garage. Oh yes, the before mentioned combo coming back on me straight away to cause some chaos and confusion (Perhaps mild panic?). At least I got some development on the following points:
- I can now give a guided tour of the Zurich Airport carpark after taking the first wrong turn out of the MF airport, which puts you right back into the Airport. Super handy if you want to return the rental car you just picked up. A total cock if you have a short fuse
- I found out what happens if you panic and drive the wrong way into a Swiss petrol station thats right next door to the airport whilst trying to get your bearings
- I’m proud to say I have now been called a cunt in Swiss… Possibly connected to point #2.
Also turns out that constantly putting on your windscreen wipers doesn’t tell people which direction you want to turn. Cunts. #Dirtytraveltip – Let Google maps get its bearings before you set off, failure to do so could result in it panicking first, then you panicking second. Also may be handy to take a navigator. To settle the nerves, I decided it was important to stock up on Snozza Coaching approved road trip snacks, the sugar just what I needed to chill that bitch out:
I mentioned in the Mission briefing that I just had a fever to be in France in July… Its that kind of feeling you get when you’ve had a few drinks and all of a sudden you just KNOW you need to have a massive night, you know the one, where it just wells up and says “Fuck yeah!” inside you. Or, when you’re on a ride and you just HAVE to put the hammer down (“You mean every ride?” Says Timmy)… When you just get on a roll and it feels so good to turn on the pain. Yes, well, that’s the sort of feeling I had when I knew I had to be in Europe at some stage over the summer. I think that perhaps it was Lake Geneva that cemented that my gut was right:
Its possible I drove into that carpark the wrong way and had to reverse back down the length of it sweating whilst almost being rammed by an irate local in a Citroen… Upside was I scored a park said local was after AND I managed to get called a cunt in French, we like to call that a double header after our Swiss bake morning. That aside, my French love is peaking off the charts at the moment – Being here in summer is the best thing EVER (apart from being in Whistler, that’s probably betterer. Girls are pretty choice too… Except the crazy ones. Unless you’re going through that phase)
My initial destination was supposed to be Meribel, but our London affiliate and long lost homeboy Spanky Williams was parked up in Les Gets getting sunburnt, so I decided to throw in the deviation to scope the scene out there first. Turns out, its not too bad:
Spanky and I go waaaay the fuck back, he spent most of the 90’s showing me how to ride a bike properly downhill and schooling me in XC races from King of the Forest to the Nationals. I’m talking back in the day when it was actually cool to ride with cut off sleeves and lycra was acceptable at DH races – Thank FUCK those days are over!
Turns out Les Gets looks a bit like a small French version of Whistler! Chairlift running, shredders marauding the streets, dudes pulling laps down the mountain. CHUR. Suspect I will be back there later this week to scope it out and get some laps in with the Spankster.
Many stories later it was time to push on… Have I raved yet how awesome Google maps is?! I may have on previous trips, but the combo of Singtels Global Roaming plan and Google Maps (Massive plug for two giant corporates, roll on that sponsorship $$) means that you can go anywhere and do basically anything, a massive win if you’re rolling solo and don’t want to stall (only 3 times) whilst trying to read a map and look the wrong way at a round about (only once). My only advice if that if you want your iPhone to play music, charge and read map directions to you, the little fuck is going to get so hot that it may actually melt, thus leaving you stranded. Place under the A/C…
Hey looks, its MF Mont Blanc! I’ve been up there and it scared me shitless…. and no, not climbing:
The area seemed awfully familiar that I was rolling through, shades of two years ago when we rode here for the Cannasia Cols Classico. It never gets old seeing that sweet road sign to Pussy… For real, here is the excitement it generated when we first worked out we where heading to the chosen land:
Unfortunately that day we never made it to Pussy, it was too hot for any detours, so we instead sacrificed ourselves to Col de la Madeleine, which is French for “lets get fisted in an oven”. However, this shot should jog the memory of Herr Doktor, the Nighthawk, the Welsh Assassin, The Spy and Clarso… The winding road out of Flumet… Except, the day we climbed up here it was wetter than a small French town:
Yes, that was the day that the Welsh Assassin removed any final benevolence from his nervous system. BUT, this isn’t a Roadie Trip FFS, its a Road Trip! I may have watched 4 episodes of Top Gear on the plane, so excuse me here, but a plug for the Dirty Skoda, its strangely fantastic to drive! Sure, the gearbox is a bit vague at times (nothing to do with me), but its perfectly balanced and loves to eat up mountain roads. No wonder team managers love to bang on the doors of these cars, a pleasant surprise.
Finally I reached the new HQ for the week. I had wanted to get some accom close to the racing, so was pleasantly surprised to have this view of the race village from my deck. Good things happen when you
panic like fuck and pay through the nose for a place that’s way over the top do your research and painstakingly select the most appropriate option on booking.com:
Any good predator knows that your best results are when you
get people shitfaced on tequila learn your terrain and hunting ground… Which is exactly what I got straight into on arrival in town. Still a bit of work to do, but here is the final run to the finish line for the DH track… Yes, this will be the scene where someone is going to win the race… Win the World Cup overall… be gutted they missed out and line up a threesome with the podium girls. Its ALL to play for on Saturday:
Oh yeah, somewhere over there on the right is some sort of XC course as well. And on that note, its time to sleep and prep for some riding!