My final 2 weeks in Europe were spent riding, riding and more riding and racing. It was so nice to be in the mountains at this time of year as the autumn colours were just amazing and the trails and towns were really quite. It was definitely out of season for the alps and we made the most of it riding in some beautiful places without seeing a soul. We spent a few days with friends Lucy and Phil that run the mtb holiday company in Verbier, Bike Verbier. They have so much amazing trail knowledge not just of Verbier but also the area around. More big days, hike a bikes and 1.5hr climbs meant we got to some of the most remote, unused perfect alpine singletrack descents that went on for hours ! Back to back big day riding was not the best preparation for more Enduro racing but this trip was all about enjoying the riding and trying out some different events. Whilst already in Switzerland we took a short but very mountainous journey over the Furkapass to Flims to take part in the final Maxiavalanche race.
Maxiavalanche is a smaller version of the Megavalanche, still a mass start and predominantly downhill race but a little shorter, times for Flims were around 13mins. The early snowfall across the alps left the start of the race in the snow and with some warm sun over the weekend it was quickly melting snow, but for the first race on Sunday morning it was still frozen solid which made for a pretty scary start ! The terrain in Flims looked amazing as the mountains were not super steep, chairlifts linked up miles of valleys and I can imagine it could be a great spot for some big day trail riding.
The racing took place over 2 days with practice and qualifying on Saturday and then two race runs on Sunday. There was a good field of around 25 ladies, enough to give us nearly 3 rows on the start line. I had no idea how I would fair amongst the enduro crowd so I just made sure I got the best start I could and kept accelerating down the first wide open section trying to get away and avoid any carnage ! My plan worked as in every race I got a good start and led from start to finish. The wet slippery conditions definitely helped me as it was pretty technical in places so I felt my downhill experience really helped me take some time out of the rest of the field. It was another great experience doing a mass start race, it