There are currently two events in the Megavalanche calendar, the legendary Alpe D’Huez Megavalanche in France and the tropical Megavalanche Île de La Réunion in St Paul, Réunion Island.
The Alpe D’Huez Megavalanche is one of the most famous mountain bike races in the world, a mass start down hill race, over 25 km long with nearly 3,000 m of vertical descent. Starting at 3300m on a high alpine glacier in the French resort of Alpe D’Huez, waves of 400 riders battle it out, shoulder to shoulder, over snow, technical single-track and an arm burning descent. The Megavalanche is not really Enduro, DH or XC but a discipline all of its own. Riders from many different riding backgrounds will line up on equal terms. Some hoping to use their athletic power and endurance and others their technical down hill skills.
The Megavalanche Réunion, like its namesake in Alpe D’Huez, is a mass start long distance downhill, starting at the top of the tropical Maido Volcano (2200m) and dropping over a total distance of 20.8km to the coastal city of St Paul.
The Alpe D’Huez Megavalanche is a true test of body and bike.
- Alpe D’Huez : 12-14th July 2013
- Megavalanche Réunion: TBC
Alpe D’Huez:There is a mass start qualification race on Friday, with 11 waves of 200 riders starting from the top of the Dome des Petites Rousses. The qualification course is mainly downhill and includes fire road technical single-track and rock gardens and lasts around 20 minutes.
The main event is a mass start race where you will be released with 400 other riders, (with the exception of the 2 affinity races which are not mass start and riders are free to go when they want but will be timed for the entire course). The Megavalanche course is around 25km long (depending on the state of the glacier) and involves lots of snow, tough single track and a few lung busting climbs. It is a fantastic experience and takes around 45 minutes for a pro and around an 1:30 hours for a normal rider. There are 6 Megavalanche races held Saturday and Sunday.
- Megavalanche (riders 1-35 from each qualification heat)
- Megavalanche Challengers (riders 36-70 from each qualification heat)
- Megavalanche Amateurs (riders 71 – 105 from each qualification heat)
- Megavalanche Women (All women riders)
- Affinity 1 (riders 105- 135 from each qualification heat)
- Affinity 2 ((riders 136 + from each qualification heat)
Megavalanche Réunion:The Megavalanche Réunion has an enduro style qualification event with 4 special stages connected by easy pedalled transfers (almost 35km). The riders are started in groups of 4×4 with 1 min of delay between each group. The stages are between 2 and 6 km long and vary from dusty single track to tropical jungle trails. The enduro qualification determines riders positions for the main event mass start race. The main mass start race is held on Sunday with a very early wakeup to get shuttled to the top of the Maido volcano. The riders leave in waves of 100, with the first mass start for the top riders leaving at 9:30.
Which timing system is used?– Both events use chip timing contained in your race number. In Alpe D’Huez results of the qualification will be put up on display on Friday night in the Palais De Sport. Results from the main race can be seen on the live timing screen, or afterwards on the internet.
The Megavalanche Île de La Réunion mass start event. Images courtesy of Laura at www.rockinthemiddle.com
What protection has to be worn? – It’s obligatory to wear gloves, knee-pads and a full face helmet
Is the event open to everybody or only for riders with a license? – Both events are open to everyone, but for the French event, if you don’t have a license you have to present a medical certificate from your Doctor stating that you are fit to ride.
Dusty trails on the Megavalanche Île de La Réunion qualification enduro stages. Images courtesy of Laura at www.rockinthemiddle.com
For more information check out the Megavalanche website