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Morzine September 2001

Three of us arranged to spend a few days in Morzine during September Jamies and I flew out from Liverpool on the Friday afternoon, Easyjet to Geneva costing £120.00, the Haddock arrived within the hour at Geneva and we took the pre arranged shuttle to our chalet on th outskirts of Morzine.

Saturday morning, and after stocking up on food and the all important alcohol we set off on our first ride, heading South down the valley towards Les Allamads, on the road at first before dropping onto a wide double track as the road bears left over the river, following this track keeps the river to the nearside, it climbs gently until we pickedup the marked cycle tracks and heading up a very steep double track to the right, rocky and loose its unclimeable in places until we reached a signed junction and turned left down a muddy singletrack, where we crashed for the first of many times.By now we had reached the head of the valley and we continued following a mixture of single and no track before arriving at Chalet de Freterole and stopping for a well earned coffee.

Dropping from 1533m to a lake at 1390m on fast double track provided one or two out of shape moments, there is a choice of tarmac or off road descent from the lake, the singletrack is tight, rooty and very steep, so stick to the road if you want to avoid near disasters on this track.This brought us around in a big loop and back onto the double track, keeping te river to the offside, this track was littered with large puddles and I couldn't resist soaking the Haddock by slamming the back wheel into a huge puddle and sending a bow way that pretty much covered him, the Haddock sought revenge, but should have known that this is a dish best served cold, pulling his bike into the air with a view to returning the favour, I braked, he landed crossed up and the ensuing crash is the worst I have seen.Over the bars, landing heavily on his right elbow, he was still clipped in as I lifted the bike off him, while I kicked the sugar 2 back into life Jamie kicked the Haddock.

This effectively put an end to the Haddocks off roading capability for the rest of the trip, although both Jamie and I had anticipated this moment on his behalf, we had not thought it would happen on the first ride, on a flat section of double track, muppet!

Sunday and it was heaving it down with rain so we made the most of the open cable car at Du Pleney and headed up.There is a full on marked down hill course from the top which was basically unrideable in the conditions, we followed a wide track around the top before Jamie and I tackled an off road section, sending the Haddock down to Les Gets by road.I found the top section of this track impossible, Jamie disappeared down and out of sight in seconds, leaving me struggling to stay on, on off camber roots on what was basically a cliff,the lower sections are not as steep and I arrived at the bottom just as the Haddock appeared on the road.

Riding back up to Les Gets Jamie and I followed the road towards the golf course, passing the course to the nearside there is a easily missed single track to the offside, heading down this provided us with one of the best tracks I have ever ridden, we timed it later in the week as a 30 minute climb and a 8 minute descent, its not too steep but with some short technical section that you hit at speed with a couple of 3 foot drop offs, so beware.This section of riding also provided me with the only ride where V brakes have not been up to the job, the mixture of mud and soaking condition had me pulling the levers back to the bars with very little effect, Jamie on his new Hope minidisc set up was having no problems.It didn't stop us from riding back up to do it again though, after the second run we were both soaked so headed back to Morzine on the road.

Monday was cold and wet and we delayed the start of our ride until the early afternoon, it would have been easy to have stayed in and get pissed but we wanted to get in as much riding as possible.We headed up the road pass towards Les Brouchaux but after about an hour of climbing the rain changed to snow and we decided to call it a day, Jamie disappeared on an off road section while the Haddock and I headed down the road, both frozen by the time we reached Morzine we met up and hit a cafe for beer and Galletes.

Tuesday, bright and sunny, at last, taking the same route as yesterday we stopped for a rest on on of the many hair pin bends in the first third of theclimb, when in the distance we could hear a trcuk labouring up the climb, Jamie and I both knew that this was our ticket to the top, throwing on our gear and sprinting after the truck before grabbing hold, the Haddock was left at the road side scratching his bollocks wondering what was happening.The driver realised we were there immediatley and gave us a wave.He took us within a mile or so of the top of the pass before pulling off the road leaving the pair of us to ride the last section and wait for the Haddock who arrived about 45 minutes later, a valiant effort.After a coffee Jamie and I headed down the marked downhill, with the Haddock on the road.We quickly caught and passed the group of Brit downhillers who had been taken to the top by their company landrover, shortly after which I took a flyer over the bars, thankfully landing in a snow bank with no witnessses.

We continued down passing through Les Lindaretes, Ardent before arriving at Lac de Montriond for lunch, having incorporated as many short cuts as possible and a blue ski run.By the time we the cafe we were all a bit giddy having had a few beers, the ensuing ride was memorable, spending much of the nexthour trying to knock or kick each other off.

Wednesday and with our mid afternoon flights meaning we had to leave morzine at lunchtime there was just enough time to fit in an early morning ride to Les Gets and take in the Golf club ride again, in the dry this time and none stop, with the V brakes now more effective my forearms were ready to explode by the time I caught Jamie at the bottom.A road descent took me back to Morzine whilst Jamie tackled another section before returning and taking the Haddock and I to the airport.

My flight had a two hour delay and I had not a bean of foreign currency in my pocket, to the bar, yes they took visa but there was a minimum amount, so I ordered half a dozen or eight beers to reach the required amount and proceeded to get blathered before the flight