Jaw-some Stuff: Jaws Freerides the Black Mountains of France

There’s nothing quite like some high-quality on-the-bike footage to help you appreciate how gnarly big mountain riding can be. This video, with plenty of chest-mounted camera work, nails it.

We followed Bartek “Jaws” Krzyszton to the Black Hills in France, one of the best freeride spots in Europe. Miles away from any form of civilization, the men spent days sleeping in tents so they could fully explore this mountain bike haven. Their days were spent filming and watching Jaws dig and ride his bike in a completely pure freeride environment unlike any other. He was not afraid to go big, fast, nor steep and they have the footage to prove it. Jaws Freeriding The Remote Black Hills Of France | Jawsome, Ep. 2

Photo Feature: Passportes du Soleil

And what about if one weekend every year, all the trails chairlifts opened up to a big ‘grand fondo’ style event, with no timing or racing, just a wristband that gets you food, drink and chairlift access.

It gets even better. Imagine doing a 30 minute flat out descent and arriving at a big tent, with cheese fondue, cold meats, beer, wine, chocolate, bread… Oh yes this does exist!

This may be impossible to happen in Australia, but this goes on in France and Switzerland, and is called the Passportes du Soleil and Flow was there again this year, basking in the sunshine of the alps with a myriad of trails at our glove tips.

80 km – 15 ski-lifts – 6000m of total downhill!

9 different resorts to start from :

– In France: Avoriaz, Châtel, Les Gets, Morzine and Montriond-Les Lindarets.
– In Switzerland: Champéry, Morgins, Torgon and Les Crosets.
  1000 m of total uphill climb

refreshment points. Start at any time between 7.30 a.m. and 9 a.m. from each resort.

Our start point was Les Gets, France and we made it back there as the last lift closes after hours and hours of descending. A truly life changing experience with the highest speeds, biggest views and cherries Euro dudes ever.

The two main centres; Chatel and Les Gets turn into a mountain biking festival with a huge bike demo system, night racing, expo’s, trials demos and live music. It’s a real buzz!

Flow’s tips for Passportes success:

– Set up your bike with meaty tubeless tyres.

– Take a real camera, it’s eye boggling out there.

– Start early, aim for the complete loop.

– Eat and drink everything within sight.

– Talk to everyone in the lift lines.

www.passportesdusoleil.com

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The Aussie alpine gang; Ged, Ash, Mark, Luke Skywalker, Andrew, Corey and Garry.

 

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Cheers!

 

So Frenchy, So Lapierre. A Factory Tour.

The largest premium bicycle brand in France, is a part of the large parent mob of Accell Group with Ghost Bikes and Hai Bike. And since last year, the popular dual suspension models using the OST+ (a variant on the excellent four bar linkage, Horst Pivot design) patent held by Specialized ran out, so we’ll be seeing more of these bike all over the world.

Lapierre pump out 110,000 bikes annually, how many spokes does that add up to?

With the frame construction coming from Taiwan, and part of the world’s assembly, Lapierre still maintain the assembly and distribution of the European share of the market’s bikes right out of the Dijon facility. Gilles Lapierre, the son of founder Jackie Lapierre maintains the name in the business as the general manager.

Lapierre Dijon 1
The Burgundy Region, simply stunning, like a postcard wherever you look. Vineyards in the front, trails out the back.
Lapierre Dijon 2
NSW Lapierre sales dude, Luke, moonlighting as the big boss, Gilles Lapierre.
Lapierre Dijon 3
The modern and stylish offices of Lapierre sit alongside the original building. Since 1946, Lapierre have been based in Dijon.
Rows of frames ready for assembly.
Rows of frames ready for assembly.
Behind the secret door, in this big room, is the future. Lapierre's R+D department was strictly off limits, damn it!
Behind the secret door, in this big room, is the future. Lapierre’s R+D department was strictly off limits, damn it!
We charmed the staff to let us shoot photos in their testing room, where frames are tested to their death.
We charmed the staff to let us shoot photos in their testing room, where frames are tested to their death.
Lapierre Dijon 19
This poor Zesty frame was having a hard time in the grips of the machine. The noise alone was enough to make us cringe, as it is beaten, stretched and pounded in the name of sacrificial testing.
Lapierre Dijon 20
This machine tests the brake mounts on an aluminium frame. It’s amazing how much stress they put into the bike, we watched it withstand amazing forces through the frame.
Lapierre Dijon 21
Alignment testing of the new downhill bike’s pivot points and lateral surfaces. Precise.
Lapierre Dijon 23
This looks technical.
The 2015 bikes were being detailed, and photographed for the new catalogue. All done in house.
The 2015 bikes were being detailed, and photographed for the new catalogue. All done in house.
Lapierre are mighty proud of their heritage, this old mixte was lying around the factory, attracting just as much attention from us as the 2015 bikes.
Lapierre are mighty proud of their heritage, this old mixte was lying around the factory, attracting just as much attention from us as the 2015 bikes.
Some of the wheels are custom built in house.
Some of the wheels are custom built in house.
Mesmerising to watch, as the wheel builder laces spokes into a hub like dropping spaghetti into a boiling pot.
Mesmerising to watch, as the wheel builder laces spokes into a hub like dropping spaghetti into a boiling pot.
Carefully assembling and setting up the new bikes for European distribution.
Carefully assembling and setting up the new bikes for European distribution.
The electric bike market is going bonkers in Europe. Their Lapierre Overvolt electric bike with the Bosch motor is a seriously amazing machine. When Bosch have a service centre in Australia, we'll have access to them. Think dialled geometry, suspension and components with a motor. Hauling ass!
The electric bike market is going bonkers in Europe. Their Lapierre Overvolt electric bike with the Bosch motor is a seriously amazing machine. When Bosch have a service centre in Australia, we’ll have access to them. Think dialled geometry, suspension and components with a motor. Hauling ass!
Remy, the engineer behind so many bikes, designs and especially suspension. This guy rules, happy to openly chat about the e:i Shock Auto system, and the finer details of frame design.
Remi Gribaudo, the engineer behind so many bikes, designs and especially suspension. This guy rules, happy to openly chat about the e:i Shock Auto system, and the finer details of frame design. His close relationship with Nico Vouilloz is key to the suspension design process.
Remy on his 'lunch loop' aboard a prototype road bike.
Remi on his ‘lunch loop’ aboard a prototype road bike.
Not in Australia any more.
Not in Australia any more.
When in France, ride an FDJ team bike through the Burgandy roads. A stunning region!
When in France, ride an FDJ team bike through the Burgandy roads. A stunning region!
Holy chateau!
Holy chateau!
Ash from Yarra Valley Cycles, VIC, giving the road bike a bit of Aussie treatment.
Ash from Yarra Valley Cycles, VIC, giving the road bike a bit of Aussie treatment.
Lapierre bikes are born in the most amazing part of France.
Lapierre bikes are born in the most amazing part of France.
So much frigging fromage!
So much fromage!
Only a few hours drive from Dijon is the Passportes du Soleil region. With chairlift accessible trails for days. Morzine, Chatel, Les Gets, Morgins, and Champery are one of the local testing grounds for their bikes.
Only a few hours drive from Dijon is the Passportes du Soleil region. With chairlift accessible trails for days. Morzine, Chatel, Les Gets, Morgins, and Champery are one of the local testing grounds for their bikes.
Corey from The Ultimate Ride, Alice Springs, reflects on the contrast from his home trails, to the French Alpes.
Corey from The Ultimate Ride, Alice Springs, reflects on the contrast from his home trails, to the French Alpes.
It was then time to get busy, with a passport in our Camelbaks, we participated in the Passportes du Soleil event on 2014 Zestys.
It was then time to get busy, with a passport in our Camelbaks, we participated in the Passportes du Soleil event on 2014 Zestys.

Must-Ride: Riding The Pass Portes du Soleil

The Pass Portes du Soleil is a heady mix of chair lifted descents, jaw dropping vistas and oh-so-much cheese. At a decent clip, it takes around half a dozen hours (maybe more) to complete the full circuit of this annual event, as it links up ten or so Swiss/French alpine resorts of the Portes du Soleil region.

It’s a superb experience, and that’s why thousands upon thousands of Frenchies, Italians, Germans, Swiss, Brits and more take part every year. To cope with the demand, the Pass Portes is now spread across three days, but even still the carnival buzz is irrepressible.

To tell the tale is no easy task. Ask a six year old to tell you how Christmas day feels, that’ll be a pretty close approximation. With a GoPro in hand, clad in layers of merino to keep the chill away on the chairs, and a brand new Lapierre Spicy Team to ride, Flow headed into the fray once again. We’ll let the pictures bring you the story.

My steed for the day, Lapierre's 2014 Spicy Team EI. There wasn't a better bike on mountain, as the ogling it attracted in the lift queue attested. 650B wheels, intelligent suspension, the new Rockshox Pike - quite the beast.
My steed for the day, Lapierre’s 2014 Spicy Team EI. There wasn’t a better bike on mountain, as the ogling it attracted in the lift queue attested. 650B wheels, intelligent suspension, the new Rockshox Pike – quite the beast.
Any day that begins with a German man named Falco taking you for a breakneck drive in the French Alps in 1980s M-series BMW, is a good day.
Any day that begins with a German man named Falco taking you for a breakneck drive in the French Alps in 1980s M-series BMW, is a good day.
Big day ahead, eat up. Pass another croissant, please.
Big day ahead, eat up. Pass another croissant, please.
It's not a race, but the number plate makes a good momento!
It’s not a race, but the number plate makes a good momento!
The event takes you to every major alpine resort in the region and you'll cover 80km+ during the day, nearly all of that spent descending.
The event takes you to every major alpine resort in the region and you’ll cover 80km+ during the day, nearly all of that spent descending.
Your lifts back up in between resorts are provided by a mix of chairlifts, gondolas and one massive telepherique (cable car) out of Champerey.
Your lifts back up in between resorts are provided by a mix of chairlifts, gondolas and one massive telepherique (cable car) out of Champerey.
The cable car out of Champerey gains you a huge amount of elevation is minutes, and treats you to a concentrated aroma of 60 mountain bikers who have been eating cheese and beer.
The cable car out of Champerey gains you a huge amount of elevation in minutes, and treats you to the concentrated aroma of 60 mountain bikers who have been eating cheese and beer all day.
On the cusp of summer, the flowers are just beginning to bloom. Pity the sun wasn't out, as this would've been a pretty special sight.
On the cusp of summer, the flowers are just beginning to bloom. Pity the sun wasn’t out, as this would’ve been a pretty special sight.
The descent from Champerey is a highlight, I did it twice, chasing some mad Frenchmen.
The descent from Champerey is a highlight, I did it twice, chasing some mad Frenchmen.
Picture yourself here. Feels quite good, doesn't it?
Picture yourself here. Feels quite good, doesn’t it?
DCIM100GOPRO
Do you think this is way?
What the hell is that smell? Oh, a raclette, of course. This smelly but very tasty cheese treat was on offer at most rest stops - it consists of melted cheese, a pickle and a small potato. The devil's trio of gas creation.
What the hell is that smell? Oh, a raclette, of course. This smelly but very tasty cheese treat was on offer at most rest stops – it consists of melted cheese, a pickle, some onions, and a small potato. The devil’s quartet of gas creation.
The rest stops all all totally stocked with bread, chocolate, fruit, all kinds of cured meats, hot pasta, coffee, beer, cheese and more. It's like a new hotel buffet in every resort. I think this is one of the few 80km rides where you can actually gain weight.
The rest stops all all totally stocked with bread, chocolate, fruit, all kinds of cured meats, hot pasta, coffee, beer, cheese and more. It’s like a new hotel buffet in every resort. I think this is one of the few 80km rides where you can actually gain weight.
The friendliest cows on the planet roam these slopes. They're milked by hand, so they're happy to be patted and they're completely unfazed by the mountain bikers hurtling by.
The friendliest cows on the planet roam these slopes. They’re milked by hand, so they’re happy to be patted and they’re completely unfazed by the mountain bikers hurtling by.
Yes, that is a chocolate fondue. I filled my Camelback.
Yes, that is a chocolate fondue. I filled my Camelback.
And yes, those are kegs of beer at a rest stop. Australian race organisers, take note.
And yes, those are kegs of beer at a rest stop. Australian race organisers, take note.
Sometimes you ride with new friends, sometimes you ride alone.
Sometimes you ride with new friends, sometimes you ride alone. With views like this, a solitary ride’s never dull.
Only one flat for the day, not too bad! There are plenty of broken bikes and bodies about the alps!
Only one flat for the day, not too bad! There are plenty of broken bikes and bodies about the alps, so I felt happy to get away intact.
Pass Portes snow
Not quite Manly Dam.
There was still a bit of snow about this year, so much so that there were fears the event would be postponed, but it melted just enough to make for a clear but muddy route.
There was still a bit of snow about this year, so much so that there were fears the event would be postponed, but it melted just enough to make for a clear but muddy route.
Man down. This particular descent was a killer, lots of big roots hidden in the puddles. Tentative didn't work, it was all or nothing.
Man down. This particular descent was a killer, lots of big roots hidden in the puddles. Tentative didn’t work, it was all or nothing.
A man with a tuba in the alps. Of course.
A man with a tuba in the alps. Of course.
80km through alpine mud is hardly a nice way to break in a new bike, but the Spicy is made for it.
80km through alpine mud is hardly a nice way to break in a new bike, but the Spicy is made for it. Sorry guys, I tried to miss the puddles, I swear.

 

Jerome Clementz and Tracey Moseley Win the Cannondale Enduro Les 2 Aples

Round 3 of the Enduro World Series took place at Crankworx Les 2 Alpes with the Cannondale Enduro Les 2 Alpes. While Tracy Moseley has managed to dominate each and every round of the inaugural enduro series, a different man has taken home first place at each venue so far.

Paris Gore Photography
Jerome Clementz on his way to victory.

For the Cannondale Enduro Les 2 Alpes, Frenchman Jerome Clementz was able to clinch the win and cross the finish line first with a total time of 32:54.738 after four epic stages. This is not Clementz’s first win on the Crankworx stage; he took home the gold in Whistler at last year’s Canadian Open Enduro and also at the Mountain Of Hell held during last year’s Crankworx Les 2 Alpes.

While the men fiercely battle for supremacy of the Overall Series Title, Tracy Moseley has her lead on lock with a third straight win in the Enduro World Series and a time of 38:54.914. The current standings of Overall World Enduro Series Title as of today’s event are Clementz and Moseley.

“The Cannondale Enduro Les 2 Alpes has been the toughest race in the series so far and featured completely different terrain to the last round,” says Enduro World Series Managing Director, Chris Ball. “We saw a different rider win each stage of today’s race on both the men’s and women’s sides and everyone was talking about how tough and different the course was compared to previous rounds. I feel like the sport is jumping up a notch, each round we go through.”

Second fastest Pro man at today’s Cannondale Enduro Les 2 Alpes was legendary World Cup downhiller Nicolas Vouilloz (FRA) +20.282 and coming in third was current World Cup downhill racer Samuel Blenkinsop (NZ) +23.051.Second fastest Pro woman was Cécile Ravanel (FRA), a rider with cross-country roots coming in +15.328, and in third was 2011 UCI Downhill World Champion Emmeline Ragot (FRA) +21.921.

With the exception of Stage 1, which featured a notoriously steep and grueling climb, the other stages favoured downhill technicians and was regarded by the most seasoned enduro athletes to be some of the gnarliest stages they had seen to date. The Enduro World Series was created in October 2012 with the aim of uniting the world’s mountain bike enduro racing community. The Enduro World Series links the largest mountain bike enduro events in the world with the best trails possible.

Full results: cannondale_enduro_les_2_alpes_FINAL.

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