SkiBike Tour 2010-11 - Grächen Snow Bike Race Week 3

Posted: Friday, 1 April 2011 by Mark Kinnon in Labels: ,

Myself, Richard Platt and the French team had a 7:30am rendezvous at the cable car station as we would be able to inspect the race course from 8:00am before the start time of 9:00am. Inspection means slowly side slipping your way down the course in order to plan your line and memorise the course.

Richard Platt took me under his wing and pointed out where to start your turn, where to watch your speed and lastly where the fun bits would be. He thought it was a difficult course, although this may have been to make me feel better. He reminded me that this was my first race and as I could never beat the other racers I shouldn't kill myself trying; but should concentrate on finishing the course by getting to the bottom and have fun in the process.

All too soon it was time to line up for the start. Conversation dried up and I got into "the zone" running through the course in my head, it was difficult to see much of the other competitors once they were off. Next I was at the gate itself, the Marshall asked if I was ready, I nodded, then the countdown began, 5,4,3,2,1..GO!

And I was away, I didn't care about speed, but I was absolutely determined to make it through all the gates. All went well at first, but about halfway down I swung out too wide and had to give it my all to get back on the line and through the next gate. On the results board I was last, but that didn't matter, I had completed my first race without disqualification.

The Slalom course at 8am as the hill fog clears

The next race up was a parallel slalom, with two riders, each running down their own course side by side, first across the line would win the round. There was to be qualifying round first and from this the fastest 16 would be chosen to enter.
Those selected would then race head to head and by a process of elimination find the ultimate winner.
As there were 19 or so entrants and a meaty jump at the finish line, I didn't rate my chances of making it through qualifying much and bailed out..

I could have stayed to watch but instead put in a few more runs down to the village in sublime conditions on an empty piste

As skibikes are currently banned from the chairlifts in Grächen, I was also keen to explore the "forbidden zone" not accessible by skibike. So around lunchtime I packed the skibike away and pulled out my Snowblades.

The Stafel-Seetalhorn chairlift gave access to some superb runs, one with a view of the nearby glacier's snout.
Even at 4pm a lot of these runs were still of good quality and provided a lot of fun. It is such a shame that they are not currently accessible by skibike.

Returning at 5pm the village run had become a slushy mess. I had to abandon all elegance and opt for the water skier stance, leaning as far back as possible to stop the Snowblade's tips sinking into the porridge. I finally made it down but with burning thighs.

What a day!