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Mountain of Hell - welcome to France’s craziest downhill event

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Mountain of Hell - welcome to France’s craziest downhill event

This weekend we’re heading off to France to attend the nation’s most famous marathon downhill event: Mountain of Hell. Much like the famed Megavalanche, this race starts in the snow, at sky high altitude, and puts all riders involved to the test over its 25km long and 2,500m high technical downhill track.

We catch up with Flo Baladier, Customer Service Manager at Raceco (our French distributors), to find out more about what is sure to become a weekend to remember. He should know as he came 4th in the 2018 edition!

1. Hey Flo, thanks for chatting to us. Let’s start at the beginning: what is Mountain of Hell?

Mountain of Hell is France’s most famous marathon downhill race and takes place in Les 2 Alpes every year. The concept is simple: over 1,000 riders all drop in from the snowy start line at 3,400m altitude and battle it out all the way down to Venosc at 900m altitude. First down the bottom wins!

The fact that all riders start at the same time is what makes MOH completely unique and a sight to behold. We call it ‘La Fete du gros vélo’ which translates to ‘Big Bike Fest’ as it’s all about riding downhill, freeride and enduro rigs.

La MOH est la plus célèbre des descentes marathons en France et ça se passe aux 2 alpes ! Le principe est simple : plus de 1000 coureurs s’élancent du sommet enneigé de la station à 3400 m pour atteindre le point le plus bas de la station - Venosc à 900 m ! Le gagnant est le premier à y arrivé.

Notons un détail qui n’en n’est pas vraiment un : le mass-start - tous les pilotes partent en même temps sur le glacier ! Entre DH, freeride et enduro c’est la fête du gros vélo.

2. How long has the event been running for? Any particular highlight years?

This year marks the event’s 20th anniversary! The concept hasn’t changed since day 1 in 1999, and our ‘Choucas Bikers’ always do their best to make sure all riders are stoked in the end (after having lived through hell!)

Every year comes with its own highlights, from tricky weather conditions and crazy lines on offer to having some of the world’s best riders come get involved. In fact, it’d be impossible to choose one highlight year, you’ve just got to come and do it to understand how incredible this event really is.

Did we mention that Mountain Of Hell is the downhill race with the world’s highest ever start line? Oh and one more thing, last year saw one of the riders beat our speed record on the glacier at 127km/h (that’s almost 80mph!!).

Cette année c’est la XXe édition !

En 20 ans le concept n’a pas changé. Depuis 1999 les Choucas Bikers se donnent à fond pour que tous les participants aient le sourire après avoir vécu l’enfer !

Chaque année réserve son lot de surprises, entre les conditions météo, le parcours ou les top pilotes qui viennent se glisser sur la ligne de départ, difficile de n’en retenir qu’une ! Il faut juste venir la faire.

Une des particularités avec son départ à 3400 m d’altitude, la mountain of hell la course au départ le plus haut du monde !

Notons aussi que l’an dernier le record de Vitesse sur le glacier a été battu : 127 km/h !

3. What kind of rider normally take on the challenge?

Those who have nothing to lose… Ha just joking J

The event is for those who love riding big bikes. You’ve got to really enjoy huge adrenaline rushes, high speeds and competition, and most importantly already have a lot of experience when it comes to downhill racing as some of the sections are quite technical.

Ce qui n’ont plus rien à perdre … je plaisante.

C’est avant tout pour les amoureux des gros vélos. Il faut aimer les sensations fortes, la Vitesse et se mesurer aux autres. Il faut une certaine expérience en VTT de descente car le parcours est engagé.

4. How do you prepare for an event like this?

First and foremost, you need excellent physical condition as you’ll need to race downhill for long periods of time, often more than 10 minutes. You’ll also need to be familiar with riding in a big group. Experience in bike parks is an advantage, as it’ll help with managing speed and knowing how to attack some of the berms on the track. More important of all, make sure your bike is absolutely dialled. Avoiding mechanicals will be key to surviving the race!

Il faut avoir une bonne condition physique. On doit faire des descentes longues, plus de 10 minutes. Il faut aussi s’entrainer à rouler en groupe. Toutes les expériences en bike park sont un plus notamment pour la gestion de la Vitesse et l’appréhension des virages relevés.

Il est aussi important de bien préparer son vélo ! il sera votre meilleur allier !

5. Can you give us a rundown of the race track?

The track is really varied with its snowy start, fire road sections, rock gardens, uphill struggles, single track and last but not least pedestrian path down to Venosc. The top guys take around 30-40 minutes to finish the 25km race, 2,500m down from the top.

Le parcours est diversifié avec de la neige au départ, de la grosse piste, des pierriers, de la montée, du single et une dernière partie sur le sentier piéton menant au village de Venosc (à 900m). Les premiers mettent en moyenne 30 à 40 minutes pour parcourir les 25 km et les 2500 m de dénivelés négatifs.

6. There’ll be a Muc-Off theme party… Can you tell us more? Where and when is it?

Yes! The Muc-Off Party starts from 00:30am at L’Avalanche Club! Pink and Black everywhere… for the rest, you’ll need to come and discover all the surprises for yourselves!

Pour la soirée Muc-Off ce sera RDV à partir de 00h30 à l’Avalanche Club ! Du rose et du noir partout ! pour le reste on vous laisse venir découvrir les nombreuses surprises !

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