Megavalanche Megacrash
January 25, 2020 11:30 AM   Subscribe

Megavalanche (nicknamed "Mega") is a downhill mountain bike race held annually at the Alpe D'Huez ski resort in the French Alps.
The event starts on the glaciated summit of Pic Blanc in Huez and descends to the valley bottom for a total of over 2,600 vertical meters (8530 feet) and a 20 km (12 miles) distance.
The mass-start race is known for its fast speeds and winding turns over varying terrain, with hundreds of riders descending the mountain at once.
Here is the big crash of 2019.
(Here's the Winner's full run, 32 min.)
Previously, the 2018 winner's SLYT
posted by growabrain (22 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
And we think ants look silly!
posted by chavenet at 11:53 AM on January 25 [1 favorite]


I wonder if anyone has done both Megavalanche AND the Red Hook Criterium. What's another bike race that people tune into mostly for the crashing? Maybe there's a trifecta? (I realize fixed gear and downhill MTB are very different disciplines.)
posted by Burhanistan at 12:13 PM on January 25


My half-awake brain thought this was a ski competition and couldn't figure out why there was a bike on the slope when the first one went down. It took a couple more joining the crash to realize that they're ALL on bikes.
posted by KleenexMakesaVeryGoodHat at 12:21 PM on January 25


I cannot believe how few people there were at the end. All that work and there is no one there to cheer your victory? Cuckoo.
posted by nushustu at 12:23 PM on January 25 [3 favorites]


Note that Alpe D'Huez is better known in France for the people who sometimes ride up it in the summer. (and the accompanying insane tailgate party)
posted by selfnoise at 1:05 PM on January 25 [2 favorites]


Heh, yeah, this is the first time I've seen it with snow!
posted by rhizome at 1:07 PM on January 25


Man, that "winner's run" is exhausting to watch. I assume he must have been down that whole route a bunch of times because he always knew exactly where to go and where the short-cuts were, and he was going so fast.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 1:45 PM on January 25 [4 favorites]


That is an epic course! Is that the longest DH race? If not, what is longer?

It really was exhausting just to watch. That uphill section about a third of the way down looked so hard. That was when the winner got passed by another rider toward the end of the downhill section and he didn’t panic, just went by him again but dang that was clearly an effort.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 1:52 PM on January 25 [1 favorite]


That was interesting to watch all the way through. There were some turns where I was certain he was going to wreck but it never happened.

And I agree about the lack of people at the finish line. There were a ton of riders, I would think if each one brought a friend there would be an ok crowd.
posted by Dip Flash at 2:39 PM on January 25 [1 favorite]


Maybe there's a trifecta? (I realize fixed gear and downhill MTB are very different disciplines.)

[galaxy brain] Downhill brakeless fixed gear MTB?
posted by grahamparks at 2:45 PM on January 25 [2 favorites]


I skied off a cliff at Alpe D'Huez back in about 1980...

They weren't big on "Ski Area Boundry" concepts back then.

Still have the suspenders with their name on them as well, and use them to this day!
posted by Windopaene at 2:48 PM on January 25 [1 favorite]


Man, that "winner's run" is exhausting to watch. I assume he must have been down that whole route a bunch of times because he always knew exactly where to go and where the short-cuts were, and he was going so fast.

If you watch enough of these, eventually the algorithm will start suggesting down-field riders to you and _that_ looks exhausting. Kilian at least has the advantage of not having to deal with someone juuuust slightly slower in front of him, burning up his brakes and killing his legs.
posted by Kyol at 4:21 PM on January 25 [1 favorite]


Thanks for this. The winner's full run is absolutely hypnotic. Scary to think how many times he's crashed in his career, to get this good.
posted by ivanthenotsoterrible at 4:41 PM on January 25


Scary to think how many times he's crashed in his career

I *almost* got into Mountain Biking. It's fun, I can handle the gear/maintenance factor, I did have the cash to snag a full suspension bike (seriously so much better than a hard tail when I was experimenting) and it would have gotten me into GREAT shape. But... I couldn't fathom losing teeth and/or being in splints or casts because wrecks seem all but inevitable and wrapping yourself around a tree or going over the handlebars carries an inherent risk of any/all of those, I don't care who you are or what PPE you have. The insurance costs for a US-ian were equally untenable and unthinkable, even for someone like me who could get a decent bike as a one time expense.

Sorry, it's amazing to watch but that's a no from me dawg.
posted by RolandOfEld at 5:37 PM on January 25 [5 favorites]


I broke the same collarbone twice and am currently in recovery from surgery with a fresh titanium plate (was going too fast on a trail I was on for the first time with no recon ride, went off the line a tiny bit over a hill and clipped a tree then went over the bars going down). It's a dangerous business and I just ride singletrack trails on a beefed up XC rig. Most falls you pop right back up from but it's always super fun right up until it isn't. Actual DH is not something I would do even without any history of injury.
posted by Burhanistan at 5:47 PM on January 25 [5 favorites]


The Tour climb isn't as high as the mountain biking descent, but note that it took Pantani only 2 minutes longer to go up than for Kilian Bron to go down. And that's with the infinity of switchbacks.

I love mountain biking but my brain is just too slow for downhill. It takes me several seconds to realize there's an obstacle I need to deal with right now.
posted by klanawa at 6:34 PM on January 25 [2 favorites]


I would try that ride. Not competitively and especially not as part of a mass start -- the big crashes are all from people running into each other or trying to avoid each other. But if I was alone it looks like it'd be a hell of a lot of fun, end to end.
posted by ardgedee at 7:19 PM on January 25 [2 favorites]


(And by "I would try that ride" I mostly mean "The me of 20 years ago would try that ride".)
posted by ardgedee at 7:20 PM on January 25 [2 favorites]


Despite not falling off my bicycle in about three decades or some tens of thousands of miles, I'm terrified of crashes. I will probably never do mountain biking. I get nervous enough on gravel.
posted by BrotherCaine at 8:32 PM on January 25 [2 favorites]


The Tour climb isn't as high as the mountain biking descent, but note that it took Pantani only 2 minutes longer to go up than for Kilian Bron to go down.

Cocaine’s a hell of a drug. EPO too.
posted by Special Agent Dale Cooper at 10:13 PM on January 25


That is an epic course! Is that the longest DH race? If not, what is longer?


The Downieville Downhill takes the winners about 45 minutes. To do it in under an hour is very respectable for a top level amateur. Drops 5k in 15mi but theres a *lot* of rocks in the middle :) Its a very fun, fast, physical course, and a super fun weekend. Ive raced it a few times

I dont know if theres a race at the Cannell Plunge, but thats a 23mi w 10k drop. However it has a good bit of climbing in the middle.

And those are just in California. There's certainly more.

I would absolutely do the Megavalanache course, but the mass start part sketches me out more than the actual track.
posted by atom128 at 7:30 AM on January 26 [3 favorites]


In the full race video, why wasn't there really anyone at the finish line? Also the bottom of the course would be absolutely terrifying if there were other people competitively going for the win.
posted by mmascolino at 10:23 AM on January 26


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