In the midst of prep for a Summer season in Morzine plagued by 2020's seemingly endless problems and hurdles, the office phone rang. Vince from Fox Racing was on the end of the line. He was on inbound to Morzine for Fox Hit The Park, an event that brings riders together with some of the Fox athletes to shred a local bike park.
After the event, He wanted to put a crew together, get out for a ride, escape the noise of 2020 and just take a day off. pretty much the perfect call at a time of year where not much was going our way!
Vince grabbed Loris Vergier, Nic Bean, Romain Paulhan, Bérengère Boës and camera man extreme Sergi Valenzuela we hooked up with Morzine locals Chris Killmurray and Bastien Moyen. The MTB Beds crew of Rich, Ben and Scott are always up for a day on the bike, so we made a riding plan, found a chef for some ribs at the lake and got some beers on ice.
First objective, herding the kittens and heading for a pre-ride coffee. Pro Tip, if you want to leave at 10h arrange to leave at 9h! There was a fair bit of catching up to do after the events of the previous months, everyone was stoked to see each other and meet some new mates.
We had Scott, our media guru there behind the still camera and Sergi from Fox documenting on video.
2020 fashion trends
Despite 2020's challenges we were getting a summer mountain bike season!
Heading up Le Pleney, we made our way across the mountains of Morzine to Les Gets and the Mont Chery cable car, to get to the peak of Mont Chery at 1825m. Chris and Romain got on the gainz train, raging to the top. Romain having won Trans Provence stages in the past and Chris training some of the best MTB athletes on the planet, the sheep dogging of the rest of us commenced!
Romain is one of the smoothest and effortlessly quick riders you'll see. With a languid style that shows off his BMX racing background, the man can do things with a bike that others can only dream of. A super nice guy, always willing to chat and offer advice. he spent much of day spinning it up for the camera or chatting with young Bastien. Bastien, an ambassador for MTB Beds is a 16 year old hype machine with a bright future in mountain bike. He definitely caught the eye of the crew.
The climbs are always wirth the view
The views up here are incredible, uninterrupted of the Mont Blanc range, from here we can see our next target, Col de la Basse behind us in the opposite direction. To get there, some sweet alpine singletrack loam with some tech enduro turns thrown in.
The descent. Long, epic, fast and fun.
Chris Kilmurray, a Morzine resident and all round stoke machine, brought tunes and the smiles all day long. A border collie in past life, there is no way to tire the man out. He embodies what it is to be a mountain bike coach in the modern era, the guys walks the talk, it's no wonder athletes like Tahnee Seagrave trust him to write their training programs and be there in the important moments of their racing career.
Loris, well he was hungry. The young Frenchman had been on a training mission in the off season, hungry for success and not just lunch. It's a shame Covid disrupted the season so much, when the World Cups did start, it's pretty obvious he was the man to beat. What will 2021 hold for one of the fastest downhill riders on the planet, hopefully afew more hikes to those podium top steps.
That started us all off so on the way past Col De L'Encrenaz we found a great spot for lunch, sweet old French lady, charcuterie, salad, cheese, you know the drill. Bloody brilliant.
Lunch complete we climbed for another 30 minutes to the top of one of the best bits of back country singletrack in the region, open and fast at the top before dropping into loamy woodland. The stoke was running high as we bit into the longest descent of the day.
The crew turned it on with an exhibition of rowdy riding, drifting into and out of corners and sending blind gaps keeping it lit the whole way down.
Bérengère Boës, a content manager for Steel City Media is one of the hidden players in the mountain bike world. Having worked with Commencal, Full Nine Media and Juliana, you've seen more of her than you realise. A super friendly girl and brimming with happiness, her smile was infectious at the bottom of every descent.
The smiles were ear to ear at the bottom of the gully of dreams, a chable hidden in the Portes du Soleil back country. Chables are created when farmers drag logs down the hillside creating semi-natural high banks, gullies. They are littered across alpine terrain and always a hoot to blast down.
Morzine's backcountry is full of secret gems
Dropping back into Morzine, buzzing on the day, we hit the Super Morzine bubble and made our way around to Lac de Montriond, where Damien, our Kiwi friend and pro chef had whipped up a BBQ feast.
A long day in the saddle, every descent was earned and views were well and truly appreciated.
Twisting and turning through more epic Portes du Soleil singletrack, loam gold, rocky chutes and technical descents kept the gang on their toes, a fun training day for riders like Nic prepping for the race season.
Nic Bean, an American who had just made the move to Europe to start his new enduro team, Theory Racing, is a shredder on the bike and a complete dude. Wth style for miles he's at home in the park or back country. Nic stayed on with us at our staff chalet for much of the summer, filming with Scott and honing those skills waiting for the EWS season to kick off.
The gang was hungry, thirsty, and ready for a swim, we'd climbed over 1500m and were knocking on the door of 60km day, not bad with a camera crew. First, we had to hit up a park lap of Panoramic in Chatel. Turns out Sergi, Fox's media man is a shredder on the bike, being a local at Bike Park La Poma does his steeze no harm.
Who has the best table top game? (Top then clockwise from top left) Romain, Ben, Sergei, Nic or Rich?
Chicken, steak, ribs, potato salad, Brewdog, Heineken's, sore legs, big smiles and mates chilling at the lake after a long day. Pretty bloody good.
Back to work tomorrow.
Want to hit up some if this singletrack gold? We can hook you up with a guide and make dreamy days like this a reality in Morzine. The back country here is full of secrets and all you need is folks with the ability to unlock them. Dial in and get stoked.