The Blast 3 2012 – short report
September, a month were alot of people are getting tired of riding bikes and secretly start looking forward to winter season. For some it is the time to still squeeze in some rides and enjoy the time on the trails. For a lucky group of riders September was also the month to come down to Switzerland for The Blast #3.
Thursday evening, the fire place is lit and the riders gather around the table in the chalet. The road to the top was one to remember. Navigator Tom Tom was not doing his job properly, and directed several people straight into the vineyards instead of up to the chalet.
Eventually everyone made it up the steep and narrow road to the tiny village, which can only be reached during the summer months.
Some people have met before but most of the riders are strangers to each other. In the end of the evening it doesn’t matter, they’re all talking bike porn over a cold one and looking forward to the weekend to come.
The drive up was interesting to say the least, with a climb to taken in the first gear on a one lane road, but you gotta put in a little effort to wake up to a view like this!
Breakfast kicks off early, as we got a big day ahead. After croissants, sandwiches and a big mug of coffee it’s time for the briefing. Maps are handed out, rules of the game explained. Today’s climb will be made a bit easier by the Gondola, but still a true torture as the top is at 2300m. As always though, with the Blast there is no torture without a singletrail reward.
To get the blood flowing the first timed special is almost on the doorstep of the Chalet. Tight turns, steepy bits followed by a nasty little pedal section brings the pain in the early morning. On the transfer to SP2 there isn’t much chance to relax either. Brilliant singletrack makes people grin, one of the advantages of starting at 1300m altitude is kicking the day off with a 800m vertical drop.
The first few hundred meters of vertical can be done by the gondola, the remaining 1300m of climbing are for your legs.
Every rider was feeling their legs at this point, hiking and riding where possible. Good thing there is an absolutely breathtaking view to distract you from the aching legs.
The snow which came down the Wednesday before made the views even more impressive.
The reward. Top of the world!
The reward, part 2. A solid 10 minute descent on a flowing wide single track.
Did we mention that The Blast is for experienced riders who don’t suffer from vertigo?
After a good 10 minutes of high alpine descending, you arrived at the start of SP3. With the sun slowly setting in the background, the riders roosted down SP3, and towards the Chalet.
Back at the chalet. Time for food and drinks! A homemade mushroom soup and nice chicken curry brought people back to life again. A big piece of choco coco pie as dessert and it was off to the couch for beers and a look at the video’s and pictures of the day.
On saturday morning it was tough to get out of bed for most, but everyone wanted to see the results of Day 1. Paul ‘The Astonator’ Aston from the UK takes the lead, and gets to wear the famous leaders mustache!
With SP1 just behind you, the real challenge was the transfer. The steep, exposed, insane-but-brilliant trail carved in the mountain side lead you down to the valley floor. But not before you ride those 30+ switchbacks!
As the riders passed through the town of Martigny on their way to SP2 and SP3, the effort from the day before was felt in the legs. There was only one big climb of the day, and with even less vertical then the day before. Once at SP2 it was ‘race’ time again. After day 1 some people were awefully close with the overall times, and batteling for seconds to move up a spot.
3,2,1 GO! Merijn ‘Saruman’ Buitelaar puts his Race Face on at the start of SP3.
Another day ended, and almost without injuries. Tim ‘Grinch’ Westerhuis had some close contact on the least technical section of the trail resulting in some broken bike and body parts.
While he got fixed up in the local hospital, the others started with a weldeserved BBQ.
Paul increased his lead over the group, but Merijn and Jasper were still pretty close. Jasper had 34 seconds to make up on the Sunday if he wanted to move up a spot.
Time really does fly when you are having fun! With mixed emotions the riders prepared for day 3. The legs were happy it was almost over, the rest of the body definately didn’t want to leave.
After a delicious salad, it was time for results!
Jasper did manage to scrape off 4 seconds of Merijn’s lead, but had to settle for third and a Pedro’s care kit.
Merijn aka Saruman kept his head cool and the rubber side down, scoring a second place and a sweet goodie bag with Pedro’s, Kona and Dakine stuff.
Paul Aston took home the win with a comfortable lead. The lucky man could take a Carbon Pedros Minitool, Pedros care kit, a Kona workshop apron and a cool Dakine shirt back to the UK.
You can find all the results of the weekend right here.
Another awesome Blast weekend had ended. Amazing trails were ridden and beautiful memories created. Some riders were already making plans to ride together on different spots, but we hope to see them back with the next Blasts in 2013!
Antoine Bussier, Jan Lenoir, Michiel Rotgans, Tim Agter, Kevin del Campo, Vedrana Hoogland, Andy & Genepi, Lars and Per@Pedro’s, Brian@Fiveten, Jimbo@Kona and Martijn@Dakine.
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