Roll up, roll up! Registration for Megavalanche 2012 opens on Monday here, so if you are planning on racing as your goal for this year, here is a quick checklist and some tips for you, based on our experience last year.

BIKE
Something with at least 150mm travel – Spicy, Remedy or similar for maximum fun on the downs and pedal the climbs.
Dual ply tyres, Minions are ideal.
Dropper seatpost – Reverb or similar.
Chain device – Straitline worked for me.
Timing device if you really want to look pro-race.

Spares: take everything you have, something will break during your time there! Tubes, tyres, mechs, hangers, saddle, pedals, brake pads, bleed kit and don’t forget the kitchen sink. There are plenty of shops though so don’t worry too much, but they are expensive. Take all of your tools too.

KIT
Full face helmet of course. You will meet many rocks.
Body armour – 661 evo suit saved my bones many times.
Hydration pack, anything will do.
A jacket to keep you warm up the top of the glacier at 6am!

RACE TIPS
Qualifier: this is where the race is won or lost! Your start position is ranked on previous races, so will be a bit random basically unless you are pro! To get into the main race you need to finish in the top 75 of your 200 or so wave. So…elbows out, don’t get pushed around in the start melee, practice the course, know the lines – anywhere within the tape is fair game, so look out for sneaks across or around berms, drops, corners you can cut..anything to get you ahead! Don’t crash like I did and get your wheel mangled.  Watch the 2011 qualifier here.
 
Riding at altitude: if you are anything like me, you’ll spend all week enjoying the uplifts and generally heading down hill non stop. Fantastic fun, but come race day there are some healthy climbs that had me pretty much lung bursting due to the high altitude – so try and do a little bit of XC, or hire a road bike in Alpe D’uez and do the famous climb before the Tour arrives in town! I recommend these guys.

Race day: Be on time! It takes a long time to get everyone up in the gondola, so make sure you are on time, no queue jumping now please. Depending on how much snow there is, a walking, running or pedalling start is optional. Elbows out, the odd foot down, and just try to stay upright is my best advice – take care if you traverse the glacier at speed. Try and overtake whenever you can – generally there will be bunch ups on technical sections so barrel through is my advice and shout ‘allez allez’ a lot for people to get out the way.

Pedal, pedal, pedal! Have an awesome ride, and enjoy a well earned beer by the time you arrive in Allemont! Salut!