A whirlwind downhill World Cup season came to an end last weekend as Josh ‘Ratboy’ Bryceland and Manon Carpenter claimed the series wins in Meribel.
The racing over the three days was awesome, but there were also some mental moments over the course of the event – from crazy fans to crazier riders and some downright oddities around the area.
Here’s our best bits round up from the conclusion of the mountain biking World Cup in France…
1) The Brits Are BossManon Carpenter and Josh Bryceland – the 2014 overall World Cup champions. Photo: Tristan
Not only did Ratboy and Manon Carpenter pick up the overall wins, Rachel Atherton also won on the day in Meribel and Matty Simmons took second. We also had ten riders finish in the top 25 spots in the men’s elite race, which is pretty insane!
It’s sick to see the Brits coming out on top, and it looks like we’ve got a bright few years coming up…
2) French Fans Are Freakin’ CrazyNo we’re not sure of the significance of the lego men either, but they’re great costumes. Photo: Stuart
The photos speak for themselves on this one. From fans dressed as lego dudes to lads wearing corsets, there was a whole load of crazy costumes on offer. There was also the odd fan wielding a chainsaw, which, admittedly, was a little weird.A particularly enthusiastic French fan celebrates Ratboy’s win. Photo: Tristan
3) The Meribel Locals Don’t Believe In PedallingThe excellent world cup course required pretty much no pedalling at all. Photo: Tristan
Mountain biking may be relatively new to Meribel, but they sure as hell know how to bid a downhill track.
The race course for the weekend was virtually pedal free, with nature allowed to take its toll and the drops proving pretty extreme. It was awesome.
4) It’s Acceptable To Work A Bar In France When You’re 10 Years OldTrackside bar. Essential. Photo: Tristan
Naturally, we thought it’d be a good idea to get some beer in while watching the finals. The dude who served us couldn’t have been more than 12 years old, but he also happened to be the fastest man on the bar. Fair play to the kid!
5) Meribel Mountain Biking Is Well On The UpAn unknown rider getting stuck in on the World Cup course. Photo: Tristan
As well as watching the riders fly down the insane world cup track, we also got a chance to hit some local trails ourselves.
A sick local bike store – Sport 1600 – geared us out and guided us around a few of the routes on the mountain. Quite a few of them follow similar lines to what makes up the piste map in winter, and with an awesome mix of roots, rocks and kickers, it was a sick day of riding for sure.
It looks like Meribel isn’t exclusively a snow sports resort anymore…
6) The French love Ratboy & Sam Hill Even More Than We DoRatboy fans show their appreciation. Photo: Stuart
The Frenchies absolutely love Ratboy – case and point proven in the picture above. These masked crusaders went by the name ‘The Rat Pack’, and although the Brit was a long way from home, he definitely had a lot of support on race day.
Eventual winner Sam Hill also proved a fan favourite, with plenty of flags and signs bearing his name. The noise when the Australian stomped his winning run was insane!Another kind of Ratboy mask… Photo: Tristan
7) You Can Buy Wine For Three Euros On The Sides Of Most Streets
There’s not an awful lot to say about this one, but yeah, people sell wine for three euros on the sides of the street in Meribel. We hear it makes for quite the hangover.
8) Loic Bruni Goes HARD
Needless to say, French man Loic Bruni had a whole lot of support in his homeland, and he smashed the course too to nail a fourth placed time. But that’s not what this point is all about.
Check out the picture above. Those are the shots the rider brought over to the Santa Cruz Syndicate tent to congratulate Ratboy on his overall win. It seems that’s just a casual way to start a celebration in the life of Loic… What a dude.Local boy Loic Bruni got some of the biggest cheers of the day from the mostly French crowd. Photo: Tristan
9) Someone At The UCI Has A Weird Obsession With Flobots
In the time that it took to walk the length of the course, three Flobots songs had been played back to back on the speakers. THREE.
This is especially strange given that everyone knows Flobots only have one song – and it’s not very responsible to ride your bike with no handlebars, no handlebars, no handlebars…
10) Meribel Looks Amazing Without Snow As WellRomauld Treuil of Sport 1600 not only guided Mpora round his backyard, but obligingly agreed to pose in front of Mont Blanc too. How great is that view? Photo: Tristan
Took a look at the scenery above and you get just a small idea about how beautiful the Meribel landscape is – even when it’s not covered in snow.
Most people won’t have seen the famous ski resort when it’s not painted white, but unlike a few of the other top resorts, it still looks insane in the summer. This is one place that makes you glad to be alive.