July 6, 2021

Race Report Les Gets 2021 🇫🇷

Go back in time with us and experience our fourth 2021 UCI Mountainbike World Cup.

Once again we left Allebike HQ in Alingsås for a long drive through europe
towards our goal in Les Gets, France.

Wednesday the 30th June: and were off again. Part of the crew driving down left a couple of days earlier.

The gear is packed and its now time for the gang to make our way to Le Gets France and we are all pumped!

The flight from Gothenburg departs 12 noon so the team has had a little respite and relax during the morning …… for some of us anyway! depending on how you like to start your day, some starting with an espresso and a yawn whilst the others have just jumped in the shower after an early morning spin!

We are on our way. Oscar L, Emil and Michael our stars together with team photographer Jessica and manic mechanic Håkan all board the plane at Landvetter!

Leaving yet another really sunny day in Gothenburg Sweden where the sun is always shining and 26 degrees LOL, we see in the report that we are heading to grey skies and rain, rain and more rain in Le Gets. Our teammate Oscar B who is already there is constantly feeding us with weather updates, and he is not leaving anything for our imagination. 10 degrees and rain atm. We all know that when Emil hears rain it does something special to him and that fantastic grin on his face gets just that little bit bigger!

We just Landed in Amsterdam, a quick lunch and onto the next flight that finds us landing in Geneva. Our pickup Mathias is at the ready and we all jump in for the last leg to where we will be spending the next few days and apart from Mathias flawless driving skills, we arrived to a fantastic dinner spread! Cheers Guys!

Thursday

Its morning and surprisingly despite the weather reports we wake up to 18 degrees and no rain (lets be honest, when was the last time you really relied on the weather report) just a roll of the dice. Anyhow it seems the weather made an about face.

Emil was the first one out on the balcony and lets just say there is a good chance that it was this moment in the morning that he was in discussion with the rain gods as we noticed him looking up hoping for the wet weather he so much wants, to return. We could hear his thoughts break the morning scilence just bring it on!

Charged with a great breakfast looking over the village and everyone checking in, the boys are on the bikes and off for the first official test runs of the track!

The track consists of 2 mega climbs complemented with the classical knife between the teeth root and stone sections and modern built sections, pure go hard or go home stuff.

It’s a track that demands concentration and focus all the way in any conditions but if you just add rain, well it’s a completely different ball game…..Ice skating anyone?

Bikes are handed back to Oscar B and Håkan who once again make sure that the equipment is in pristine condition whilst the others make their way back to the house for lunch.

Not long after the team crew head out to explore the mountain and surrounding area on 2 wheels with the thought of finding the best French made ice cream in town as a reward after punishing the legs a little.

Friday

We’ve all had a good nights sleep and again we all wake up to sunshine and blue skies.

The thermometer is telling us already that its going to be a warm day and the promise of rain seems further away.

After breakfast together, Michael quickly decides to don the gear and head off for a few more pre race test laps of the track whilst Emil and Oscar head off on their own mission.

A puncture for Oscar with a quick repair done by Team Mechanic Håkan who is at the ready! Super-fast, cheers!

Laps done now and we all gather by the start line for a team de brief and obligatory photo shoot with Jess behind the shutter! She should actually be in front of the camera too being the most photogenic of the bunch

Work first Jess!

We all head back and head for the showers and lunch!

Post lunch its time for the supporting team to get familiar with the surrounding area with putting in some efforts in the hills themselves and there are hills a plenty for the ones who took them on. So into the hills we go, Oscar B not only weatherman but map guru guiding us with a nice and hearty 20 km ride toward the mountain tops, some sections so steep that one wrong move you’d find yourself needing a wingsuit.

No wingsuit flying today and we make it back in one piece having experienced something over the extraordinary, just blown away and bloody tired, thanks Oscar!

We arrive back in the village and find ourselves a great spot just in time for the short track race with the top 40 riders, riding 20 minutes consisting of multiple laps and laps of pure effort! Womens Elite first followed up by the Mens Elite with every athlete giving their all in the pain cave!

For the first time this season it was great to see that with restrictions being eased the public had returned in good numbers to create an absolutely electric atmosphere and it can only get better!

Were all now back at the house, dinner done and loads of banter, laughter. Good night!

Day 4. Saturday 

Good Morning Saturday!

Hands on socks and up! Peering up to the sky its grey but no rain. The dark clouds letting us know that they´re contemplating a dump of rain but holding out so far.

Discussion of the choice of tyre and tyre pressure is the hottest topic of the morning and the question repeated is how muddy is the track really? Muddier than a medieval sewerage pit keeps coming back up!

Le Gets delivers mud like you have never seen before, its thick, and more slippery than an eel.

Parts of the track that were easily ridden before are now almost impossible to ride. Its going to be an interesting race to say the least and a real challenge for all, a challenge all of the riders are now ready for.

Test laps for the morning done followed lunch and now 1000% focus on the face before us.

Saturday is the Downhill finals followed by the Packed Sunday Schedule in order : U23 (Oscar.L) Womens Elite and Mens Elite with Michael & Emil.

As the clouds open Oscar & Håkan kit up in the rain gear and start to methodically clean the bikes with a fine tooth brush and a loving touch! This keeps them busy for a good while in the meantime lunch is being prepared just in time for their arrival back to camp. Last checks after lunch, extra sets of wheels including reserves prepared with different tyres depending on the weather the following day.

Oscar B and Jess, head off for a test lap on the competition track themselves and come back agreeing that its going to be one hell of a mud fight!

Dinner for the evening is now done and the atmosphere at the table has changed, competition nerves have finally come to say hello and you can feel it in the air, its just there, everyone is happy, charged but now digging deep into their inner selves, searching, pupils of the eye sharp like the blade of a Hattori Hanzo katana sword.

Game on!

SUNDAY….Game day, Lets Race!

Its on, the track has been tested and memorized to the finest of details, lines checked and double, triple checked. Tyre choice discussed to the death and pasta loading done!

7 am breakfast is served and coffee pot emptied, full focus now and the air in the room feels like you have never felt full of a positive charge and anticipation mixed with nerves and determination.

The first out of the gate is Oscar L riding the U23. 10.15 & he’s on track.

The rain has halted over night, and it seems that the track conditions for the Men U23 race will be somewhat dryer but the black clouds hanging above are trying their best to tell a different story.

09.30 and we are all in position, tech zone and feed zone, Håkan and Matthias have all bottles ready for each lap.

Oscar. B assists Oscar.L in the warm up area, most riders choose to warm up on rollers just before start.

10.15 and its go time. 

The start is off and it is an intense tempo from the very start.

The sound of the spectators is just immense , banging and clanging, cow bells, horns but the sound of gears shifting dominate despite the noise of the crowd and a crowd that we have been waiting for some time now and a crowd that have been waiting for the same! We love it.

Straight into the first of the intense climbs, a gravel climb that transforms into serpentine and rock gardens. A possibility for the ones with good legs to pick off one another before arriving at the first technical forest section. Logs, rock gardens to master with tree roots running in every possible direction.

Then comes the built bike park section lower down the mountain followed by a fun but slippery section before the track turns back up toward the next big climb.

At the top again and the riders are met with a section of natural trail full again of roots and heavy slippery mud just to make it that much more fun! Just before heading into the tracks most possibly muddiest section just in case the last section wasn’t tough enough! A section where most need to clip out a foot for added balance and support. Further in and its back to more serpentines and over the deciding section of grass and mud , through the rock gardens and toward the finishing line for the first lap!

Just as most riders have completed 3 laps and just for good measure the black clouds above decide to open making the already challenging track just that much harder and almost impossible in some sections for even the best riders to navigate without dismounting.

Thick mud challenging Rider, Machine, Drive train,Wheels and Human Spirit.

Les Gets gave it all.

Oscar pushes on in the trenches as if it where the front line of a World war but cant quite find the flow he had during Albstadt & Nove Mesto.

A somewhat disappointed Oscar crosses the line in P61 after one of the toughest races this year but with great insight and experience that can only be used to create a new plan and strategy for coming races, the fitness, agility, strength and mindset is there!

As men U23 is finished it is time for Women Elite to line up. Jess is already heading out on the course again to find the best photo-spots, while the rest of the team heads home for some lunch and reloading.

The rain keeps pouring down and the course does not get easier. About one hour until start for Michael and Emil and the warm up is starting on the rollers for as long as possible to avoid getting wet and dirty (yet..).

15 minutes before start and the warmup continues in the ’’call up boxes’’. Oscar.B acts umbrella-guy and Håkan and Mathias has once again found their ways to tech and feed zone. Jess is probably stuck in some muddy hole next to the course by now, lets just hope it’s a good photo-spot.

14.50 Ready, set, go! Emil and Michael are both standing in the back of the field when the start goes off and we all know that they have a great challenge ahead of them just to pass riders on the muddy course. The start is a Jeopardy. It’s fast, it’s crowded and everyone wants to come through. Emil is dead last out on the course. However, he advances quickly and already after one lap he has passed almost half of the field!

You can tell that he thrives like a fish in water in these conditions and he climbs steadily through the field in the next two laps as well. Once up around place 40, he ends up in a duel with Danish Sebastian Fini and they will pass each other several times during the remaining 4 laps.

Michael, who is known for being a pure power rider and climber, has it a little bit tougher on the slippery paths and concentrates on doing an even race and pressing hard in the hilly parts.

The competition is, to say the least, entertaining to watch, even the most experienced riders fly in all possible directions and sometimes it takes several meters of canoeing down the slopes before you stop. Either on the bike, on your feet, or on your butt. 

After 7 laps, Emil finally crosses the finish line on P40, a fantastic achievement and it is with a big smile that we meet him at the finish line.

“When the conditions are as extreme as these, you compete a lot man against the machine and it is extra important to be careful with the material. I had a good flow straight through and a feeling of being in the competition for real for the first time in a very long time. Super fun and I’m stoked for more. “

We celebrate the day and the week with pizza some champagne and laughter. It is an adventure we are out on, – with ups and downs. Thank you for joining us!

Next up – Lenzerheide, Switzerland 🇨🇭. See you there! 

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