Words and photos by Matt Koen ( @koenmatt )
As fast as June seemed to disappear, July arrived with a sudden but welcomed reminder that Megavalanche was upon us. Megavalanche is an event I have admired for years, the ultimate mountain bike race...in my eyes at least. While that notion may have been imprinted in my mind by their endless marketing initiatives, I like to believe it’s an original thought.
The ultimate mountain bike race, a bold claim, but one backed with reason. For one, it’s a mass start race. This format drew a weird, almost primal feeling of competition out of myself. The ability to know exactly how you are doing during the race and ability to pass riders and employ some form of race strategy, paired with the joy of riding alongside your competitors and friends. Those are the reasons I began racing in the first place: Competition, Strategy, Fun and Friendship. Few races are able to combine all four into a digestible package for an athlete. Mega gives it to you with a ribbon on top. Ah yes, it's also topped with an iconic glacier to start on. It's a start I'll never forget. It's part of what makes it the ultimate mountain bike race...or maybe just a flashy attempt to set the race apart. Either way, it works.
There are few things in this world that have gotten me as fired up as the start line of Megavalanche. I overheard Craig Evans say, while at the start line: “Once the tape drops, it’s all peace bro.” The combination of being surrounded by 300 riders, going 60mph, not being able to stop, and some flashy euro-pop create an atmosphere I have never experienced before. This ‘atmosphere’ I felt….was it peace? Surely not, but at that moment I didn’t have a care in the world except to get down the hill in one peace. The chaos provided me with a unique feeling of tranquility, and whether or not that was peace, is up for debate. I’ll refrain from labeling this one, and instead just say it felt good. It felt fantastic. One of the best races I’ve ever done.
I’ll be back....