I mentioned in my previous post that I’d put my name forward to help out during the Grand Raid, which runs both from and through our village. However, the organisers never got back to me on where they’d like me to be, so I presumed they had enough volunteers and I decided to do my own thing…
An ex-colleague and good friend of mine, Kevin, had successfully completed the ‘short course’ three years ago and he’d recently been in touch to say that this year he was doing the full distance, from Verbier. I thought he and the event deserved my support, so at 7:15am yesterday morning, I duly set off along 2 different sections of the route, taking pictures as a I went. Now, sporting events have never really been my forte when it comes to capturing the action, but I hope the pictures below convey both the beauty of the scenery as well as the agony and the ecstasy of some competitors.
While I was waiting for Kevin at La Vieille, I also bumped into another ex-colleague and friend, Jan, who was doing the 3/4 route from Nendaz. He, I’m sure, will have revelled in the challenge and pain of the ascent over the Pas de Lona. Kevin, however, missed the cut off time by just 2 minutes and wasn’t allowed to continue. Unfortunately he broke his derailleur during the descent into Evolène and had to wait 15 minutes while it was being repaired.
If there are any mountain bikers out there reading this, then I can only say that you will not find many more demanding or rewarding events than the Grand Raid. Apart from a variety of distances, (choose your own personal challenge), they now even allow for Electric bike competitors on the two shorter routes. Though I certainly wouldn’t want to push, carry or simply lug one of those heavy things over the Pas de Lona!