Nick Larsen GT/Mongoose/Hyundai team manager tells us whyLast weekend Mongoose / Hyundai trials rider Chris Akrigg, GT/ Hyundai's Dave Wardell and myself went on one amazing long weekend away. GT and Mongoose team sponsor Hyundai wanted to take a load of car magazine editors on a bit of a jolly in Switzerland for a few days before the Geneva Motor Show. Why were we there? Well all of these car editors are bizarrely well into MTBing and they wanted some pro riders to join them on the trip and take them out on a MTB ride in the Swiss Alps.
Car companies obviously have bigger budgets than bike ones.. We were put up in a 5 star hotel in Montreux, which was mad, each of our rooms were the size of a small house and had fantastic views over the lake with the Swiss Alps rising up on the far shore. It was very odd to see how the other half live. We were waited on hand and foot, which I am not sure whether i liked or not. I think I prefer doing a few things myself, like pulling the sheets back on my bed, or pouring my own water in to my glass at dinner. Anyway on the first two days we were collected in a luxury coach and were whisked up to Villars ski resort. Wardell had an instructor to teach him to snowboard, while Akrigg and I had a guide to show us around the resort. The instructor soon got Wardell going and he had it pretty much dialled by lunch time on the second day.
The third day was when we got to show the guys from Hyundai and the car magazines what Chris and Dave do. We had sorted a local rider "Amael" to show us a big XC loop in the morning, then take us on a DH run after lunch. We had 9 guys of varying abilities to usher up and down some pretty tough tracks, and they all did really well on what turned out to be a really tough morning ride. After a massive 3 course meal which included a big steak, the editor of What Car challenge Wardell to a ride up to the Ski resort that we were supposed to be getting the train to - as that was where the afternoon's downhill started from. Wardell took him up on the offer, and rode 17kms up a really steep hill. They went flat out and it still took over 1 hour. When they arrived, just after we had got out of the train, Dave looked pretty knackered. The editor on What Car, on the other hand, looked like he could have done it all again. Dave's sweaty dreadlocks had frozen up as it was -4 up in the ski resort, so he was careful not to shake his head incase they snapped off. The downhill was really gnarly and it started on snow, how some of those journos got down without coming off I will never know, but rest assured we were all pretty happy when we got to the bottom of the track.
For the riders own account of what happened check out their rider diaries over at www.gateeight.com There is also a couple of exclusive video clips of akrigg and wardell that you cant afford to miss.
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