In its 24th year, the Grand Raid Cristalp is well established as one of the most arduous marathon MTB events in the calendar. If not overly technical it is certainly a test of endurance. The race carries decent UCI ranking points and therefore draws a strong field of professional riders; local boy and former World Cup winner Christoph Sauser was the favourite to win.
Lining up at 6.30am in the center of Verbier, I felt some nervousness about the day to come. Experience has taught me that you can never take a long day of riding up into the clouds of the Alps lightly. That said, I did not feel unduly nervous; slow and steady, enjoy the views going up, forget looking at the views going down and things should be fine. Long, almost certainly painful but hey, its all good, right? I felt fit enough to go the distance albeit without breaking any records, and having spent 2 weeks familiarising myself with the Canyon Nerve AL 9.9, was confident that I was on the right bike for the event. Fast forward 9 hours and I was sure of only 2 things. Never have I ever been so brutalised by a day riding in the Alps; and yes, my choice of bike had been spot on… Read More >