Anything for an easy life.

All the Bike Verbier team in one photo! Not whilst drinking tea!!!

Do you want it all, and do you want it now? Genuine achievement just takes so damn long and so much effort. Wouldn’t it be easier just to want something then get it with out all the hard work inbetween?

Well, aye, it would. So rather than put the long miles in getting ourselves back to biking fitness and riding our way into some sort of form, we’ve just looked at where we can hop on the lift and get dropped off at the top of the hill instead.

Pila. With over 800m of vert to play with each lap, we obviously spent half the day playing on this one corner/bank/thing.

First stop. Pila.

Through the tunnel, past the open border and into Italy. Pila should be 45 minutes drive from Chamonix, but for some reason every trip there involves getting lost in the maze of streets surrounding the lift station. We got there in the end. Obviously. There wouldn’t be a post here if we were still trying to achieve escape velocity from the city.

Autumn or Spring? Pila. I'm confident of that one.

For the enormous outlay of 3 euros, you and your bike can be lifted up 800m to the Les Fleurs station. For the cost of a cappuccino more you can go 400m higher to the Pila ski area, which we did on our first lap then didn’t bother with afterwards. The first few hundred meters of the trails are still under snow and really not worth the hassle.

Hmm, something's no right here lads.

Back to Les Fleurs and a short ride/push up the hill outside the lift station, followed by a couple minutes coast along the road, gets you to the main Pila Bike Park home run. Keep going along the road and you’ll find walking trails dropping down to your left which deliver varying degrees of interest, varying on your early season tolerance to damp greasy rocks…

Mmmm, greasy rocks. Toby tucks in.

The park trails are in pretty good condition just now. A few braking bumps but nothing terrible. A couple trees down but easy passed. No dust but, wait, what!?! No dust is a first for all of us in Pila.

Lorne somewhere in the Pila bikepark

Next day next venue. Chamonix to Verbier is less distance yet longer time driving than the trip to Pila, but still easy under the hour to Le Chable. Like Pila you usually go skiing by parking in a huge valley base car park, taking a lift to the ski area, then another lift to the skiing. Hence, the bikers get to use that first stage lift then drop back down to the valley floor. Simples.

Phil, heading for the valley floor.

Unlike Pila, the lift doesn’t cost 3 euros a go. But if you’ve got a Chamonix season pass you can use one of your wee free vouchers. Free. How often do you hear that in Switzerland?

There is still a wee bit of snow on some of the highest trails from Verbier town, so we were dropping down a couple hundred meters on road first before traversing onto some summer guiding favourites. Nuthouse, Church, Comfort Zone. Grand to be back out on the trails I worked on last year with the rest of the Bike Verbier crew, even if we probably spent more time standing in the sun chatting than riding. Surely all these games are just about the people not the sport itself?

Anja looking confused at going riding without have clients to pick up from wherever they've left the trail. Because guides never crash...

Where else? Les Arcs ticks the valley floor base / ski area shuttle lift box, and it’s open until 28th April. Then there’s La Saleve. Open all year (well, except when they’re fixing it, what is it with France and broken telepheriques?) and rumour has it there’s been lots of digging going on there.

Brake straight then turn. Textbook technique fae James, he should give his riders some tips...

In an ideal piece of narrative one of these would form the third tangent of the triptych, neatly tying three countries worth of riding together and letting me make all sorts of subtext about different places achieving the same thing. This isn’t the ideal though. The weather wasn’t looking so inspiring and I kinda wanted to go skiing still and there’s work to be done around the flat and, and, and. Honestly, why is everything so much effort?

Porsche 911 targa, painted not wrapped. Probably the most Swiss car I've ever seen.

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