What could possibly go wrong with a freeride downhill mountain bike race named the Mountain of Hell? And if that wasn’t enough of a warning for you to reconsider your life’s choices, maybe knowing that the race starts with a ride down the face of a glacier would have you reconsidering participating in the event. Evidently there are still plenty of people willing to take on the challenge, as evidenced in the massive crash at the 2019 event.
The race is organized by Choucas bikers, and it attracts up to 700 riders each year. The race is actually two races held on two different courses over a three day period. There’s even a children’s race. The single most popular part of the race is the 25km of downhill riding on a 900 meter unmarked route from the top of the glacier in the Les Duex Alpes trail network. The drop of the glacier descent is nearly 2,400 vertical meters Racers have to pass through several posts, and they test their skills on snow, single tracks, steps, and sheer descents.
At this year’s event, a rider unfortunately at the front of the pack went down at a bottle neck, causing a chain reaction of riders crashing until the pile up was so big that it nearly covered the entire course. Riders reaching rumored speeds of 100 km per hour on a literal course of ice, avoiding the collision was monumentally difficult. Fortunately, no one was seriously injured and many riders were able to continue the race. Even more fortunate, someone thought to record the event so that the rest of us could enjoy watching the mashup. This year’s winner of the race was Kilian Bron, who finished the race with a sub 40-minute time.