Megavalanche Reunion – Instant Expert guide

Megavalanche Reunion? Is that when Jerome Clementz, Remy Absalon and other former Megavalanche winners meet up to look at old photos and dance to Euro techno? Er, no. It’s actually an enduro downhill held on the Ile de La Réunion, in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Here’s what you need to know…

Where is it?

La Réunion is a French-owned island that sits south-west of Mauritius and east of Madagascar. It has a population of 800,000 and covers an area of about 2,512km. The good news for mountain bikers is that, due to its volcanic terrain, it’s covered with soaring peaks and thick forests. Plus when it’s time to chill at the beach, you can pay for your beers with Euros left over from your last trip to the Alps!

When is it?

The 18th edition of the race takes place this weekend, 24-25 November.

What’s the format?

Megavalanche Reunion is a mass-start, long-distance downhill race like the Megavalanche Alpe d’Huez. But it’s a lot more relaxed, with fewer competitors, no sketchy ice fields to deal with and fewer uphill stretches. It’s limited to 400 participants, with a qualifier on the Saturday to whittle the numbers down before the main event on the Sunday.

No ice or snow, but the terrain's still pretty testing. Picture by Manfred Stromberg

No ice or snow, but the terrain's still pretty testing. Picture by Manfred Stromberg

Tell us more about the race…

It starts at the top of the Maïdo volcano and ends in the coastal city of Saint-Paul, covering a total distance of 24km – assuming the top section isn’t closed off due to forest fires, like it was last year. Most racers opt for a 150-180mm bike, as the trails are flowy but rocky. Past winners include Steve Peat, Cedric Gracia and Nico Vouilloz.

Who’s taking part this year?

Confirmed pros include Julien and Remy Absalon, Cedric Gracia and Dan Atherton, but the race is open to the public too. Entry costs a very reasonable €50 but you’ll have to factor in the cost of flights, and they ain’t cheap!

Where can I find out more?

Head to www.avalanchecup.com and look for the Megavalanche Saint Paul. Be warned though – the information’s pretty patchy and the English translation leaves a lot to be desired!

Here’s 2012 Trans-Provence winner Nicolas Lau practising for this year’s event:

Source: Mega Reunion Nico Lau reco 2012 from Lucas Stanus and Hervé Doulat via 26in