Mountain biker Hannah Barnes took on the might of the Megavalanche, the crazy mass-start race that takes place annually in Alpe D’Huez. This was the third time she’d attempted it, and she was aiming for a top 10 place.
Her experiences were recorded in an eye-popping film; Hannah Goes Mega. If you’re tempted to give this race a go, or are just yearning for the long days of summer riding, then you’ll definitely find this inspiring.
We caught up with Hannah to find out more about how she got into mountain biking, what it’s like riding enduro events, and how she got on at the Mega.
Grab a cuppa, have a watch of the video then scroll down to get the lowdown on Hannah’s experiences in mountain biking.
“I got my first mountain bike when I was 18 because my younger brother Joe was racing downhill. I went to some races with him, made nice friends, and it went from there.
Although Joe raced downhill, I got a hard tail bike and started with 10-hour endurance races and XC races. I’ve always loved being really fit and blasting around the woods.
We have both gradually and unintentionally met in the middle, and now it’s all about Enduro! It’s such a great sport, the type of racing and riding format is awesome, and it’s a really fun and evolving scene to be part of.
The Enduro World Series
The races I’ve done of the EWS have been so awesome, next year I’ll definitely do the whole series. The level of the women’s riding is so high; it’s really inspiring and cool to be racing with them all. It’s really pushing me and encouraging me to try and race at that level too.
I loved the riding in Val D’Allos is France, which was round 2 of the Enduro World Series. British Columbia was a favorite too; I definitely need to go back there as we only scratched the surface.
As for the off-season, I’m keen to go to New Zealand this winter, as everyone says it’s the business. And of course, Scottish riding is awesome and will always be high up the list!
The Megavalanche 2013
My attempt at the Megavalanche this year went wrong; it was terrible! I punctured in qualifying and again in the main race.
The last two times I raced the Mega I was about 13th/14th, so I was aiming for a top 10. I was about 10th when I punctured so I’d been on track. It happened after the top rocky technical section, just before the long traverse and climb that I love! It was a real shame, and Gianluca [the film maker] had come all the way from Sicily to film it!
I don’t really get down about results or races not going to plan.
It’s frustrating, but if I’m still riding my bike, not injured, and with friends, then life’s good.
In the bigger picture one or two bad results is nothing to worry about. Getting a puncture or crashing is really annoying, but there’s always going to be an element of that in racing. When all the prep and training does come together on the day it’s even sweeter!
Preparing and relaxing
In the winter I mostly ride XC in the woods at home in Scotland. I also do some road riding, go to the gym a few times a week, a bit of running, some swimming, and lots of yoga! I like to do a nice mix to keep it fresh. Oh, and we ski as much as possible when we have snow!
When I’m not racing, I like to eat cake and drink smoothies, swim in the sea and hang with good peeps. That’s assuming there’s a beach and sunshine near by. Otherwise, I’ll sit on the sofa and talk to anyone who will listen.
Want to give racing a try?
My advice would be to go and give some local races a try. XC, DH, anything. Don’t worry about not doing well, racing is so much fun whether you’re winning or not, and everyone is always really friendly and encouraging. Racing pushes your riding so much too; it’s the best way to improve.