posted on November 4, 2008 in Travel

A couple of guys plus me headed out to the Alps for a week of extreme downhill action, or at least some cautious rolling motion. I had hit ebay the week prior to add another ancient bike to the menagerie, bought a Decathlon camelbak equivilant and polished my helmet. I saw this sign on the way to the airport. Surely a good omen?

Field of women

Having arrived in Morzine it quickly became obvious that I was quite out of my depth when it came to downhill mountain biking. As we unpacked the bikes some guy started talking to Geth about the state of the downhill runs. “… and yeah you really gotta watch them burms on the corners, ‘specially with all the mud…” I just nodded from behind Geth’s shoulder. I had no clue what this guy was on about. I guessed a burm was some kind of alpine badger but beyond that he could’ve been talking particle physics.

Mountain biking

But bike we did. Morzine and the surrounding area are usually a ski resort, but in Summer they do a little bodge work on the chair lifts so you can strap a bike on the outside. Wicked cool. Here is a little video for your eyes.

The mountain biking was great but it’s definitely a gentleman’s sport. When Friday night came around I realise if the action isn’t going to come to me then I must bring the me to it. The evening started well when the Friday night dessert was a sorbet laced with vodka. Better still Martin the host guy made the mistake of leaving the bottle of vodka on the dining table and leaving the room. “This is definitely my favourite pudding of the week!” I declared pouring more vodka into my bowl. The other guests were quick to follow my lead. Martin managed to finally rescue the bottle just as the two lads from Oxford were trying to feed the dog a bowl of vodka. I ended up drinking most of it.

The evening continued in the Le Sherpa – the bar attached to the chalet. Jack, Geth and I were talking to the nice gay couple but I noticed the Oxford guys knocking back shots down at the other end of the bar. I opted for a ‘back in a minute guys’ manoeuvre and hustled down to the business end of the bar.

Le Sherpa Morzine

I quickly ingratiated myself to the group by using words novel to them like ‘top’ and ‘clunge’. It worked, and pretty soon the bar tender was unleashing all sorts of exciting new shots on us, asking for nothing in return. Awesome. I think I spoke to the chalet girl but to be honest things get a little hazy. After an indeterminate period of time I re-group with Geth and Jack and we walk into Morzine to hit the local night spot.

Buddha Cafe. We had been there the previous night and one of the two girls that worked there had made the classic error of speaking to me and engaging in some kind of meaningful conversation. Now I was back, inebriation turned up to 11 and there were no other girls in the Alps, let alone Morzine, so I was definitely going to speak to her. There were two ways I could approach the situation:
a) Breeze into the bar with my comrades, wait until the girl approached then woo her with a mixture of light humour and insightful conversation.
b) Stagger in to the bar, totter blindly about near the girl trying to form mouth words, fall asleep on a sofa and upon closing time go and hide in the toilet, peaking out intermittently as my highly annoyed holiday partners try and coax me out.
Oh dear.
I was eventually teased out of my W.C. by Jack and Geth so we began walking back to the chalet. However the cold Alpine air gave me something of a second wind. Half way home I turned to Geth, made the international sign for SHHH! (presumably I didn’t want to alert Jack), and took flight alone back to town.
Incredibly I got into a nightclub, got a drink and started speaking to some French guy called Julian. He in turn introduced me to some randoms, but given that my French is mainly limited to asking where the station is, it was a bit of a lost cause. I headed home.
When I woke up the next day I was alarmed to find my bed seemed a little… moist. I moved around a bit. No, more than moist. It was wet. How am I going to live this one down? Then I realise. In a misguided effort to rehydrate during the night I had slept on the CamelBak which in turn leaked gently over my whole bed.
Moral of the story: don’t be a fucking weapon.