If you want to skip all the drunk stories and spraying blood horror scenes we can tell you right away:
- the Vallnord Bikepark is the nearest Mekka for bikers coming from the Benelux so put it on your list :)
- we tested the new Commencal bikes and they make you smile so hard you can’t stop riding – that simple!
- Andorra & the Vallnord Bikepark felt like coming home for us, around every corner & switchback there was a rider on a Commencal.
Treated like kings in Andorra
The idea for a trip to the Commencal HQ in Andorra started to grow months ago (after the Roc d’Ardennes) and expectations were high. We can say Commencal expected us and arranged everything we could wish for: 2015 Commencal bikes to be tested on the local trails, uplifts with the Commencal vans, multi day liftpasses for the Vallnord bikepark, Maxiavalanche entries (as team Commencal from Belgium :) ), diners, beers, … Life is good in Andorra.
About the new 2015 Commencal Bike.
We tested several of the new 2015 Commencal bikes ranging from the Supreme, the Park to the Meta AM & Trail. All bikes were tested in the bikepark & on local secret trails (thanks Ulysse & Fred for showing us these gems).
Our main focus went to the new Meta AM V4 and we can tell you it rips trails like no other bike does. We expected nothing less of course. Surprizing however was how light the bike felt and how easy the climbing goes. Perfect allrounder for your local trails, enduro adventures and bikepark trips. The V4 looks awesome by the way …
The Trail version is the little brother of the Meta AM and would be the perfect weapon of choice for trail riding in the Ardens. The bike however felt so light that you might as well ride it on an XC trip if you were forced in to one ;) As for the Meta AM, the Trail comes in Black/Neon and in Neon/Black.
Supreme DH Comp & Park
The Comp and the Park were cool and rode down trails as if you were sitting relaxed in your couch with the television on, but to be honest our skills don’t reach far enough to come even close to what these bikes can do.
Currently the new 2015 bikes can be pre-ordered, check out the availability on the site, it’s all moving fast (certainly for the Meta AM). Some size & colour combinations are already sold out. Current pre-orders are expected to be shipped during november. As for demo bikes @Fonce, we foresee the Meta AM & Trail to be available for a test ride by the end of november.
Commencal proposed us to ride the Maxiavalanche, we didn’t have to think for long … Maybe afterwards we should have ;)
2 days before the actual Maxiavalanche we were able to check the qualification specials for the next day. Physically totally unprepared we went down but took a break every 5 minutes to catch some breath. Some of the technical sections were quite, well … technical and when racing them you’re pretty much putting your bones at stake. Good old Benny went down in style and hurt his arm (blood was litteraly squirting out). Lucky for him the Maxiavalanche / Commencal support was fast and he got a ticket for a hospital ride on the back of Georges motor bike (we think Benny wet himself at that time … but he won’t tell – Georges motor bike handling skills are famous we heard afterwards).
On Saturday the qualifications were really fun & daunting. In the evening we all deserved a beer but quickly we felt that ‘a’ would become ‘one’ before being knocked out. Do check the picture of man after a sip or two.
Racing day itself (on Sunday) is a little stressy because all these sharks next to you want to be faster than you and you know that after the first corner there is room for only one rider ;) Anyway, we all made it and even landed on the podium as the first 3 Belgian participants!
Trails from heaven, uplifts in style
You know you’re in trail heaven when you can ride for days and just keep on riding new challenging and technical trails and all that, lift-assisted! The Vallnord Bikepark is located in an area that is simply drowned by dream trails. Next time you think about a trip to the Alps, consider riding a couple hours longer (the day is lost anyway) and head out to Vallnord.
If nature and the beautiful trails can’t convince you, then maybe the financial side might help. The Vallnord Bikepark is located in a tax-free area and life in general is less expensive. One example to put this into perspective: 3 extra double Gin Tonic’s will cost you 15 euro. Not sure if you would even get one in the Alps for that amount. Needless to say that we recommend you to consume alcohol wisely but if you would accidentally drink 2 beers in stead of one, there is no alcohol control before 0h.30 ;)