Alpine Life with Chris Kilmurray PT1

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

Chris Kilmurray, born in Athlone in the south of Ireland, grew up with bikes and finds his passion grow stronger and stronger each day. After many years of racing the Irish National DH circuit, Chris moved on to race world cups along with various european national events whilst basing himself in Morzine, France.

“I went on to compete in every Irish DH NPS from 2000 to 2006, from there I moved on to racing

World Cups and countless other events all over Europe and the world. After spending the summer of 2007 living in Morzine for “racing and training” I continued racing down in New Zealand for the southern hemisphere summer. But the alpine bug was sown, I returned to Morzine in the spring of 2008 and never left.”

After completing a Diploma in Sport and Exercise Studies in the Spring of 2007 Chris went on to ride and race DH for many years and finally went back to sport education in 2010, completing Level 1 and 2

coaching courses through Cycling Ireland. From there he went on to successfully complete an intensive 8 week MTB specific coaching course at the UCI centre in Aigle, Switzerland. Using his years of racing and riding experience blended with a passion for learning and developing the integration of physical performance and skill. Chris went on to set-up his very own physical preparation/coaching company, PointOne Athletic Development, focusing on delivering fitness coaching solutions for Downhillers and Enrudo riders.

Here is the first installment from Chris about this past winter and its transition into spring from the alpine dwellers perspective;

After 5 months of endless snow, blizzards, bottomless pow but only 21 days of sunshine that went with it, April 22ndbrought around the end of the winter season here in Morzine and the first signs of brown, green and rock….three favourite colours of most mountain bikers.

Most folk think that living in the Alps full time is a mountain bikers dream and most days it is. Endless single track, ski-lifts on your door step, cruisy road-rides, coffee/beer in the sun post ride but that’s only the reality for about 4-5 months of the year. Yeah June through to late September is pretty bloody magnificent but spring time can be a different story.

I don’t want to come across all whingy, but one day you’ll be climbing up to the snow limit at 1500m to see how wrecked your favourite single tracks up Pleney are after winter, the next you’ll be staring out the window, tears dripping in your coffee, at the fresh 10cm of snow that early May decided to dish out to you!

Truly, as a full time Alpine dweller I can’t complain, spring brings vitality, sunshine, longer days and the quest for new virgin single track, not to mention the fresh loam covering your old favourites from last summer. But sometimes it dishes up challenges that only the fit, motivated and passionate biker can be bothered dealing with.

We don’t get the perfectly groomed trail centre berms, instead it’s gnarly gulley berm into fallen tree in to over the bars like a lame gazelle! We don’t get the bike destroying joy of an organised uplift day at the local DH track, instead it’s 3 fellas looking all factory in new race kit getting towed behind a 1998 VW Golf to the top of some snowy peak……..towed by a lovely yellow nylon rope I may add!  There’s the joy of 4 seasons in one day, the sound of super tacky tyres gripping oh so well to the tarmac as you hammer up a 10% incline road.

Spring time in the alps is a balancing act all round, you try to find the time to train hard, get the  intervals and the gym sessions in when really there is the thawing single-track calling your name.

There’s epic rides to be mapped out and tested when you realize that mother nature still hasn’t figure out her balancing act and decided to dump 5 cm of snow at 1650m to add to the 2 meters that’s already there!

There’s trails to be cleared, DH tracks to be re-built, when all you really want to do is get out there on the new Pulse and giver a thrashing!

I suppose there are worse balancing acts to be had and as Brand Ambassador for Nukeproof I’m lucky enough to have the full quota of Nukeproof bikes (Pulse, Mega AM and TR) to let me get out there and get involved no matter what sort of wildness spring and mother nature decide to dish up!

I’m off to Aruba this weekend to deliver a UCI (slightly less evil then you think…slightly) coaching course on that wee island. So for the first time in years I’ll be missing some of the best weeks of alpine springtime. But the blistering heat on this tiny Caribbean island will hopefully kick start summer for me as I’ll be back home right on time for the opening of the Les Gets bike-park.

I’ll check in again soon with some pics and news from the Caribbean. Looks like there is a 30km XC race lined up for me on Sunday, not sure what the locals will make of my baggy Nema kit and Mega TR up against their lycra and carbon hardtail 29ers! Hopefully my alpine springtime will have prepared me well enough.

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