On 14 March 2020, the Glacier Bike Downhill Race takes place in Saas-Fee. The race sees cyclists hurtle down a course from the Mittelallalin to Saas-Fee, covering an altitude difference of 1,700 metres.
“Pure adrenalin” is how participants describe the feeling of the Glacier Bike Downhill Race, and on 8 March daredevil mountain bikers can achieve this buzz for the eleventh time in Saas-Fee. The race begins with a so-called Le Mans start, where cyclists sprint the first 100 metres to their stationary bikes. From the 3,500-metre-high Mittelallalin, the athletes must then master a challenging course with a 1,700-metre altitude difference before crossing the finish line in Saas-Fee. The route is slippery, as it follows the ski slopes leading down into the valley. But despite the snow and ice, cyclists reach impressive speeds: last year’s winner completed the course in less than eight minutes, reaching top speeds of up to 140 km per hour.
For safety reasons the race begins early in the morning, because it must be over before the ski slopes open. Also for the safety of the participants, the number of starting slots is limited to 300. The event is very popular among downhill cyclists. Three quarters of the starting slots are already filled while there are no more spaces for the training session on Friday. For many athletes, this event is the highlight that kicks off their season.
On the day prior to the race, there are the training sessions, the course is inspected, and starting numbers are issued. It is an early start on the Saturday for the participants, who must set off at 7 a.m. to take the Alpin Express and the Metro Alpin up to the Mittelallalin. Once they have arrived, the cyclists can relax and enjoy the views until just before 8 a.m., when the starting pistol is fired. Then the adrenalin starts pumping, and there’s no more time to marvel at the panorama.
Interested athletes can register here.
This article was in partnership with Saas Fee