The Rock says it doesn’t matter if your bike self-destructs in transit.

It doesn’t Zermatter

Written by Haydn Williams
Spot the Swiss graffiti. This is the kind of social anarchy I like. © Haydn Williams 2018
This made me giggle. I wasn’t wearing a cape.
© Haydn Williams 2018

Haydn: Hey Bike, what did you think of our trip to the Alps?

Bike: It was OK. You only invited me because your foot hurt and you couldn’t run like you originally wanted.

Haydn: Possibly, yes, but we had a nice time didn’t we? And Darren still got to recce the Ultra Tour Monte Rosa route, even if he did have to carry on solo.

Bike: You didn’t look after me.

Haydn: I did all of these things to get you ready!

  • Suspension service (forks, shock, dropper post)
  • Replace bearings: wheels, bottom bracket, headset
  • Refill tyre sealant
  • Fit chain guard
  • Convert dropper post to cable actuation
  • New brake pads f&r
  • New pedals
  • New BikeYoke rear mech pulley
  • Full strip down de-grease, wash and oil/lube (he even replaced some grease with anti-seize, like a professional!)

Bike: And here’s what you didn’t do…

  • Replace freehub body

Haydn: Yes, well you made that abundantly clear when you jammed it solid at the start of the first day for no discernible reason. I had to pay £50 for a train to Zermatt to be told you weren’t fixable! And I didn’t have my running gear with me!

Bike: I liked listening to you trying to explain in German that the freehub body was broken. Anyway, the mechanic made me feel better.

Not bad for the first ride of the trip. © Haydn Williams 2018
Not bad for the first ride of the trip.
© Haydn Williams 2018

Haydn: It was a temporary fix. You still need a transplant. The mechanic said you could break at any time. That’s why we abandoned the original plan of shadowing Darren for four days and had to stay in Zermatt for gentle rides.

Bike: Sorry. I liked the berms though. They were more fun than the big uphill and you blathering on about how cool that hill looked.

Haydn: “That hill” is the Matterhorn. An iconic peak, and one of the last great mountains in the Alps to be climbed, exacting a heavy toll on the successful party.

I'm allowed to take clichéd shots, I'm on holiday. © Haydn Williams 2018
I’m allowed to take clichéd shots, I’m on holiday.
© Haydn Williams 2018

Bike: I liked the berms.

Haydn: OK, great. Which other bits did you like?

Bike: The train to the top of the mountain. That was easy. But then you made me ride down a defrosted piste.

This was as much fun to ride as it looks like it would be. © Haydn Williams 2018
This was as much fun to ride as it looks like it would be. It was also more swampy than it looks.
© Haydn Williams 2018
This genuinely was as steep as it looks. © Haydn Williams 2018
This genuinely was as steep as it looks.
© Haydn Williams 2018
We rode this from right-to-left uphill, then left-to-right back down again. © Haydn Williams 2018
We rode this from right-to-left uphill, then left-to-right back down again.
© Haydn Williams 2018

Haydn: Ah yes, I apologise for that. I’d assumed a recommended MTB route on the official Zermatt website wouldn’t take you down a waterlogged piste for 4.5km. The singletrack after it was amazing though, right?

Oh my God, all that crappy piste was worth it for this. © Haydn Williams 2018
Oh my God, all that crappy piste was worth it for this.
© Haydn Williams 2018

Bike: Definitely the best we’ve ever done.

Haydn: Yes, it’s in the top five for sure.

Bike: Top five? We’ve definitely never done anything better than that.

Haydn: Let’s not forget that I’ve had other bikes before you, and ridden other bits of singletrack.

Bike: Hush your mouth! I don’t want to hear about those hussies. I was a bit scared when you lowered me down that steep slope with a climbing sling to reach the bridge though. And when you made me go along the narrow path where you had a handrail and I was just dangling.

It was hard to photograph this while holding the cable and bike. © Haydn Williams 2018
It was hard to photograph this while holding the cable and bike.
© Haydn Williams 2018

Haydn: We all have to get scared sometimes. I was a bit scared when we rode along that narrow trail above the really steep slope to the valley floor.

Bike: That was easy! You’re a wimp.

Haydn: Yes, but the penalty for failure was huge.

Easy enough to ride, but not much mercy if you do drop off to the left... © Haydn Williams 2018
Easy enough to ride, but getting narrower and not much mercy if you do drop off to the left…
© Haydn Williams 2018

Bike: I liked the other train too. The one inside the mountain.

Haydn: The funicular? It seemed the logical option because the climb looked like hard work. Erm, I mean, I did it to minimise the stress on your freehub by skipping the climb. Anyway, you only liked that because it took us straight back to the top of the berms.

Bike: 3km of berms! What’s not to like?

Runs for kms down the hill, and free to use. Surely this much fun is illegal? © Haydn Williams 2018
Runs for kms down the hill, and free to use. Surely this much fun is illegal?
© Haydn Williams 2018

Haydn: Are you still angry that I didn’t take you to the Gorner Gorge? I told you, they don’t allow bikes.

Bike: You didn’t even check!

Haydn: OK, I admit I assumed they don’t allow bikes. It’s a gorge though, it’s not really your terrain.

Sorry bike, you missed out on the coolest part of the trip. #shade #spray © Haydn Williams 2018
Sorry bike, you missed out on the coolest part of the trip. #shade #spray
© Haydn Williams 2018

Bike: How did Darren get on, anyway?

Haydn: Alright – it sounds like a tough route. He got to go over a glacier. You could have done that if you hadn’t broken yourself.

Bike: It’s not my fault! I was poorly!

Darren on the final descent of 170km. Fair play. © Haydn Williams 2018
Darren running the final descent of 170km. Fair play.
© Haydn Williams 2018

Haydn: Fine. Well done on a reasonable show in general though. If you play your cards right then maybe next time we can go somewhere special instead of Merthyr Tydfil.

Bike: Thanks. You ate too much Toblerone.

Haydn: Ssssh. Time to go back in the shed now.

Maximum Switzerland, please.© Haydn Williams 2018
Maximum Switzerland, please.
© Haydn Williams 2018

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