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Downhill Mountain biking

by catherine levesque

There is but one thing that can stop a mountainbiker : the snow. With the exception of snowflakes, the weather rarely causes biking enthusiasts difficulty (whether they be adept at trails, endurace, cross-country or downhill). "The Cantalian volcano is a mountain in the middle of France," explains Vincent Bonnet, mountain biking guide and hiking instructor. "In places that are still well-preserved and untouched, we can experience anywhere between 600 and 1000m of incline, so there is something for all disciplines and skill levels. We’ve got good level trails around Aurillac, relatively pitched courses for a more intense ride as well as true cross-country trips, endurance routes over the massif, downhill trails at the Lioran…"







Downhill slopes or single track ?


Endurance biking is the new craze among mountain biking experts; important to note that only 20% of the route is set for uphill. The spots most preferred by 'single track' enthusiasts: the Puy Mary, the Plomb du Cantal, the Puy Griou and the Puy Chavaroche. "It’s shorter, more intense and more varied than what you can find in the Alps," opines Vincent Bonnet. "At the Chavaroche,it’s 35 minutes of portage, 1000m of incline and then 20 minutes of downhill all the way to Mandailles !"

For downhill biking, this discipline is practiced at the Lioran resort, where three zones have been created, as well as a free bike park. "The ski lift gives you 600m of incline right off the bat. Once you’re up on top, I strongly recommend taking the downhill path of the old Roman road, but it’s a red-difficulty, unmarked, so you’d be better off with an instructor." The Lioran is also home to the school "VTT-MCF Volcan du Cantal" which organizes training seminars for cross country and endurance biking. And for the wanderers, the "Tour du grand volcan" can be done as a hike or an endurance trial. "Today people want to be guided along nice and fun trails. It’s not about performance anywmore, people are looking for a good guide, safety, and the logistics all worked out beforehand. We also try to focus on lodging and meals, keeping local specialties in mind", smiles the mountain biker. From biking the plateau to the cheese platter, how many speeds can you do ?


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