Get this one on your mountain bike bucket list

The Megavalanche returns to Alpe D’Huez this weekend to maintain its position as the craziest event in mountain biking open to every rider. 4,000 competitors from 20 countries will descend on the French resort for four days of training and racing.

The format is simple, fastest down the mountain wins. Except, unlike in other mountain bike races, you don’t do the run alone but with hundreds of other riders all jostling for position.

The race itself is brutal. You start at the ice-capped peak of the mountain and descend 2,500 metres on rough, rocky singletrack to the finish in Allemont. Last year’s winning time was 55 minutes, so for an average rider it will take well over an hour and that makes for some very sore arms!

The riders all start en-masse and when the competitive instinct kicks in it’s a sure-fire recipe for absolute carnage.

We’ve assembled five of the craziest videos of the event so you can see why it’s renowned as one of the most exciting races in mountain biking.

The snowball effect

This poor rider has only just started his run before he gets caught up in a proper Megavalanche crash. Like a snowball, when this gets moving, there’s not much stopping it. This video shows that if you get caught up in an incident like this, there’s not much you can do to rescue your race.

Even the pros find it tough

Dan Atherton qualified highly and managed to get himself on the front row for the 2013 race. That doesn’t mean he was safe from the carnage though.

We admire the commitment of some of the more ambitious riders here, but Atherton (black helmet, white shorts) seems to have the best idea of slowing right down and letting the chaos happen in front of him before he commits.

It’s not just the top that’s hard

This spectator was positioned a bit further down the course to catch some singletrack action. The steep slab, with multiple line options, proves to be a little difficult for a lot of the riders, much to the delight of the cameraman and his buddy.

The bird’s eye view

In this official video, clever use of helmet-cam and helicopter footage gives you an idea of the scale of the race. The racers swarm down the glacier like angry ants before taking in some sun-drenched singletrack on the slopes below.

The full race

This is a really nice edit of last year’s race in full. The rider starts way above the clouds at the top of the mountain and we see snippets of his entire run before he reaches the finish line. The video is a great depiction of the variety of skills you need to have to tackle the changing trail conditions all the way down the course.

Seems pretty crazy right? Have you ever taken on the Megavalanche? Is it on your bucket list?