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.

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.