Results 1 to 10 of 10
  1. #1
    Unpredictable
    Reputation: Ridnparadise's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    1,772

    The fine line between great trail and something less

    Don't know if you have seen this vid, but the Cairns DH World Cup race was a mess. This vid is really fun though.

    It looks like the track hit and passed the pivot point of exciting versus damaged before the main event, despite being a really well made trail. Heavy rain is not uncommon in late April. Concentrated rider use is much less common. Cairns is in far north Qld; not many people passing by compared to other locations in Australia, but regardless, every quality trail system and new trail must face increasing rider use at some point.

    There are so many sub-topics here; wet trail, racing damage and who's responsible, weather-related trail closures etc. I'm interested in the thoughts of trail builders and volunteers about this event. A fortnight before the races, a "weak" cyclone (hurricane) hit the area and there was very unofficial talk about alternate venues if everything went to $hit. Correctly, they backed the trail quality and the support team and recovered after the tropical blow. Then came more rain and the world's best riders, day after day. In recognition of the overall trail standards, the XCO event was absolutely fantastic and if you watched and didn't want to ride that trail, then there's no help for you.

    The DH event was something quite different though. Enjoy the vid of the quali round and in particular, see Mick Hannah's comments at 1 min 55 sec.

    Rob?s post-qualifying Cairns interviews | Red Bull Bike

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Cotharyus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    1,564
    I've watched the downhill and XCE, but haven't gotten to the XCO races yet. I'll likely get to watch both of those today, since I won't be building any trail with all these red patches on the doppler radar passing overhead.

    I have to start by saying this - the Cairns course was the most "designed" looking down hill track I've seen in world cup races. It had switchbacks, and all kinds of stuff, rather than just pointing what appeared to be straight down the side of the steepest hill they could find. It's entirely possible that my perception of most tracks is a bit off, but honestly, this track looked good before the event started. Mick Hannah posted a video of the course as a preview about a week before the event, and it was be far the best groomed track I've seen, as a whole, at any world cup down hill. By the time the actual race was on, every turn I saw was blown out, and there were lines cut into even the flat parts, like going down to the step up.

    Now, the track was designed to be difficult under good conditions, but throw in the "peanut butter" mud, and it looked like it was boarder line suicide, with the slick rocks and the off camber sections. Still, after the last runs, the track looked to be in as good a shape as any of the other down hill tracks. But it was not the screaming fast track in the preview video any more.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation: cerebroside's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    466
    I don't see how anything could have been done to prevent the DH track turning into a mess, short of resurfacing the whole lot with something that drains better?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cotharyus View Post
    I've watched the downhill and XCE, but haven't gotten to the XCO races yet. I'll likely get to watch both of those today, since I won't be building any trail with all these red patches on the doppler radar passing overhead.

    I have to start by saying this - the Cairns course was the most "designed" looking down hill track I've seen in world cup races. It had switchbacks, and all kinds of stuff, rather than just pointing what appeared to be straight down the side of the steepest hill they could find. It's entirely possible that my perception of most tracks is a bit off, but honestly, this track looked good before the event started. Mick Hannah posted a video of the course as a preview about a week before the event, and it was be far the best groomed track I've seen, as a whole, at any world cup down hill. By the time the actual race was on, every turn I saw was blown out, and there were lines cut into even the flat parts, like going down to the step up.

    Now, the track was designed to be difficult under good conditions, but throw in the "peanut butter" mud, and it looked like it was boarder line suicide, with the slick rocks and the off camber sections. Still, after the last runs, the track looked to be in as good a shape as any of the other down hill tracks. But it was not the screaming fast track in the preview video any more.
    That's an interesting perspective, a lot of people complain about WC DH tracks being too 'groomed' and pedally these days. Personally I like a variety (when watching races anyway.)

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Cotharyus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    1,564
    Oh yeah, look, I think downhillers should be able to pedal a bike too, but I don't think they need to do technical climbs or anything. Some of these trails don't have a place you can pedal, and others (PMB, Cairns) have long pedally sections. They cater some to different riders, but you see a few riders who can dominate at both types of tracks. Doesn't that indicate clearly that those really are the better riders? Variety not only keeps it interesting, is shows who can perform well under different conditions, and gives a better indication of who the great riders are.

  5. #5
    Unpredictable
    Reputation: Ridnparadise's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    1,772
    Quote Originally Posted by Cotharyus View Post
    Oh yeah, look, I think downhillers should be able to pedal a bike too, but I don't think they need to do technical climbs or anything. Some of these trails don't have a place you can pedal, and others (PMB, Cairns) have long pedally sections. They cater some to different riders, but you see a few riders who can dominate at both types of tracks. Doesn't that indicate clearly that those really are the better riders? Variety not only keeps it interesting, is shows who can perform well under different conditions, and gives a better indication of who the great riders are.
    There's really no doubt that Rach and Gee Affrtn are the best DH riders right now, but being the best at peddling in glue is not the way to show it. Uphill is really something of a misnomer in DH. There was one short bit of uphill at Cairns. Hit at 70kph, who cares and anyway, unless "you" were there there is no way to know how riders managed that, because there was no video coverage. I think it was sad to see the world's best trudging through sludge for most of the video coverage. Watching elite athletes looking weak while riding down a pretty steep slope is sad. The video coverage made the track look unrealistically bad. I felt like the riders were me taking on the flats before the next pub after too many beers.

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    26
    What I have always found amusing in the Northeast is how trails will be closed to local riders due to excessive rain but an IMBA sanctioned "mudbath" race will be run irregardless of conditions.
    Maybe the race should have been postponed or even canceled.

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Cotharyus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    1,564
    Quote Originally Posted by Ridnparadise View Post
    There's really no doubt that Rach and Gee Affrtn are the best DH riders right now, but being the best at peddling in glue is not the way to show it. Uphill is really something of a misnomer in DH. There was one short bit of uphill at Cairns. Hit at 70kph, who cares and anyway, unless "you" were there there is no way to know how riders managed that, because there was no video coverage. I think it was sad to see the world's best trudging through sludge for most of the video coverage. Watching elite athletes looking weak while riding down a pretty steep slope is sad. The video coverage made the track look unrealistically bad. I felt like the riders were me taking on the flats before the next pub after too many beers.
    Oh man, I think you misunderstand me. I wasn't saying it was necessarily a race I enjoyed watching. I think some of the best riders in the world got screwed on their runs for one reason: The track conditions were so bad, it was a dice roll, you either make it down with a great time, or your go down. And by great time, I mean 30 seconds slower than it would have been on a dry track. No doubt there should be something in place to deal with weather situations like this, even just a one day delay would have helped immensely.

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation: dan4jeepin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    261
    You got to look at the $$$ and time to put on a world cup event like this. People have come from across the globe for the event and there are TV crews. You can't really cancel or move the event. Much different scenario then canceling a local race or closing trails when it rains. I'm sure the money from having such a large event would more then cover the day or two that it would take for a trail crew to repair the damage to the course from it being ridden when wet.

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    1,117
    It's racing and that stuff happens all the time as for it being a dice-roll, I'd say that was less the case than Mont Sainte Anne last year or for 2010 Worlds. In both of those races you had changing conditions where it started out dry then get wet and in the case of last year dried again. Not only is it slippery, but it's a head game and can reduce visibility. Matti Lehikoinen got his only win at Champery in a race that started out dry and then turned into a monsoon. So it all evens out and everyone knows that's how it is. I thought the track looked really fun - the big problem that I see is that it was so damn flat. That's why it was such a slog and also why it didn't drain. Anyway, racetracks are racetracks, they are not your local trail. I f they get damaged the trail crew will fix them - or not, but it's not like they ruined the trail in your neighborhood. At the end of the day most trails are temporary anyway, it's just a question of how temporary are they.


  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Cotharyus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    1,564
    Yeah. That video is the most insane bit of riding I've ever witnessed. The commentating isn't particularly sane either, but they've just had their minds blown haven't they?

Similar Threads

  1. Top of the aluminum line trail bikes
    By Fletch Bomb in forum 29er Bikes
    Replies: 39
    Last Post: 11-10-2013, 08:15 PM
  2. Replies: 22
    Last Post: 12-31-2012, 11:44 AM
  3. Replies: 28
    Last Post: 09-14-2012, 10:38 AM
  4. On-line trail mapping
    By slopefish in forum Oregon
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 05-06-2012, 09:40 PM
  5. The fine line between alcoholism and love for beer
    By getagrip in forum Beer Forum
    Replies: 45
    Last Post: 06-13-2011, 11:44 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •