With the downhill providing so much camera fodder over the last two days, we thought it was high time that we had a proper look around the cross country course today ahead of Sunday’s showdown.
Glen Jacobs declared it was his intention to create a course that would really test riders’ technical abilities, not just their legs and lungs. He’s certainly done that. Even the climb is technical, especially the inside line passing opportunities, which are generally steep and slick.
Midway through our lap of the XCO today, the heavens opened and the course showed its teeth. The red clay that covers much of the track is seriously slippery and when tyres track this sludge across the rocks, well, it’s a nasty scenario.
Here are a few highlights we were able to capture before the rain put an end to shooting.
Get out of here you filthy beast! Quick, chase him on our bikes!
This is typical of the climb – the course splits regularly, with two or three options, generally with a serious time bonuses for the more techy options.
Beneath the surface of the trail you’ll find a lot of tyre-slicing, jagged shale-like rock. In the areas where it’s exposed, there’s plenty of potential for flats.
Another typical inside line option on the climb. Does this look slippery to you?
No b-line here, sorry. This jagged section comes right at the top of the climb when you’re least ready for it. The Russian ladies eye it up.
The Minjin spirit is strong here.
Croc Slide. Steeper than it looks, and twice as intimidating in the wet. This 20 metre-long rock slab is off-camber and rough the whole way down.
There’s actually plenty of grip on Croc Slide, at least when there aren’t dozens of riders hitting it and covering it in clay.
Jacobs Ladder. There’s a huge time advantage to be had here if you’re willing to take the right hand a-line. Again, it’s far more intimidating in the flesh. And we think it’s pretty clear how slick those rocks are.