Cairns 2014: Welcome to the jungle

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Welcome to the jungle.

Things are starting to ramp up here in the Tropical North! Track walks get underway today, but many riders opted to get themselves acclimatised to the jungle’s cloying heat and took a look around the trails yesterday. With a sprinkling of rain last night, we’re predicting slippery things out a Smithfield today! [divider]The Show Comes to Town[/divider]


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Just outside the arrivals hall of Cairns Airport, the scene was a mess of europeans unpacking bikes and cramming into hire cars!
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It’s muddy alright. The pit area is a bit boggy, the crew are working overtime to bring in gravel to make the surface manageable. Bring good shoes.
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“It’s a bit slippery up there,” says Rhys Atkinson, one of the key guys behind the course construction. Rhys not only built the track, but he’ll be racing it too on Saturday. “I need a day off the tools to give buy hands a rest for racing!” While the downhill track is slippery for now, the cross country course is pretty much perfect – “the soils lower on the hill are more granitic, so it has drained really well.”
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The big guns are probably out on the reef in compression socks, sipping mango mocktails.
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This massive step down jump is on the cross country track! It’s there waiting for any rider game enough to hit it. There are multiple lines here; a steep, slow roller, a decent four-five foot drop or this huge huck. We’ll take our hats off to the first person to try the full length on an XC bike.
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The downhill course pops out of the thick jungle right at the end. It’s seriously like a wall of green – amazingly dense, waiting to eat riders whole.

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