The UCI Mountain Bike World Championships will get under way on Wednesday afternoon in Champery, Switzerland, with the junior women's cross country race and the team relay cross country. That meant Tuesday was a good day to ride the course. Cyclingnews spotted many riders out doing laps of what is considered to be a generally technical course.
What makes the Champery course technical is the abundance of roots and rocks and some steep drop offs, including an option for an A-line jump at one point on the course. Riders often have several singletrack-type lines through wooded sections from which to chose.
Add in some recent moisture and as of Tuesday evening, the course was damp in places, which only made some of the rooty and rocky sections that much more slippery.
During the pre-ride time on the just over 4km course, riders gathered to look at the drops and discuss the best approaches. While pros like World Cup winner Jaroslav Kulhavy (Specialized) blasted over the drops like they were nothing, other riders had to step up their courage to launch themselves on steep, downhill lines that were sometimes not very visible upon the approach.
Cyclingnews spotted US Under 23 Women's National Champion Jill Behlan repeating the Hell's Gate B-line steep downhill while she taught herself the just how much speed to scrub and how much to carry. Behlan said she was getting more comfortable with the ongoing practice.
Another American on the elite women's team, Krista Park, practiced the Hell's Gate A and B lines over and over again until she finally nailed the A-line. The B-line also contains a steep drop, but it the kind you can roll over while the A line requires a jump. Park said she does not yet know if she will do the A-line in the race and that she is interested to see which women will ride it.
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Sue George is an editor at Cyclingnews. She coordinates all of the site's mountain bike race coverage and assists with the road, 'cross and track coverage.
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