By Jay de Jesus, photo by Jon Pratt
The mountain bike world has dropped into the tiny hamlet of Windham, N.Y., for the latest round of World Cup racing. An international flair amongst this small Catskill hamlet, the World Cup at Windham is a unique blend of culture and language, latest technology and gritty earth, peak summer lushness, and local hospitality. The town embraces the event like no other, which is a triumphant rebound following the devastating ravages of Hurricane Irene in 2011.
No hint of moisture now, however – the trails are dry, deep talc with hidden rubble. Speeds are higher, tire pressures are higher, suspension settings stiffer due to higher track speeds and the rough chatter, even after just one day of training. The tracks are rough and breaking up, dust is hanging in the trees. For those of you coming up to race this weekend, pack your big knobbies and dry lube – racing will be fast and gritty and intense. See you there?
Friday update: Dust, chop, and light to dark
Just in from my sighting lap for lead moto during tomorrow’s World Cup XC, and that pretty much sums it up. The courses (XC and DH) are dry and choppy, and the early morning light rain was but a tease. Catskill mountain temperatures are rising, the wind has diminished, and the action is heating up with XC training sessions and DH Qualifiers on tap under deep blue skies.
For those of you racing this weekend (and yes, there is a full complement of citizen racing available for everyone this weekend), don’t bother with tinted sunglasses or goggles as the light to dark transitions and hovering dust make vision extremely tricky. There are rumors that dust masks may make an appearance in the XC, and the high speeds and deep choppy rubble on the DH course are taking a toll. Shattered chainguide shrapnel is everywhere in the lower rock garden compressions, and the 3-pack of 35-foot double jumps make the finish spectacular!
Tonight, downtown is awash with color and culture as the World Cup entourage mingles amongst the community during the phenomenal street party, complete with roller derby, a Jeff Lenosky Stunt Show, food anbd music and all of the festive energy of this amazing international event. Stay tuned for more color throughout the weekend…