Our correspondent Jay de Jesus is in upstate New York for the only stop of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in America. He’ll be bringing us the latest from Windham, New York.
Beautiful skies here at the Windham World Cup are full of dust, rocks, and riders as the dry conditions have made for extremely fast courses. Following Mont Sainte Anne’s traditionally technical tracks, Windham is more about high-speed, G-out cornering without brakes and extremely tight time gaps. With very few changes to the DH course, riders are hitting familiar lines and are up to speed already. The Cross Country course has seen some tweaks, but the theme is similar—fast, choppy, with extreme light to dark transitions, hanging dust and tricky shadows through the trees.
Wicked Wash is keeping everyone’s bike clean all weekend—free of charge!
There are nicely opened woods sections with multi-line choices, and they’re all working well as evidenced by the fact that Elite XC practice looked like Elite DH practice with riders stopping and chatting everywhere, dissecting and re-running lines to strategize in the search of elusive consistency and corner speed. Indeed the racing will be incredible, for amateurs and Pros alike all weekend. For spectators and fans, a walk through the pits to meet your hero’s, see prototype gear, and then witness incredible talent, speed and precision riding on course is a phenomenal experience.
The glamorous life of a World Cup photographer still includes posing for the tourist shot.
Today featured Elite DH timed training only, and the tight nature of the racing is obvious with the top 15 Men packed within 3 seconds of each other. Gee Atherton and Emmiline Ragot led the top spots today, and the intensity will heat up even more with tomorrow’s qualification runs. Elite XC training is an exercise in teamwork, team riding and holding cards tight to the chest as there is nowhere to hide on the European-style 4.2 kilometer course, and top riders circulate within their teams shielding their true speed.
In town, every evening, there is a diverse mix of cultures, language and friendly exchange as the little hamlet of Windham is transformed into the epicenter of the World Cup racing world. The town embraces the tour entourage with Catskill hospitality, and Friday night’s street party is something not to miss. The entire World Cup experience is here this weekend—where will you be?