I don’t fully understand why they keep making XC mountain bike tracks so “difficult” for the world cup. The latest new course, Crans Montana in Switzerland has many man made giant rock features, wood bridges, even a dual skinny wood ledge thing that looks ridiculous.
It’s going the same way as BMX tracks did. When I raced bmx, the tracks were built with all dirt, with jumps and berms you could pedal over if you wanted to, and starting hills that as a parent, you’d be fine letting your 10 year old go down. Nowadays? If you want to race BMX, you are on much blacktop, and the size of the start hills and jumps are quadruple what they used to be. It’s really a totally different type of sport now.
Cross country mountain biking used to be a long dirt trail going through the woods. That’s it. Not 50 feet of carefully placed rocks, giant wood berms, weird stuff. The new track reflects nothing about what the average cross country rider ever sees. There are plenty of places to ride wood obstacles, and jump 20 feet down a hill. That’s a different discipline entirely.
Watching the Raw Practice videos on youtube, which by the way, is a fantastic addition this year. Watching the pros ride down things, test them out, talk about them, is really cool. Has anyone considered wearing elbow and knee pads while doing these test runs? One wrong move, and they already showed several pros flying over the bars and landing on rocks, during practice would sure ruin a weekend for a team.
Anyway, just count me as a non-fan of this progression. I want to see who has the best lungs and legs. Not who can handle the most insane obstacles. But I’m in the minority, I know.