Crans Montana: Adding the DH into XC

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Flippin’ heck. The new XCO course at Crans Montana is… not something we especially fancy trying out without a dropper post, enduro bike and a set of knee pads. Here’s a look at the track without any riders on it. And no rain either.

Soo… wooden gap jump into steep chute anyone? Rock drop into rock garden with added rock spines for extra peril? Giant’s causeway of tree stumps? Oh, and the forecast is for thunderstorms, so sprinkle in some extra slither. And don’t forget you’re wearing an open face helmet, lycra, and clipped in to your teeny travel bike with all the extra stiff carbon everything.

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We’re not keen on crash reels, so maybe don’t watch if you’re a bit squeamish.

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How To Watch Crans Montana XC

The schedule is:

Friday, June 21

  • 14:00 – UCI Cross-country Short Track World Cup | Women U23
  • 14:35 – UCI Cross-country Short Track World Cup | Men U23

Saturday, June 22

  • 13:00 – UCI Cross-country Short Track World Cup | Women Elite
  • 13:35 – UCI Cross-country Short Track World Cup | Men Elite
  • 15:30 – UCI Cross-country Olympic World Cup | Men U23

Sunday, June 23

  • 10:00 – UCI Cross-country Olympic World Cup | Women U23
  • 12:00 – UCI Cross-country Olympic World Cup | Women Elite
  • 14:30 – UCI Cross-country Olympic World Cup | Men Elite

You’ll need Discovery+ or Eurosport to watch the elites, but both the men’s and women’s U23 cross-country Olympic races will be broadcast live on the WHOOP UCI Mountain Bike World Series YouTube channel. You’ll need a sofa or cushion to hide behind, however you watch it. Eep. Wishing all the riders a safe passage!

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Hannah Dobson

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I came to Singletrack having decided there must be more to life than meetings. I like all bikes, but especially unusual ones. More than bikes, I like what bikes do. I think that they link people and places; that cycling creates a connection between us and our environment; bikes create communities; deliver freedom; bring joy; and improve fitness. They're environmentally friendly and create friendly environments. I try to write about all these things in the hope that others might discover the joy of bikes too.

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Viewing 27 posts - 1 through 27 (of 27 total)
  • Crans Montana: Adding the DH into XC
  • weeksy
    Full Member

    Lots of frothing on PB but these are supposed to be the best of the best riding it. They’ll be fine

    chrismac
    Full Member

    They will be fine. Other websites are showing the vast majority riding the features no problem

    lovewookie
    Full Member

    They’ll be fine. I would be crapping it until I knew I’d practiced enough in bubble wrap.

    Even then…

    3
    cheers_drive
    Full Member

    Of course an average rider could ride it at their pace on a trail or enduro bike. On a short travel xc bike, in the in the middle of group whilst blowing out of your arse is a completely different matter.

    Modern xco races are a better watch than enduro or even dh.

    dawson
    Full Member

    The rocks will be lethal in the wet and the ‘cheeses’ of logs look dodgy too

    6
    markspark
    Free Member

    It looks like a course someone would build in a city centre for an event to bring xc to the masses, just a bit cheesy. Work with the natural terrain in the location, not some weird xc bike park hybrid.
    Still gonna watch it though cos the racing at the moment is superb

    pmurden
    Full Member

    As my parents would say “it’s character building”.

    fooman
    Full Member

    Hmm might have to renew Discovery+ just to watch. I miss GCN.

    nickc
    Full Member

    Watched a bit of Vital MTB coverage on YouTube and not only are there chicken runs on all of the features, while they may look a bit intimidating, they’re not all that bad – even on stiffly set up 100mm bikes and disco slippers, they’re all well used to running dropper posts now anyway and these riders are pretty handy.  After 6 laps of breathing through your eyeballs racing may be entirely another matter, but at least it’ll be the same for all the riders.

    3
    mtnboarder
    Full Member

    Watched a full lap on youtube last night out of curiosity- those really artificial sections look awful and just leave me cold. I thought the same about the rock sections at the GT worlds last year.

    As for the rest of the course, it seems to have a surprising amount of tarmac road and footpath alongside some grassy sections in what looks like parkland and a nice wee bit skirting what looks like a waste site complete with graffitied concrete shed.

    Its in the Swiss Alps, possibly the most beautiful riding region in the world. How about some nice backdrops?

    ampthill
    Full Member

    Rebecca Henderson has felt the need to speak out

    https://www.instagram.com/rebeccahenderson.27?igsh=MWRiMWkwd3RiNWphdg==

    It’s quite hard to quote from Instagram, but here goes. So by the power of Google Lens i can do it In think her moan about the course not being ready seems fair to me

    rebeccahenderson.27

    I don’t want to be political or controversial but I will say, we are at a AA crazy time in this sport.

    With the schedule more condensed then ever we are riding new courses that are for various reasons not ready when the first official practice starts.

    In all my time in this sport I’ve never seen this scenario. Due to safety concerns sections are being closed for maintenance and changes during training, again and again.

    It used to be the course was ready for the first official training and occasionally some minor changes. Not using the riders for testing in the first training sessions to find the limits and then scale back from there.

    To me the magic of XCO is the athleticism of the riders and that is the real show. Of course I love the technicality and challenges of MTB but it shouldn’t be the absolute central focus and if it can not be done safely and the full course can be ridden in all conditions pushing the limits and safety of the riders doesn’t feel right. We still have the wild and wonderful world of downhill racing showing what’s possible on two wheels

    Lets hope something special happens (like the sun comes out) so that we can ride these climbs and off camber natural sections. The weather is going to be a huge factor and will decide if it’s a XC or CX race.

    I really do love this sport and only want to see it progress in the best way possible

    1
    Northwind
    Full Member

    Installing big jaggy trail-edge rocks then having to cover them with crash pads is, uh, insane? Yeah, let’s go with insane. Who signed that off?

    The big stegasaurus rock garden is weird, they’ve put all that super aggressive rockwork into dividing the A and B lines (which to me mostly looks like adding unneccesary hazard, I know nobody’s <supposed> to crash there but race day, anything can happen), then suddenly they all merge right into the corner, with teh A line coming in left and faster and basically having to cross straight into B line traffic. Like, what is the goal here, keep them apart for longer so you can ram them all together right at the bend where it’s worst? B line people get the best approach and position for the rock berm thing, fine for the leaders but midpack could be really dodgy

    The climbs look almost designed to cause shitty pileups and “person in front makes mistake, person behind pays the price” sort of things which, sure, it’s part of xc racing but it sucks IMO. Though tactical brakechecks are always fun. Lots of bottlenecks, natural and otherwise.

    OTOH I love that logwork feature, completely ridiculous, I really want to ride that. Not in the rain on an XC bike! The corner in the b line looks absolutely horrible. The super fast naturalish section after looks awesome too. The woodwork gap into the steep is brilliant but I think they’ve taped out the steep corner cut just before it.

    rickmeister
    Full Member

    The Stegosaurus rock section with two chutes looks just like it has “hospital food” written all over it. I wonder if it’s in a section where the riders will be bunched or strung out a bit. A fall onto those upright rocks in the middle of the chute would be grim for a start followed by a pile on as riders follow.

    Insta has a few bits of video from wet practice with Isla sliding down a mud slope on her back….

    I do darkly recall XC getting technical in the past and there being a fatality and the tech was wound back in again… but here we are.

    1
    markspark
    Free Member

    Just watched Puck Pieterse do a lap on you tube, if conditions stay the same it’s going to be a trail running race with a bike unless you’re in the first 5 or 10 at the first corner

    2
    johnhe
    Full Member

    I disagree with folks who say that average or normal riders could ride this on an enduro bike. I admit, this is all based on internet knowledge, not having seen the trail with my own eyes. But stuff on video looks so tame, compared with in the flesh. So I’m quite certain that enormous rock drop is even more terrifying in the flesh. And in the wet, I certainly wouldn’t want to be trying it, no matter what bike I was riding.

    to defend the course, I saw riders rolling the B line to the side of the larger drop.

    im torn on this. On the one hand, I’m really glad that a mountain biking race is not simply road biking off road. So I really like there being a technical aspect to the race. But some recent races have seemed quite OTT technically.

    sirromj
    Full Member

    Is there an equivalent increase of requirement for technical skills on the flat or climbs?

    edit: just watching the start of the video from Puck Pieterse, yeah looks quite demanding up hill.

    reeksy
    Full Member

    I’ve been looking at all the marketing of this event on social media. Kriss Kyle and Nicolai Rogatkin have posted on insta… Warner Bros are really trying to broaden the audience.

    Straightliner
    Full Member

    Short course was fun, ladies race went to and fro quite a lot in the small leading pack.

    I missed the start of the men’s race but caught the end, some good skills on show in greasy conditions. Tomorrow’s full course race should be a cracker.

    rickmeister
    Full Member

    Watched the racing today and Lecomte rode a great race to a win. For the mens race, Pidcock is obviously talented but I just can’t warm to him….  but win he did.

    Pretty worrying to see the yellow flag out on the A line for the Stegosaurus chute. Whilst the racing was pretty eventful, the number of crashes was pretty high.
    Rissveds head injury
    Brandl suspected broken jaw during the race
    Last lap rider being assisted lying on the rock feature for two laps.

    Where is the balance? Interesting course vs OTT gnarr. Be an interesting post race team review.

    Northwind
    Full Member

    So they put ramps into the log pile section to make the boner drop things rollable, a ramp on at least the b line in the big rock garden, and a million pads. And infilled the rock garden with hardcore, or the main section anyway?

    I didn’t see the gap-into-steep bit at all in the coverage but I only watched the highlights, so maybe they just didn’t have good video from there?

    I saw they had the A line in the rock garden yellow flagged on the last lap for a casualty and it was right down low, in amongst the spiky walls they’d built between the lines… I’ve not seen anything about it but if someone’s got injured not by the trail but by the verges, that’s just negligence imo, and that was definitely a risk they chose to take. It’s literally the opposite of normal good trailbuilding, where you can make a difficult feature but you offset it by diminishing the fall risk. And I said it before but, installing a big obviously risky rock that’s not even on the trail itself then having to put pads on it is just insane.

    All that said I love to see how it brings out the strengths of different riders, in all the races you’d see one person dominating lines and the next being so much more careful, mixes of pushing and riding and safety dabs etc, people more or less improvising lines and reacting- I saw Pidcock through the rock garden maybe 4 times and a different route every time, just constantly recalculating. And even while dominating the race he still ended up on his arse at least once, on an innocuous bit. The natural steeps were causing as much or more trouble for riders than the super manmade bits.

    ampthill
    Full Member

    I thought the course looked ok in the race. The man made extras were clearly OTT and other than the log drop snd it’s c line didn’t seem to differentiate much.

    Apparently Pidcock hadn’t ridden the course before the race. So he was changing lines because he didn’t know that say the water fall A line was actually slower until he lost time on it during the race

    scaredypants
    Full Member

    the log “feature” just seemed like a dodgy gimmick and I agree that the rock section options all merging right at their bases (when riders from A&B (and C??) would have max speed and min control) just seems nuts. Hope the crashed riders are all OK-ish

    chrismac
    Full Member

    Just watched Puck Pieterse do a lap on you tube

    I watched the ladies race and it was very clear that the tech was not Puck’s strength. Every lap she would close the gap a bit on the climbs and the cyclocross on and off bits. As soon as it got technical she was loosing buckets of time to the 2 in front of her.

    rock section options all merging right at their bases (when riders from A&B (and C??

    The C line went behind the rock berm and rejoined on the next straight after the rocks ended.

    Personally I really enjoyed the race as it was nice to see their technical skills being as important as just fitness and power.

    ocrider
    Full Member

    As this is essentially the course that they’re using for the world champs next year, I’m guessing that they’ll be doing some minor alterations over the next 12 months. The stegosaurus spines ought to become extinct, but I quite liked the log art installation for an artificial track feature.

    Most importantly the steep, rooty off camber bits don’t get changed. That’s what really made this race. Well, that and the weather.

    mccraque
    Full Member

    It was a fascinating watch. Was hoping that there wouldn’t be any injuries given the tech and weather – but there was one guy in the XCO laying in the rock garden with a couple of the lines shut off with yellow flags as he was attended by medics. Hope he is ok.

    rickmeister
    Full Member

    the log art installation

    That was very clever too. I wonder if the gaps are filled with mud/gravel as its slippery and every hole is a possible broken finger trap otherwise…. (am I being too risk-asssessmenty here? ) One of the Swiss riders slipped and Nino rode around him then he was shaking his thumb and fingers for a fair while.

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