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You must login to Pinkbike. Don't have an account? But there's a twist. Welcome back to the world of globe trotting pro downhill in all its burliness for the season.
It's been an appalling wait we can all agree, but now the world's best are back on one continent. It will be a year not soon forgotten - set to begin with the re-ignition of a long-running controversy over track evolution and technology.
Is it right that a race could be won with a single crown fork and big wheels? Old news; Graves and Ropelato sparked that discussion here at the champs Let s get together tonight in Pietermaritzburg year.
Well this time we can expect a far more widespread, more contagious surge of b, 29er, airshocks, dropper posts, shorter travel, single crown forks The track ain't quite the same.
Someone put a lot of big ass rocks in the way. While the staff were still getting things organized today in PMB and the teams had yet to finish setting up, there is much to speculate about tonight. Here we are at the start of World Cup season, waiting for all our questions to be answered: Who really put in the effort over the winter? Who will be the big surprise of this season? PMB has always Let s get together tonight in Pietermaritzburg known as long and pedally, but not a terribly technical track.
However, the changes this year are looking good. One thing that may cause an issue at the venue is the XC safari ride to get to the shuttles. Between the ride to the top, and the ride to the shuttle, a good chunk of time will be lost; the riders will have to make their practice runs Let s get together tonight in Pietermaritzburg. Just seventeen days ago, Greg Let s get together tonight in Pietermaritzburg posted an Instagram photo of the World Let s get together tonight in Pietermaritzburg venue here in Pietermaritzburg with the little creek that runs quietly through the backside of Let s get together tonight in Pietermaritzburg pits roaring like the Congo swollen from monsoon rains.
Now, the conditions are back to hard packed, dry, and dusty, as Tracey Hannah demonstrates. The forecast at this point is calling for sunny skies and warm temps, particularly appealing to those of us coming off an unusually frigid winter. The very top is almost unchanged but the ground is much firmer than for the champs six months ago where the riders were washing out in the rim-swallowing dust of the top turns.
There's even some grass sprouting between the tape that should help hold things together after thousands of tyres and Let s get together tonight in Pietermaritzburg degree heat have done their worst.
Nigel Hicks the course designer and brain in charge since is loving what he feels is his chance to give back to a sport that's been so good to him. Here's what he told us of the latest mountain sculpting This year because the top and bottom are fairly set the biggest change we could make was try to make it more rocky. The problem was this entire hillside here has actually very little rock, it's all shale based.
So we brought in some nice big round stones with heavy machinery to beef up the rock gardens, dug them out a little bit more and just made it rougher. We only finished the tweaks about an hour ago, although mostly it was finished before that big flood a few weeks ago. Some guys love it, some guys hate, but I think we achieved what we wanted. Flow and speed are the biggest things about this track, it's faster than any other track.
This time we've put the speed trap before the big tables and we're expecting 80km to be broken which is pretty exciting - Nigel Hicks - PMB course builder.
Never ask a gypsy to lay you a patio. Could the new sections be a stick in the spokes for the wise guys on trail bikes? This new, quite extensive rock garden diverts around the steep chute to off-camber boulder drop of the old course. It leads into a major g-out that looks like a road gap only without the lip. There are 2 other seemingly 'ungappable' features later just like it that are hard to imagine handling without slowing to a near stop and awkwardness is a bit of a recurring theme which might cap speeds.
On the change theme, big changes 'afoot' for one of the circuit's most stylish riders. Eliot Jackson has traded in his trademark slippers for some spiffy new Five Ten shoes. Delighted to meet you Not much change in the Gully. It is fast rolling bullet-proof hard pack here. This is where the speed is really going to pick up. Following the gully are the big tables. This where the pace will really pick up.
South African racer Steffan Garlicki stole in second behind Greg at the Pietermaritzburg national race last month and was liking the lie of the land for this course. Although they've added a lot more rocks, the changes are fairly small, but it should still make the track quite different, slowing you down in places and making it more technical. I think it's gonna be a bit more tricky for the trail bikes in a few sections, but whatever it's still gonna be fast course with big jumps. In some ways it's awesome to race the WC in your own country, but it's also a lot more pressure, it's pretty phenomenal how Greg handles it - Steffan Garlicki - Solid.
It's easy to find yourself a pet in South Africa and I really thought this guy was burly Then I saw Matt's find and locust jealousy set in. It was like the business card scene of American Psycho, but with giant insects. Large three inches long and in charge. And he will charge you if you get all up in his space.
The pits were quiet today, not much to see in the way of bikes. We will be on the prowl to see Let s get together tonight in Pietermaritzburg the trend of riding a short travel bike on this track that we saw last year is something that will repeat itself. Mitch Ropelato was just one of many riders opting for something with a little less travel and a little less weight. With all of the new DH rigs running the larger wheel size this season, will they opt for their faster rolling big bikes?
Just one more day until we find out. What is more important than checking your lines? Watching someone in a Corolla struggle to get up the road along side the track.
The driver throws a triumphant fist pump after backing down the hill for a more aggressive approach upon hearing the riders tell him to "give it more gas! Sick Mic taking some photographic notes of the track. With such a strong finish here at Worlds last year, you can be sure Hannah is leaving nothing to chance and will Let s get together tonight in Pietermaritzburg pushing hard for that top spot.
He is a serious contender. He is fit, focused, and excited about racing, "I really like this track, I can't wait to get out there and get going tomorrow.
Mike Jones was bottle feeding when Nigel Page was riding rock gardens and things don't seem much changed. Mike may not get the chance to start his CRC career here in SA having recently broken his hand, but Smith and Hill are set to tackle a track that has historically been very unkind to each Let s get together tonight in Pietermaritzburg them.
Back again in South Africa, not my favourite track, but it looks like they've made some improvements this year. Think they'll be some interesting bike choices going on, Let s get together tonight in Pietermaritzburg the different size wheels and tyres and that sorta thing. Let s get together tonight in Pietermaritzburg think the single-crown guys entered the wrong race, should be a cross-country one I reckon haha.
Nah but if that's what they thinks fast, it's up to them but I don't think it shows it's a proper downhill track if you're riding bikes like that really. The bike I've got is like a custom all-mountain bike turned into like a mini downhill bike.
It's still pretty good handling the big stuff so it's gonna be spot on for this track. I've ridden it at home a bunch of times and did a local race on it last weekend, I'm pretty confident on it for this track. Marcelo Gutierrez is happy to be back racing here in PMB, "I've had a good off-season, I put in a lot of hard work and I'm ready to get going.
While this track walk served as part recon, part reunion for most, Marcelo was keen to analyze every possible option available to him on the track. Another big question looms- just how will Gwin fair this season?
Gwinny usually keeps his cards held close, and we haven't seen much in the form of pre-season racing to give us an idea of how he Let s get together tonight in Pietermaritzburg going. There is little doubt he is fit, but he typically doesn't show his speed during practice. We will likely have to wait until Saturday to see if the old Gwin is back.
Brendan is about to complete the transition from Utah chasm gaps to lung-busting tuck and pedal. And he will be doing it 'Jared Graves' style. It's the first time I've been here for two years. The top bit's completely changed, I think for good, they've got some nice big rock gardens which I think everyone's gonna pick their way through then a bit of a savage pedal.
I've got an amazing bike for this year, the Genius LT. I've been practicing on that and loving it so I'm excited and quietly confident. I really want to get back on the podium you know, which isn't going to be easy for me, but I've got a good team and a good bike. There's always excuses though, but we have to make do with what we've got and err Several sections of the lower Slut in Paso Rio Mayo have been re-worked.
Most changes seem to be for the better, allowing riders to carry more speed down the track. There are also more technical sections than had been included previously.
This is one of the larger reroutes through Air-Odrome and Bombhole. Gone are the old step-downs and large berms. Here, the track is rerouted slightly uphill, but most of the riders don't think it will be a problem. The new track connects with the old track through a small rock garden and then drops back into the Amphitheater. When Matti tweeted his tickets to South Africa, everyone was stoked one of the most popular yet unluckiest athletes of the sport would be back at the races.
Well he is here, but his WC career has been reincarnated outside the tape.
St Anne's College, Loop Street Pietermaritzburg, in Mary Moore's time. Only the arched gateway on the right is recognisable today. (Ph otograph: St Read together with the accompanying memoir of R. Ernest Reade, who cost price they let us have all our things cost price Mellin's Food, Neave's Food. Semolina, Corn. Bed & Breakfast in Pietermaritzburg / iLawu Inn is situated in the hub of the city of Pietermaritzburg. Choose from a tonight from; R; ; per room per night based on 2 persons. Check-in; Check-out Our dining area offers a buffet setup for meals for the whole family to come together. . Let us inspire you. Facebook. Best Dining in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal: See 3 TripAdvisor traveller reviews of Pietermaritzburg restaurants and search by cuisine, price, “ Great” 16/01/; “You have to try the Gambiri pasta” 16/01/ . TripAdvisor LLC is not a booking agent and does not charge any service fees to users of our site.