Day 4 - 2013 World Champs - South Africa

Aug 31, 2013
by Nathan Hughes  
 
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Regular, large or XL? Size never used to lose downhillers any sleep, but today’s timed run will have even the cocksure beginning to doubt that 26inch endowment between their legs. Yes the gloves are officially off on the wheel size scrap with a 650 and a 9er breaking the beam first. Does it speak louder than simply the nature of this course? If yes, should it have any bearing on the DH industry standard and the everyday riding of the masses? The debate is coming up to the boil and the deafening whistle from this kettle will surely kill dogs if Ropelato repeats his mighty performance tomorrow.

Today's format: Riders were allowed one lap on the freshly watered course, at the crack of dawn and it was then onto a single compulsory timed run to see who might have what up their arm covers. Technically it was timed training, but it was certainly a proper effort on track, unlike your casual world cup TT.

World Champs 2013
  Just so you know, Emily Batty's wheels are actually this big... she's just little.


Sunrise...time to shred.
  Sunrise on day 4...time to shred.

Gutierrez knows the importance of keeping limber.
  Marcelo getting fully Timo Pritzel/antenatal on the jungle floor.

Loic Bruni flaring through.
  Loic Bruni flaring through on the warm up.

World Champs 2013
  Wet enough for worms, but dry enough to avoid ruts...that's perfect traction.

Classic Steve Peat attach posture.
  Classic Steve Peat attack posture. He's got the power, has he got the rolling speed?

Gutierrez pushed back up this section to get the line right this morning. With only a half hour practice session today it s wise to make sure you have everything down.
  Gutierrez pushed back up this section to get the line right this morning. With only a half hour practice session today, it's wise to make sure you have everything down.

World Champs 2013
  Team SA's Needles scouting for seconds in the scrub.

World Champs 2013

bigquotesThink the early start cost me in the timed run, guess I'm not a morning person cos I kind of got a good of kick up the arse out there today so I'm looking forward to bit of redemption out there tomorrow. - Andrew Neethling, Giant Factory Racing

These African seedy jobs are mental. They have a dual prong hook at the front and do not come off your woolly parts without painstaking individual plucking. Note the unintentional junior champ tribute sock.
  These African seed thingers are mental. They have a dual prong hook at the front and do not come off your woolly parts without painstaking individual plucking. Note the unintentional junior champ tribute sock.

  Second fastest through the speed trap, Hart's no danger stranger. (A man on a silver 650b was quickest)

Brannigan boosts above the bush on a quickie to 12th.
  Brannigan boosts above the bush on a quickie to 12th.

The Cascades course is pretty scary fast and full of big air in between all the crank revolutions. Thirion gaps at pace.
  The Cascades course is pretty scary fast and full of big air in between all the crank revolutions. Thirion gaps at pace.

Most riders went high on the hip in the trees instead Blenki kept it low and slid his way around it.
  Most riders went high on the hip in the trees, instead, Blenki kept it low and slid his way around it.

Custom paint and trinkets all on show at camp Atherton for the xc induced fan-fest this afternoon.
  Custom paint and trinkets all on show at camp Atherton for the xc induced fan-fest this afternoon.

Rachel not surprisingly making the cut for first.
  Rachel not surprisingly making the cut for first...but did anyone expect an 18 second pillaging.

Tracey Hannah was one of the first down the hill today in timed training and she looked to be on a bit of a cruiser a cruiser that was second fastest.
  Tracey Hannah was one of the first down the hill today in timed training and she looked to be on a bit of a cruiser, a cruiser that was second fastest.

Morgane Charging like a man.
  Morgane in 3rd has a terrifying 18.5 seconds to find to save her title.

World Champs 2013
  Buchanan means business and you can see it in her eyes. 4th widest open throttle.

Anybody realize that Carpenter was in the So Solid Crew She has exactly 21 seconds to go to beat Rach.
  Anybody realize that Carpenter was in the So Solid Crew? She has exactly 21 seconds to go to beat Rach.

Makin Mitch look like a rockstar.
  Makin' Mitch look like a rockstar.

Beer 8th quickest this morning but repping the day s winning smile for Tobleroneland.
  Beer, 8th quickest this morning but repping the day's winning smile for Tobleroneland.

World Champs 2013

bigquotesI've always been a racer at heart whether it's a local race or world champs...I have that same feeling of wanting to give the best you can so I'm sure it'll be no different tomorrow and I'll give it everything I've got- Jared Graves, Yeti Cycles

Jared found good pace across the tacky jungle floor but sadly squashed plenty of ants on route to just 5 seconds back. Too many x-ups and tailwhips with the single crowns on the tabletops.
  Jared found good pace across the tacky jungle floor, but ended up 5 seconds back. Sources say too many x-ups and tailwhips on the tabletops.

World Champs 2013

bigquotesI felt pretty strong on track really. Not super sharp, but it was a bit early to really get fired up. Tomorrow I think that dust's gonna be back making it a lot more tricky to ride... That's what I'm hoping for really because the guys that are fast at the moment are the ones not on the full downhill rigs so maybe the more gnarly dusty sections at the top will help even it out a bit- Gee Atherton, GT Factory Racing

We all know with the season Gee has been having he is a top contender for the title here in PMB there are just a few other guys that might have what it takes to swipe the rainbow jersey from him.
  We all know with the season Gee has been having he is a top contender for the title here in PMB, there are just a few other guys that might have what it takes to swipe the rainbow jersey from him.

Sik Mik keeping smooth enough to land himself into the 4th spot.
  Sik Mik keeping smooth enough to land himself in 4th spot.


bigquotesI skipped the practice run because I figured it was a waste of time to ride it slippery and wet with it drying up. I think people underestimate this track. It's the fastest on the circuit and takes a lot of precision to ride. It's the kind of thing I really like. Just need to get some sleep tonight, nobody sleeps before champs- Mick Hannah, Hutchinson-UR-Team

World Champs 2013
  Gwin's surely going be strong here, but he flatted high up in TT. A possible sign he's going for the Durex thin feel with the tire casing.

Mitch Ropelato blasting high into the second spot. Team America World Policing the 29 er class.
  Mitch Ropelato blasting high into the second spot. Team America: World Policing the 29'er class.

Stevie Smith just over 2 seconds up on Mitch Ropelato Going to be a usual battle of America Vs. Canada tomorrow between those two.
  Smith was just over 2 seconds up on Ropelato this morning... Will Mitch manage to take this America Vs. Canada, 29er versus 650b battle to the wire tomorrow?

Greg... the kind of guy you take to meet you mother.
  Greg, the kind of guy you take to meet your mother, into 5th.

World Champs 2013

bigquotesI felt good especially up top, and there's some time to be made up, so that's good to know. The jumps they've added definitely make the track faster but also more physical because you can't just sit down and spin through anymore- Greg Minnaar, Santa Cruz Syndicate

Hello my name is Inigo Montoya you killed my father prepare to die.
  Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die.

Brother and sis sign away all their future winnings to a genius young local boy who knows about small print. Could the dual world cup winners double up the champs tomorrow and make him rich
  Brother and sis sign away all their future winnings to a genius young local boy with a good understanding of small print. Could the dual world cup winners double up the champs tomorrow and make him rich?

Steve Smith. 1st place qualifier. Stevie hasn t ever qualified ata major race in first place and then not won it...
  Your 1st place 'qualifier' hasn't ever qualified at a major race in first place and then not won it...
Must Read This Week

112 Comments

  • + 194
 Emily Batty is one fine specimen.
  • + 38
 That stunned and captivated expression on her face is the same one I have when I look at that photo.
  • + 47
 Yeah, who gives a fuck about wheel size.....we want more Batty!
  • + 7
 I just found my new desktop background.
  • + 3
 ''hasn't ever qualified at a major race in first place and then not won it...'' hahaha
  • + 3
 I WANT MORE BATTY!!!!
  • + 5
 Settle down, Wilkey... Just you settle down now. Wink
  • - 4
 I'm imagining that's the look she'll have on her face when I drop 'em.
  • + 2
 well are we gonna trail ride or what ambatt?
  • + 1
 Hell yeah! I've been going regularly... You have my digits, sugar! Hell if you want more Batty in your life, just call. Wink He he.
  • + 3
 wait are you related to her at all ambatt, considering you have the same last name, are both very attractive women, and like to ride bikes...?
  • + 3
 Thats like assuming George Clinton and Bill Clinton are related because they were both exposed to weed, only Bill didn't inhale. Hahaha!
  • + 1
 No relation at all, sir... She's a mighty talented lady though!
[Reply]
  • + 58
 24" DH bikes are the next big thing
  • - 25
 If you want to lose!!!
  • + 11
 sounds like the next small thing to me.. just sayin
  • + 4
 Already were a thing. DH bikes with 24" wheels in the rear. It was short lived though.
  • + 16
 24" back wheels will be the next big hit........
  • + 6
 26 rear 650 b front moto style ,thats next .
  • + 1
 I just bought 24 doublewide in the rear. Maybe we can start this trend again Big Grin
  • + 6
 It's not a battle between wheel sizes, it's a battle between riders. Smith would be first no matter what bike he was on. One success does not prove the superiority of a wheel size. Wish PB would STFU about wheel sizes.
  • + 2
 yeah im with you on this one dude its defineitly tye more talented rider not the fact that 24" wheels is a differnce its own personal oppinion its like saying sam hill won becausehe had 780 mm wide bars and gee atherton had 760mm wide who really gives a rats arse its own preferance jeezoo
[Reply]
  • + 38
 Stevie Smith ftw! Canada will prevail!
  • + 3
 Don't forget Forrest.
  • + 6
 FUCKING RIGHTS PIN IT TO WIN IT STEVIE!!!!
  • + 3
 Stevie will win it for sure, gee second and minnar third
  • + 2
 Steveeee Smithhh!!!
[Reply]
  • + 36
 Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die. ahahaha The Princess Bride quote... EPIC!!!!
  • + 7
 that 'stache tho
  • + 7
 *dat stache doe
  • + 2
 He'd make a wonderful Dread Pirate Roberts.
  • + 1
 Haha Duran ending up on PB!
[Reply]
  • + 19
 Mmm.....Emily! So hot!
[Reply]
  • + 14
 More and more racers experimenting with tuning aerodynamics with their mustaches. Mr Smith becomes a pioneer and UCI sleeps.
[Reply]
  • + 13
 Why did you put the pic of the hot girl at the top? When i went to look at the bikes my mind still tried to wander back.
  • + 9
 i´m calling it POD
[Reply]
  • + 8
 I think just to see Steve Peat to win would be so rad plus it'd make a change to the usuals such as Gwin, Minnaar and Gee not be on top
[Reply]
  • + 10
 3 wheel sizes in a dh race! What`s next uni-cycles and recumbents?
  • + 8
 If they are faster, someone will try them!!
[Reply]
  • + 5
 Gotta love how the media and marketing gurus like to stoke the wheel size fire. The big wheel fanboys get all excited about being competitive in a gravity race. What about the fact that the top 2 EWS spots were taken by 26" wheels? Nobody said squat about that. Was there a 29er even in the top 10? I wouldn't count Rope-A-Dope out of the running on any wheel size with the right course. Hell, he'd probably do pretty well on his P.Slope or SX.
  • + 2
 indeed. Personally I think Smith would probable qualify in the same position if that light bike had been built for 26" wheels.
[Reply]
  • + 8
 Gonna go ahead an say an predict, STEVIE SMITH is ganna kick ass tomoro an win WORDCHAMPS!!!!!!!!! He will be worldchamp.
  • + 2
 Dude i taought an american would vote for gwin? But you 're right stevie will win
  • + 4
 as an american i can safely say i don't care about the nationality of the winner. aka smith.
  • + 1
 We were wrong
  • + 1
 I cant believe it! In the first turn. You know what tho, its all good ha, i think he still might of won,ma b, minnar was solid, but i think stevie will rap it up with the last two races on that podium!!!!!! O YEAH
[Reply]
  • + 9
 would be great for peaty to win again
[Reply]
  • + 3
 choice of wheel size should all be off of the type of course, each size has its merits and downfalls, for most people on 650b it is a happy medium, this wheel size is so popular on enduro bikes because they are "one bike to do it all". Personal preference and riding style can play a factor. Still we shouldn't look down on others for their choice.
[Reply]
  • + 4
 Those prickles are called "farmers friends" or "cobblers pegs" here in Aus, and they are impossible to get out unless you pull them out by hand. Welcome to the Southern Hemisphere.
  • + 1
 Most annoying little pricks on earth.
  • + 1
 Hah!...Aussies know that weed...Bidens pilosa. Sticky little buggers...
[Reply]
  • + 3
 I was wondering what happened to Gwin, that's honestly about the first pic of/note about him from PMB I've seen all week. I have Stevie to win it though, dude's on fire and it would be awesome to see him rock the rainbow stripes!
[Reply]
  • + 2
 I don't understand half of first caption, but can you please stop this wheel size crap? There are big articles on this subject and the bottom line is always the same. The rider will decide what works better for him. So what is the point of this discussion?
[Reply]
  • + 4
 Gee started it, but has anyone else noticed how "form fitting" the jerseys are getting?
  • + 1
 Aerodynamics, my friend. Just you wait... Skin suits and aero helmets are next! Wink
  • + 1
 Noticed that Gee was wearing a fitted jersey last season and that others are now following suit. Stevie Smith needs to get a jersey that fits him properly instead of the 2 sizes too big one he normally races in, its all in the tenths and hundredths. In most sports these days the clothing is more fitted as the technical fabrics offer many benefits. And a lot of us tend to wear fitted T-shirts these days so why wouldnt you then wear a fitted jersey on your bike.

Skin suits though...they just look sh*t.
  • + 1
 Skin suits have been and gone! Probably the only good decision the uci have ever made.
  • + 1
 how do you define fitted from skinsuit tho? we all know the difference visually but thats not clear enough for a sporting regulation tho..
[Reply]
  • + 1
 This is not really a dh-track. 3 easy/medium technical sections. Most of it smooth. Long pedaling section. They fixed the track to procure a result that would allow 650 and 29 to compete.

So welcome to the new world order where dh is xc/enduro and dh bikes become less capable and pointy nosed lycra crowd takes the "free" out of the sport.
  • + 3
 Im not sure about "fixed" but it sure is a bit of a drag strip. much rather watch Val di sole...
  • + 2
 Yawwwn...Get a grip!
  • + 1
 How about serious challenge?
  • + 1
 To be honest I was disappointed with this course. Three days ago I was hitting harder DH trails on my 8 years old enduro bike, and I am pretty crappy rider.
  • + 0
 Lame dh-track. My 11 year old daughter rides much thougher and thighter dh-tracks. This would bore her to death.

DH is now XC...

Fat Guy in Lycra award.
eveningsends.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Fat+Guy+In+Spandex.jpg
[Reply]
  • + 5
 The Princess Bride caption is brilliant. Younger crowd won't get it.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 The biggest wheel wins in xc so if your riding in south africa might want to consider big wheeled bikes. I would run 32" wheels out there.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 I hate seeing 29ers in a DH race. As punishment for using a 29er in a DH race they should be forced to race on a BMX. They might then appreciate 26".
  • + 1
 I know it's a little late, but Ropelato actually raced BMX, and is better know for his dual slalom and pump track antics in the States. Dude won Crankworx pump track three years in a row. Some people ride faster with shorter travel bikes (obviously within reasonable limits of that bike/track combination).
[Reply]
  • + 4
 Go Emily! World Champs DH win!!!! Oh...wait...
[Reply]
  • + 4
 Good luck Nick..... you can do it!!!!!
[Reply]
  • + 2
 I'm hatting that shit of using 650 or 29ers on downhill traks,that's just marqueting and wanting us to buy!
[Reply]
  • + 4
 Gravey stains!! \m/
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Is it me or i´m always earing talking about the size off the riders by the commentators like " big bloke" small rider" man,that´s seems so GAYYYY
[Reply]
  • + 2
 i'd like gee to win but admittedly stevie has claaasss
[Reply]
  • + 2
 sorry but the so solid joke was awful :/
[Reply]
  • + 0
 mitch looks so oldschool on that 29er, really hope it works for him.. he can deffinatly be abit smug in the pits after brosnan and gwin gave him stick!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Dare I say this, but maybe Minnaar would have been better off with a beefed up bronson? Hmmm
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Looks like Gwin is riding a 2.1 inch front tire...
[Reply]
  • + 1
 " Your 1st place 'qualifier' hasn't ever qualified at a major race in first place and then not won it..."
[Reply]
  • + 2
 I always cheer to steve peat..... Hope he wins!!!!!!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 race is at 2 PM gmt +1 (centeral europe) time today!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 No pictures or say about our legend peaty..?
[Reply]
  • + 0
 Dear PB, Please stop using the word 'jungle' there is no jungle in South Africa.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Fastest through speed trap was on a silver 650, so blenki or smith....o.O
[Reply]
  • + 1
 following the pmb there any more world cup?
[Reply]
  • + 0
 Note to Gwin.. Use DH casings.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Mitch all the way!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Gee for the win
[Reply]
  • - 2
 Enough with the 650B.. its not a road rim so its 27.5". Unless your riding a mini thin road rim your NOT on 650B
  • + 1
 Its 650B unless you're an idiot who can't pronouce six-fifty-bee.... the tires the DH riders on course today are using are very often closer to 28". The 29er tires being run are probably closer to 30". In every other industry they list wheels off the rim size/model...and 650B is the industry standard term for this particular rim size. Going off the inflated tire average or something is just plain stupid, since they'll be numerous tires that fit a wheel size that don't conform to some average diameter. It was valid to call them 27.5" when the ONLY tire choice was the Pacenti Neo-Moto 2.3s and the father of the off-road revolution for them was trying to explain the difference to 29ers, SIX YEARS AGO. Its not anymore though.
  • + 1
 Your clueless. The B is a road term where the B stands for rim width, hence the 650A & 650C. But whatever, keep being a marketers sheep for as long as you'd like.
  • + 1
 ACTUALLY YOU'RE THE ONE WHO'S CLUELESS.

The B isn't a road term, its an old French category of tire WIDTH. And they didn't differentiate between road and non-road back then because most people did NOT cycle on paved roads, they weren't exactly that plentiful in pre-second world war france. A was narrowest, B was in the middle and C was wide (there's also a D but it was a late 80s/early 90s thing invented and used only by GT Bicycles). All 650letter tires had the same nominal inflated diameter, but they had different rim / tire bead seat diameters. Today the codes correspond to the wheel/rim dimensions only (a 700C rim is a 622mm bead seat diameter and it is this rim dimension that is used for 29er tires) and not to the actual nominal tire diameters or widths. This is actually how other industries refer to wheels also (for example cars and motorcycles the wheel size is the actual rim size, and you can have tall and short tires fit the same wheels by varying the tire sizes that fit those rims).

Also I'm no sheep, I've one of the sheppards who've been leading you flock folks for over five years now.
[Reply]
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