Champery World Championships 2011 - Day 1

Aug 30, 2011
by Ian Hylands  

The view in the office here in Champery does not suck.
The view in the office here in Champery does not suck.

Just in case you hit your head and forget where you are the kind Swiss folks have put in some rather permanent reminders.
Just in case you hit your head and forget where you are, the kind Swiss folks have put in some rather permanent reminders.


The DH Track


Guess who s back
Guess who's back!

The Swiss team walking down from the lift to do their course walk.
The Swiss team walking down from the lift to do their course walk.

Champ ry is simply insanely steep. It s not particularly technical in the dry--once you wrap your brain round just how ludicrously steep it is--but just add water and this track becomes a giant slip n slide.
Champery is simply insanely steep. It's not particularly technical in the dry--once you wrap your brain 'round just how ludicrously steep it is--but just add water, and this track becomes a giant slip 'n slide.

The first straight is 3 pedal strokes then 2 step downs into a massive right handed hip.
The first straight is 3 pedal strokes then 2 step downs, into a massive right handed hip. .

The top of the hip. Last year Danny hart went so long off of this he landed behind the camera...
The top of the hip. Last year Danny hart went so long off of this he landed behind the camera...

As soon as riders get past the hip they dive into some tight single track and stay there pretty much for the next 3.5 minutes.
As soon as riders get past the hip, they dive into some tight single track and stay there, pretty much, for the next 3.5 minutes.

Oh look A tight steep switchback. If you re riding this course you need to get used to these. There s a few dozen of them waiting for you.
Oh look! A tight, steep switchback. If you're riding this course, you need to get used to these. There's a few dozen of them waiting for you.

Once again Brendan contemplates turning this steep left fadeaway into a massive sender.
Once again Brendan contemplates turning this steep left fadeaway into a massive sender.

The only problemi s that it s even steeper and more cut up than last year. And the landing is a LONG way down there.
The only problem is that it's even steeper and more cut up than last year. And the landing is a LONG way down there.

This feature deserves a 3rd shot showing just how big and steep it really is. How big are you really willing to go
This feature deserves a 3rd shot, showing just how big and steep it really is. How big are you really willing to go?


Fabien Barel looking down the line where Sam Hill fell during the finals the first time a World Cup was held here.
Fabien Barel looking down the line where Sam Hill fell during the finals the first time a World Cup was held here.

Again it s steep as the slide in a water park but once you do wrap your head around the steepness of it it s simply not that technical just bloody steep.
Again, it's steep as the slide in a water park, but once you do wrap your head around the steepness of it, it's simply not that technical; just bloody steep.

That s not to say that the track is baby butt smooth it s got a few rough bits for sure.
That's not to say that the track is baby butt smooth; it's got a few rough bits, for sure.

This is one of the only gnarly root sections on the trsack. It s steep rocky and technical. Last year this section became a mission in the wet. It s supposed to start to rain on Thursday here in Champery.
This is one of the only gnarly root sections on the track. It's steep, rocky and technical. Last year this section became a mission in the wet. It's supposed to start to rain on Thursday here in Champery.

Outside line is a tight right around that tree. Inside line is a gnarly root infested drop in that has a 90 degree right at the bottom onto the trail. The potential exit speed and cut off distance from this line could be huge. So could the consequences of getting it wrong. Choices...
Outside line is a tight right around that tree. Inside line is a gnarly root infested drop in that has a 90 degree right at the bottom onto the trail. The potential exit speed and cut off distance from this line could be huge. So could the consequences of getting it wrong. Choices...


This is mid track. Those are the pits WAY down below. Steep doesn t even begin to describe this track.
This is mid track. Those are the pits WAY down below. Steep doesn't even begin to describe this track.

It s hard to really show how steep this track is. Maybe this left hander will help convey it.
It's hard to really show how steep this track is. Maybe this left hander will help convey it.

... or maybe this will
...or maybe this will?

This is the only potential resting spot on the entire track. It s flat. Expect it to be litterred with tear offs come race day. Mr Hill and his Fiancee take a leisurely stroll into the distance. Is this all the competition will see of Sam this week or will his shoulder prove he is mortal after all
This is the only potential resting spot on the entire track. It's flat. Expect it to be littered with tear offs come race day. Mr Hill and his Fiancee take a leisurely stroll into the distance. Is this all the competition will see of Sam this week or will his shoulder prove he is mortal after all?

A mechanic s job knows no bounds
A mechanic's job knows no bounds?

And wherever there s been a wooden bridge of some kind course marshals have kindly laid down these matts of not exactly confidence inspiring rubber for traction.
Wherever there's been a wooden bridge of some kind, course marshals have kindly laid down these matts of not exactly confidence inspiring rubber for traction.

There is one flattish spot before the final plunge to the bottom--a quick jaunt down a gravel road.
There is one flattish spot before the final plunge to the bottom--a quick jaunt down a gravel road.

MIranda Miller and a number of other Canadian DH racers are wearing a hand woven yellow bracelet in honor of the leukemia stricken Nick Geddes.
Miranda Miller and a number of other Canadian DH racers are wearing a hand woven yellow bracelet in honor of the leukemia stricken racer Nick Geddes.

The final plunge before the finishing straight.
The final plunge before the finishing straight.

This is the view that everyone wil be waiting for as they make their way down this course. You fly out of the last woods section and 3 booters await you. If it s wet these WILL get interesting again.
This is the view that everyone wil be waiting for as they make their way down this course. You fly out of the last woods section and 3 booters await you. If it's wet, these WILL get interesting again.

There is a load of loose over hard gravel in the last few jumps on the way down to the finish line. It looks a bit sketchy but racers who ve trained on the track didn t seem to mind.
There is a load of loose over hard gravel in the last few jumps on the way down to the finish line. It looks a bit sketchy but racers who've trained on the track didn't seem to mind.

Last year s left hander to strange finish area is gone. now it s 3 relatively large stepdowns into the finish line.
Last year's left hander to strange finish area is gone. now it's 3 relatively large stepdowns into the finish line.


The 4X Track


The four cross track construction began during a wet July here in Champery making construction fairly easy for Ben Walker the track s designer.
The four cross track construction began during a wet July here in Champery, making construction fairly easy for Ben Walker, the track's designer.

The idea behind the course is to make this more than a hole shot win. There are multiple opportunities for a wily racer to pass. Here Jared Graves contemplates the possibilities.
The idea behind the course is to make this more than a hole shot win. There are multiple opportunities for a wily racer to pass. Here, Jared Graves contemplates the possibilities.

The fast line appears to be rider s right in the woods below where Grubby Graves is scouting but there is a bit of a sneaky line that may see play way over on rider s left.
The fast line appears to be rider's right in the woods (below where Grubby Graves is scouting), but there is a bit of a sneaky line that may see play way over on rider's left

The line below the fast line on rider s right in the woods is chock full of a few small rocks. It looks a bit grim but there s definitely a safe line amid the rocks. One thing s for certain though this track is not weighed as much towards BMX riders as have been other tracks on the circuit.
The line below the fast line on rider's right in the woods is chock full of a few small rocks. It looks a bit grim, but there's definitely a safe line amid the rocks. One thing's for certain, though; this track is not weighted as much towards BMX riders, as have been other tracks on the circuit.

Ahh and lest we forget there will be a Trials World Champ here in Champery too.
Ahh, and lest we forget, there will be a Trials World Champ here in Champery, too.

A few Worlds bikes are starting to show up but one off paint jobs are a bit more low key than they have been in years past. Sam Blenkinsop has a Kiwi National team kit look to it courtesy of Jack his mechanic. But the bit Blenki appreciates most is the 256 on the downtube--his plate number from his World Cup win at Schladming a few years back.
A few "Worlds" bikes are starting to show up, but one off paint jobs are a bit more low key than they have been in years past. Sam Blenkinsop has a Kiwi National team kit look to it courtesy of Jack, his mechanic. But the bit Blenki appreciates most is the "256" on the downtube--his plate number from his World Cup win at Schladming a few years back.

Bulldog Brook MacDonald helping build up the MS-Evil Pits in Champ ry.
Bulldog Brook MacDonald helping build up the MS-Evil Pits in Champery.



115 Comments

  • 71 0
 Did he mention its steep?!?
  • 6 3
 just wanna post the same Wink
  • 4 5
 its like hes talking to a child, had to say it was steep like 5 times
  • 19 0
 ha ha yeah but to be fair. it is. it really is.
I rode it just over a week ago when the scaffold bridge was half built. met the track builder at the bottom of the run. The track was still damp and slippy in the woods and bone dry on the few short outside sections.
Riding it – UNREAL. the whole group had huge huge respect for WC riders after that adventure. I’m just happy to say I rode every inch of the track and I thought i was alright riding technical stuff. I don't think you can fully comprehend it till you've seen it.
To ride it in the pouring rain a la sam hill '07 - pfffff, i dunno. speechless.
  • 12 0
 Yeah Sam hill's run in 2007 was incredible, 3rd place in the pouring rain when 1st and 2nd place rode it in the dry, is just ridiculous. Apparently he was 45 seconds faster than the people who rode it in the same conditions as him?!?!?
  • 3 0
 i rode this track a few weeks ago, its not just the track thats scary, theres no run off, just near vertical chutes to a fire road. racing it would be awesome!
  • 9 0
 Please rain.
  • 2 0
 Its steep for sure but for me that really wasn't the worst part, yes your are shitting yourself so much but its awkward at the least, the worst part about it is most of its completely blind....so not to great if you did what i did and just rode down it without looking haha
  • 3 0
 HOJJJ, i was just gonna say that: PLEASE RAIN!!!
  • 1 4
 Wait... is it steep?
  • 5 0
 ^^ overkill
  • 2 0
 Will Sam Hill do it again? Let's hope so, that would be so amazing!

@HOJJJ ... It will, just wait Big Grin
  • 1 0
 I hope your right bikounet (about the rain).. I doubt Hill will take it considering his injury, but its Worlds.. crazy shit has happened before and will happen again Big Grin
  • 1 0
 Hill is not human, everything is possible Big Grin
  • 8 0
 Stoked to see the 4X track is actually a mountain bike track, unlike Val Di Sole.. which was basically a glorified ( extra-gravaly) BMX track. Good work. Downhill looks sick too. Wish i was there! Beer
  • 9 0
 steve peat til I die
  • 3 1
 ok, gotta admit that a peaty win would be amazing.
  • 4 0
 This course is a mental mind fu#k in the wet. By the time you get half way down your second guessing your ability to roll over obstacles that normally you wouldn't even think twice about. And its kind of steep too. Never rode it dry, as it always rains the day before I go there. "Its not very technical" my a$$.
  • 1 0
 Most racers I spoke with felt that in the dry, the steepness was really the only technical aspect of the track. But add water, and yeah, it becomes insane in short order. The dirt has a lot of clay to it, so it basically turns into brown ice; in '07 I slid about 25 meters down the track just walking it after the finals. But when the rain stops, it's almost worse; the clay becomes incredibly sticky. I clearly recall Sabrina Jonnier last year having to "Yabba, dabba, doo!" through one of the steeper corners because her bike was so bound up with mud. Nor was she alone. So yeah, not very technical. Unless it's wet.
  • 6 0
 GoPro video of the track...

Rider seems to be some local person that had permission to ride the track.

video.mpora.com/watch/cdE9nMdPX/hd
  • 3 0
 from the looks of the video it dident really look like he had much permission Razz
  • 1 0
 that is steep as hell! these WC riders should be paid more than tiger woods.
  • 5 0
 Hill coming back from a season of injury (again)? i think theres only going to be one outcome
  • 7 7
 Gwin winning?
  • 3 1
 I'm down for Aaron taking it but if it rains I don't see him first. Who knows with Hill back. Hes the man when it rains. But there are lots of guys right now that eat this techy stuff up. If its dry Aaron or Minnaar.
  • 4 1
 gotta go with Hill for the win as well as a nice run and result for the class act Barel on the last run of his career.
  • 3 4
 Gwinning??
  • 5 0
 havent heard that one before
  • 5 0
 Too Bad i wont get to watch this due to the fact im poor.
  • 1 0
 I am sure Freecaster Tv stream it live....
  • 2 0
 Yea but its pay per veiw. :\

Is freecaster the only place to watch this?
  • 2 1
 It's pay on this one. Frown
  • 2 0
 I heard it was on Eurosport!!??!!
  • 1 0
 didnt find it in their schedule grid
  • 2 0
 Probably, i watched the first 5 minutes of Val Di Sole on Eurosport and the commentators are awful, Warner is much better and makes it much funner to watch
  • 1 0
 if we can't watch it live for free, will there be replays? what site?
  • 1 0
 nope, you pay for the live and replay in one on freecaster...
  • 1 1
 I have never paid a thing to watch Freecaster Tv, live or replay's.I can watch it on my Iphone too..
  • 1 0
 looks like somebody doesnt watch the world championships then...
  • 1 0
 Is that comment directed at me??, if so you are full of it as my comment above is true. Never paid a single penny to watch Freecaster Tv.On lap top, Mac or Iphone...
  • 1 0
 While the World Cups have been free this year on Freecaster, the World Champs are definitely going to cost you, regardless of whether you watch it on your computer or iPhone...
  • 1 0
 Thanks for that info Mr.H, my apologies to JHewitt if any offence was caused.....
  • 1 0
 No problem, it's been an ongoing story, freecaster wanted to charge for everything and instead the money for it has been paid by other people, UCI, teams etc. so that we could all watch for free. However the result of that is that they didn't make enough money to make it worthwhile, so there won't be any freecaster coverage at all for next year....
  • 1 0
 haha no problem, sorry for being a bit blunt, freecaster have charged for world championships for a couple of years now. But yeah, seriously Ian? There wont even a kind of season pass available? Thats horrific news!
  • 1 0
 Cheers guys.Looks like i will have to check my synopsis on SKY, i will miss Mr Warner. That guy is bloody hilarious..
  • 1 0
 When you look at the coverage they provide and think about the cost of producing it, they need a lot of money just to break even. And people don't do business just to break even, they want to make money. I don't actually have any idea what each race costs, but the manpower alone including airfare, hotels, meals and wages probably goes well over $20,000 per race, and that doesn't include equipment rentals and any of the logistics of actually creating the live feed. So I can understand how they aren't making much money. A lot of it probably comes from advertising as well, but still as I said they need a lot just to break even...
  • 1 0
 i rode this track in july this year, it was mildly moist....Has anyone mentioned how steep it is. there are technical bits, but mainly your are hanging so far off the back of the saddle on most of it. Maximum respect for the racers who smash in a run down here... they do not get paid enough.....if you doubt how steep it is then go and ride it.....
  • 1 0
 Its honestly going to be anyone's race could be Gwin could be hill or Greg peaty or alot of the other guys that have put in the hard work it takes to do this sport and well we know graves is going to win hes just a machine. this is one of my fav courses to watch. we'll see come sunday !
  • 2 0
 if it rains then it's anybodies race, it's who can stay on the whole way down, in the dry then who knows, would be great to see Barel win this one however been a brit i want to see one of our guys take the stripes
  • 4 0
 I think you just have to see the track in person.
  • 3 0
 Rode it wen it wasn't shaped. Had a hard time.
  • 5 0
 Definitely! Some shots actually show some of it, but once you're there it's just another thing, some of those fade away turns are absolutely mental!
  • 2 4
 While I was still in school some friends and I built a trail off a mountain side that was steep like that. We weren't even as fast as these guys of course but that trail was so fun to ride. Its the kind of stuff that's so steep that you couldn't slow down even if you needed too. I would love to ride Champery because I imagine its even better.
  • 2 0
 I can assure you champery is probably MUCH steeper. Ive been on 4 different world cup tracks and all around yurp and while im not the fastest rider i could ride ant technical track and champery really suprised me. It is so steep it takes getting used too not before you ride ok but before you stop crashing
  • 1 0
 dude I would kill to ride champery.
  • 1 0
 Not in the wet Wink Still I really want to go back and really get a hang of it. Only rode it once because my break pads were done just before I rode it.
  • 1 0
 You wouldnt need pads, your wheel would just be locked up the whole time anyway. Smile
  • 2 0
 went their last year from the world cup it took us 4 hours to walk down the course, the pictures dont give it any justest to how steep it is.
  • 6 3
 SAM!!
Complete with a mohawk and hot blonde fiance...by the way, where are the pics of HER!?
damn....
  • 1 0
 There's rumors around town of there being an old playboy issue featuring her mum
  • 1 0
 no way..!? lol
  • 3 0
 Watch for Riley Suhan representing Canada in the Junior Mens race........he eats steep for breakfast!
  • 3 0
 This has inspired me to watch the Champery section of Earthed 5 again for millionth time!
  • 1 0
 Dam that course gives me a boner, can;t wait for this one, I hope Hill can make a 07 type ride comeback, nothing beasts a comeback on the baddest mountain and DH track in the World.

Maybe a Peaty win lol
  • 3 0
 looks like a great course!
  • 4 0
 yes sam!
  • 6 1
 hes back... this is gona be a great race
  • 1 0
 pretty sure oliscale is stoked about his fiance...
  • 3 1
 How can a track be that steep and the article continue saying its not all that technical?
  • 2 0
 well it doesn't look that tech, not compared to val di sole or la bresse
  • 1 0
 Trust me, it's simply not that technical as compared to tracks where you have to pick a line. At Champery, except in a few sections, there's very little line choice. Hence it's just not as technical as some other tracks. That by no means means it's easy, though. Anyone with stones and some skill can ride this track, but it takes a skilled racer to be willing to lay off the brakes and actually race this track vs just riding it.
  • 2 0
 most pro riders have said its the most technical track on the circuit, so im not sure about that..
  • 1 0
 I'm sorry but saying this isn't technical is rubbish.........roots, rocks, drops, huge jumps, switchbacks, off-camber, all this with super relentless steepness. 100% technical course, I have been riding/racing for over 16 years and I was riding over there on Sunday so I know what I am talking about.....
  • 1 0
 i would say that tech and steep are two different things, it takes different skills to ride something rocky/rooty than it does to ride something steep, and it looks to be more on the side of steep than rocky/rooty. Not that it's not a difficult track, it clearly is, and i'd struggle on it, but it's not as technical looking as something with a lot more rocks/roots that seems to require a lot more line choice.
  • 1 0
 watch dirt chit chat - all the riders comment on it not being technical
  • 1 0
 well that just goes to show how good these guys are. (If this isn't technical riding.)
  • 3 0
 Is the course steep then or not?
  • 3 1
 Danny Hart for the win Smile was there a few weeks ago and the gradient really is pretty mental!
  • 3 0
 Whats up with Troy being carried by his mechanic?
  • 2 0
 cannot wait to watch Hart's run down this, those pics make it look near vertical, he's gonna be loose as a goose! yearh!
  • 1 0
 no doubt be run this way very good luck to everyone who wins is better or sam hill!
  • 1 0
 I thought they said this track was steep...oh, wait, I just sat up straight. That shiz is pretty much vertical.
  • 2 0
 that track takes hike-a-bike to a new level
  • 1 0
 That track looks absolutely MENTAL, roll on sunday.
  • 1 0
 I heard its on Eurosport??!!
  • 1 0
 Looking for big things out of Chris Del Bosco here!
  • 2 0
 guys? it's steep.
  • 1 0
 f**k that super steep section with like 3 pics...
  • 2 0
 Go Greg
  • 1 1
 This is a course that Adam brayton will be ripping it up on. Top ten finish for Adam IMO
  • 3 0
 hes not racing it
  • 1 0
 that's not just steep, that's almost VERTICAL!
  • 1 0
 What's the total vertical of this track?
  • 1 0
 Can't wait!
  • 1 0
 SteeP...eat FTMFW!
  • 1 4
 there is a pic of Miss Hill indid.. Mid session pic with red stripes and lift.. Hot Blonde miss hill alone in the woods ahahaha
  • 1 0
 Holy shit anonimous666 could you sound any more psycho?
  • 6 0
 ok
  • 2 0
 Wut? Your comment just changed?
  • 3 0
 yeah mate, there are riders who can beat Gwin (he's not as cocky as you). Greg has proven it this season. There are others though too i am sure !
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