Photo Epic: A River Runs Through It - Day Two, DH World Championships Vallnord 2015

Sep 4, 2015
by Dave Trumpore  
After a deluge of rain washed out the end of practice on Thursday riders knew they were going to be in for a wild ride when the track opened for practice for this, the second day. Most awoke hoping to see sunshine, but much to their disappointment the top of the mountain was again shrouded in cloud cover and a steady light rain began to fall as the junior riders took to the track at 8:00 AM. By 9:00 AM that steady light rain had changed to a steady heavy rain, and once again a river began to run down the length of the track... Just in time for the first official timed runs of the week.

The schedule at World Champs is a bit of an odd one with no seeding runs for elites, and their final running order predetermined by their overall UCI ranking (not to be confused with World Cup standing). Juniors, on the other hand, do get a seeding run to determine their final running order, and that run was made this morning before elite practice. To say they came down in the worst conditions we have seen yet would be an understatement. With standing water in every turn, slick mud making up the primary riding surface, fog in the woods, and on and off light to heavy rain, the struggle was very, very real.

When all was said and done it was Marine Cabirou and Laurie Greenland taking top honors by big margins in the women's and men's categories respectively.

Why so mean mother nature
  Why so mean, Mother Nature?

Luckily the snow line is still a few hundred meters above the venue.
  Luckily the snow line is still a few hundred meters above the venue.

Vallnord 2015

Just a little bit of rain fell again today.
  Just a little bit of rain fell again today.

After her qualie win today Marine Cabirou looks set to storm the junior women s champs an amazing come back after breaking multiple vertebrae in Lenzerheide earlier in the season.
  After her qualie win today, Marine Cabirou looks set to storm the junior women's champs, an amazing comeback after breaking multiple vertebrae in Lenzerheide earlier in the season.

One of those days.
  One of those days.

Laurie Greenland almost 8 seconds ahead of his nearest rival in junior seeding.
  Laurie Greenland almost 8 seconds ahead of his nearest rival in junior seeding.

Foot out but probably not totally flat out under the circumstances for Crimmins.
  Foot out, but probably not totally flat out under the circumstances for Crimmins.

Muddy backsides of the World.
  Muddy backsides of the World.

One of the toughest tracks of the year doesn t get any easier when you can t hold onto the bars anymore.
  One of the toughest tracks of the year doesn't get any easier when you can't hold onto the bars anymore.

Whichever country you re from today was all-out brutal for all...
Whichever country you re from today was all-out brutal for all...

Whichever country you re from today was all-out brutal for all...
Whichever country you re from today was all-out brutal for all...

Okavango Delta downtube.
  Okavango Delta downtube.

The glamorous life of a World Cup photographer when it is cold and raining all day.
  The glamorous life of a World Cup photographer when it is cold and raining all day.

We were crossing new rivers every five minutes.
  We were crossing new rivers every five minutes.

Changing lenses in the rain ain t an easy task.
  Changing lenses in the rain ain't an easy task.

Martin Maes seeded fourth today. for the juniors.
  Martin Maes blitzing the soaking open section mid track.

Martin Maes came third in junior seeding but will have to turn on the gas if he wants to catch Greenland.
  Maes came third in junior seeding but will have to turn on the gas if he wants to catch Greenland.

50th today in seeding for Jacob Dickson. We predict a very very long stay in the hot seat for him on Sunday.
  50th today in seeding for Jacob Dickson. We predict a very, very long stay in the hot seat for him on Sunday.

Harrison tackling the turf with the finish line in sight.
  Harrison tackling the turf with the finish line in sight.

It would be difficult to exaggerate the lack of grip in the final turn .
  It would be difficult to exaggerate the lack of grip in the final turn.

Alex Marin looking at the cold hard numbers after taking the fastest top split.
  Alex Marin looking at the cold hard numbers after taking the fastest top split.

Once the junior seeding closed we would see separate practice sessions for the women and then the men for the remainder of the afternoon. While the ladies started out with rain and fog, the weather would finally begin to let up for the first time, allowing the track to drain a bit which helped with rider visibility but began to make the mud sticky and extra slick in the open bits. By the time the men took to the track we were even graced with some sunshine. While all the media and course marshals loved the sun, many of the riders would have preferred the rain to continue. Reason being that once a track gets this wet and saturated the transition stage back to dry takes an extremely long time, and during that time the mud goes from quick shedding to thick heavy and extremely difficult to ride. The rocks are no longer washed clean from the rain and slick mud begins to cling to everything. Add the ever changing weather to the steep and gnarly nature of the Andorra track and what you get is one of the most exciting World Championship races we've had in some time. Whoever comes out of top on Sunday will indeed have earned the right to call themselves the best in the world.

Every 10 minutes this view would appear and disappear as the inversion blew in and out.
  Every 10 minutes this view would appear and disappear as the inversion blew in and out.

Wet and muddy was the story of today for everyone in Andorra.
  Wet and muddy was the story of today for everyone in Andorra.

The rain eased as Rachel Atherton and the rest of the women took to the track for practice but the fog still hung heavy in the woods.
  The rain eased as Rachel Atherton and the rest of the women took to the track for practice, but the fog still hung heavy in the woods.

Casey Brown water proof from head to toe.
  Casey Brown waterproofed from head to toe.

Will we see another strong result from Katy Curd after her Fort William podium in the mud
  Will we see another strong result from Katy Curd after her Fort William podium in the mud?

Pompon on the attack during a brief interlude from the heavy rain.
  Pompon on the attack during a brief interlude from the heavy rain.

Carpenter took as many runs as she could today smashing her way through the ruts.
  Carpenter took as many runs as she could today, smashing her way through the ruts.

Manon pauses for a breather and to clear her view.
  Manon pauses for a breather and to clear her view.

Like Moses parted the sea.....
  Like Moses parted the sea...

Tahnee Sea Snake wasn t afraid of the elements today.
  Tahnee Sea Snake wasn't afraid of the elements today.

The upper woods shown here are holding up well but the lower sections are deteriorating rapidly.
  The upper woods shown here are holding up well, but the lower sections are deteriorating rapidly.

Tracey Hannah enjoying the mud.
  Tracey Hannah enjoying the mud.

How does Marcello sit down with knobs that big
  How does Marcello sit down with knobs that big?!

One rough afternoon for a bike ride.
  One rough afternoon for a bike ride.

Sam Hill and roosting every corner just a few inches inside of everyone else.
  Sam Hill and roosting every corner just a few inches inside of everyone else.

Connor Fearon s muddy berm 101.
  Connor Fearon's muddy berm 101.

Get loose son. Get loose.
  Get loose son. Get loose.

Brosnan with mega style.
  Brosnan with mega style.

Bren Dog wasn t happy with this line. He stopped right after to look to see if there was a quicker way through.
  Bren Dog wasn't happy with this line. He stopped right after to look to see if there was a quicker way through.

The voice of World Cup DH Rob Warner was on track today as a pre-runner.
  The voice of World Cup DH, Rob Warner was on track today as a pre-runner.

There weren t many riders who looked comfortable today let alone like they were enjoying themselves but Mr Hart was certainly among the small crew of revelers.
  There weren't many riders who looked comfortable today, let alone like they were enjoying themselves, but Mr Hart was certainly among the small crew of revelers.

Greg Minnaar hadn t quite come to terms with the slick bit of track here.
  Greg Minnaar hadn't quite come to terms with the slick bit of track here.

George Braaaaaapigan master of loose riding.
  George Braaaaaapigan master of loose riding.

Gwin and Shaw on the training train.
  Gwin and Shaw on the training train.

Blenky was enjoying the extreme looseness on his hot laps today.
  Blenky was enjoying the extreme looseness on his hot laps today.

Gee Atherton and the number one plate of the defending world champion.
  Gee Atherton and the number one plate of the defending world champion.

Andrew Neethling looks smooth and comfortable on track and is tucking and pumping for extra speed where a lot of riders are struggling for control.
  Andrew Neethling looks smooth and comfortable on track and is tucking and pumping for extra speed where a lot of riders are struggling for control.

Greg Minnaar fully committed through the open slope corners.
  Greg Minnaar fully committed through the open slope corners.

Nathan Hughes is singing in the rain. And ruining his shoes and near by camera.
  Nathan Hughes is singing in the rain. And ruining his shoes and nearby camera.

Loic Bruni sends the blind gap that lands in a right turn between two huge stumps.
  Loic Bruni sends the blind gap that lands in a right turn between two huge stumps.

Wyn Masters takes a lower approach.
  Wyn Masters takes a lower approach.

A poll of spectators revealed that Troy Brosnan is one to watch in the steep lower section.
  A poll of spectators revealed that Troy Brosnan is one to watch in the steep lower section.

Remi Thirion foot out flat out and looking phenomenal on track
  Remi Thirion, foot out flat out and looking phenomenal on track.

Thumbs up for being an all-out animal in the woods this afternoon. It s gonna take a whole lot more than an ankle injury to stop this guy
  Thumbs up for being an all-out animal in the woods this afternoon. It's gonna take a whole lot more than an ankle injury to stop this guy!

This man is killing it. There are a few who should fear him right about now.
  This man is killing it. There are a few who should fear him right about now.



About the Photographers

Matthew Delorme • Age: 40 • Years Shooting: 8
Matthew DeLorme is just one of Pinkbike’s motley crew of World Cup Photographers. He currently lives out of a Ogio bag, and calls the road his home. Delorme works for Trek Bicycle, covering their MTB racing programs. He can usually be found laying in the dirt trackside, cracking jokes and saying things that make little to no sense. He enjoys capturing accessory moments and the journey every bit as much as catching the action shot.


Dave Trumpore • Age: 35 • Years Shooting: 4
Dave spent the bulk of the past 17 years racing professionally before realizing that despite qualifying for the random World Cup final here and there, the next generation was just way too fast and way more talented. Upon hanging up his racing boots in 2010, it would be a few years until Dave picked up a camera and started shooting the odd race here and there as a way to stay in touch with all the friends he had made over the years, and the rest as they say is history. In just a few years time his photos have graced the pages of just about every MTB magazine and major media outlet, while his commercial client list includes a who's who of the cycling industry, and he is lucky enough to shoot regularly with some of the best riders on the planet. Currently at Pinkbike, Dave shoots the Downhill WC and the Enduro World Series as well as contributing to the occasional editorial story.


Nathan Hughes • Age: 28 • Years Shooting: 2
Nathan Hughes was snared as mainstay Pinbike media crew for the 2013 World Cup season and has been trapped behind the lens and the keyboard ever since. In between the biggest bike events of the year Nathan can be found on client shoots, making far-off travel stories and trying to catch a moment to spin the pedals himself. A great appreciation of the wilderness, the fear of a normal life and the quest for the perfect picture will have him hooked and looking to raise the bar for years to come.
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82 Comments

  • + 81
 Remy is on a whole other level in the mud, so much confidence. This is his track and race to defend/win.

Regardless..... Hill for the Win!
  • + 6
 "A few who should fear him." Is he trying to start something.
  • + 9
 Rock jesus should be prayin to Muddy Mary.

See what i did,there?!
Im so damn funny,sometimes!
  • + 16
 Not this time,I'm afraid.
  • + 7
 Rise of flat pedal.

Is Martin Mae a troll? Trying to win the jersey and wear it at EWS.
  • + 54
 I felt wet and dirty reading this. Wait, that sounds really weird.
  • + 41
 The fastest man is gonna win the race! I'm tellin' ya!
  • - 1
 Really
  • - 21
flag aserta22 (Sep 4, 2015 at 12:52) (Below Threshold)
 Nope. It's the fastest one who manages to stay on the bike. It's not about being the fastest it's about staying rubber side down…
  • + 14
 @aserta22 - How does that even make sense?
  • + 4
 Rubber side down... Hahaha... Or rubber side up?
  • + 2
 You know rubber is around the bike right.
  • + 2
 @aserta22 How can someone be the fastest if he's not riding rubber side down? It's like saying an F1 driver can't win the race if he just races faster and drives more consistently than anyone else, That's your logic right there
  • + 0
 Put it this way : Sam Hill was the fastest in VDS a while ago, there's no doubt about it, but he crashed. Colin Mcrae (WRC legend for those who don't know him) was the fastest… When he didn't forcefully hug a tree, rock or something… A bit like Meeke…
  • + 1
 @aserta22 So your definition of fastest is "They rode some parts of the track faster than everyone else" not "They arrived at the bottom faster than anyone else".
  • - 1
 Well, arrive the first at the bottom it's not being the fastest. It's the best one who has found the "no-man's-land" between riding like a drunken grandma with hemorroids and going like a freight train without brakes.
  • + 1
 a.k.a the Fastest rider
  • - 1
 The fastest one who hasn't crashed.
  • + 1
 haha
  • + 33
 I dunno what it is, but when it's balmy and sunny the photos are great and all but you just sometimes can't quite feel it. However when there's a river of gloop running down the course and water is pouring out of the sky likes tomorrow isn't coming, there's nothing quite like a photo of a shivering photographer changing a lens under an umbrella-ella-ella and someone sliding out on the LAST turn and eating said river of gloop to send a cold shiver down your spine and be happy you're not out there in the thick of it. Great photos again though PB, well done.
  • + 4
 Exactly what I was thinking, there's way more going on in each photo. So rad.
  • + 9
 It's because we can relate, living in England...
  • + 11
 You could relate even more living in Scotland
  • + 35
 Laurie Greenlad: spelling mistake or new nickname?
  • + 1
 yeah like got peas?
  • + 21
 If Gee can get ahold of some flats from one of the spectators he has a shot at a repeat!
  • + 13
 Blenki just giving absolutely zero f%$!s with no gloves in these conditions. Me gusta.
  • + 12
 British Racers know these conditions well and will dominate. Just think of a nice wet summers day at Rheola in South Wales.
  • + 10
 Really routing for Gwin on this, after the season he has had he deserves the worlds. However with all this rain, Hart has to be one of my favourites knowing the wizardry his is capable of in the wet.
  • + 12
 Those gold SRAM chains aren't as shiny today!
  • + 9
 There isn't a device in existence that can measure the amount of pumped-ness we are all feeling right now.
  • + 3
 A pumpometer would do that.
  • + 1
 It's called a plethysmograph. I dares ya to look it up Wink
  • + 10
 Wait, Rob Warner on track? why no Claudio/Rob course review???
  • + 4
 He's asking why they didn't do the course preview together. Stoked to see what Rob says about the course come Sunday.
  • + 1
 Although that would be fun.
  • + 6
 Great muddy pics Wink ! i would like to see Bruni on the top of the podium. he deserves this victory, he is young but talented and humble rider. i hope he takes the 1er place.
  • + 2
 It'd certainly set him up well for next year's WC campaign. Like the whole season, it could well be one of more than 10 guys taking it on Sunday though. I'm so EXCITED
  • + 2
 There are no words for the amount of respect I have for riding your bike all out under these conditions. Let alone slaying it with style like Thirion. And I agree with the sentiment that these conditions really bring out how special DH is. The people that are gathered there are absolute animals, and to me the pictures really convey this. Cheers to the photographers as well, great job!
  • + 5
 please keep raining... please keep raining... please keep raining... please keep raining... please keep raining...
  • + 5
 I'm surprised no one has mentioned it but maybe another slick muddy Worlds is what Hart has been waiting for...
  • + 6
 The amount of coverage these races are getting are insane!
  • + 13
 Is. Is insane. And it's about time. They warrant it.
  • + 7
 I just hope come broadcast time the actual course gets a decent amount of coverage, especially in this condition. I have a feeling there will be a lot of riders up one split, then down at the next with mystery mud stains all over their kit that we didn't get to see the cause of. Not hating, I'm thankful for all the coverage we can get.
  • + 5
 Don't forget Hart in the Muddy condition... but it seems that the sun's coming fr next day..
  • + 3
 Hart and Hill gotta like this. Probably Ratboy and Remi as well.

Does this mean that Gwin isn't a 5 second favorite anymore?

Who else does this help and hurt?
  • + 1
 Hurts Greg. Doesn't seem like muddy is his cup of tea
  • + 4
 My heart says hill but I think it will be gwin brosnan or remi for the win.
  • + 1
 The xc results have been full of surprises. I think there are more suprises in DH tomorrow. It's anybody's guess jow. Stay on your bikes!!
  • + 2
 However, I hope we will see dry conditions on Sunday, no weather-lottery pls.
  • + 3
 Fantastic pictures as always
  • + 2
 Have a look at junior Dh rider Vlad Dascalu #56. He also raced XCO on Thursday!
  • + 3
 i'd hate to be the person washing those bikes and kits.
  • + 1
 Couldnt ask for a better ending SLOP fest gal our.. LOVE seeing bikes filthy like this..
  • + 3
 and WHO LET ROB WARNER down WITHOUT a go pro..... !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!......... I just want the comentary!
  • + 1
 Brings up memories of Cairns in 2014 with all this mud... another Atherton Double? Great images again pb.
  • + 2
 Must be the weather for Bruni or a Brit win? Smile
  • + 2
 What bike does rob warner ride?
  • + 2
 giant glory
  • + 3
 GO RATBOY! YOU GOT THIS!
  • + 1
 its gonna be a shit show if it keeps raining! it will be one hell of a race to watch for sure!
  • + 1
 So much for fancy paint jobs
  • + 1
 Sickest photos ever, felt like I was there. Good job!
  • + 1
 I want Marcelo''s saddle !!!!
  • + 1
 what is that little transparrent thing on Mannon's goggles???
  • + 1
 Its roll-offs, some racers use them instead of tear offs
  • + 2
 yeahh Conner
  • + 1
 hope branningan gets a decent run this time (wind ham...)
  • + 1
 Flat Pedals Win Medals!!!! Especially in the mud!
  • + 1
 worlds...WoRlDs....WWWOOORRRLLLDDDSSS!
  • + 1
 Finally someone figures out where to put the camera.
  • + 2
 caaaaant wait!!!
  • + 0
 I bet for Gwin... But i´m not really sure now... mmmmmm... I think Bruni could be the surprice.
  • + 2
 Troy wins.
  • + 2
 Sweet looks intense
  • + 0
 Mmmmmmmmmuuuuuuuuuuuuddddddddddd
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