It seems a dog's age since we left the World Cup XC season opener behind us in South Africa. The new venue was a real gem and the racing was quite exciting. But as we enter round two we return to a classic: Albstadt, Germany. Long climbs and open grass sections, loose over hardpack, and a bit of tech to keep riders on their toes. As far as the courses of recent years go, this one seems the tamest. Especially in the dry. But it's been raining here in Germany. A lot. Which has made the track slick. Very slick. The mud here in Albstadt is thick. It doesn't clear. Bikes in preride were gaining all kinds of weight as they collected mud. Wheels stopped turning. We may continue to get enough rain to keep these conditions up, which will keep things quite interesting. We are also looking at the addition of short track this round. While not mandatory, it is worth enough points to move a 3rd or 4th row rider to the 2nd or 1st row come race day. So we will have to watch how that pans out. For now, let us look at the course. Tomorrow we will talk tires and bike set up. Sorry in advance for all the black and white.