Course Preview: The Lung Buster - Vallnord XC World Cup 2018

Jul 12, 2018
by Matthew DeLorme  


Hot of the heels of Val di Sole we find ourselves a short 14-hour drive away in Andorra for Round 5 of the UCI MTB World Cup. After missing this round last year, it was nice to come back and see the changes they've made to the XC course. This one may be the best one of the season. Not only do you have the attitude that will hurt the riders, they have created the most well rounded XC course we've seen in awhile. Plenty of lung-busting climbs, open grass turns, and typical XC fare, but so much more. New woods and open slope sections include bike park flow, berms and whoops. Then there is the wonderful loam and roots and rocks. Plenty of technical riding to keep things extra spicy. This one is going to be good.

It all starts here on the new Start line location. no more pavement start
It all starts here at the new start line location. No more pavement start!

More climbing in this edition. Just in case the lungs weren t gasping for air enough.
More climbing in this edition. Just in case the lungs weren't gasping for air enough.


Berms and rollers back down into the venue. Just a little bit of park to spice it up.
Berms and rollers back down into the venue. Just a little bit of park to spice it up.



Across the jagged slabs.
Across the jagged slabs.

Down the gut of rocks and roots.
Down the rut of rocks and roots.

Line choices again. to the right is going to be the quickest exit.
Line choices again. To the right is going to be the quickest exit.

What a beautiful bit of trail.
What a beautiful bit of trail.

Left into more roots and rocks.
Left into more roots and rocks.

Them ruts.
Them ruts.

The line to the right- not as direct and fresh cut equals not as fast.
The line to the right is not as direct, and fresh cut means it's not as fast.

A and B have a perhaps a bike length and a half of speed difference. Best to stay on the left.
Line choices A and B have a perhaps a bike length and a half of speed difference. Best to stay on the left.

Whoops for whips Nino
Whoops for whips? Nino?

Mmmmmm more flow.
Mmmmmm more flow.

Flow trail. This may be the most well rounded XC course to date.
Flow trail. This may be the most well rounded XC course to date.

Nightly rains are getting dangerously close to tacking out the track.
Nightly rains are getting close to tacking out the track.

New steep rollers. Just don t end up in the ditch with the logs.
New steep rollers. Just don't end up in the ditch with the logs.

One line single file.
One line, single file.

Just another long lung busting climb at altitude.
Just another long lung-busting climb at altitude.

That slippery shale. Or is it slate Any geologists out there wanna cllear this up
That slippery shale. Or is it slate? Any geologists out there wanna clear this up?

Meanwhile in the 50 to 01 slippery woods section.
Meanwhile in the 50 to 01 slippery woods section.

The nightly rains are keeping the dirt just right for the most part.
The nightly rains are keeping the dirt just right for the most part.

Pedal catcher on the right.
Pedal catcher on the right.

Snakes.
Snakes.

Roots rocks and a beautiful dirty brown ribbon.
Roots, rocks, and a beautiful dirty brown ribbon.

Off the bridge....
Off the bridge....

....and into a sweeping left or a tight left high line that is way faster.
....and into a sweeping left or a tight left high line that is way faster.

The nightly rains are keeping the dirt just right for the most part.
The nightly rains are keeping the dirt just right for the most part.

Some sections are holding water here the dirt is not so primo it s more like mud.
Some sections are holding water. Here the dirt is not so primo, it's more like mud.

Smile it s time for round 5
Smile, it's time for round 5!

Andorra you beauty.
Andorra, you beauty.



26 Comments

  • + 69
 Man you know you're a mtn biker when you drool scrolling down at... pictures of sections of trails...
  • + 52
 Exactly this. The XC trails look more fun than DH! Although that may have to do with my skill level..
  • + 4
 dat dirt looks hot
  • + 2
 They look so perfect! I would be happy to die...ride on those trails.
  • + 45
 Just goes to show how advanced bikes are. I don't even understand how sections of trail are defined anymore. If you showed someone just a single picture out of this they could easily claim it as a downhill trail. How many laps does a person have to do before they can label it a XC trail ...?

One run down... It's DH

Bike to the top, ride it down ... It's Enduro


Do more than one lap ... It's XC
...
  • + 12
 outside the tape... It's Freeride
  • + 10
 now that looks like a proper XC course. It's more enduro than enduro.
  • + 6
 Based on the fact that the Andorran margins are the result of intense folding, the integrity of the rock even after riders have been smashing through it and the sound the rocks make when you listen on TV (I am being serious) it is most likely slate. The shinier stuff I've been seeing in pictures may even be phyllite or low grade schists.
  • + 10
 "Across the jagged slabs" new band name, I call it! - Andy Dwyer
  • + 6
 That 50 to 01 call-out was so funny
  • + 1
 That's course is going to provide a good race for the locals to watch. I just hope we get some decent coverage throughout the entire course. That shale section will provide some action!
  • + 2
 'Thick ass glass on glass. It's been a long time since I hit on a fat piece like that...Beasty.'
  • + 2
 Looks like shale, but send more pictures of the rocks and I can figure it out!
  • + 2
 What's up with the matching 'hawaii' kit???? I'm missing something here...
  • + 1
 Also, where can I buy it? Looks sharp!
  • + 1
 I was wondering that too. I've seen that kit on the start line of previous World Cups and been confused. I though you had to race in your national team kit if you were outside the top 30 (?).
  • + 1
 A most excellent appetizer, Matthew. The course is luscious, and formidable. Incredibly beautiful place.
  • + 1
 I think it's Shale. Slate is metamorphosed shale and is much harder... not as brittle.
  • + 1
 Maybe instead of racing enduro I should switch to XC!
  • + 1
 Track Preview (Kross Racing Team) youtu.be/pC6Bwslvl1I
  • + 4
 Saw that preview, thanks. I think that the DH course is gnarly, but taking into consideration what bike the XC racers ride, I think that XC course is gnarlier.
  • - 2
 I love the track but would not want to ride it on an xc whippet with joketires, a good trailbike and some epo and your ready to go
Below threshold threads are hidden

Post a Comment



Copyright © 2000 - 2018. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv65 0.049949
Mobile Version of Website