Fighting to Breathe - Lenzerheide XC

Jul 5, 2015
by Matthew DeLorme  
On this last day of the Lenzerheide World Cup, temperatures soared and racers were pushed to the limits of exhaustion and dehydration as they put it all on the line. Gunn-Rita came out on top with a win, fresh off the Marathon World Champs win, and Jaroslav Kulhavy bests Nino Schurter on home soil in what was some truly hot XC racing.

The weather looked perfect for some XC racing this morning. At least until the temperatures started rising.
The weather looked perfect for some XC racing this morning. At least, until the temperatures started rising.

The temptation to run through the pressure washer mist was pretty high come 2 00pm.
The temptation to run through the pressure washer mist was pretty high come 2:00pm.



U23 Men


The under 23 men line up for the first race of the day in Lenzerheide. Nervous glances twitching muscles the game is on.
The under 23 men line up for the first race of the day in Lenzerheide. Nervous glances, twitching muscles, and the game is on.

With parts of the course still draped in shadow Pablo Rodriguez sets off on a furious pace.
With parts of the course still draped in shadow, Pablo Rodriguez sets off on a furious pace.

Titouan Carod proved strong as he powered to the front ripping the field apart.
Titouan Carod proved strong as he powered to the front, ripping the field apart.

Lars Forster was on a mission wanting to secure a win in his home country.
Lars Forster was on a mission, wanting to secure a win in his home country.

Lars Forster overtakes Titouan Carod in the third lap of the race.
Lars Forster overtakes Titouan Carod in the third lap of the race.

The Swiss rider proved to strong as he rode towards the finish unchallenged in the blistering heat.
The Swiss rider proved too strong as he rode towards the finish, unchallenged in the blistering heat.

Titouan Carod and Lars Forster congratulate each other after the race.
Titouan Carod and Lars Forster congratulate each other after the race.

Tremendous heat and a course which was physically demanding resulted in exhausted riders.
Tremendous heat and a course which was physically demanding resulted in exhausted riders.



Pro Women


Things were looking bright for Jolanda Neff before the race started but it wasn t meant to be today.
Things were looking bright for Jolanda Neff before the race started, but it wasn't meant to be today.

Lea Davison had the biggest finish of her World Cup career today. Davison was elated with second place.
Lea Davison had the biggest finish of her World Cup career today. Davison was elated with second place.

Gasping for air biting dust. Not all days are equal. Jolanda Neff had to settle for a very respecatable fourth place yet remains in the leader s jersey.
Gasping for air, biting dust. Not all days are equal. Jolanda Neff had to settle for a very respectable fourth place, yet remains in the leader's jersey.

Fighting hard pedalling away like there s no tomorrow. Pendrel did very well on today s course finishing in third.
Fighting hard, pedaling away like there's no tomorrow. Pendrel did very well on today's course, finishing in third.

Gunn-Rita Dahle-Flesjaa and Catharine Pendrel fought a long battle but the Norwegian proved to be in a class of her own today.
Gunn-Rita Dahle-Flesjaa and Catharine Pendrel fought a long battle, but the Norwegian proved to be in a class of her own today.

Jolanda Neff rode through a solid bit of the field but couldn t catch Gunn-Rita Davison or Pendrel.
Jolanda Neff rode through a solid bit of the field, but couldn't catch Gunn-Rita, Davison, or Pendrel.

Gunn-Rita fresh off Marathon World Champs takes another victory here in Lenzerheide.
Gunn-Rita, fresh off Marathon World Champs takes another victory here in Lenzerheide.

Irena Kalentyeva has a strong ride in the heat and dust to finish fifth.
Maja Wloszczowsk battling through the heat and dust.

Lea Davison rode a very strong race riding into second place. She proved too strong for Neff.
Lea Davison rode a very strong race, riding into second place. She proved too strong for Neff.

Maja Wloszczowska is on her way back towards the podium finishing in 6th today.
Maja Wloszczowska is on her way back towards the podium, finishing in sixth today.

Strong stronger Gunn-Rita.
Strong, stronger, Gunn-Rita.

Gunn-Rita crossed the line and hacked up a bit of miner s lung as did everyone else.
Gunn-Rita crossed the line and hacked up a bit of miner's lung, as did everyone else.

The heat treated some far worse than others. There just wasn t enough water to be had today.
The heat treated some far worse than others. There just wasn't enough water to be had today.

Your women elite World Cup leader.
Your elite women's World Cup leader.



Pro Men


The battle of the day proved to be between the unleashed Jaroslav Kulhavy and Nino Schurter.
The battle of the day proved to be between the unleashed Jaroslav Kulhavy and Nino Schurter.

Jaroslav Kulhavy fired from all cylinders as he overtook Schurter coming into the descent.
Jaroslav Kulhavy fired from all cylinders as he overtook Schurter coming into the descent.

Dan McConnell was another who was struck with back luck flatting far out from the tech zone.
Dan McConnell was another who was struck with back luck, flatting far away from the tech zone.

Julien Absalon flatted on lap six that flat landed him on ninth place.
Julien Absalon flatted on lap six, and that flat landed him in ninth place.

Nino Schurter may not have won today be he sure did show some style.
Nino Schurter may not have won today, be he sure did show some style.

Matthias Flueckiger and Nino Schurter lead the first lap.
Matthias Flueckiger and Nino Schurter lead the first lap.

Roars screams shouts as crowds could not believe their eyes. A puncture had cost Schurter a mere twelve seconds but Kulhavy was gone.
Roars, screams, and shouts as the crowds could not believe their eyes. A puncture had cost Schurter a mere twelve seconds, but Kulhavy was gone.

Man of the day. Kulhavy
Man of the day: Kulhavy.

Mathias Flukiger is getting faster and faster. Fourth place today for the Stoeckli rider.
Mathias Flukiger is getting faster and faster. Fourth place today for the Stoeckli rider.

Jaroslav Kulhavy had the staying power to best Nino once again. The terrain was very similar to Nove Mesto so perhaps he felt right at home.
Jaroslav Kulhavy had the staying power and good fortune to best Nino once again. The terrain was very similar to Nove Mesto, so perhaps he felt right at home.

Lenzerheide XC World Cup

Sergio Mantecon is back in the top ten. The Spaniard found the weather quite similar to his home turf.
Sergio Mantecon is back in the top ten. The Spaniard found the weather quite similar to his home turf.

Marco Fontana trying to take on water trying to get ride of dirt.
Marco Fontana trying to take on water, and trying to get rid of dirt.



U23 Women


Setting of at 16.30 the women s U23 field saw few spectators. Thanks to all who remained. These ladies deserve it.
Setting off at 16.30, the women's U23 field saw few spectators. Thanks to all who remained. These ladies deserve it.

Ramona Forchini gave her home crowd a reason to cheer a bit louder - a strong second place.
Ramona Forchini gave her home crowd a reason to cheer a bit louder today - a strong second place.

Jenny Rissveds took yet another win in the U23 women half a minute up on second place with a crash.
Jenny Rissveds took yet another win in the U23 women, half a minute up on second place with a crash.

Alessandra Keller took a bit of a spill that cost her some time landing her in fifth place.
Alessandra Keller took a bit of a spill that cost her some time and landed her in fifth place.

Lenzerheide XC World Cup

Among the spectators Aaron Gwin cheered for his crosscountry colleagues taking an occiasional snapshot with a fan on the way.
Among the spectators, Aaron Gwin cheered for his XC colleagues, taking an occasional snapshot with fans along the way.

Shade was one of the most demanded items on any person s wishlist for Sunday. And so was icecream.
Shade was one of the most demanded items on any person's wish list for Sunday. So was ice cream.





74 Comments

  • 59 2
 Nino brings the style to xc, shame he flatted today he's always a good one to watch
  • 8 88
flag cameronb3321 (Jul 5, 2015 at 19:25) (Below Threshold)
 Someone teach these XC scrubs about tubeless?
  • 36 0
 Was I correct when I read it only cost him 12 seconds? I'd be lucky if a puncture cost me 12 minutes!
  • 17 5
 Tubeless are old tech. Nino runs tubs.
  • 2 1
 There's tubes sewed up inside tubular tires. Total pain the patch but it is possible. Not on a race course of course.
  • 6 1
 There all on either tubeless or tubular tires
  • 5 0
 @kdstones not sure where they got that from, it was more like 20 seconds in the pits. Still the fastest wheelchange of the weekend though, and he flatted just before the tech zone so didn't lose any time getting there.
  • 2 2
 Right after I asked myself what's the difference b/w xc and cx, I see Nino doing an air w/style!
  • 24 1
 The guy in the last pic looks like he is considering other uses for his ice cream cone. . .
  • 15 0
 Hahaha...seriously!

He's eyeing that thing like "you're a NASTY ice cream cone...I'm going to punish you".
  • 13 2
 Those are some serious game faces followed by some serious tortured faces. By the end they were begging to be water boarded.
Climbing a thousand feet (I think that translates to 27.4578953 meters?) on a hot day has me weezing like an accordion. I know that these riders are amazing goes without saying, but as the verbose type I have to say: These people are amazing!
  • 4 1
 You're totally wrong in your translation, but I see your point ! Love these XC reports !
  • 8 2
 more like 300 meters
  • 8 2
 I had hoped the decimals would clue people in to the joke, but I failed to account for how the period and comma are reversed in meaning in other countries. Even so, the number of decimal places might have been a clue..
  • 2 0
 ohh I might be stupid haha
  • 25 10
 what?! No Emily Batty?
  • 12 3
 She's the reason I clicked on this!!
  • 10 3
 2 xc posts without Emily already
  • 22 10
 blog.amandabatty.com/2015/05/why-im-leaving-pinkbike.html

Very unlikely we will see her on these pages again.
  • 15 6
 That is a must read link. I'd like to hear pinkbikes response. If the situation is as horriffic as Emily Batty explains and she was NOT given full support by Pinkbike, I would be deeply concerned. Should the bike media not lead by example and support women in sport?
  • 9 1
 Whooops. look like an idiot here.
  • 12 22
flag larryssman7 (Jul 5, 2015 at 23:17) (Below Threshold)
 Yep. Don't make the mistake of thinking that Emily Batty is Amanda Batty. One is an accomplished world level racer, the other is a whiny attention seeker.
  • 7 0
 since the comment above is going to downvoted for obvious reasons. I will point out that that article linked above is a (relevant) blog written by Amanda Batty who is not Emily Batty
  • 8 1
 @larryssman7-I too got mixed up with the Amanda/Emily Batty thing so thanks for correcting and informing. Having said that it is a bit strong to label @Ambatt as a "whiney attention seeker"-reading some her comments it would seem to me she was calling out some pretty rank behaviour from members as well as writers. Mike Levy's article on the Demo comparison and his comment with regards to a persons sexual compliance reliant on alcohol was particularly off and I note has since been corrected by PB editors as being "inappropriate". It is important we remember this is a site for all people male and female etc etc and sometimes we need people to call out inappropriate behaviour/comments as sometimes I feel moderators/editors a bit free in which comments they allow to remain on the site.At times it doesn't reflect well on PB.
I for one am saddened that @Ambatt has been forced out of PB and even more saddened by events which led to her giving up the fight.
  • 4 0
 So sad to read why Amanda Batty is leaving Pinkbike, sexism is a primative way of thinking and should not be tolerated, big respect to Amanda Batty for standing her ground, not putting up with it and leaving Pinkbike, I wish her all the best for the future. I didn't read the Demo review but Mike Levy's comment was vile, and although I like reading his stuff, if he makes a comment like that again he should be sacked, end of!! Mountain biking needs to be attracting more women to the sport and comments like that from Mike Levy is only going to put women off. As for the trolls I bet you can't even drop off a curb, just sit in front of your computer all day making arsehole comments. Be excellent to each other!
  • 7 0
 Larry you are the problem- hope you have a daughter one day, might open your eyes.
  • 3 0
 As a father, I would let my daughter buy a cactus if she wanted to. Sorry, that's irrelevant, just like Amanda Batty is to this conversation. Regardless, I believe you may have taken my comment as a response to that blog about leaving PB, but that is not the case. I have long been familiar with Ambatt and her ranty blogs, and I was referring to her constant need to post inflammatory content and say things just to attract attention to her self. The fact of the matter is that she is not at all relevant to this conversation, and leagues away from being Emily Batty, so I can't understand why she even came up here. As for the article posted above, while irrelevant to this thread, I do agree with some of her points and understand her decision. This blog post is not one that I was calling attention seeking, just other ranty posts and comments by her.
  • 2 0
 PB wants click-bait. She took the offer to be the bait. And now she's couldn't accept she's the bait.
  • 4 0
 If you didn't watch the women's elite race, Helen Grobert's mechanic did what was probably the slowest wheel change I've ever seen at the pro level. At the same time, there is a significant difference between Nino's team and some of the other top men's teams; I get the feeling that Scott-Odlo actually practice this in a NASCAR/F1-like manner. Races can be won or lost on seemingly simple, trivial shit like this.
  • 2 0
 I know it's a bit ridiculous, but can you imagine a true F1-style tyre change somehow ported to XC biking? The whole deal: bike off the ground (with the rider still on), pneumatic screwdrivers for the through-axles, three mechanics doing an impeccably synchronized ritual... I think a five second stop-and-go wheel change would make for a really cool spectacle Smile
  • 6 0
 That land looks perfect! I can't imagine it feeling like the 100* with 80%Rh that we have right now. Loving these epics!
  • 5 0
 Those look like wicked wide bars, for what they used to be, in xc - over 700?
  • 3 0
 Fatter tires than I recall seeing as well.
  • 3 0
 I run 720mm bars on my XC hardtail. You can get away with shorter bars on smaller wheels, but 29 inch wheels take a little more leverage
  • 5 3
 I am surprised that no one uses a dropper post in the xc world, especially with some of the descents they do. Some of the riders look so awkward going down, I feel like they would gain alot more speed if they could move the bikes freely beneath them. Especially in the corners, and off that rock drop. That photo of Titouan Carod looks scary as shit!
  • 6 5
 This again? They don't *need* or *want* dropper posts.
  • 4 0
 @bradl some of the U23 are running dropper posts. Plus, all new frames can run 'stealth' routing for droppers, so I do expect droppers to arrive to XC soon. The problem at this point - weight. They are very concerned about weight and carrying 200+ grams surplus puts the riders off at this point.
  • 3 0
 @zephxiii Come now. It's easy to laugh at their rigid downhilling style, but it's impossible to do it differently with a tall seatpost. That doesn't mean they wouldn't find use for a seriously light dropper post. I'd bet that with a lowered seat, they could embarass many a self-proclaimed downhiller, even with the kind of bike geometries that they sport.

Unfortunately, droppers are still a bit too heavy and when they have to haul it back up the mountain at that pace, they can certainly feel every gram of it...
  • 6 1
 Love watching these guys shred harder on high post / short travel XC bikes than dude bro's on their #nomad.
  • 4 0
 Seems weird the u23 women go last? Wouldn't they be adjacent to junior men? Is it always like this?
  • 2 0
 I'm sure there's a logical explanation for that. Until we know what that explanation is, I'll continue to scratch my head.
  • 3 0
 @russthedog @Pininator there actually is. Elite races are scheduled so to have best possible coverage. Main focus is on broadcast, plus attention is given with regard to newspaper deadlines for print. This simply means that u23 races have to be planned 'around' the elite races. With double World Cups (DH and XC) it's even more complicated.
  • 1 0
 So wouldn't they have juniors after elite? Or does that mean elite has to go too early in the morning for crowds?

Thanks for letting me know though
  • 4 0
 The shot titled Kalentyeva is actually Wloszczowska. Great photos nonetheless.
  • 4 0
 Good catch. Fixed.
  • 6 0
 LOOK AT THE WHIP!!!
  • 4 0
 Images you'll never see at an e-bike race. Wink
  • 1 0
 Well it almost looks like @mdelorme took my photo of Nino and made it look good, but it turns out that both of us were there at the same time: www.pinkbike.com/photo/12422834
  • 2 1
 trust me riding in heat absolutely blows. I live in Nor Cal and everyday the temperature gets around 100 degrees. If i set out for a ride past 9AM I'm dead.
  • 3 1
 I thought mountain biking was supposed to be fun? I like xc riding, but racing just seems like a suffer fest.
  • 4 1
 Pretty much all racing is a suffer fest on some level. Sometimes is hours of suffering, other times it's fighting through an injury and/or essentially running a 5 minute mile while wrestling a badger (ie - my definition of DH racing).

Regardless, rad looking course and huge props to all the competitors - brutal race conditions.
  • 2 2
 Yeah I agree, my only gripe with XC is the racing aspect of it, it is mostly about fitness. You have to be skilled to race XC, but the top guys are always the most in shape.
  • 3 0
 I tried XC racing in the way-back...definitely not for me. I'll ride XC until the cows come home, though. The amount of training dedicated to being even a mid-pack racer is far beyond what I have the time for...let alone the resources. That being said, I have nothing but respect for those that can put down these unreal efforts. To us mere mortals, it makes absolutely no sense why people do this. All the same, there are people that derive the same joy as us shuttle/lift-whores - they just find it in a different aspect of riding.
  • 2 1
 For those of you who want to feel like these racers at the end of the race. Get strata, forces you to Sprint up.
  • 2 0
 Amazing coverage, thanks PB!
  • 2 0
 Carod: "Forster!!!... You son of a bitch!" *Epic Handshake*
  • 2 1
 Mmmm Jenny Risveds.
  • 1 0
 Very nice
  • 5 6
 What's the deal with XC racers putting huge decals on the front of their helmets? Stop it. It looks horrible.
  • 15 1
 So, a man in pajamas wearing a full face helmet covered with logos is OK, but an XC racer doing the same isn't?
  • 8 0
 I'd rather watch fit women in tights than girls in men's pajamas any day.
  • 6 1
 The deal is obviously sponsorship $$$ so don't be jealous, just accept that these guys get paid to put logos and brands all over them and to them it's not about looking good, where as some riders, maybe like you?, prefer to over pay to have all that advertising on you. Sorry if you don't look cool doing it.
  • 2 1
 Indeed. If I was fast enough that RedBull or anyone else wanted to slap a sticker on me, and PAY ME FOR IT, they can do it wherever they damn well please. Helmet, jersey, whatever. So be it.
  • 3 1
 A logo incorporated into the design of jersey or equipment is fine, just sticking a big sticker on the front of your helmet looks dumb. Sorry for having taste.

Don't recall every saying something else (pajamas, tight clothes, etc.) was better or worse.

She looks good, the decal placement doesn't: cdn.velonews.competitor.com/files/2014/08/XCwomen-120.jpg
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