With lots of chatter on the airwaves and in the pits about the status of this years track in Leogang, today was finally the day that tires were put to dirt and speculation came to an end. Leogang has always had a storied history as one of the more controversial tracks and each year the organizers seem to make an effort to improve on things. While this year those improvements are a bit odd, they do seem to be working.
The early morning "B" group had the worst of it in training as the soggy ground and lack of ruts through the fresh cut sections had riders slipping and sliding all over the track. Reports from the first few riders to make it down the track were that some sections were just unrideable. Not exactly the news you want to hear, but luckily the UCI does in fact listen now and again; after a few quick alterations to the troublesome sections things began to improve.
Add to that a day of beautiful hot sunshine and the track dried out completely from the sloppy mess we walked just one day ago. Ruts had formed, the loose top layer had been pushed off to reveal a seemingly endless bed of roots below, and riders were absolutely flying down the track. Even the biggest critics were smiling and having a good time.
That was today...
Tomorrow looks to be a completely different story as the weather forecast is calling for a 100% chance of rain, light and heavy, all day. And with Sunday looking much the same, things are going to get messy. Really, really messy. Many riders were seen practicing alternative lines though the roots in anticipation of the deluge, and others are holding their breath that the track will hold up a bit better than the way things started today in the wet. Either way, we are in for a wild one here in Austria this weekend.