This weekend sees the return of the global racing season as we may recognise it.
Global may be a bit of a stretch, and the W in EWS might not be getting fully represented out in Zermatt, with many of the top athletes unable or choosing not to attend, but it's a nice piece of what we used to call normality in these turbulent times.
Winning a World Cup DH, XC or EWS event takes a whole myriad of things to come together, from rider to support crew, fitness training to mental preparation and logistics to the bike itself. That last piece of the puzzle being our point of interest for this Friday's poll.
While it cannot take all the credit for producing results, the bike is definitely one important piece of the puzzle and often can lead to a rider feeling at one with the bike under them and enabling entering "the zone" just that bit easier, where brain function actually reduces and the body and mind simply react.
Having attended races over the years, it was easy to spot certain trends in bike choice amongst the teams. Perhaps in WC XC and DH there was a more clear trend of bike choice following the previous season's victors. Of late, the amount of Scott Sparks and Commencal Supremes on show come practice was notably higher than other brands given their repeated success and share of the limelight over the previous race seasons. In years past, was the rise in Demo's out there due to it being a relatively new bike, or was the success of a certain American fuelling the sales?
But does that trend extend outside of the racing elite, even if they are privateers, and into the buying public? Do you look to what bikes are winning in their respective disciplines to guide your purchases?