Practice - Cairns DH World Cup 2

Apr 24, 2014
by Nathan Hughes  


WHERE'S THE RAINBOW?



How do you fit two of every creature on Earth onto a wooden boat only 300 cubits long? What did all the other animals do wrong? Why should we bring mosquitoes aboard, and indeed, what the funk is a cubit? All very poignant questions after today, well done for asking. The rains came down from the heavens early on and there is little sign so far of reprieve from the Father's clear disapproval of our outdoor activities here in Cairns. Flooded pits, waterlogged camera bodies and prunified fingers will not stop this race, however. The show must go on. Some riders hit the showers early in disgust or despair, others stayed to session what is surely a course that simply can make no recovery before Saturday's race. If it continues to rain grip levels will arguably be improved on the alternative grease level of sunnier days ahead. We are locked in for a slip n slide and nothing mixes up the scoreboard more than steamed vision, deep puddles and super-slick roots. You don't get a rainbow, so take that silver lining and enjoy a very different Australia World Cup than we might have expected.

Don t mind the snakes spiders dangerous plants or anything else that might try to kill you on the side of the track... typical Aussie footwear.
  To begin the way it ended... Foot out, flat out desperate conditions. Huck your ruined Vans over a tree branch and get off this goddam hill.

Mick Hannah and course builder Andrew catching up on the plans for some top secret course changes.
  Mick Hannah and course builder Andrew catching up on the plans for some top secret course changes back first thing in the AM.

One of many surprises on the side of the track awaiting the media... One complaint so far is that there are no safe ways down the hill without walking directly in the track or risking life and death bushwhacking on the side of the track.
  One of many surprises on the side of the track awaiting the media... One complaint so far is that there are no safe ways down the hill without walking directly in the track or risking life and death bushwhacking on the side of the track, prompting some to bring a bit of a knife along in the old camerapack. However, by day's end you'd be better off packing a paddle for your canoe.

 I have no f ing idea where I m going... but coming straight for you with a rusty 12 blade.
  Boris 'I have no f*ing idea where I'm going' Beyer, but coming straight at you to slit your belly. Getting flayed alive by the rusty 12" blade of a German with a bad Australian accent...the stuff of horror legend.

The golden orb spiders didn t get many hits in the old web today. The rains kept the birds snakes and what ever else these things eat away.
  Speaking of which, the golden orb spiders were out and about, but didn't get many hits in the old web today. The rains kept the butterflies, birds, snakes, and anything else these things might eat away.

Don t forget sunblock around here mate
  Whatever the forecast, don't forget sunblock around here mate! Even the golden orb in the sky is out to get you here in Queensland.

Blenki s bike was sprouting vines in an effort to camouflage into the jungle
  Blenki's bike was sprouting vines in an effort to camouflage into the jungle

Mitch Ropelato s 29 r Enduro set up with a custom Ohlin s shock.. full report to come.
  Mitch Ropelato's 29'r Enduro.

Mr Vasquez prepares to pay homage to the World Champion with a traditional hand kiss.
  UCI gravity technical delegate, Dave Vasquez prepares to pay homage to the World Champion with a traditional hand kiss early this morning. Fancy.

Chip and Dale
  Riding Giants. The imminent waves of mud rolling down the hill would keep any Hawaii beach local on their toes.

Chris Kovarik got a hefty fine for having too short of mud flaps on his way up here to Cairns. Shuttle truck ready to go Kovarik style.
  Someone got a hefty fine for having too short of mud flaps on his way up here to Cairns. Shuttle truck ready to go Kovarik style.

Marc Beaumont with bearing his impressive tool rack.
  Marc Beaumont bearing his impressive rack of tools.

Gee is a lot further down the Atherton Racing pecking order than you might think. As you can see keeping Marc cool was his main concern this morning. Later he was seen feeding his sister large thirst-quenching hand fruits while note-taking her memoires sacrificing a good deal of his own practice time. Luckily he was still able to set the fastest TT later on.
  Gee is a lot further down the Atherton Racing pecking order than you might think. As you can see, keeping Marc cool was his main concern this morning. Later he was seen feeding his sister large, thirst-quenching hand fruits while note-taking her memoires, sacrificing a good deal of his own practice time. Luckily he was still able to set the fastest TT later on.

Steve Peat Buzz Words
  Steve Peat's Chris King Buzz Works prototype headset that maintains the standard 65degree head-angle of the V10, but gives the big man all important living space. He and Greg run theirs the same way, while Ratboy has his set in reverse to shorten the reach.

If you ve ever wondered how Greg has stayed on top for so long maybe it s because he is physically on top holding on higher than anyone else. 3 giant stem-stackers set him on another level.
  If you've ever wondered how Greg has stayed on top for so long, maybe it's because he is physically holding on higher than anyone else... 4 chunky stem-stackers set him literally on another level.

Many riders chose to upgrade to mud-race gear after their first practice run today. Extended visors tear-offs spike tyres and mudguards sprouted from riders and their bikes.
  Many riders chose to upgrade to mud-race gear after their first practice run today. Extended visors, tear-offs, spike tyres and mudguards sprouted from riders and their bikes.

There came a point where tear offs became useless and riders rode with out any goggles at all.
  Preparation is well and good, but there would soon come a point where tear-offs would become entirely useless and riders would be forced into the ungodly realms of goggleless-ness.

Nigel Page from Team CRC putting on his best michelin man impression
  Nigel Page from Team CRC putting on his best michelin man impression

With no break in the forecast for the foreseeable future we can expect more slipping and sliding down the track here at Cairns. Looks like the mechanics will have their work cut out for them this weekend.
  With no break in the forecast for the foreseeable future, we can expect more slipping and sliding down the track here at Cairns. Looks like the mechanics will have their work cut out for them this weekend.

Sam Hill keeping things low and not so boosty off the triple.
  Sam Hill keeping things low and not so boosty off the triple, between downpours.

Head smack into the muck.
  A fast shutter speed and you can't quite say whether it's a soothing trail nap or vicious head-smack into the muck.

Greg Minnaar grinning like a toddler in a mud pit. Everyone out there seemed to be having a blast sliding around the track all day and can t blame them a bit.
  Greg Minnaar grinning like a toddler in a mud pit. Everyone out there seemed to be having a blast sliding around the track all day and can't blame them a bit.

Brendog shedding a bit of the course off the track.
  Brendog shedding a bit of the course off the track, how much more rain and riding before it's all pure bedrock?

Australia Outback shuttle service.
  The outback shuttle service pumping soggy riders back to the top all day long.

Don t f ck with these Golden Orb Weaving Spiders that clutter the side of the track. This guy was at least the size of a disc brake rotor and would probably eat Matt Delorme for lunch.
  This guy was at least the size of a disc brake rotor and would probably eat Matt Delorme for lunch, so he gets two angles.

Dropping gwinto the fog... rainy conditions all day meant that the summit start was constantly surrounded by cloud
  Dropping gwinto the fog... rainy conditions all day meant that the summit start was constantly surrounded by cloud

Umbrella s are worth their weight in gold on a pissing World Cup track. Duncan Philpott bears the great gift of not being soaking wet unlike the rest of us.
  Umbrella's are worth their weight in gold on a pissing World Cup track. Duncan Philpott bears the great gift of not being soaking wet unlike the rest of us.

Ragot went down hard in timed training but by some miracle got straight back up onto her feet.
  Ragot went down hard in timed training, but by some miracle got straight back up onto her feet.

Danny Hart had moments in the mud that were reminiscent of his World Championship run. Where others had troubles navigating through the slime Hart kept it going. Could this be where Danny gets another win Time will tell.
  Danny Hart had moments in the mud that reminded onlookers of a certain 2011 glory. Where others had troubles navigating through the slime, Hart kept it going. Could this be where Danny gets another win? Time will tell.

Remi Thirion threading one of the last two steep sections on the track today. While Thirion was next to last in timed training it is likely that with the rain timed training might not be indicative of much at this point.
  Remi Thirion threading one of the last two steep sections on the track today. While Thirion was next to last in timed training, it is likely that with the rain, timed training might not be indicative of much at this point.


Ruts in the red clay quickly filled up with rain water and the track turned into a creek. Spectators riders and photographers all had a rough time getting down to the bottom in an upright position.
  Ruts in the red clay quickly filled up with rain water and the track turned into a creek. Spectators, riders, and photographers all had a rough time getting down to the bottom in an upright position.


This rock garden only got slipperier as the day went on with hundreds of tyres shedding the greasy mud onto the conveniently smooth and off-cambered rock faces.
  This rock garden only got slipperier as the day went on, with hundreds of tyres shedding the greasy mud onto the conveniently smooth and off-cambered rock faces.

One run down the hill was enough for Sam Hill to swap to cut spike tyres. Jacy gets to work.
  One run down the hill was enough for Sam Hill to swap to cut spike tyres. Jacy gets to work.

Marcelo railing the tight upper turns.
  Marcelo railing the tight upper turns.

Marc Beaumont looked incredibly composed in the slick-as-snot mud today. Now he needs to carry that over into the race. Beaumont was fourth in timed training today.
  Marc Beaumont looked incredibly composed in the slick-as-snot mud today to make 4th in TT. Now just to carry that over into the race.


Neko Mulally finds his line through the upper rock garden. Once it started coming down the rock gardens backed up with riders trying come to terms with the mud-slicked rocks.
  Neko Mulally finds his line through the upper rock garden. Once it started coming down, the rock gardens backed up with riders trying come to terms with the mud-slicked rocks.

Australian shuttle service.
  Australian shuttle service now in full trailer-toting swing.

Sik Mik was one of the few stoked on the sloppy conditions. Apparently a light drizzle considered by the locals meaning Mick is right at home on these conditions.
  Sik Mik was one of the few stoked on the sloppy conditions. Apparently a "light" drizzle considered by the locals meaning Mick is right at home on these conditions.

Tire choice prior to the rain was quite a gamble much of the track was fast and hard packed while some sections were slick and sloppy. After the rain today one thing the riders can count on is a consistent wetness and a probability of running spikes.
  Tire choice prior to the rain was quite a gamble, much of the track was fast and hard packed while some sections were slick and sloppy. After the rain today, one thing the riders can count on is a consistent wetness and a probability of running spikes.

Gee Atherton looked at home in the mud today. Rest assured he is hungry after South Africa and if conditions keep up he could walk away with a win here in Cairns. Atherton was fastest in timed training today.
  Gee Atherton looked at home in the mud today. Rest assured he is hungry after South Africa, and if conditions keep up he could walk away with a win here in Cairns, scoring the gold in timed training today for what it's worth.

Huck-O-Meter of the day goes to Pierre-Charles George. Face smash to stem soon after and near course ejection into the spider s web.
  Huck-O-Meter score of the day goes to Pierre-Charles George. Face smash to stem soon after and near course ejection into the spider's web.

Blenki was one of the few who looked at home in the slop. He was ninth in timed training today.
  Blenki was one of the few who looked at home in the slop, sending it to ninth in timed training today.

Some spectacular foot work from Cam Cole as he lost the bike but ran it out without wiping out. There were plenty of spills out there today and as of 10 00 PM here in Australia the rains are not letting up.
  Some spectacular foot work from Cam Cole as he lost the bike but ran it out without wiping out. There were plenty of spills out there today, as speeds pick up for qualies you can expect the body count to rise.

Cam Cole contemplating how many more runs to take for the day. I know the track now but if the weather keeps up it will just keep changing. Not sure I want to be wet all day only to have to learn new lines tomorrow.
  Cam contemplating how many more runs to take for the day. "I know the track now, but if the weather keeps up it will just keep changing. Not sure I want to be wet all day, only to have to learn new lines tomorrow."

The king... he s got a reputation for winning by massive margins in the wet and his result in Africa shows that he s in great form too. You d be stupid to count Sam out from doing well this weekend.
  Sam Hill signature edition bars glow blue whenever goblins are close by. Or when conditions are reminiscent of his Champery '07 masterclass.

Matt Delorme and the entire media squad looked about like this after the day. Completely soaked camera gear hanging onto life support and sh t eating grins all day long.
  Matt Delorme and the entire media squad looked about like this after the day. Completely soaked, camera gear hanging onto life support and sh*t eating grins all day long.

The story of today - rain. A constant drizzle which increased throughout the day the pits were flooded by lunchtime.
  The pits were flooded by lunchtime today... you can add at least 4 more hours downpour and whatever comes in the night.

The rain set in hard in the evening only time will tell what the jungle will reveal tomorrow...
  The rain set in just that little bit harder this evening, as if that were possible... only time will tell what the jungle will have in store tomorrow.

Mother nature decided to put the rain in rainforest today.
  Gotta love mother nature deciding to put the rain in rainforest today...unless you have to ride or take the pictures themselves of course. For those at home; enjoy the show... it seems there's plenty more slip n slide where that came from.



118 Comments

  • 264 0
 Yesssss. So many pictures to look at instead of doing work.
  • 11 1
 lmao doing the same thing
  • 5 1
 Yep, it happens
  • 4 1
 hur. yeah.
  • 8 1
 I can just keep scrolling back to the top instead of writing my dissertation right?
  • 12 0
 Thanks to all the camera guys!!! That looks miserable, glad we have you guys out in the weather doing all the work, so we can look at these awesome images from the comfort of our own homes! (Although, I'd give my left nut to be there and watch a world cup in person! But the hard work is much appreciated!)
  • 4 0
 Most certainly some of the best photography at a world cup event ever! Like a National Geographic magazine. Kudos!
  • 3 0
 Photos are amazing, and so is the wording! Funny read - great job, Nathan Hughes!
  • 78 0
 I have a feeling this will be the most memorable and rowdiest weekend we've seen in racing in a LONG time
  • 41 0
 also for the west coasters, finals will be around 9pm on friday night because Australia is in on god knows whathefuck timezone. Raging for the world cup!
  • 9 0
 Its got to me hill or hart right?
  • 4 0
 I hope Sam will make a HUGE run! The rock garden looks horrible to ride in theses conditions haha!
  • 1 0
 1215am here on the East coast!
  • 3 0
 We are AEST (Australian Eastern Standard Time) UTC + 10 hours

9pm is good. Because we are so far away for most of the season the races are on much later than 9pm here or are in the early hours.

So keen Smile
  • 1 0
 Ooh I can watch this Friday night. Awesome!
  • 1 0
 i am most excited to listen to Rob Warner commentating this race...
  • 35 0
 If it stays that wet, I would think Danny hart and Sam Hill would have a very strong chance at the win. Can't wait for the race!
  • 8 0
 Totally agree, hopefully brendog gets up there as well!
  • 2 6
flag johardy (Apr 24, 2014 at 11:02) (Below Threshold)
 Yep, Gwin didn't even try today ..
  • 1 5
flag dhpig (Apr 24, 2014 at 12:12) (Below Threshold)
 Hart won't even be the fastest on Team Giant.
  • 1 0
 I'm here and gearing up to get smashed by the rain and mud... by the looks of it I think if someone can stay on two wheels the whole way down the win could be theirs!!
  • 3 0
 Thirion, Blinki, Brosnan and Gee are all really strong in the slop too. Can't wait to watch this, it's gonna be good!
  • 2 0
 Fearon is looking good too, that kona will be sick on a track like this too!
  • 1 0
 Is there a way to watch it online ?
  • 23 3
 "Danny Hart had moments in the mud that reminded onlookers of a certain 2011 glory." A certain 2011... Glory... ehhhhehehehehehehehehhe... Go ahead and neg prop me; I deserve it.
  • 16 0
 I don't envy the photographers one but appreciatetheir effort so much. thanks for the images! good luck in the wet and bitey surroundings
  • 3 1
 The best set of pictures I have seen in a long time. Wishing soooo much to be there right now
  • 16 0
 Thats not a knife, THIS is a knife.....
  • 12 0
 .....no thats a spoon. I see you've played knifey spoony before!
  • 1 2
 So apropos. Best comment of the thread.
  • 15 1
 Oh Emmie, you are so bad ass.
  • 16 2
 Danny, lift some weights for pete's sake! Smile
  • 5 8
 What purpose would it serve? He clearly doesnt struggle to carry speed through rough sections and his only weakness that I can see is on long pedally sections where his size counts against him. I dont see how adding muscle mass and therefore weight would help him pedal faster.

But if its for the babez....then lift some weights Danny!!
  • 13 0
 For gods sake danny STAY ON YOUR BIKE!!!! - again please Smile
  • 9 1
 to avoid injury and fatigue, from a riding perspective. and to avoid looking like a school boy for the ladies!
  • 11 0
 I felt cold and wet just looking at these photos
  • 17 0
 You have to imagine it warm and wet. But so, so wet.
  • 52 2
 If I was imagining anything warm and wet I wouldn't be here on Pinkbike.
  • 1 3
 mid 70s isn't cold
  • 3 0
 I guess that depends where your from for me in Australia Cold is like 16 (60F) In England this is probably warm.
Hot is 30+ this summer we had days hitting 48 (118.4F).

Cairns is crazy humid too though so athletes will be struggling, if you didn't notice that sunburn picture is not water, its blisters. The sun will smash you even at 21 up there.
  • 9 0
 So the track isn't too easy now?
  • 5 0
 Race day in going to be absolute carnage...I can't wait!
  • 4 0
 This ones gonna be sick. Haven't the slightest idea of who I thinks gonna win!
  • 3 0
 Here's an idea, how about a tyre company making tyres that dont have to be clipped, tyres with big side nobs and short smooth middle nobs. Imagine the money they could make
  • 1 0
 maxxis shorty, look it up!
  • 1 0
 Maxis Shorty
  • 2 0
 specialized hillbilly is supposedly a cut spike too.
  • 1 0
 I've asked the same thing many times, and people always mention these same tires like the shorty, but then every WC race where it rains we see all these shots of mechanics cutting down tires. I guess maybe they just haven't perfected the design yet.
  • 1 0
 wc riders many of them are on sponsor contracts so unless they have a pre'cut spike available they have to cut them. maybe the production precut spikes still have slightly shorter side than wets, so maybe the riders want more on the outside still?
  • 3 0
 "Someone got a hefty fine for having too short of mud flaps on his way up here to Cairns"...Did I miss the relevance or context of this description?
  • 3 0
 If so, you're not the only one !
  • 3 1
 Dear SC, you have some of the tallest pro riders on earth feeling cramped on the XL V10. When can we get a longer XL frame with taller head tube?
And 650b wheels while we're at it.
  • 1 0
 Yet Ratboy is running his King offset in reverse to shorten the reach??? Also Enve needs to make some proper riser bars if Peaty and Greg are running all those spacers. I'd like to see Greg win this season on 26" just to add fuel to the wheelsize debate fire
  • 4 0
 Just like Revolution Bike Park in February.
  • 1 0
 Thinking about those rock gardens and the rain and mud, on top of it...I'm freaked out !! I hope Danny will stay on his bike, once again, and make it to the top. Get ready for some insane Rob, quotes !
  • 2 0
 I'm confused everyone was crying about the weather BUT everyone seems to be at home in these conditions??
Make your mind up..

Also what does Boris Beyers Tattoo say??
  • 2 0
 Is there a point at which that stack of spacers under Minnar's stem would become unsafe? With the bolts having to be so darn long?
  • 4 0
 Gonna be wet!
  • 3 1
 Awesome shots. I think Sik Mik has the upper hand on this one.

And no practice for Troy and Aaron?
  • 6 2
 Yeah they're here on their enduros with 40s again, just can't get all the guys in all the time. Sure to make an appearance in the qualifying post tomorrow!
  • 4 1
 Even though he's an Aussie, it is so Sik Mik's time to own it!
  • 1 0
 Its like Greg with PMB. Its Micks backyard and I wouldn't be surprised with a top 3.
  • 3 0
 worst...sunburn....ever.

blisters? damn.
  • 1 2
 is Stevie Smith injured or just camera shy havent seen him in anything from South Africa to Cairns want to watch Stevie repeat his success from last year...... in saying that i hope Danny Hart and Blenkisop have good races really want to see them have a strong year this year
  • 1 0
 Where have you been? Smith is out with an ankle injury until Scotland.
  • 1 0
 just to show how big those spiders are....yea kill it with fire...

jonnyox.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/1.1305054469.een-golden-orb-spider.jpg
  • 1 0
 Mud looks so bru-tile! Freaking spiders...eeek! Australia scares me, looks amazing but still scares the crap out of me. Good luck all and have a greasy blast!
  • 3 0
 So pumped for this...
  • 3 1
 i wonder who pulled their entire set of laminated tear offs
  • 3 0
 No word on Gwin?
  • 4 6
 he was gwhining about the second coming of noah :o) or they have a prototype demo replacement that isn't waterproof yet?
  • 5 2
 I bet the Speshy dudes stay on those Enduro's
  • 1 0
 They are
  • 3 0
 Spesh certainly do get thier riders on board promoting a brand. Remember all the status at rampage
  • 2 0
 This track looks sick ...
  • 3 1
 First rate photo essay. Well done!
  • 2 1
 How many people were 'one of the few who looked at home in these conditions'. Can't wait for the race though, go Hart
  • 1 0
 Great photos. Sounds about right to for the fine withy the mudflaps. Welcome to Queensland.
  • 2 0
 "Bearing his impressive rack [of tools]"

I see what you did there.
  • 3 0
 Thank you pinkbike!!!!
  • 1 0
 Come on Sam, it's time to take revenge for champery 2007, now the mud is for everyone! shows who wears the pants at home
  • 1 0
 Soothing trail nap. Seems legit. On a serious note I hope Sam takes it he deserves it
  • 1 0
 am so glad i never wasted £1300+ traveling costs to be rained on all weekend ha ha from pod get splodged
  • 2 0
 Racing will be soo rad!
  • 2 0
 Sooooo drifty....
  • 2 0
 Great intro, Nathan.
  • 2 1
 Anyone could get the win. Gonna be so sick
  • 2 1
 Its not going to win the fastest, its going to win the smartest
  • 2 2
 So even after last season, Cam Cole isn't wearing a Leatt or similar neck brace?
  • 1 1
 This surprised me, but There isn't any evidence that they prevent neck injuries.
  • 1 1
 A motorcycle landing on Trey Canards head and him receiving no neck injuries is good enough evidence for me


www.youtube.com/watch?v=AWjPoPzsYxs
  • 2 0
 Daaaannny! Do it again!
  • 1 0
 The track looks mega. My money's on geeman
  • 1 0
 Gwin again.but I would like to see marc beumont take 1
  • 1 0
 Matt... We told you to not ride with your camera, once again..
  • 1 0
 These riders and photographers are a brave species. What an experience!
  • 2 1
 this is gonna be good
  • 1 1
 My money's on the mudder. His mother was a mudder.
  • 2 3
 Sure It's not the most impressive track but with these condition ... we could have a lot of surprise. Good luck !
  • 1 0
 I want to play!!!!
  • 1 0
 what a mess!!!! :s
  • 1 0
 Anxious for this race!
  • 1 0
 wet is perfect
  • 1 0
 Kovarik!!!
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