Practice - Fort William DH World Cup 3

Jun 6, 2014
by Nathan Hughes  


BUCKLE UP BUTTERCUP



Two point eight kilometers. Start to finish. That's all it is... It might not sound like too much, but you know mere physical distance is no way to measure this beast. To scale up this highland monster you'll need to think in pedals, you'll need to think in breathes and heartbeats. And actually it's best to factor in all the gravity-defying bunny hops, butt-clenching drifts, tricep-tearing pumps and wet-yourself death grips, before you chuck in the hail, the midges and the loose boulders. And a load of sweat. That's if you can make it down alive. How far is 2.8km? We can say it's far enough.

If you happened to talk to Rob Warner this morning and thought he may have been indulging in the libations a little early in the day you would be wrong. Warner found the the foul tasting Spicy Devil was just the thing for warding off the midges.
  If you happened to talk to Rob Warner first thing this morning and thought he may have been indulging in the libations a little early on, you would be wrong. Warner found the foul tasting "Spicy Devil" was just the thing for warding off the midges.

The upper section of track is littered with rocks at the ready to literally sheer of your pedals and send you OTB.
  Trouble is, the swarms of tiny insects are the only things that bite... The upper section of track is littered with rocks at the ready to sheer off your pedals and send you OTB.

2006 and 2007 were Sam Hill s best outings here the latter win being the World Champs. It s not all good memories in the boulders though... It was 4 years ago he destroyed both wheels and a shoulder in practice. Sam will be thinking of the good times for qualies tomorrow and is well set having been riding UK shores for several weeks now.
  2006 and 2007 were Sam Hill's best outings at Fort William, the latter win being the World Champs. It's not all good memories in the boulders even for him though... It was 4 years ago he destroyed both wheels and a shoulder in practice. Sam will be thinking of the good times for qualies tomorrow and is well set having been riding UK shores for several weeks now.

When you roll the dice in Fort William and get it wrong the track bites back HARD
  When you roll the dice in Fort William and get it wrong the track bites back HARD!!!

Lot s of carnage on the track today one of the few that got off lucky.
  Lots of carnage on the track today, one of the few that got off lucky.

A couple of flashes of yellow then no more... Mick s practice came to an abrupt end today for all the wrong reasons. We hope he comes back in the same unbelievable form quick.
  A couple of flashes of yellow, then no more... Mick's practice came to an abrupt end today for all the wrong reasons. We hope he comes back in the same unbelievable form quick.

Expect Mick to be back in time for World Champs in Norway.
  Unbelievable isn't it? Turns out he's made of the same flesh and bone as you and I.

Miranda Miller has had one hell of an off season healing up an ankle injury and looking mighty fast during her first two practice laps before injuring two wrists. Best of healing vibes to Miranda Mick Hannah and anyone else caught up in the carnage of Fort William.
  Miranda Miller has had one hell of an off season healing up an ankle injury and looked mighty fast during her first two practice laps. Then she broke both her arms. Best of healing vibes to Miranda, Mick Hannah and anyone else caught up in the carnage of Fort William.

Gore-illa in the mist. Morning cloud cover was so thick we could barley see our targets.
  Gore-illa in the mist. Morning cloud cover was so thick, we could barely see our targets.

The weather today was a mixed bag with sun fog more fog and even dome rain. Tomorrow is calling for high winds and storms so the organizers have decided to limit practice and push qualifiers up to 11am.
  The weather today was a real mixed bag, with sun, fog, more fog, and even some rain. Tomorrow is calling for high winds and storms so the organizers have decided to limit practice and push qualifiers up to 11am.

First run of the day for Rachel Atherton. She was second in timed training some twelve seconds back from Ragot. Atherton won here last year and Fort William has been one of her strongest courses. Can she take the win again this year
  First run of the day for Rachel Atherton. She was second in timed training, some twelve seconds back from Ragot. Atherton won here last year, and Fort William has been one of her strongest courses. Can she take the win again this year?

Rachel wets her whistle before diving into the fog. She missed the national here and Ragot did the business and today Rach found herself some 12 seconds behind Lapierre pace.
  Rachel wets her whistle before diving into the fog. She missed the national here last month and Ragot did the business then too. Is she behind Lapierre pace?

The story of the morning was thick fog as the women and juniors took to the track. Rachel Atherton has probably done enough runs here over the years that riding by feel rather than sight wasn t too big of an issue.
  The story of the morning was thick fog as the women and juniors took to the track. Rachel has probably done enough runs here over the years that riding by feel rather than sight wasn't too big of an issue.

Morgnane Charre jumps onto the board walk that runs across the peat bog. Riders pick up lots of speed here before retuning to the hard pack rough of the upper course.
  Morgane Charre jumps onto the board walk that runs across the peat bog. Riders pick up lots of speed here before returning to the hard pack rough of the upper course.

Micayla Gatto thinking things through before her first run of the day.
  Micayla Gatto thinking things through before her first run of the day.

Ragot slaying the timed training. It doesn t count--Peaty pulled over and shared a shortbread biscuit with a long-time course marshal--but for those focused on gauging their comfort on the track it s a measuring stick for what may be come qualifying.
  Ragot slaying the timed training. It doesn't count--Peaty pulled over and shared a shortbread biscuit with a long-time course marshal--but for those focused on gauging their comfort on the track, it's a measuring stick for what may be come qualifying.

Manon Carpenter was pinned all day through the rocks up top. If anyone can challange Rachel this weekend it s Manon without a doubt.
  Manon Carpenter was pinned all day through the rocks up top. She and Emmeline are the only girls who can realistically tackle Rachel on this course.


Walker Shaw ready for action
  Walker Shaw ready for action!

Fort William Image 2014
  Dean Lucas bringing some typical Aussie pace to the flagstones.

TV Taylor out looking for some revenge on last year s WC blow-out and his bad luck at the nationals last month.
  TV Taylor out looking for some revenge on last year's WC blow-out and his bad luck at the nationals last month.

Maybe it was the fog or maybe it wa forst run jitters. Either way Taylor Vernon s day could have started off a bit better.
  Maybe it was the fog, or maybe it was first run jitters. Either way, Taylor Vernon's day could have started off a bit better.

GT s Enduro phenom Martin Mae s has never been to Fort William before. It was a mix of enthusiasm and nerves on the gondola ride for his first ever run on this classic of a track.
  GT's Enduro phenom, Martin Maes has never been to Fort William before. It was a mix of enthusiasm and nerves on the gondola ride for his first ever run on this classic of a track.

Into the Void.
  Into the void.

Fort William hecklers a bit kinder than your average. Riding compliments all round. Bravo.
  Fort William hecklers: a bit politer than your average. Riding compliments all round. Very proper...

These guys hiked up to the top by 9am and judging by their level of coordination it s safe to say they were partying the whole way up.
  There had to be more... These guys hiked up to the top by 9am, and judging by their level of coordination it's safe to say they were partying the whole way up.

Izak Leivsson weaving through the turns and into the lower bit of track.
  Izak Leivsson weaving through the turns and into the lower track.

Winner here last year and of the last round in Cairns Gee Atherton wans nothing more than a win at Fort William. He had a few Mechanicals today on track but should be sorted for qualifiers tomorrow morning.
  Winner here for 2010, for 2013 and of course the last WC round in Cairns, Gee Atherton is especially unlikely to smile without winning here at Fort William. He had a few mechanicals today on track but should be sorted for qualifiers tomorrow morning.

By late afternoon the clouds had mostly burned off and the temperatures had risen. Luckily the midges stayed at bay for the afternoon.
  By late afternoon, the clouds had mostly burned off and the temperatures had risen. Luckily, the midges stayed at bay for the afternoon.

The eerie glow of lifting fog equals the improvement of vision and faster speeds down the hill.
  The eerie glow of lifting fog equals the improvement of vision and faster speeds down the hill.


Joe Smith is one of the few flat pedal holdouts here at Fort William and he is attacking with foot out flat out style on track and in the air.
  Joe Smith is one of the few flat pedal holdouts here at Fort William and he is attacking with foot out flat out style on track and in the air.


Danny Hart was fastest in timed training today. If he holds it together this could be the weekend we see Hart get another win.
  Danny Hart, more angry than his bulldog on track. He qualified first at the BDS but flatted for finals... all he needs is some extra luck to go with his extra long socks.

After mounting promise last season Lorenzo is yet to break the top 20 this year as the plate suggests. Timed training saw him step back inside for what TT is worth but either way he was going hard out there today.
  After mounting promise last season, Lorenzo is yet to break the top 20 this year as the plate suggests. Timed training saw him step back inside for what TT is worth, but either way he was going hard out there today.

Steve Peat turns 40 soon and still has a number plate almost a 1 4 his age. Going strong and won t back down anytime soon.
  It was a long awaited win for Steve Peat at Fort Bill. His 2005 victory is ancient history now, but still kinda feels like yesterday.


Gee was back in twelfth in timed training today but he has historically done well here. Timed training isn t the best barometer for forecasting a World Cup.
  Gee was back in twelfth in timed training today... we can say TT definitely isn't the best barometer for forecasting a World Cup.

Boris Beyer has a bet going with Joe Bowman on who has the most instagram followers by the end of this season. Loser get s the winners name tattooed on their ass. maddogboris FTW because well... Joe needs his first tattoo obviously.
MTB Rider Magazine Boris Beyer has a bet going with Steel City Joe Bowman on who has the most Instagram followers by the end of this season. Loser gets the winner's name tattooed on their ass. @maddogboris FTW because well... Joe needs his first tattoo obviously.

Sam Dale is having a cracking season and rode to 6th at the BDS here against a lot of familiar faces. He and Simmonds could easily be weighing down the podium together on Sunday.
  Sam Dale is having a cracking season and rode to 6th at the BDS here against a lot of familiar faces. He and fellow big man team mate, Simmonds, could easily be weighing down the podium together on Sunday.

Luca Show powering down the upper rock fields.
  Luca Shaw powering down the upper rock fields.

Sic Mic is out with what appears to be a broken collar bone. He crashed on the top section of the course and was able to walk back up to the lift. Heal up quick Mic.
  Sad to say we won't be seeing Sik Mik pinning through the rocks for a little while. Bring on the champs.

We ended up with sunny skies in the mighty Ben Nevis range today. Local forecasts are calling for wind gusts up to eighty-five miles per hour tomorrow influencing race officials to start practice at 6 30 am.
  Local forecasts are calling for Nevis Range wind gusts up to eighty-five miles per hour tomorrow, influencing race officials to start practice at insane-o'clock.

Wyn Masters full throttle.
  Wyn Masters full throttle after his IXS podium last weekend.

Was Cairns 4th place qualifying a fluke Was IXS Winterberg 1st place qualifying a fluke How many flukes can you have before you fluke a top result in the finals and people stop people calling it a fluke...wonders Eddy Masters.
  Was Cairns 4th place qualifying a fluke? Was IXS Winterberg 1st place qualifying a fluke? How many flukes can you have before you fluke a top result in the finals and people stop people calling it a fluke...wonders Eddy Masters.

Brendog putting down a clean time and showing he still means business. Only 5 seconds off from Danny.
  Brendog putting down a clean time and showing he still means business. Only 5 seconds off from Danny.


Ratboy kicks off a fun-run with Steve in record and repeat mode.
  Ratboy kicks off a fun-run with Steve in record and repeat mode. Playtime will be over by Sunday, he's getting too close to the win.

This is Greg Minnaar s 100th World Cup so he knows all too well how to throw in some style for photoraphers waiting at the final jump. Bonus points for looking right at the camera.
  This is Greg Minnaar's 100th World Cup so he knows all too well how to throw in some style for the photographers waiting at the final jump. Bonus points for looking right at the camera.

Peaty s mechanic Tom Duncan coming to the end of a week long wheel building rampage for the Syndicate. Steve and the crew are working with prototype versions of the M90- the tubeless hookless-bead carbon DH rim.
  Peaty's mechanic, Tom Duncan, coming to the end of a week long, wheel building rampage for the Syndicate. Steve and the crew are working with prototype versions of the ENVE M90 - the carbon, tubeless, hookless-bead, DH beasts.

Loic Bruni has been on fire since the middle of last season. Could this be the weekend he finally grabs the big win that everyone has been waiting for
  Loic Bruni has been on fire since the middle of last season. Could this be the weekend he finally grabs the big win that everyone has been waiting for?

Sam Belnkisop full speed and with his own signature style.
  Sam Blenkisop, full speed and with his own signature style, rounding out the top 3 fastest in TT.

Steve Smith wasn t in the cut for timed training today and hard to get a reading on how fast he s comparing to the rest of the field. Stevie is looking smooth and could make a comeback without a doubt.
  Steve Smith wasn't in the cut for timed training today and hard to get a reading on how fast he's comparing to the rest of the field. Stevie is looking smooth and could make a comeback without a doubt.

Troy flew the 15 000km and back just to race the BDS national here last month. If that s not enough commitment for you you ll have to take his 2nd fastest TT as word he is fully after it here this year.
  Troy flew the 15,000km and back just to race the BDS national here last month. If that's not enough commitment for you, you'll have to take his 2nd fastest TT as word he is fully after it here this year.

Danny Hart going fastest during timed training today and feeling confident on UK home soil.
  Danny Hart going fastest during timed training today and feeling confident on UK home soil.

Four regular people and one World Cup series leader top the horizon. Will Gwin be able to unleash the beast we saw dominate this place in 2012 to stay ahead of the pack
  Four regular people and one World Cup series leader topping the horizon. Will Gwin be able to unleash the beast we saw dominate this place in 2012, avoid all the destruction and stay ahead of the pack?

Cool down time for the man with most white space on his race plate. Gwin wouldn t mind a change up here and his first race at the Fort was only 09. It s totally mad to think how he was able to establish himself so quickly in such a short time.
  Cool down time for the man with most white space on his race plate. Gwin admits he wouldn't mind a change up here track-wise, although his first race at the Fort was only '09. It's totally mad to think how he was able to establish himself at the top so quickly in such a short time.

After a brutal day of riding it s ice baths for both body and bike in the GT camp.
  After a brutal day of destruction on track, it's ice baths for body and bike in the GT camp.

Fox BBQ with brauts beers and good folks.
  Fox BBQ with brauts, beers and good folks.

Clouds lifting in the Scottish highlands but not for long heavy rain on the way with an early start tomorrow.
  Set your alarms... the gondola fires up at 6.30am tomorrow to get ahead of that weather.

No doubt the pits will be lashed down good and tight this evening in preparation for tomorrow s gale force winds.
  Hopefully some of this is left behind come race day.



42 Comments

  • 62 0
 Really sad for Miranda Miller, Healing Vibes you way lady schedder!!!!!
  • 22 0
 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Heeling vibes ^^^^
  • 2 3
 Healing.
  • 2 0
 Yeah what the heck happened? Alls we get is one quick referral to her breaking both of her arms and then no details?? Not much hype for a pretty major injury! Anyone know anymore?
  • 1 0
 The whole riding community in Squamish is behind Miranda, and will stay there until she's back on the bike. Very popular person, and a tough girl- she'll recover.
  • 50 2
 i got my money on Bam Hill for the win
  • 18 1
 *2030
  • 31 1
 Really hoping Eddy Masters gets a good result. Need more guys that have that much fun on a bike on the steps to remind us what the sport is all about.
  • 7 5
 Gee could take a page from his book if you ask me!
  • 3 3
 I don't understand Gee... Whats wrong with a second place?
  • 8 0
 For most people 2nd place in a World Cup is a dream come true. For the top guys though, who are capable of winning, coming in 2nd is essentially losing. And not many people are happy when they lose. Guys like Gee, Smith, Gwin etc are not happy with second place generally. Even Bryceland at this point, if you ask him would likely say he not happy with getting second and third places anymore.
  • 1 0
 If you watched steve peat in seasons. He said ppl might congratulate him for 3rd place.but top spot is still what he wants.
  • 5 0
 2nd is the first loser ^^
  • 15 0
 last friday, Squamish gathered at Corsa cycle to raise money for Miranda (and some others). And she got down !That's part of the deal...Both arms ?that's very tough ! Squamish supports you ! good luck for the next few months !
  • 21 2
 Troy Bronson is one hell of a rider.
  • 20 1
 Brosnan*
  • 10 1
 Top-notch photos! The Trumpore pic w/Minnaar looking down is my current desktop wallpaper. Super-banger!!
  • 9 0
 Hey face, meet rock.
  • 10 1
 Go martin maes!!!
  • 5 1
 80 fucking 5 mile an hour winds
  • 2 0
 that should make the motorway interesting
  • 3 0
 everyone uses mallets. Even the guys sponsored by shimano and sram whats up with that
  • 3 0
 The platform is super stable/grippy since they made them similar to the original ones again.

My personal preference for them is that when I unclip it's usually cos shit's got a bit rowdy and I might not be able to clip back in instantly, in which case the mallet cage is almost as good a flat with good shoes. Also 4-sided spindle is easy to jam back in when you're in a hurry.

The pro's might have different reasons though.
  • 2 0
 From my experience mallet's have way more float allowing more body english to be used without unintentionally unclipping when compared to the shimano pedals.
  • 1 1
 I thought that glory looked suspiciously carbon but not detailed enough to inspect, although im sure its still alloy, giant moving to carbon would be all over pinkbike already. keen for the race Smile just under 21hours.
  • 1 0
 Intense brutal racing, loving this season, seems to be getting exponentially more intense and competitive each year heal up soon Miranda
  • 2 0
 too bad mik missed the party
  • 1 0
 I've just seen The Maes has gone second in qually. Anyone know if he's on his enduro bike?
  • 1 0
 Nope, on the Fury. But still amazing!
  • 2 2
 Is it just me or is it Rachel's bike has a BIG front wheel??? maybe a 27.5"F + 26"R?
  • 1 0
 Fantastic photography as usual. Great job guys.
  • 1 0
 Wouldn't be surprised if Martin Maes puts down a super quick time
  • 1 0
 Taylor just can't catch a break. Hope he keeps rubber side down.
  • 1 0
 hart-gwin-smith-ratboy!!!!!!!!!!!! my predict!!!!!!!
  • 1 0
 SO MUCH GOODNESS
  • 1 0
 Except for the crashes....
  • 12 0
 that faceplant in the rocks made me really cringe
  • 1 2
 Jeez, desolate bloody place, freezing cold but with insects that bite? I'll take the Alps.
  • 1 0
 yeah mate it does look desolate but it is the Scottish Highlands, it's only a few miles outside of Fort William but at the same time your'e surrounded by mountains, very scenic, not that cold really, it's to be 17 degrees tomorrow which is not bad seeing as were having a mixed bag atm weather wise, 25 degrees 2 days ago where i am, the midgies are a big problem though, but if you take appropriate measures they aint so bad
  • 1 0
 Still, it's a place I would like to ride, nature at it's bloody-minded best perhaps?
  • 1 0
 amazing photos!!!
  • 2 3
 GOO GWIN!!!

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