The sodden nightmares of yesterday are but a distant memory and all is forgiven. Today saw a return to full summer mode and there wasn't a waterlogged set of Vans insight. The Lenzerheide lake, far below the signature switchbacks of the World Cup track, shimmered under the golden light. The meadow flowers swayed gently in the breeze and little birds could be heard chirping optimistically as they began their young lives. All that was interrupted quite regularly with the sound of metal on rock and aggressive swearing as riders tested the crash netting, bent the odd pedal and buzzed the rear wheel as the Straitline course came to life.
Group B had the raw deal today, no question, and the cruel fact of the matter is that it includes those least equipped to deal with such savagery. First thing this morning, the track was still extremely muddy and in some sections slicker than an oyster in an oil spill, the fresh forest section in particular. The traffic was so backed up for this section some riders even decided to avoid it completely and ride around it on the bike park track, wishing and waiting for tyre-gripping ruts to develop through the Group A session and for it to be ready for tomorrow.
This track is a rare hit with the vast majority of racers, for the most part agreeing that this is how a race course should be in the modern day. The variety is truly there this year on the Swiss course. There's a chance for riders to flex their style with the plethora of well-built jumps, whilst also keeping the grey matter pulsing with the bountiful line choice dilemmas at great speed. Most importantly, the scrubs and whips were absolutely flying, much to the delight of the media and any man, woman or child trackside with a phone, or better yet, a set of eyeballs.
Who won practice? Limited though it may be, the timed training session provided some answers. Troy Brosnan is a man never not killing it and this afternoon set the fastest lap at a fiery 2:57, closely followed by previous Lenzerheide winner, Danny Hart. Dean Lucas was the only other rider to go under the 3-minute mark and he looked good doing it, pushing his style into new realms. As for the elite women, Tracey Hannah laid down the quickest time of 3:32. The only other woman to put down a serious lap time was Italian champ, Eleonora Farina, 9 seconds back. Meanwhile, Vali Holl and Kye A'Hern set the junior pace. An almost entirely dry course looks set to face riders for qualies, quite the contrast from Val Di Sole. God bless the sunshine.