5 Things You Need To Know: DH World Cup 2015 - Lenzerheide

Jul 1, 2015
by Pinkbike Staff  


1. THE VENUE



The town of Lenzerheide is located 1500 metres above sea level in the municipality of Vaz/Obervaz, in the eastern canton of Graubünden, Switzerland. The town's most notable neighbours include the world-famous luxury resorts of St. Moritz, Klosters and Davos - the latter being a 36km trek to get to - as well as the ancient town of Chur, which happens to be one of the oldest settlements in Switzerland, dating back to 3900-3500 BC. Lenzerheide has a population of just over 3,000 inhabitants, so things are going to get a little cosy when the World Cup comes to town.

The first popular ski slope in Lenzerheide was built in 1902, and ever since then the town has been a destination for holiday-makers. Nowadays, alongside Valbella, the neighbouring town, skiers can access over fifty ski slopes via forty different lifts. With its success as a winter resort, it was only logical for the town to invest money into its summer season and become a venue for one of the greatest sports on the planet.

General Map of Graubunden
  Lenzerheide is just a few kilometres from the ancient town of Chur, and has some pretty luxurious neighbours.

2015 is the first of three consecutive years Lenzerheide will play host to the Downhill Mountain Biking World Cup, and in the summer of 2018, the Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships will be hosted here. Lenzerheide is accustomed to holding a variety of sporting events, including the likes of a tennis championship, a classic motorcar and motorcycle rally, and a massive cross-country ski competition held every New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

Lenzerheide Backcountry photo epic - searching for Furcaleta.
Lenzerheide Backcountry photo epic - searching for Furcaleta.
There are some great downhill runs in Lenzerheide, and with scenery this good, this resort is going to grow in popularity in years to come.

Transport wise, driving to Lenzerheide is the easiest option. It's an easy two hour, 102km drive from the closest major city, Zurich. Unfortunately, there is no railway station in Lenzerheide, but you can grab a train from Zurich to Chur, and then hop on a bus to take you to the resort in around 30 minutes.




2. THE TRACK



Designed and built by Trailworks's Rafael ‘Tschäff’ Rhyner and his team, with advice from Steve Peat and Claudio Caluori, the downhill World Cup track, named STRAIGHTline, has been two years in the making. The 1.5 mile track has taken 1200 man hours to shape with the help of three diggers (one walking excavator, one eight-tonne digger, and one two-tonne digger), and in doing so shifted around 2000 tonnes of dirt. The track builders were unable to bring in any foreign material into the site, so all the material used, from the wood for the bridges, to the stones for the rock garden, has been sourced from the local area. The total construction costs for the track was 280,000CHF (approx $300,000USD).


In terms of the track’s features, its esteemed advisers - Claudio and Peaty - were keen to get as as many fast sections as possible for riders, and the builders were happy to oblige. The trail builders worked with the natural features of the track, building it up where it required a bit more of a challenge for riders, as well as including the use of artificial features like wooden bridges and drops.

bigquotesThe track has a really good feeling, it has fast parts, big jumps, nice berms - really fast berms, slow berms - it's got good technical (sections) in the woods. We've tried to put a good mix of everything in the trail, and I ride all over the world and I think this is one of the better tracks I've ridden. - Steve Peat, Santa Cruz Syndicate & Lenzerheide World Cup track consultant.

Lenzerheide iXS event
  Peaty following Brendan down Peaty's Plank.

Highlights include a 14 metre step up, two road gaps (named ‘Peaty’s Plank’ and ‘The Wave’), and a 17m bridge. Although the track is shorter than other World Cup tracks this year, the various features are fairly close to each other. The most impressive feature is the 17m bridge called 'The Cabin Hit' which riders will jump over and land in a 90 degree banked curve. The 150m root section, on a part of the track that has around 30 degrees worth of steepness is likely going to be the most challenging part of the track for riders. The root section is situation before the second road gap, called The Wave, and we hope that there will be a live-feed camera placed here to catch the action on race day. Lastly, to keep all this running during the race weekend, there will be six dedicated members of the trail crew working to maintain the track.

iXS SwissDownhillCup 2014
  No World Cup is complete without a rock garden of course. Once the tape in in place, we'll know what options riders will have come the weekend.

Let’s not forget, STRAIGHTline is open to the public all season, bar a week prior to and obviously during the World Cup race. Pivot Factory rider Emile Siegenthaler was in Lenzerheide at the weekend and had the following to report to us:

bigquotesSo I spent my day in Lenz, was warm, sunny and just awesome. The World Cup track is not marked, so the whole start/first rock garden entrance will be a surprise. At the moment, the track is really dusty dry. In general I would say that this track is a mix between bike park berms and natural wood sections. Some sections are really wide, which is good for spectators. But the majority of the track, when not in the rooty woods, is quite bike-parky to be honest, but still fun. In dry conditions the grip is going to be a major issue; tyres choice will be interesting. In muddy conditions the wood sections, mostly off camber, will be tricky the ride. There are some big jumps as well, many of them were closed today though. The improvements made since last year have made the track more flowy but it all will depend on the official taping. - Emilie Siegenthaler, Pivot Factory Racing

Emilie Siegenthaler
  Emilie Siegenthaler getting ready to drop in to what will be the World Cup track this weekend.

With so many people raving about the track, we were keen to see what it entailed. Luckily, Radon Magura Factory Team rider Carina Cappellari was in Lenzerheide at the weekend along with her friend Emilie, and Carina was kind enough to provide us with a POV video of the track. Although the track wasn't taped, it's clear to see the bike park nature of the course, with a few big features thrown in. Check out Carina's run with her team mechanic, Gavin Black, which begins just from a few feet from where the start gate will be.

Views: 10,067    Faves: 7    Comments: 2




3. THE WEATHER



On average, July is the wettest month for Lenzerheide and also the windiest, even though temperatures are typically at their highest (min 12C, max 17C) in this month. The forecast for the weekend is ‘mostly sunny and very warm’. They’re not kidding because thanks to a heat wave moving over Europe this week, this weekend will see temperatures of around 27 degrees Celsius or more, with clear skies overhead for most of the day, so don’t forget to pack your sunscreen folks. Thanks to the downhill being on Saturday, it means riders will miss the downpour scheduled for the evening.

Always a good nature adventure in the high alpines of the Swiss Alps.
  Expect bright sunshine in the run up to the weekend, but don't think you'll get away with not seeing some misty mountains at the weekend over in Lenzerheide. The rain will no doubt play tricks on the XC riders racing Sunday, but things look nice and dry for the downhillers on Saturday.




4. THE RACING



There haven’t been a lot of downhill races held in Lenzerheide, in fact, looking at the records, there’s been only one national-level race, and that was the second round of the 2014 iXS Swiss Cup. Held in late July, under three consecutive days of rain, riders competed in tough, muddy conditions. Despite leading the field in qualifications, Steve Peat and Emilie Siegenthaler were unable to succeed in the finals - Steve Peat finished third, and Emilie was unable to compete because she crashed hard in the morning training session. The inaugural race was won by the world's favourite freeracer, Gstaad-Scott's Brendan Fairclough in Elite Men, and Alba Wunderlin in Elite Women.

bigquotesWhen I raced at Lenzerheide last year it pissed it down all weekend. Despite this, the track held up pretty well. Overall the track flows nicely but I'm looking forward to seeing what upgrades they've made since then. The track is pretty short though, so we're probably looking at some close racing around the three minute mark or under. - Brendan Fairclough, Gstaad-Scott

2014 IXS SWISS CUP - ELITE MEN RESULTS
1. Brendan Fairclough // Gstaad-Scott // 3:05.335
2. Joe Connell // SC-Intense // 3:08.377 (+3.042s)
3. Steve Peat // Santa Cruz Syndicate // 3:09.937 (+4.602s)

2014 IXS SWISS CUP - ELITE WOMEN RESULTS
1. Alba Wunderlin // Stützrädli // 3:53.063
2. Géraldine Fink // Gohl-Tech Manitou Suspension // 4:12.773 (+19.710s)
3. Lea Rutz // Bike4fun-Cheapster.ch // 4:46.053 (+52.990s)

Lenzerheide iXS event
  Unlike his fellow podium companions, Brendan doesn't seem to mind the muddy jersey look.

With the XC World Cup being held the same weekend, the schedule for downhill is shifted a day earlier than normal. The programme of events is as follows:

Friday, 03 July
12:30 World Cup Downhill - Qualifying - Junior Men
13:30 World Cup Downhill - Qualifying - Elite Women
14:00 World Cup Downhill - Qualifying - Elite Men

Saturday, 04 July
12:30 World Cup Downhill - Final - Junior Men
13:15 World Cup Downhill - Final - Elite Women
14:00 World Cup Downhill - Final - Elite Men

Note, all times are local (CET) and subject to change by the race organiser.




5. AWAY FROM THE RACING



If riders and spectators get tired of the downhill racing, a short drive will take them to the pumptracks in Chur, Pontresina and Sils I.D, or if they prefer heights, they can get themselves to Churwalden which claims to have the highest rope park in Switzerland (as well as the longest toboggan run in the world). Alternatively, they could grab a bike and try out the +300km of marked bike trails, including five different downhill tracks, starting from the Scharmoin mid-station to the Rothorn bottom station.

On the cross-country/all mountain side, there’s a wealth of beautiful tracks as far as the eye can see, scattered with various rest-stops serving coffee, beer and apple strudel - take your pick. Pinkbike featured Lee Lau's in-depth travel report from the area a few years back. Lenzerheide is so close to a range of other great bike parks, including Flims. We'll be looking at the trails around Lenzerheide in more depth tomorrow, so keep your eyes peeled on the Pinkbike front page if you want to know more.

Lenzerheide Backcountry photo epic - searching for Furcaleta.
  Lenzerheide dishes out the alpine riding like there's no tomorrow.

If bike fans are prepared to hold out for a week or so after the World Cup, the Swiss national series makes a return to the track on the 19 July. Looking for something more challenging? In August, the annual Trek Bike Attack is hosted on the mountain above Lenzerheide. The Bike Attack is a mass-start downhill race with 2000 metres of vertical descent, and 140 metres of uphill over the 20km course. With around 800 riders from all over Europe coming to race, it’s a pretty busy affair. In September, the resort will host the final stop of the Enduro Trail Trophy Series. This three day event includes has a limited number of rider entries, so if you fancy setting your ride against the clock, here’s your chance.

pic by Trek Bicycle sportograf
  Fancy a mass-start race? Get yourself over to the Trek Bike Attack in August. It's one of the oldest mass-start descents out there.



Stay tuned to Pinkbike for all the news from Lenzerheide this weekend.

Words by Farah Ahmed. With thanks to Lenzerheide Bike Park, iXS European Series, Lee Lau, Matt Wragg, Emilie Seigenthaler, Carina Cappellari, and Brendan Fairclough for the additional content.


MENTIONS: @shimano / @mattwragg / @leelau / @LenzerheideBikepark / @Racement / @pivotcycles / @trek / @RADON-BIKES / @velosolutions




67 Comments

  • 76 0
 Josh please don't over jump that bridge at the end..
  • 23 1
 at 1.5 km he's in danger of jumping the whole track , hopefully it's packed full of tech in those 1.5km
  • 8 0
 vid looks longer than 1.5km
  • 1 0
 1.5 miles I believe it said. I had the same problem, "as if they are running a world cup on one and a half k's of track..."
  • 1 38
flag Petair75 (Jul 1, 2015 at 19:03) (Below Threshold)
 @Henrik54 - sorry bro... I'm not trying to be mean to you but that's a stupidest comment somebody could've sad! You know everybody learns from their own and other's mistakes, especially when someone is on that level... he learned that lesson the hard way, I can guarantee you that will never happen again!
  • 7 0
 Bud it was just a joke! To be fair they are going into that bridge at lightspeed and I can garuntee people will overclear it and crash.
  • 30 4
 That moment you realize that it isn't a preview with Claudio...
  • 10 2
 Should be called an "overview" to avoid confusion.
  • 14 9
 It's called 'Unofficial POV'... which stands for Point of View, so there really isn't any confusion, especially if you read the text that leads up to the video.
  • 21 2
 Actually the title says Preview: DH World Cup, Lenzerheide

Sorry PB, but at this point you've created a monster, Preview and DH shouldn't be used together in a Title unless it's a Claudio video!
  • 13 6
 When the Claudio video comes up it will say 'Video: Claudio's course preview', like it always has and always will Smile
  • 24 0
 Looks like a track where the riders dont necessary Need a chain
  • 2 0
 There is some uphill in this track... but maybe it works
  • 21 4
 Can there be a better day (July 4th) for a race? Go Gwinmerica!!!
  • 5 7
 Merica sucks.
  • 11 2
 I found a typo. In the opening paragraph it says, "one of the greatest sports on the planet" when I think they meant, "the greatest sport on the planet"
  • 16 7
 personally, I think there are so many better places for a world cup!... this is not the best Switzerland has to offer Big Grin
  • 9 1
 There's a lot more to factor into a WC stop than just the trail they race down unfortunately. This still looks pretty entertaining especially those woods sections.
  • 5 0
 Its gonna be good, no doubt.
  • 2 1
 I know Frown I think they are preparing for something big in verbier.. that will be awesome if they manage to get a world cup there for sure! I think we will never ever see something like champery again... the good times are over is all about air time now!
  • 2 1
 Fast and slippery track and quite steep. There are better Swiss tracks, agree.
  • 6 1
 Oh that would be awesome if the did something in Verbier! Champery was just classic. Regardless, anything in Swizz land seems incredible compared to most.
  • 1 0
 oh well... is this also happening on your local bike parks Frown ?
www.pinkbike.com/photo/12421593

what do you guys think?
  • 11 1
 O Claudio, Claudio. Wherefor art thou, Claudio?
  • 8 3
 About the Claudio thing, as cool as the very lad is, I think we should take a look back and remember track walks with Adam Brayton. Please bring those back. The one from Val Di Sole was pure gold.

"We'll be tossin fossilized cow sht at the riders"
  • 7 0
 Too many wood bridges for ratboy!
  • 3 0
 Oh this track is gonna be fantastic come Saturday. I'm unsure why some people look at it as boring. All those tree sections which look smooth now are going to be so freaking gnarly after all the practice runs and then qualifiers. Just look at Leogang a couple weeks back, all that loamy goodness when Claudio did the preview but by the time race day came around there was nothing but roots and rocks left.

The track does have a bit of a Bike park feel through sections and to be honest I could see the same riders who did well in Leogang do very well here. I still think this track is going to really change over the next few days which always makes race day that much more interesting. Track also looks very loose and dusty through sections so I could see there being some pretty good high speed crashes occurring, and I mean c'mon who doesn't like a good high speed crash!?

The last thing Ill say is with a course with this kind of "open" like feel I really hope Red Bull does a banger job with where they put the cameras.
  • 7 1
 yesss!! the WC circus is back in town
  • 5 0
 $300,000 USD! What's that work out to, cost per minute, for this weekend's festivities?
  • 3 0
 $300k over 3 years. $100,000 per the year. Divided by approx. 180 minutes for the major runs on Saturday. You got 100,000/180= 555.5555.
$556 dollars per minute. Plus.... the winner of the race will get a lollipop.
  • 2 0
 hey that's switzerland...
  • 4 1
 I never understood when people stop why they stay on the track, why don't they step aside??? obviously they wanna kill someone or themselves... or just srupid enough not to know the consequences.... ???
  • 6 1
 @Greg Minaar duck at 0:52 please !!!
  • 5 2
 MEH. Ever wonder why Mt St Anne is praised by all riders for the last 20 years? Here's a hint: It's not this bike park sh!t.
  • 3 0
 Minaar better watch his head on that first bridge.
  • 2 0
 Would be nice to see Brendog on the TOP spot again!!
  • 3 1
 who even cares if its not claudio
  • 1 0
 All the tracks I ride are natural trails.. natural tracks are overrated.. give me some bike park fun!
  • 20 19
 For some reason i find the track boring ....
  • 14 6
 Boring? Is that a joke? You better check your pulse if going 30+ kilometers / miles whatever it is on a bike is boring to you.
  • 10 12
 It seems you should ride some European downhill tracks and find out what an interesting track looks like Smile
  • 12 3
 Why don't you go and race the wc then if you think it is so easy. I was just saying it looks fun, not saying its the best wc track, but i would love to ride there. Would you honestly get to the bottom of that track and say " oh that was boring". I call bs.
  • 6 6
 I wouldn't say it's boring , though I would say it just looks mostly like a freeride trail with a rock garden
  • 5 5
 For some reason? I think the reason you feel that way is pretty clear just by watching the video. The track does look pretty boring.

I agree with @MDRipper that riding the thing is most likely a total blast for most, but in terms of a WC race there doesn't really seem to be much there. Super fast and flowy, big jumps, & big drops are all awesome fun, but these are the best riders in the world. High speeds and big jumps/drops don't really present much of a challenge for these guys & girls. It will of course take huge balls for whoever wins to pin it flat out the whole way down, but at the end of the day it just doesn't make for really compelling racing. Without anything to really challenge (besides speed) or trip these guys up, the races do become pretty boring. When there are no rock gardens or root sections, or sections with various line choices there is nothing to differentiate the riders as the come down the hill. They all look the same and you just end up just watching the clock and waiting to see each split.
  • 4 1
 Yeah i agree it is more flowy, but i find it funny that people criticize wc venues when they probably couldn't even make it half way down the track without stopping. Gopros do not do justice, you gotta actually ride the trail to really get a feel for it. If people think this track is so easy, seriously go qualify for one of these we will root for yuh!
  • 3 1
 Yeah but we ain't riding it are we ?

For normal riders sure it will be fun and probably challenging , but these guys are not normal , and bike park berms and jumps don't phase them or challenge them.

I'd f*cking love to ride that track if given the chance , sure I may mince out on some of the big booters , but I expect most of the WC guys will have the track sussed by run number 3 and i will just be all following the same line for 75 percent of it.
  • 4 0
 After watching the course preview I retract my previous statement ! looks like fucking good track !
  • 2 0
 This vid just doesn't make it look good - check Claudio's which is the actual course w/o stops and at much higher pace (plus I love his commentary) and to me it looks pretty damn fine. Looking forward to watching the event!
  • 2 2
 @MDRipper I'm not really sure what it matters if I could make it half way down the or not. I'm not racing. To me the "you couldn't do it" argument against critical fans just doesn't hold any water. Its all about context, and the context here is a track that will be ridden by the best in the world, not me or you or any other Pinkbike commenter.

What other sports are you into? Apply it to anything and its clear its a pretty silly argument. If the quarterback of your favorite football team throws 4 interceptions a game, are fans not allowed to be critical of the guy just because they couldn't do any better? Of course not, that would be silly. That quarterback is better at what he does than 99.99999% of the people in the world that have ever thrown a football. Thats clearly impressive, but in the context of professional football its irrelevant. In the context of professional football, where the players are the best of the best, that quarterback sucks.

Same goes for people like us who are fans of WC racing. That track is seriously awesome and would be a serious challenge for 99.99% of us mere mortals to get down without shitting our pants, any World Cup venue is going to be. But that's not the context here. The context here is that the best of the best, the to .001% of mountain bikers in the world will be on this track, and at first glance in comparison to other WC tracks, this one looks to be a bit boring. Who knows, lets wait and see how it plays out. But we as fans of racing who watch the races have every right to say that if we want too.
  • 2 0
 I rode this track at the ixs cup last year. I'm a solid rider and I can tell you, this Track is very difficult to ride. Next to champery one of the most difficult tracks in Switzerland.
  • 1 0
 @lucinuggi If thats the case then I'm sure the race will turn out great. All I was saying was that at first glance it didn't seem like a track (compared to other WC tracks) that would be very difficult for the top pro riders. I'm not sure why people tend to take such offense to comments like mine in the first place. Sometimes tracks just suck, it happens.
  • 2 0
 Is Chur a town of Kiwis?
  • 1 0
 Very informative and well written!
  • 1 0
 nice video
  • 2 4
 Lenzerheide - oh really? SCHMETTERLINGEN!!!
  • 1 0
 Futterblies? "Pasture of the family Lenzer"
  • 1 3
 Ein Bär ist braun. Bär lebt im wald. Der braunbär ist hungrig. Ein bär aß mein bruder. Hi Five !!!
  • 1 0
 Aloha
  • 2 0
 Pssst, have you really moved to US of A @wakaba? Or you are just affraid of being prejudged as a spoiled relative of a rich Swiss banker?
  • 1 0
 Yes
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