Fog, fans, and FAF racing... today was an atmospheric one out on the mountain, headlined by a 'return of the Mac' and with a real nail-biter queued up for the women's race. From the early morning, thick fog clung to the course, keeping the rocks and roots slick all the way until the beeps of Qualifying drowned out the cowbells. The classic 'North Shore' conditions brought a vibe we've never encountered in this part of the World. Lenzerheide has hosted three World Cups with near immaculate summer weather each time. The clouds should now be on their way out, with sun being swapped in for the last practice day and nothing but rainbows on the forecast for the big show itself.
The nature of World Champs is a YOLO affair and there's no better thrill than a wide-open race with no clear favourite like we have on hands here. In the men's, a top five of MacDonald, Vergier, Fearon, Maes, and Gwin separated by just two seconds leaves a lot to the imagination, particularly with enduro wizard, Maes, having lost a chain long before sight of the finish area. Rainbow club members Hart and Bruni were also inside the top ten, while Pierron crashed and Minnaar is possibly not yet fully recovered. Of course, we have to consider that, for the protected riders, this afternoon's shenanigans are of little consequence; not even having much effect on Sunday's start order.
A plot twist could be on the way for the women's race as well, as Tahnee Seagrave had the advantage by some 4 seconds by the second split today, only to come off the bike and cross the line less than a second back on the four-time champ, Atherton. Vali Holl looks set to predictably steal the show on a bike that seems to have already won the World Champs (at least for most popular paint), having overtaken four competitors on her way to victory, while Kade Edwards put a huge score on the board and went fastest in the Junior Men's, although there were notable crashes.
All eyes on Sunday.