Slugging it Out - Windham XC World Cup

Aug 11, 2014
by Matthew DeLorme  
The track at Windham may not have been the beast the Mont Sainte Anne was, but the long brutal climb and hot temperatures did plenty to take their toll on the riders. Catharine Penrdrel and Nino Schurter Emerged Victorious after a long hot day in the saddle.

The day started off hot and humid with temperatures in the pits reaching near 100F 38C.
  The day started off hot and humid, with temperatures in the pits reaching near 100F/38C.

If you didn t have pit space you warmed up wherever you could take refuge from the sun.
  If you didn't have pit space, you warmed up wherever you could take refuge from the sun.

Despite the heat Georgia Gould was all smiles at the start.
  Despite the heat, Georgia Gould was all smiles at the start.

Georgia Gould teeth clenched powering up the beginning of the long climb to the top.
  Georgia Gould, teeth clenched, powering up the beginning of the long climb to the top.

Jolanda Neff couldn t keep the the winning streak alive today and finished fourth.
  Jolanda Neff couldn't keep the the winning streak alive today and finished fourth.

Catharine Pendrel got away with the lead group right from the start and didn t let up until she took the win.
  Catharine Pendrel got away with the lead group right from the start, and didn't let up until she took the win.

Pendrel took the lead on the first lap hammered up the climb and built a commanding gap back to the other riders.
  Pendrel took the lead on the first lap, hammered up the climb, and built a commanding gap back to the other riders.

Just a bit of bourbon to help loosen the tongue in the heckling garden.
  Just a bit of bourbon to help loosen the tongue in the heckling garden.

When yelling isn t loud enough motivation move on to a higher horsepower form of heckling.
  When yelling isn't loud enough motivation, move on to a higher horsepower form of heckling.

Tanja Zakelj had one of her best rides of the season finishing the five laps in second place.
  Tanja Zakelj had one of her best rides of the season, finishing the five laps in second place.

Specialized s Annika Langvad held out in the heat and conquered the climbs to finish third.
  Specialized's Annika Langvad held out in the heat and conquered the climbs to finish third.

Catharine Pendrel came across the line with a healthy twenty nine second lead on Zakelj.
  Catharine Pendrel came across the line with a healthy twenty nine second lead on Zakelj.

While others came across the line grimacing from the days effort Pendrell was all smiles.
  While others came across the line grimacing from the days effort, Pendrell was all smiles.

Annika Langvad took a few minutes to sit down at the end of the race and get her legs back under her.
  Annika Langvad took a few minutes to sit down at the end of the race and get her legs back under her.

Lea Davidson and Emily Batty have a laugh after the race. Batty finished eighth and Davidson took seventh.
  Lea Davidson and Emily Batty have a laugh after the race. Batty finished eighth and Davidson took seventh.

Marco Fontana was all focus at the start. Unfortunately it just wasn t the Italian s day. He finished the grueling 7 laps in 15th place.
  Marco Fontana was all focus at the start. Unfortunately, it just wasn't the Italian's day. He finished the gruelling 7 laps in 15th place.

Schurter Absalon and McConnell got out in front off the start line. Absalon and Schurter would trade first and second through out the race but Schurter would be victorious.
  Schurter, Absalon, and McConnell got out in front off the start line. Absalon and Schurter would trade first and second through out the race, but Schurter would be victorious.

Schurter blew past the first feed zone. Not taking on water or food for the second lap.
  Schurter blew past the first feed zone. Not taking on water or food for the second lap.

Mathias Fluckiger and brother Lukas were hot on the heels of Absalon and Schurter most of the day. Mathias held on to take fifth place after being overtaken by McConnell.
  Mathias Fluckiger and brother, Lukas, were hot on the heels of Absalon and Schurter most of the day. Mathias held on to take fifth place after being overtaken by McConnell.

Dan McConnell was hard on the gas in the second half of the race battling it out with Lukas Fluckiger for third. Fluckiger passed McConnell on the last lap.
  Dan McConnell was hard on the gas in the second half of the race, battling it out with Lukas Fluckiger for third. Fluckiger passed McConnell on the last lap.

Absalon and Schurter shelled each other throughout the race trading blows until the last lap when Schurter pulled ahead.
  Absalon and Schurter shelled each other throughout the race, trading blows until the last lap when Schurter pulled ahead.

Sergio Mantecon tries to cool down in the hot temps before hammering up the climb.
  Sergio Mantecon tries to cool down in the hot temps before hammering up the climb.

Florian Vogel hops out of the woods on the final descent to the finish line.
  Florian Vogel hops out of the woods on the final descent to the finish line.

Another win for Schurter but it was not enough in the end to take the World Cup overall from Absalon.
  Another win for Schurter, but it was not enough in the end to take the World Cup overall from Absalon.

Seven laps took their toll on Julien Abasalon. The Frenchman still has the lead and it would take a rather poor result from Abasalon to have Schurter take it in the final round.
  Seven laps took their toll on Julien Abasalon. The Frenchman still has the lead, and it would take a rather poor result from Abasalon to have Schurter take it in the final round.


Trailforks.com


82 Comments

  • 101 6
 I love XC!
  • 39 3
 I really am enjoying the amount of XC lately instead of just DH and Enduro. Granted, I love watching those events, but I prefer XC over all else IMO.
  • 13 28
flag jervis (Aug 11, 2014 at 16:54) (Below Threshold)
 What is an avid XC fans opinion of DH and Enduro racing? Local weekend warriors where I live believe it to be the pinnacle of mountain biking. I think it's something to do with their road cycling backgrounds where having the lowest BMI is apparently more impressive than being able to triple up a section over rough roots, smash a loose corner or nail an epic line through a rock garden. As a weekend warrior of DH/All Mountain spec, I fully respect the skills and fitness of XC racers but I don't see the same attitude reciprocated from the local XC folk.
  • 64 1
 @jervis Are you kidding? If you have ever been through a comment thread on Pinkbike, you know that the shit thrown at XC racers is double of whatever shit xc racers give gravity riders. I usually don't comment back, but the fact that you are oblivious to all the hate against XC riders on PB is ridiculous. Everyone, including yourself it seems, thinks that XC racers just sit around weighing themselves and shaving their legs all day.

The fact that you think that XC racers are more concerned with their BMI rather than any aspect of riding shows your ignorance for the subject. XC riders love mountain biking (just like you), and are just as stoked when they nail a gnarly section of trail as you are (if you haven't noticed, racing XC takes a lot more than being a skinny f*cker). We aren't just weight weenies who sit around counting calories and weighing ourselves all day, we freakin' love mountain biking. That includes rocks roots, epic descents, and yes, epic climbs that take us to incredible places that no lift or vehicle can.

As a rider who does everything (XC, enduro, DH), I have respect for all disciplines, and I am glad that you do too. I am stoked that you love mountain biking and I respect what you do, but if you actually want to be friendly of other bike disciplines, look at XC racers as mountain bikers, just like you.
  • 16 2
 I think that XC is a endurance sport like no other. The athletes train as hard as a marathon racer or a roadie but can only win races if they have bike handling skills like no other. I have seen local xc guys enter local dh race and slay the local DHers.Now Pro DH riders are in their own right athletes. To be competitive they have natural skills but need to train both in the gym and on the bike way more than any of us would realize.
Now Enduro. I think it is a true sport like what most of us ride most of the time, A great local race. But a Enduro world series?. I think the industry is grasping at publicity and trying to sell bikes. It gives them a reason for 27.5 wheels. And why Enduro? What happened to Super D? How about a Super D world series. Or maybe a hardtail world series? Heck a fatbike world beer drinking series.
  • 19 0
 @RLEnglish When you start that fat bike world beer drinking series, please let me know. That's something I could get into.
  • 11 0
 Thanks to RedBull that we can watch these events. I don't drink the stuff, but I sure am grateful for the coverage! Free too!
  • 6 6
 I've heard that I speak for everyone here, but I think XC riders only sit around weighing themselves and shaving their legs all day. ;-)
  • 5 0
 @Thustlewhumber glad we're all on the same page now Wink
  • 5 0
 Guys, can we do a fatbike world beer drinking series: Mountain bike edition? We chug a pint then bike down a glacier?
  • 5 4
 I know I will get negative-propped, (I have nothing, absolutely nothing against XC and completely support those that ride it, including myself on occasion....) however, I watched my first ever WC XC race last weekend and found that it was just as about exciting as watching paint dry or snails racing compared to the speed and dynamics of WC DH. Yawnnn.... Still, I'm sure there are plenty of fans.
  • 5 0
 In the three or four years I have had the privilege of watching the World cup circuit in my hometown and have realised that watching the dh live st the event is great...but you cant get a sense of all the track and how each rider is getting pitted against the other. Watching DH live usually involves starting at the top and progressing down to watch the final ten come into finish. you watch different riders at different stages in the course...never all of them at that same point. In fact...you get a much better perspective watching the DH on TV as you do live juust for this reason. Absolutely - its a rush watching for the red or the green with the crowd going wild....but you just cant get the full perspective. XC on the other hand is Great to watch live when you know the challengers. You can move around the circuit and see how all the riders tackle technical obstacles, gruelling climbs and fast descents. You can watch how the riders are challenging each other, putting the hurt on up a climb, or testing their opponent....you can watch the race unfold. I love both disciplines and in 2 weeks time in meribel both the dh and xc are setup to be a superb closure to the season
  • 7 0
 Big mountain fatbike beer series: every rider gets a 2L camelbak full of beer and rides down a mountain. The beer has to be gone by the time you finish for the run to count.

@stretchza I 100% agree with you. Watching DH live is pretty fun just for seeing people rush by (and getting to chill with the hecklers!) but as far as being an actual spectator sport it's not that great. I was at Windham and had a blast, but I went right home to watch the replay of it afterwards so I could actually tell what was going on. It's a little better if you hang out at the bottom where the leaderboard is, but then you only get to see the fast, smooth stuff at the end. XC racing is actually a great spectator sport cuz you have like an hour and a half to run around and check out different parts of the course, and see the drama unfold as riders attack or get broken. It's a much better live spectator event IMO.
  • 4 0
 @bkm303 I think we have a new competition in our hands
  • 59 1
 XC coverage gets better and better! Thanks Pinkbike!
  • 8 2
 this photo set certainly eXCeeded my expectations
  • 20 0
 Great coverage! Wish there had been a few more photos on the downhills/tech sections but no complaints. Such a fun race to watch, it was won as much on the descents as on the climbs! Really ballsy descending by all the top riders.
  • 27 5
 The scrolling was worth it , one Batty photo !
  • 6 5
 Should have wait for her to remove her shades.
  • 5 1
 I got a pic with her at Windhan. She is soooo beautiful.
  • 1 0
 I got to stay two condos down from her at Windham. ;-)
  • 21 5
 whomever wrote the captions for these photos, didn't watch the race, apparently. two things, "Absalon and Schurter shelled each other throughout the race, trading blows until the last lap when Schurter pulled ahead." wrong, Nino dominated the last 3 laps, staying in front of Absalon till the finish. And secondly, you mentioned Neff finished forth, but you failed to mention the important part about that...it was enough to wrap up the season, thus winning the overall World Cup title for 2014, before round 7 even starts. ok, i feel better now.
  • 4 0
 I believe the fact that Neff had the overall wrapped up was mentioned several times in the MSA post… so whoever you are, you didn't read those captions, apparently.
  • 19 1
 Liking these XC photos!
  • 9 0
 Man this coverage is awesome. After a horrible DH crash, I can't do that anymore. But I can XC race. So having this coverage is incredible to learn from, cheer for and see what I get to aspire to.
  • 7 0
 Odd to see that some ride hard tails and some fullies! I thought the difference would be too big between the two, but it doesn't seem to make much of a difference?
  • 4 1
 That is odd....do you know what wheel size they use? Is it all 29er ....or do some still use 26 and 650B?
  • 5 0
 what? Did you not know that Nino Schurter helped propel 650B forward because he was the guy that started winning World Cup races and entire series on it?

Ya didn't see him out descend Julian Absalon, the greatest of all time in XC on his 650B at Windham and MSA?

Jolanda Neff is also dominating the series on her new 650B Liv/Giant.
  • 4 2
 No I didn't know that....so are the other riders mostly on 650B too ? What is the percentage of racers still using 29? 26? and 650B???
  • 5 0
 Okay found this article

www.pinkbike.com/news/nove-mesto-xc-world-cup-day-one-in-the-pits.html

Looks like Nino likes the 650B alot...most others on 29ers...
  • 3 0
 1 of the 6 global product manager's at Giant told me directly that they will continue to support 29'er for the racing and trail crowd because those guys (and girls) still want it

Obviously Giant has been one of the big proponents of pushing 27.5 / 650b but they feel there is a place for both wheel sizes in their bike range

Moving forward several seasons this may change (this was hinted at) but for now its both sizes in production at Giant.
  • 1 0
 Nino also uses tubular tyres with fabric casings and the treads glued directly to the fabric. I'm surprised that nobody ever mentions those, they must be so comfy compared to kevlar clinchers. I bet they're worth a bunch of time to Nino.
  • 1 0
 One of the benefits of the tubulars is that if he does flat they are glued to the rim which allows him to still pedal/ride without the tire coming completely off the rim or spinning on it under power which can really make getting to the tech zone difficult.
  • 1 0
 So I guess no one knows how some guys can get away with racing fullies vs. hard tails? I thought I'd read on here some time ago a comment about how even a couple of grams can make a difference of a few seconds over a full race run. But the shock weight and energy absorption/sag is no big deal?
  • 7 0
 Saw Absalon and Schurter battling for the first place at MSA, theses guys are beast!
  • 8 0
 So refreshing to see some hardcore xc photo's.
  • 7 2
 I looked for the first time a XC race and I was pleasantly surprised by their ability to up as motorcycles, have the same speed throughout the race, awesome
  • 8 1
 I am mostly dh and #enduro but Damn xc racing looks intense!
  • 4 0
 No mention of Anton Cooper .... 2nd place I believe ? Commonwealth games gold medallist !!!

On a different note, that girl is so hot ! She drives me BATTY !!!!
  • 3 0
 In the Under 23's. I really can't wait for Anton to move up to Pro-Elite in a few years... He's like Nino Schurter, just shorter and younger haha. He's going to be pretty dominant!
  • 1 0
 Batty in person was really different than pictures.
  • 1 0
 First race I have seen in few years. DH was cool but really a kiddo event and a little boring to watch live. Ride for 2-3 minutes, all fresh to the podium, beers (just for looks)... I did see the "wild" winner of the men's downhill race in town the day after... He looked like a Connecticut college kid... Rachel likes to party and have fun, if you know what I mean... Men Xco race was another planet, at the end of the race these people looked like they just got back from the front line. They were riding at the limit for the whole race. Emily Batty is a great rider but-sorry to put it out- very very different in person than photos. Does not look like somebody who is interested in men. Not even top 10. Eva Lechner on the other hand was very-very "interesting", huge presence, along with jolanda and a new rider from Specialz.
  • 3 0
 How many laps do these guys do?
  • 8 0
 Seven. It's absolutely brutal.
  • 3 0
 Awesome Race.. I can't wait for the finals..
  • 5 3
 so how much is 100 farenheit in celsius?
  • 4 2
 Its around 37 degrees C
  • 3 1
 That picture of Florian Vogel is awesome!
  • 4 2
 I was there and it was no where near 100 degrees. It was mid 70's
  • 4 1
 me too. and that's exactly what I was thinking. except maybe 80s?
  • 2 0
 It felt like high 70's to low 80's to me. Felt quite hot hiking up the mountain in the sun, but very pleasant cheering the race in wooded sections. Was such a sick race, I love Windham!
  • 1 0
 The caption said "in the pits", so it could be that under the vinyl tents, it was indeed near 100.
  • 1 0
 ^^Oops, still logged in as Matt on my computer.
  • 1 0
 I was there Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It was mid 80's all three days. Looked up forecast each day to know how to prepare. It was hot in the sun for sure, with no clouds or wind, but not even close to 100F. Besides, look at the first photo here, the 99.1F temp is in the "Inside" box, and has a battery error icon next to it. The "Outside" box just shows dashes (error).

Also, I don't think that being under a vinyl tent shading you from the sun RAISES the temperature 20 degrees.
  • 2 0
 Unfortunately, many of the factory team tents have walls/trailers and very minimal airflow. Overheard several riders discussing moving out of the pit area to warm up because it was too hot inside the tent. Either way, why don't we all agree that it was just a "rather warm" weekend?
  • 1 0
 wow, temps climbed 25+ degrees from saturday? glad temps stayed the same at platty
  • 4 2
 ...looks like fun
  • 3 2
 just to echo tylerj556---it wasn't 100 degrees.
  • 3 1
 More Batty...
  • 1 0
 Hats off to PB photographer, awesome job, bravo!!!!
  • 1 2
 As long as I don't see any "good" close up's on Emily Batty, it's not worth watching!!!!!!
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