Photo Epic: Swiss Made - The Lenzerheide World Cup Track Walk 2015

Jul 1, 2015
by Dave Trumpore  
Swiss Made. A slogan that is often synonymous with perfection and construction of the highest quality, one that so far seems quite fitting for the new venue and new track here in Lenzerheide. Built from scratch just for the World Cup, the downhill track looks to be very unique in comparison to what has been raced already this year, and those that will be raced in the months to come. As the mid-point marker on the season, it is fitting that riders are facing something very different for a change.

You have likely hard rumours and rumblings that it is a 'bike park' track, a common phrase used by racers to describe something man made or too easy. But upon closer inspection it really is as far from the truth as you can get. For one, it is steep, very, very steep, and littered with corner after corner. Some clever taping - tight in some spots and extra wide in others - has opened up multiple line choices, many of which will force riders from the hard-packed main line of the bike park's berms and into some slippery inside lines and high-speed off-cambers. What the track may lack in 'gnar' it makes up for in speed and the constant changes in direction. Add to the mix a trail surface that has not seen moisture in recent memory and you have dirt that yields minimal traction. At speed the track is extremely rough and this will only worsen as the week progresses, as with the loose surface that will have riders constantly trying to balance control while their tires are constantly sliding around beneath them. It is certainly going to be a challenge for every rider and we, just like you at home, can't wait to see the action unfold.

Welcome to Lenzerheide and the Swiss Alps
  Welcome to Lenzerheide and the Swiss Alps.

For some it was a long arduous drive from Chamonix.
  For some, it was a long arduous drive from Chamonix. Quite a Trek some would say...

From the steeps of Verbier to the steeps of Lenzerheide Switzerland has plenty of amazing scenery and riding.
  Teams have been keeping it local since Leogang. Trek World Racing have come from the steeps of Verbier to the steeps of Lenzerheide. Switzerland has plenty of amazing scenery and riding.

Cows are prized in these parts for their milk and for fighting. These were a family s best commemorated on the outside of the barn.
  Cows are renowned in these parts for their milk, and for fighting. These were a family's best, commemorated on the outside of the barn.

So long French Alps hello to Lenzerheide. Ladies and gentleman we are racing
  So long French Alps, hello to Lenzerheide. Ladies and gentleman, we are racing!

views for miles from the top of the gondola.
  Views for miles from the top of the gondola.

With a new venue and a new track everyone was eager to head up the gondola to se what was in store
  With a new venue and a new track, everyone was eager to head up the gondola to see what was in store.

Grass freshly peeled from the piste in the off camber after the start.
  Grass freshly peeled from the piste in the off-camber after the start.

The top of the track is as fresh as it gets. Meaning it was built just one day ago.
  The top of the track is as fresh as it gets. Meaning it was built just one day ago.

Mondraker was one of if not the first team to get out and walk the track.
  Mondraker was one of the first teams to get out and walk the track.

Eddie Masters master of the selfie.
  Eddie Masters, master of the selfie.

Just one of the many volunteers that have signed up to mow the grass along the top section of the track.
  Just one of the many volunteers that have signed up to mow the grass along the top section of the track.

Prized cows who aren t too keen to let cars pass are the norm in these parts.
  Prized cows who aren't too keen to let cars pass are the norm in these parts.

Sam Hill is here and so is his downhill bike. He has a mullet. That s about all we know from the ever-secretive SH camp.
  Sam Hill is here and so is his downhill bike. He has a mullet. That's about all we know from the ever secretive SH camp.

The after the first turn things go wide and grassy probably to shake off all the bike-park connotations at the start.
  After the first turn things go wide and grassy, probably to shake off all the 'bike-park' connotations at the start.

The first gap to think about is seriously big and will be best enjoyed over 70kph.
  The first gap to think about is seriously big and will be best enjoyed over 70kph.

Nothing like a waffle-sole for traction in the rocks
  Nothing like a waffle-sole for traction in the rocks...

The Polygons inspecting the landing of Peaty s Plank roadgap halfway into the race track.
  The Polygons inspecting the landing of the 'Peaty's Plank' road-gap halfway into the track. A few lines can be seen going in to this, choose wisely can only be the best advice here.

Definitly not a bike park section
  Definitely not a bike park section.

Steve Smith approves of oth the track and the superb weather here in Switzerland
  Steve Smith approves of the the track and the superb weather here in Switzerland. He's already put in a few laps this week, will it pay out come Saturday?

The line on the left is the easies to get on but ends in a tight off camber. The line on the left is slower to set up for but allows for a sfer exit. Choices choices choices
  The line on the left in this picture is the easiest to get on but ends in a tight off camber. The line on the right is slower to set up for but allows for a safer exit. Choices, choices, choices.

the entire track decends directly below the gondola making it one of the best tarck of the year for spectators. It should also yeild some excellent TV coverage being so out in the open.
  The entire track descends directly below the gondola, making it one of the best tracks of the year spectator-wise we think. It should also yield some excellent TV coverage being so out in the open and also on the shorter side of the clock.

The main line is as hard and dry as it gets but riders looking for fractions of seconds might be putting their tires elsewhere
  The 'main line' is as hard and dry as it gets, but riders looking for fractions of seconds might be putting their tires elsewhere.

In many spots the inside lines look to be quicker and more direct but they are extremely loseright now
  In many spots, the inside lines look to be quicker and more direct, but they are extremely loose right now. Let's see how they cut in after the first laps tomorrow.

Currently the course is dry and super harpacked in most places but not without significant teeth. If it stays this hot and dry expect some serious marble and dust-bowl zones to develop.
  Dry and super hard packed in most places, but not without significant teeth. If it stays this hot and no mountain rain, expect some serious marble and dust-bowl zones to develop.

There are definite patches of loam in 3 or 4 sections accompanied by generously wide taping.
  There are definite patches of loam in three or four sections, accompanied by generously wide taping.

Marcelo approves and so do we. Much of the woods are fresh cut and covered in loam. What lies beneath roots is still yet to be seen.
  Marcelo approves, and so do we. Much of the woods are fresh cut and covered in loam. What lies beneath (roots) is still yet to be seen.

Taped wide and littered with trees the forst woods section will be interesting
  Taped wide and littered with trees, the first woods section will be interesting

Road gap 1 leads into another section of steep switchbacks
  Peaty's Plank is an ideal crowd pleaser, just maybe find somewhere else to park.

Hard berms way outside or loose and direct inside lines. It will be interesting to see how these sections evolve over the next few days.
  Hard berms way outside, or loose and direct inside lines. It will be interesting to see how these sections evolve over the next few days.

Where would you go
  Where would you go? From Claudio's course preview a direct line through here is probably where racers will be going.

Road gap 2. Take note of the inside line just after the landing
  Road gap #2. Take note of the inside line just after the landing.

What ever could this be getting delivered in massive quantity
  What ever could this be getting delivered in massive quantity? We might well be getting more acquainted on Saturday.

Beer of course for the huge beer garden that has been instaled overlooking the finish line
  Beer of course, for the huge beer garden that has been installed overlooking the finish line.

Peaty is sporting a Robo Cop leg and can walk up track but not down.
  Peaty is sporting a CTI brace RoboCop leg and can walk up track, but not down.

The Plunge. Or because we are in Switzerland should it be zee plunge
  The Plunge. Full commitment only please.

steep loose and full of stumps Neko Mulally inspects the landing of The Plunge
  Steep, loose and full of stumps, Neko Mulally inspects the landing of this slow-speed huck.

Harry Heath isnt hearing any of the chatter about the track being a bike park.
  Harry Heath isn't hearing any of the chatter about the track being a bike park.

The camera may have flattened this bit out but trust us when we say it is straight down. Look for all that grass on the right to be gone by noon tomorrow
  The camera may have flattened this bit out, but trust us when we say it is straight down. Look for all that grass on the right to be gone by noon tomorrow

The view from above gives a bit of perspective to the scale of one of the jumps near the bottom.
  The view from above gives a bit of perspective to the scale of one of the jumps near the bottom.

High speed and loose isthe name of the game heading into the final bit of woods
  High speed and loose is the name of the game heading into the final bit of woods.

Are you getting excited yet
  Are you getting excited yet? There's a couple of lines going on here... maybe even a few.

TThe number of corners and the steep grade of the track mean that this safety neeting will undoubtably save more than a few riders this weekend.
  The number of corners and the steep grade of the track mean that this safety netting will undoubtedly save more than a few riders this weekend.

The crash netting will stop you 100 ... so long as you cautiously lean into at walking-pace.
  The crash netting will stop you 100%... so long as you cautiously lean into it at walking-pace.

Sunbrellas all round for Atherton Racing.
  Sunbrellas all round for Atherton Racing.

The final step-up though huge is apparently much too short given the lightning-speed run in.
  The final step-up, though huge, is apparently much too short given the lightning-speed run in.

Before the finish come two very steep grassy and off-camber car-park banks.
  Before the finish come two very steep, grassy and off-camber car-park banks.

The final drop into the finish area is a doozy. This track is fast and there could well be carnage here.
  The final drop into the finish area is a doozy. This track is fast and there could well be carnage here.

High-speeds on sun-baked hard-pack could make this a favorite for the Aussies and with Fearon s current form you wouldn t bet against a top result
  High-speeds on sun-baked hard-pack could make this a favorite for the Aussies and with Fearon's current form you wouldn't bet against a top result

The last of the hard labour in motion as the clock ticks towards Lenzerheide kick-off.
  The last of the hard labour in motion as the clock ticks towards Lenzerheide kick-off.

Just meters from the bottom of the track is a great way to beat the heatwave we are currently experiencing here in Europe.
  Just meters from the bottom of the track is a great way to beat the heatwave we are currently experiencing here in Europe.

Because you should always ollie whilst you work.
  Because you should always ollie whilst you work.

Introducing Pinkbike s newly appointed director of Instagram for this very special weekend unfolding.
Introducing Pinkbike's newly appointed director of Instagram for this very special weekend unfolding. That's right, Brendan is partnering up with Neko to take hold of Pinkbike's instagram account. I wonder what he is planning...

The latest in brake technology.
  The latest in brake technology.

Brosnan checked in with the fellas from SRAM after a two week break.
  Brosnan checks in with the fellas from SRAM after a two week break.

Usually SRAM has a higher work load on the first day. Not today likely because no one can find them in the many pit areas.
  Usually SRAM, has a higher workload on the first day. Not today, likely because no one can find them in the many pit areas.

Lined up and ready to go.
  Lined up and ready to go.





As an added bonus it isn't just DH this weekend, and with the addition of XC on Sunday the whole World Cup circus is all in one place for the first time of the season. Since we'll also be featuring top-notch coverage of the XC race, we thought it would be fitting to send Matt Delorme and Dave Trumpore out to take a look at what's in store. What did they find?

Dave taking the high line over a flat root section.
  Dave taking the high line over a flat root section.

We won t be witnessing cornering like this on the xc track. We don t think.
  We probably won't be witnessing cornering like this on the XC track. We don't think.

Another excellent track full of twisty woods, big roots and plenty of tech to keep any rider on their toes. Let's just say that anyone on a hardtail or running a rigid seatpost will be at a severe disadvantage. Cheers to Lenzerheide for putting the MOUNTAIN back in XC mountain bike racing - hucks and all.

More xc corner destruction courtesy of Dave Trumpore.
  More XC corner destruction courtesy of Dave Trumpore.

This is not the XC race line but it would be rad to see them huck the stump.
  This is not the XC race line, but it would be rad to see them huck the stump.

Lenzerheide World Cup Track Walk
Good Night and we will see you tomorrow as riders put their tires in the dirt for the very first time in Lenzerheide. Keep it locked to Pinkbike for all the practice action tomorrow!





56 Comments

  • + 109
 Meh, I'll probably just watch the Prologue stage of the Tour de France instead. .... said nobody, ever.
  • + 6
 This X1000
  • + 4
 Obviously depends on where you live.
  • + 16
 I am definitely going to watch both.
  • + 0
 And so am I @Patrick9-32
  • + 2
 im the only Mtb Guy in the shop i work at =( the rest are roadies so it looks like i will be watching the tdf on the shop tv instead. ah well thank redbull for the replays
  • + 6
 DH on the computer, Tour de France on the TV ;-)
  • + 53
 Something something something Sam Hill is back!
  • + 30
 Judging by Marco Aurelio Fontana's Instagram, the XC Track is RAD. DH track looks mint, if a little short, hopefully that means excellent coverage. This race looks to me like it's either gonna be one of incredibly fine margins, or someone like Rat, Sam Hill or Gwin is gonna pull a stupid line off and smash the field by seconds. I for one, cannot wait either way.
  • + 4
 Woot!
  • + 18
 I love WC season, makes my day in the office so less productive !!!! The coverage is sooooo good it makes you feel like your there ! All contributors, thank you so much p.s. good luck Kiwis this track suits you all !!!!! Yeeeeewwwwwwwwwwwwwweeeeeeeee!!!
  • + 6
 "The first gap to think about is seriously big and will be best enjoyed over 70kph."!
Hot-dang this will be a fantastic race!
  • + 21
 I was drawn in by the cow nostrils........
  • + 16
 Sam Hill !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • + 11
 Cmon Sam, please be racing!
  • + 9
 freaking love the bike choise for the XC pictures Razz
  • + 1
 Track was too challenging for the guy on an xc bike Wink
  • + 4
 It looks pretty frickin' steep in most/all of the photos, therefore it's even steeper than it looks. Kind of an old-school meets new-school thing from what I've seen so far. Let's hope the racing is tight and everybody can keep it upright!

If Hill were 100% right now, he'd be the odds-on favorite. Since he's not, I could see several folks winning this one - a few potential first-time-winners included (Bruni, Fearon, Brannigan, Hart, Mulally, Wyn???). Of course, not many people expected Hill to win worlds in 2010 at MSA coming back from an injury. If Gwin holds his form, he'd put serious distance on the overall points title...especially if his closest contenders have a less-than-stellar race.
  • + 3
 Always great to see a first time winner... Like to see Bruni and Minnaar on or near the top step with Gwinny somewhere mid top 10. Just want to keep the overall interesting. If the overall tightens up a bit, MSA good be a real awesome race with Steve, Rat, and hopefully Hill being real close to 100% and back on pace. Would be awesome if Val di Sol was a 2 or 3 man winner take all at the end. Such a sick track to decide it all.
  • + 2
 There you go, @dhx42 - well played!!
  • + 2
 Hahaha @Pininator . Should have put some money on that...
  • + 3
 What a great season thus far. So many riders riding well at the moment it makes guessing difficult. Would be cool to see Fearon keep the momentum and get another great result. Also would be rad to see the chainsaw massacre have a good race.
  • + 6
 Last step up + Ratboy = ?
He better watch out
  • + 6
 this had Sam Hill written all over it
  • + 1
 so much better than expected! just the last steep motorway leading to the final step-up looks like foot breaker. lets hope the best.

edit: is there anyone from baden-württemberg, münich, hesse etc going there on saturday and would pick me up in ulm? Big Grin
  • + 4
 That final drop looks massive!
  • + 5
 And you know if it looks big on camera, it is over 9000 in person.
  • + 3
 Can't wait to watch this race on site! Thank you Lenzerheide for making this happen!!
  • + 1
 I want Minaar to take the win but it's doubtful considering fast and healthy riders like Marcelo, Kona Conner, Sam Hill, and Ratty in the mix. We will see what Gwinny can do here as well.
  • + 3
 The Brits and their sunbrellas Wink High hopes for Sam, Minnaar and Gwin Big Grin
  • + 1
 Rachael is looking up at the sun, from under her sun umbrella, like she's never seen it before
  • + 2
 Chains optional this week??
  • + 1
 I want to see 'hip jump huck G-landing into the berm' at the final step-up... please! Smile
  • + 1
 "Hedley and Wyche, the British toothpaste. You don't have to brush your teeth every week, but you just might want to."
  • + 3
 SAM IS BACK! WHEW!!
  • + 3
 That Mohl is cider, bru.
  • + 2
 im not sure. the word 'cider' appears about 30+ times in the one photo.
  • + 1
 yep Swizly is cider
  • + 2
 Don't get too excited. Minnaar's gonna take it.
  • + 2
 Great pics, beautiful scenery, should be a killer weekend of MTB racing!
  • + 2
 I wish my local bike park looked like this.
  • + 1
 way to go! excellent photo epic
  • + 1
 way to go! excellent photo epic
  • + 1
 That 2nd cow picture is just great Big Grin
  • + 1
 Seriously cool thumbnail.
  • + 2
 Proscht!!
  • - 1
 Didn't see Gwinner. Is he so good he doesn't need the preview or just fixing something on his bike? Go get 'em Gwinny!
  • + 1
 sam´s mullet ftw!
  • + 1
 sick
  • - 1
 cows were soooooo last race…move on ha ha
  • + 5
 moooove on, surely?
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