Track Walk Photo Epic: Shock to the System - Leogang DH World Champs 2020

Oct 7, 2020
by Ross Bell  



Photo Epic presented by Five Ten

It may have taken until October but finally we have ourselves some top-level downhill racing to savour and there's no easing in... First race back and it's World Champs in Leogang. Whilst the Austrian venue is a mainstay on the World Cup circuit, it's often dubbed as a fairly mellow bike park race. That certainly wouldn't appear to be the case this year. Walking down the track today in some rather foul conditions, it seemed to follow the usual Leogang flavour of high speed and manmade features until we reached the wallrides above the woods. The riders take the left hand wallride as normal but instead of taking the right hander too, they break off the normal track and onto some off-camber grass before diving into the woods on to some oh-so-steep and oh-so-slick fresh cut which will change the complexity of this World Championship massively.

There were mixed feelings from the riders it seemed. Some loved it, some even called it dangerous. For years racers have screamed out for something different from the Leogang track and this year the organisers have certainly delivered that. The bottom woods is unridden, off camber, steep, rooty, and treacherously slick. The first practice session tomorrow will be an eye-opening experience for both those inside and outside of the tape. Should the racers survive the woods, their path will then be blocked by a huge new gap which had people gulping and gasping when they walked the plank to peer over the edge. The track is soft and soaking top to bottom thanks to consistently heavy rain throughout the day. The next 2 days look slightly more favourable weather-wise but then for race day it looks like a whole other kettle of fish... Predictions anyone? We haven't the faintest.

The mountains were hiding away in a blanket of cloud this morning.
The mountains were hiding away in a blanket of cloud this morning.

The best view of the pits available to media... Covid restrictions are tight to say the least.
The best view of the pits available to media... Covid restrictions are tight to say the least.

No pass no entry. The organisers seem to be running a tight ship with different bubbles and regulations in place this weekend to keep everyone safe. You won t be seeing much from us in the pits this weekend unfortunately.
No pass, no entry. The organisers seem to be running a tight ship with different bubbles and regulations in place this weekend to keep everyone safe. You won't be seeing much from us in the pits this weekend unfortunately.

The Bulldog is back. What a comeback story. A little over a year on from his horrendous World champs crash in Mont Sainte Anne Brook MacDonald is back in action.
The Bulldog is back. What a comeback story. A little over a year on from his horrendous World Champs crash in Mont-Sainte-Anne, Brook MacDonald is back in action.

Myriam Nicole didn t get to wear her World Champs jersey a whole lot this season so will be hungry to defend it in the hope of more outings next season.
Myriam Nicole didn't get to wear her World Champs jersey a whole lot this season, so will be hungry to defend it in the hope of more outings next season.

We ll never tire of the Leogang backdrop.
We'll never tire of the Leogang backdrop.

Troy Brosnan and Loic Bruni check out the first few meters of track.
Troy Brosnan and Loic Bruni check out the first few meters of track.

Trek Factory Racing is 3 strong this weekend with Chilean EWS race Pedro Burns joining Charlie Harrison and Reece Wilson.
Trek Factory Racing is 3 strong this weekend with Chilean EWS race Pedro Burns joining Charlie Harrison and Reece Wilson.

The same off-camber start that we ve been accustomed to over the last few years is back in again this year.
The same off-camber start that we've been accustomed to over the last few years is back in again this year.

Aaron Gwin knows Leogang and how to win it come what may... But does he know this kind of Leogang The extreme weather is a curveball and the new section well you ll see.
Aaron Gwin knows Leogang and how to win it come what may... But does he know 'this kind' of Leogang? The extreme weather is a curveball and the new section, well, you'll see.

Loony toons Vali H ll and her mechanic Matt.
Loony toons Vali Holl and her mechanic, Matt.

Freshly stomped turf... there s nothing quite like it.
Freshly stomped turf... there's nothing quite like it.

It doesn t get more scenic that Leogang with a light dusting of powder.
It doesn't get more scenic that Leogang with a light dusting of powder.

Snow on the peaks rain on the rooves. World Champs is here with about the best weather conditions we could have hoped for October in the mountains.
Snow on the peaks, rain on the rooves. World Champs is here with about the best weather conditions we could have hoped for October in the mountains.

A stampeed of masked riders with umbrellas covering the track. Take your best guess who s who and what line might be nice to ride.
A stampede of masked riders with umbrellas covering the track. Take your best guess who's who and what line might be nice to ride.

We re used to some thick mud in Leogang but well...double the usual.
We're used to some thick mud in Leogang but, well... double the usual.

An all-new hip-jump up top should produce some sick moments on camera unless those damn racers find a way to cut or squash it. Which they surely will.
An all-new hip-jump up top should produce some sick moments on camera, unless those damn racers find a way to cut or squash it. Which they surely will.

The herd was here.
The herd was here.

A river runs through most it right now.
A river runs through most it right now.

The steep rock garden before the hall of fame is again bypassed but this time extra slippery.
The steep rock garden before the 'hall of fame' is again bypassed, but this time extra slippery.

Troy Brosnan absorbing the World Champ wisdom.
Troy Brosnan absorbing the World Champ wisdom.

This is normally flat out and high speed but it might roll quite a bit slower this season.
This is normally flat out and high speed but it might roll quite a bit slower this season.

Mark Wallace and his new dentistry.
Mark Wallace and his new dentistry.

Weather conditions were foul out there today.
Weather conditions were foul out there today.

MacDonald and Farina making battle plans for the mud.
MacDonald and Farina making battle plans for the mud.

Slick as.
Slick as.

Leogang hosts the World Championships for the first time since 2012.
Leogang hosts the World Championships for the first time since 2012.

The woman to beat this weekend Vali Holl lives very close by to Leogang and is finally making the step up to elites.
The woman to beat this weekend? Vali Holl lives very close by to Leogang and is finally making the step up to elites.

The track looks like it ll change a fair amount through the week.
The track looks like it'll change a fair amount through the week.

The stump section always gets a lot of attention thanks to its tricky exit which can kill crucial exit speed onto the motorway.
The stump section always gets a lot of attention thanks to its tricky exit which can kill crucial exit speed onto the motorway.

The motorway senders will be especially hard to clear with soggy ground and mud filled tyres.
The motorway senders will be especially hard to clear with soggy ground and mud-filled tyres.

AG and John Hall patrolling under grey skies.
AG and John Hall patrolling under grey skies.

Fresh touches have been applied at many points on the way down but the rain won t help keep them at there best for long.
Fresh touches have been applied at many points on the way down, but the rain won't help keep them at there best for long.

Riders normally get a good view of the Leogang mountain range on this takeoff not so much today.
Riders normally get a good view of the Leogang mountain range on this takeoff, not so much today.

The long motorway remains unchanged.
The long motorway remains unchanged.

The usual route would see riders bank right on the wallride not this year.
The usual route would see riders bank right on the wallride, not this year.

A quick blast of open piste before heading into the dark of the woods.
A quick blast of open piste before heading into the dark of the woods.

There s no easing into it in the woods straight into the steeps.
There's no easing into it in the woods, straight into the steeps.

When it looks steep on camera you know it s really rather steep.
When it looks steep on camera you know it's really rather steep.

This catch netting could have a very busy weekend.
This catch netting could have a very busy weekend.

Seth Sherlock skates his way down the woods hoping the BC-like conditions will feel familiar come tomorrow.
Seth Sherlock skates his way down the woods hoping the BC-like conditions will feel familiar come tomorrow.

IFR manager Todd Schumlick gets Aaron s take on the steep woods.
IFR manager Todd Schumlick gets Aaron's take on the steep woods.

The level of anti-traction in the woods is not to be underestimated.
The level of anti-traction in the woods is not to be underestimated.

Slip n slide onto the boardwalk what could go wrong...
Slip n slide onto the boardwalk, what could go wrong...

No Californian is happy with damp feet and AG was probably struggling to maintain the smile under the mask.
No Californian is happy with damp feet and AG was probably struggling to maintain the smile under the mask.

Welcome to the wall. Do try not to brake.
Welcome to the wall. Do try not to brake.

Inside or outside
Inside or outside?

They ve taped it wide which should give riders plenty of line options over the weekend.
They've taped it wide which should give riders plenty of line options over the weekend.

B practice tomorrow is going to be wild.
B practice tomorrow is going to be wild.

Mark Wallace looks for a line where there isn t one yet.
Mark Wallace looks for a line where there isn't one yet.

A lederhose-clad Bruni slipping down through the forest.
A lederhose-clad Bruni slipping down through the forest.

When the ruts form tomorrow afternoon it ll be better. Poor womens and juniors riding first thing tomorrow.
When the ruts form tomorrow afternoon, it'll be better. Poor women and juniors riding first thing tomorrow.

It might not look like much but that kicker is one of the bigger jumps we ve seem at a World Cup Champs race.
It might not look like much, but that kicker is one of the bigger jumps we've seem at a World Cup or World Champs race.

So again the mind turns to who goes well in the mud. Well Greenland certainly loves those UK conditions.
So again the mind turns to who goes well in the mud. Well, Greenland certainly loves those UK conditions.

Team MS Mondraker scoping out big Bertha.
Team MS Mondraker scoping out big Bertha.

Some freshly laid err tarmac following the gap out of the woods. Actually we could do with a whole lot more of that if anyone plans on riding this track quickly in this kind of weather.
Some freshly laid, err tarmac following the gap out of the woods. Actually, we could do with a whole lot more of that if anyone plans on riding this track quickly in this kind of weather.

Look before you leap.
Look before you leap.

After you.
After you.

The elevator drop down to the finish arena is not included just like last year.
The elevator drop down to the finish arena is not included, just like last year.

The finish area seems to be largely unchanged for this year.
The finish area seems to be largely unchanged for this year.

Who will cross this into gold medal position on Sunday
Who will cross this into gold medal position on Sunday?

Not the prettiest picture out there right now but things might improve Maybe.
Not the prettiest picture out there right now, but things might improve! Maybe.

A hint of rainbow to finish the day off in Leogang.
A hint of rainbow to finish the day off in Leogang.

Although mighty damp right now the forecast looks dry for the next couple of days.
Although mighty damp right now, the forecast looks dry for the next couple of days.


Regions in Article
The epic Bikepark Leogang


140 Comments

  • 146 2
 WOW, amazing photo's really capturing how sketchy and crazy steep the terrain is. Well done!
  • 51 1
 YES!! This looks sooooo sick.
Also, can we get a fundraiser going to get some of these guys/gals some hiking shoes?
  • 23 0
 @tbubier: I'm always amazed by track walks' footwear selection.
This time the smart choice is crampons, tho
  • 17 19
 Photo's really capturing? Who is photo, and why is there just one of him?
  • 5 0
 @Veloscente: it's Nathan Photo Hughes I guess. So use of possessive "s" in the genetive form seems okay Big Grin
He did well on capturing poor footwear choices of riders and also how gnarly the track is.
  • 22 0
 I rode the new section of track a few weeks ago when it was dry. It's definitely the steepest thing I have ever ridden.

www.pinkbike.com/photo/19533068


I can't imagine riding this in the slop...
  • 1 5
flag MrDuck (Oct 7, 2020 at 23:47) (Below Threshold)
 @tbubier: Honestly when walking around a trail I usually prefer my 5.10s on for the sticky rubber. Hiking shoes are nice for the mud but slabs and roots I'll take 5.10s any day!
  • 7 0
 @MrDuck: perhaps, but look at Gwin in his shiny flimsy nike trainers. Rolling an ankle before the only race of the year wouldn't look too clever would it.
  • 6 0
 @ka-brap: Now that photo does the slope proper justice
  • 6 0
 "I'm going to the mountains in Europe this October,so I'll bring my white soled canvas sneakers"...nice one.
  • 1 0
 @MrDuck: Approach shoes: best of both worlds
  • 132 0
 Trail builders at Leogang have finally responded. "ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED????!"
  • 1 0
 That RedBull booter is no joke...especially with what looks like a camera structure to the left of the runout for riders to avoid. It would go badly if things went badly....
  • 2 0
 I also wonder if all of the ankle-biter broadcasters who have paid for the rights for the race will blur out the “Red Bull” logo on the Booter to not remind people in the dozen countries they are watching a substandard broadcast?
  • 52 5
 Just not cathrovision though is it, can PB not just have some on facetime to cathro as he talks us through the track. Almost a whole year with none of the line choice masters insight.
  • 3 0
 His content will be missed this year. Let's hope someone steps in and shows us the track more, other than the usual raw footage
  • 9 0
 @ORTOGONAL555: even if someone steps in, it will never be the same, cathro vision is something special
  • 1 0
 @ajaypate1: True. He's great.
  • 38 0
 That. Gap. Though.
  • 5 0
 yeahh, but how big?
  • 15 0
 @audric: About 46 tacos.
  • 6 8
 @audric: That's what she said! I'm sorry, that was just too perfect of a set up.
  • 16 0
 Around 100-200 pinkbike feet, adjusted for windage, atmospheric moisture and sendocity
  • 2 0
 In the unlikely circumstance I even got that far... I'd need rockets.
  • 4 0
 @Smallbright: is that the length of the drop or volume of poop
  • 31 0
 New wood section looks leathal, can't wait for a RAW on that section
  • 23 0
 Someone film B practice please!! ( this is not sadism I swear)
  • 3 0
 @ORTOGONAL555:

"After you...."
  • 18 0
 “Ah you think dankness is your ally? You merely adopted the dank. I was born in it, molded by it. I didn't see the light until I was already a man, by then it was nothing to me but blinding!”

-Danny Hart
  • 1 0
 Ahhh the dankness of Teesside
  • 19 0
 Cannot wait for this weekend! What a track, that should quieten down the bike park moaners..
  • 19 0
 FINALLY! And it's gonna be a wet and wild one!
  • 2 0
 wet and wild's the best
  • 15 0
 For those who have read the intro and wonder what they mean with "a whole other kettle of fish"... forecast for Sunday is snow Big Grin
  • 1 0
 @winko
Sat 10 56°/37° Rain 100% NNE 6 mph
Sun 11 40°/34° Rain/Snow 80% N 5 mph

It looks like both the XC & DH courses are going to be wicked this weekend.
The MB Cyclo-Gladiator Games from the slopes of Leogang. We shall be entertained!

Hats off to EnnZed for dragging that reference out.
  • 16 0
 One of the most dangerous tracks i’ve seen in person. Rip B pratice.
  • 1 0
 ajte doma dok ste u komadu Smile
  • 1 1
 Is it, though? Sure, they are more likely to slip out. But the most dangerous thing in biking is crashing at very high speeds. In such greasy conditions, riders won't be going nearly as fast as they would on a dry track.
  • 1 0
 @Ttimer: Der Matijas ist grade dort vor ort und im Kroatien team und ein erfahrener fahrer.Wenn WC fahrer meckern......
  • 15 1
 that greazy off camber looks like no fun to ride, but lots of fun to watch.
  • 12 0
 With conditions like that my money is on Danny Hart doing a Champery repeat.
  • 4 1
 Gwin's chances for a rainbow jersey aren't looking good with the reroute.
  • 8 0
 to anyone wondering, yes the lower woods are proper slippery. Like really dang slippery when wet. That off camber is gonna be carnage!

Also Leogang officials, can we please keep that section open after the WC? I´m okay with taking out the big one, but please let us ride that sweet sweet natural terrain!!!
  • 7 0
 New route will be open for “public” except big gap. Because no one want dead “suicidal donkeys” and yes there’s lot of people like that every year :-). Anyway new route will be open....
  • 1 0
 @artoBP:
Now those are some great news!
  • 9 0
 I think its anyone's race this year. Previous history will mean nothing for these conditions.
  • 14 0
 Unless Mr. Hart means business!
  • 9 0
 First training worths 1 Hour of raw coverage! Please PB
  • 8 0
 Sam Hill should make a showing, this is his type of track, $5 says hed make top 10...
  • 2 0
 You mean podium?
  • 1 0
 @robito: that's what I think, but was trying to be a bit conservative....I do think he could podium...
  • 7 0
 Holy crap that last sender! Will be interesting if conditions are wet and speed might be an issue
  • 2 0
 I can really only see speed being an issue on the top part of the track. They might actually really have to pedal hard to even keep moving there. The lower terrain is proper steep and, depending on the run in, managing speed and actually hitting that booter correctly might turn out to be the bigger issue. It´s gonna be interesting for sure though! Leogang could always have been such a great track, i´m glad they finally managed to deliver!
  • 4 0
 Oh how I missed this - A proper DH top level spectacle - I genuinely drank in all those epic photos, what on earth the days to come have in store.......jaw-droppingly exciting I expect, I cannot wait. Stoked.
  • 7 0
 Danny frothing...
  • 5 0
 We'll see how well that off camber holds up hahaha good luck!
  • 1 3
 What's to 'hold up'? It's raw off camber.
  • 6 0
 GNARLY DAVIDSON
  • 3 1
 and the GNARLBORO, MAN
  • 4 0
 Chronicles of Gnarnia!
  • 5 0
 this looks like it'll be a day for Danny Hart
  • 4 0
 Maaan, if ever there were a wood section calling for Cathrovision
  • 1 0
 Good point, where is Cathro?
  • 1 0
 @gasmunky: at home, very tight restrictions on number of people allowed on the venue and they reduced number of media passes available so he wasn't able to get one.
  • 1 0
 @gasmunky: recovering from a fractured neck
  • 4 0
 Any measurements on that gap? Is there a chicken run, err sorry,B-line?
  • 5 1
 Yes, there is a b-line that splits to the right, but it's a lot longer way around. The big gap photo is taken from the bridge on the b-line and you can see the bit of track on the right that rejoins the main line. Or go 5 pictures up to see where the bridge splits off before the sender
  • 4 0
 Dig out the flats

Gee: ‘aww shiiiiit’
  • 2 0
 Surely there will be someone in the crowd with flat shoes again.
  • 2 0
 @Clarkeh No crowd, no Gee
  • 1 0
 @rmalins: that's a good point haha
  • 2 0
 Love that new massive drop, oddly reminds me of snowshoe gap that everyone was overshooting because they didn't want to case it, not sure why tbh
  • 4 0
 Leogang top half, Champéry bottom half.. this is gonna be exciiiiiting!
  • 2 0
 Gnarly. I know this was covered somewhere else but I can't find it for the life of me....how to watch this in the US?
  • 5 0
 VPN is your only choice
  • 5 0
 VPN to Germany, RedBull TV
  • 2 0
 Its geo blocked for us the in the states. Best way around it looks to be a VPN.
  • 1 0
 I think VPN is your best shot
  • 1 0
 If you don't want to go the VPN route, it's live on NBC Sports Gold if you have the Cycling Pass - it's $55/yr and mostly road/CX.
  • 1 0
 I hear VPN
  • 1 0
 @millsrivermatt: wont it be in german then? is there any english countries that will be streaming it?
  • 3 0
 @cmitchell: You can pick any available language for the commentary, no language lock based on location.
  • 5 2
 Tarmac?!?! On a downhill track? Gravel is already criminal...
  • 1 0
 Why do racers conduct walk-throughs with riding shoes vs. boots, especially in conditions like these? Would suck to slip and and injure oneself before race day...
  • 3 0
 So how the hell did Gwin make it there?
  • 2 0
 Through Cuba.
  • 3 1
 Just imagine being the first juniors down that mountain, no ruts, no defined line, no visibility, no chance!
  • 1 0
 Amazing track, absolutely amazing!

However this weather report...

fstatic1.mtb-news.de/v3/25/2515/2515424-ox6iy63j5izg-leogang-large.jpg
  • 2 0
 oh boy, we're gonna see some fine crashes... stay safe!
  • 1 0
 I need help on how to view the RBTV stream in the US. I am simple when it comes to these things and I need to watch this!
  • 2 0
 Get a vpn and set it on a country that is not geoblocked.
  • 1 0
 It looks more exclusive if you are not sponsored by Red Bull these days........damn
  • 2 0
 Rain on Sat. Snow on Sunday!
  • 2 0
 Enjoy it while you can, because this might be the last race of the year!
  • 1 0
 Great photos and words depicting the soaked atmosphere out there, amazing work!
  • 1 0
 Riders think its dangerous? What? Is it not a DH race, of course its dangerous.
  • 1 0
 Uh oh Ladies! Should have spent more time on the big lines. Less posing at the jump park ...MM? Good luck all.
  • 1 0
 Still... beats sitting in an office! Wink
  • 1 0
 Looks sweet, hopefully a great race on it's way.
  • 1 0
 No thanks. lol. So gnarly man.
  • 1 2
 Someones gonna die! this is soooo gnarly should be an epic race and practice to watch! wishing the riders the best and hoping stay safe!
  • 4 5
 That gap is gonna be a big ask for some of the less competent riders from some of the smaller nations that are always thrown in the deep end at world champs
  • 11 0
 well, they want to get the best of the world... The best DH rider should be fine hitting that gap.
  • 5 0
 "World Champion" is a big title. It needs a "Big course" to match. If your flag on your profile is correct, you have a South African World Champ who just happens to be the most winningest rider in WC DH history....for now. Not sure of your point @SonofBovril
  • 5 0
 @bman33: There are often a lot of less competent riders at Worlds sent from smaller nations with a small pool of riders to pick from. The sharp end of competition is very much the sharp end but the other end has many riders that would be quite a way off qualifying for a world cup.

For example, I went to watch Champery in 2011 and there were 2 riders from a small island nation sent by their cycling federation who only had single crown trail bikse.
  • 1 0
 there is a chicken run to the right though
  • 1 0
 Big gap yes, but it comes after a pretty decent downhill section and it's a step-down, it looks like more pucker/fear factor than real difficulty to clear with the speeds these riders are used to! There is a ride around as many have mentioned, but as with any sport... you don't take the bypass if you're looking to win
  • 2 1
 Wow, picture 14 reminds me of Skyrim.
  • 1 0
 Slicker 'n snot on a doorknob!
  • 2 1
 These bike park tracks need to go!!!
  • 2 0
 Can't wait!!
  • 1 0
 Vali Höll - The only one with proper mountain shoes / equipment.
  • 1 0
 i'm giddy looking at these pictures. respect to those who race this.
  • 1 0
 Redbull better be showing that wood section...
  • 1 0
 Leogang goes full Hardline! My money is on Gee
  • 1 0
 Gee gotta be taking a tea right now haha
  • 1 0
 That is Sunday sorted - Get the beers in and the big TV on! Can't wait Smile
  • 1 0
 I really wanna see Phil Atwill on his dj bike again please.
  • 1 0
 I really hope there is a lot of full run drone footage!
  • 1 0
 the show will be amazing
  • 1 1
 Prediction? Cancellation, unless they move the race to saturday.
  • 4 6
 Race with no spectators is like porn on the radio.
  • 16 0
 More like porn without any sound. I´m okay with the visual, as long as it´s good quality.
Racing i mean!
  • 18 0
 Just my opinion but I'll take the sound of tires sliding and chains slapping over cow bells and chainsaws.
  • 10 0
 @Snowytrail: were you talking about racing or ...?
  • 2 0
 @showmethemountains: There are some pretty niche sites out there.
  • 2 0
 Not sure why you got downvoted. I thought that comment was gold. Maybe because the spectators will all be behind computer screens?
  • 1 1
 I know what you mean about the atmosphere but way too much talk about porn on this forum. Stay away from the stuff (in life, too) and keep topic on bikes.
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