Old As Dirt: XC World Cup 2, Albstadt – Course Preview

May 25, 2017 at 5:02
by Matthew DeLorme  



Pendrel posing for photo or three.
We head out on track with Clif Pro World Champ Catharine Pendrel for this Albstadt Course preview. This track is a classic XC track with two long major climbs and terrain that is a quite a bit less rough than that which we encountered in Nove Mesto. The ground here is studded with fossil-rich sandstone that is mega slick in the wet. Take a ride with Catharine as we go over the key features of this course in chronological order.

Nove Mesto has several shorter rough climbs. Albstadt has two long grinding climbs.
Nove Mesto has several shorter rough climbs. Albstadt has two long grinding climbs.

These climbing sections will take their toll by lap 5.
These climbing sections will take their toll by lap 5.

The climbs here are fewer than Nove Mesto but they sure as hell are longer.
The climbs here are fewer than Nove Mesto, but they are sure as hell longer.

Board walk over the fresh cut top section of the big climb.
Board walk over the fresh cut top section of the big climb.

Old As Dirt XC World Cup Albstadt

After the initial climb into the amphitheater riders get a quick break.
After the initial climb into the amphitheater riders get a quick break.

Snappy descents with tight corners after the first part of the climb.
Snappy descents with tight corners after the first part of the climb.

The high line here can make up a few places in heavy traffic.
The high line here can make up a few places in heavy traffic.

New this year is this descent that breaks the first climb in two.
New this year is this descent that breaks the first climb in two.

Old As Dirt XC World Cup Albstadt

A wet spring is just enough to make the next little tech section a minor annoyance.
A wet spring is just enough to make the next little tech section a minor annoyance.

One last knuckle before the good times get going.
One last knuckle before the good times get going.

High line or low line this little punch is a pain with a freshly wet set of tires.
High line or low line, this little punch is a pain with a freshly wet set of tires.

The good times get rolling after the first big climb.
The good times get rolling after the first big climb.

Line choice here is key. Wrong line and you ll likely dismount through the next section.
Line choice here is key. Wrong line and you'll likely dismount through the next section.

The right set up into the next descent keeps you out of the wall.
The right set up into the next descent keeps you out of the wall.

The wall will keep riders from blasting down a mini cliff but it may also claim some skin.
The wall will keep riders from blasting down a mini cliff, but it may also claim some skin.

A nice wet rut is forming in the corner after the walled chute.
A nice wet rut is forming in the corner after the walled chute.

Get off the brakes and drop into this chute and then keep the speed up through the rough stuff to follow.
Get off the brakes and drop into this chute and then keep the speed up through the rough stuff to follow.

A couple small drops and rough terrain on the exit from the two large chutes.
A couple small drops and rough terrain on the exit from the two large chutes.

Freshly laid track for the climb up out of the descent is a bit soggy. Like riding on giant fly paper.
Freshly laid track for the climb up out of the descent is a bit soggy. Like riding on giant flypaper.

Get some single track flow on after the soggy climb.
Get some singletrack flow on after the soggy climb.

Railing the flowy turns into the next drop.
Railing the flowy turns into the next drop.

This run out from this drop is much steeper than it seems.
This run out from this drop is much steeper than it seems.

Get off line on the drop and you might loose it on the roots and find yourself in the hay bails.
Get off line on the drop and you might lose it on the roots and find yourself in the hay bails.

Straighten out the lines as much as you can.
Straighten out the lines as much as you can.

The course is split into two halves connected by an open grass field with tech zones. To keep it fun a couple wall rides have been added.
The course is split into two halves connected by an open grass field with tech zones. To keep it fun a couple wall rides have been added.

It s one switch backed turn after the other on the way up the hill.
It's one switchback turn after the other on the way up the hill.

Old As Dirt XC World Cup Albstadt

Sand stone studs and little roots will keep the arms burning on those hard tails.
Sandstone studs and little roots will keep the arms burning on those hardtails.

Wide set up into an s turn at the start of the second major descent.
Wide set up into an s turn at the start of the second major descent.

Little kickers on the second descent keep things interesting.
Little kickers on the second descent keep things interesting.

Looks a touch like cobble stone to us.
Looks a touch like cobblestones to us.

Old As Dirt XC World Cup Albstadt

The big descent on the second half of the course has a few high speed rock steps. Well it will be high speed if the remove the hay bail pinch at the start.
The big descent on the second half of the course has a few high-speed rock steps. Well, it will be high speed if they remove the hay bail pinch at the start.

Out of the second descent and out into the field and back across the start.
Out of the second descent and out into the field and back across the start.




MENTIONS: @mdelorme



Must Read This Week

56 Comments

  • + 101
 I'll say it again: Thanks PinkBike for all the awesome XC coverage.
  • + 9
 agreed, I like it!
  • + 27
 I second that. It's like somebody at Pinkbike woke up and realized XC riders were actually mountain bikers too. The amusing part to me is that without any doubt, here in New Zealand​ the majority of people riding a mountain bike actually ride what you'd call XC. Meaning said person pedals a mountain bike on a trail. It's all mountain biking. Do people actually say I'm a trail rider? I'm a XC rider? In my experience people say they're a mountain biker. It's great that the Pinkbike vice head of bro department chief passed around a memo allowing XC riders to be mountain bikers...
  • - 3
 The only place to see 2 photos of a machine-knurled root.
  • + 39
 Can't wait to watch this weekend. Going to be interesting with Van Der Poel racing now and starting at position 8. Podium placing for him. Stamp it.
  • + 12
 VdP is a monster. So excited to see him on the mountain bike while most other CX stars turn to the road.
  • + 8
 @SangamonTaylor: Agreed! It's really refreshing. He's such a skilled bike handler on 33mm tires. It'll be great to have the camera on him more at Albstadt so we can watch him work the magic with more traction. His lap times last race speak truth to power: he's a contender!
  • - 3
 I actually don't think that he is racing this World Cup. I believe that he wants to do a road race instead but I'm not sure.
  • + 5
 It will be interesting to see how VdP handles the longer climbs, compared to the punchy ones last week. With a high grid position he won't get caught up in much traffic and it will be great to see him going for it. He is also known in CX for sitting in for the first lap and then when he puts the hammer down... boom.
  • + 8
 @WindRider: He announced Tuesday on Twitter that he is: twitter.com/mathieuvdpoel/status/867102167395684354

And then he won today's Tour of Belgium stage...
  • + 2
 Yep, hopefully MVDP is actually gonna push Nino! If Absolom is on a good day too we might actually have a proper race on our hands. CANNOTWAIT!
  • + 15
 So many of the commentors on here have clearly never entered an XC race. Racing with a dropper post is not ALWAYS faster. On some courses it is definitely an advantage, on others a definite disadvantage. Using a dropper in a race requires numerous changes in your riding style. It's also significantly heavier and adds another item that could fail. On an easy course like this it's simply not needed by a majority of the field. The fact is that a vast portion of XC races are won on the climbs. This course has two significant climbs. Any weight saving is a measurable benefit. It's almost impossible to pass on the downhills, so if you're leading at the top of the climb, you're generally leading at the bottom. In the future as XC courses get more rowdy I believe we'll eventually see all riders running dropper posts and possibly 120mm FS bikes. The real game changer will be a dropper post designed for racing by somebody with a brain. Current dropper posts are basically junk. Quote me here. In the future a racing dropper post will DROP when you press the button to your preferred height. You'll be able to set it precisely in an app etc and it will return when you press it again. This solves having to push the seat down which is a huge pain when racing. This next generation dropper will be electronic, reliable and drastically lighter than current products. When that dropper is available, all XC racers will run it. So will I. Until then, it's dropper in, dropper out, depending on the race. First world problems...
  • + 4
 current droppers are actually uppers and work fine for trail riding, but I do like your thinking. I wonder if your idea of a racing dropper will ever eventuate.
  • + 2
 @ColquhounerHooner: I think @Ketzal is entirely correct in his prediction, the next big change in dropper tech will be electronic droppers that do not require riders weight to go down
  • + 7
 By the sound of some of you, you'd think we had never ridden technical terrain without a dropper. Just FYI, it works just fine once you make a few adjustments. A dropper is more fun for sure, but hardly necessary... That course looks fun! Let the suffering begin.
  • + 5
 It works but it's just never in the optimal position for everything
  • + 4
 This course is about pegging the heart rate at the redline and holding on. This is definitely an advantage to the cardio master is the groups over the technical wizards. Can't wait to watch!
  • + 5
 Interesting to see the significant bike change. Last race Pendrel was on a full-suspension with a dropper post and this race she is on a hardtail with a rigid carbon post.
  • + 8
 I can understand her bike choice. It's all perfectly smooth man-made subsurface here.
  • + 1
 @Mattin: Yep, makes sense. Smooth course with long climbs, seems perfect for a lighter hardtail.
  • + 5
 I really like these still photo course previews. It's much more immersive than GoPro footage.
  • + 2
 I agree. Which is surprising as if I was asked what I preferred perviously, I may have thought I'd enjoy videos more. However, these pictures provide a clearer preview of the course
  • + 1
 Why not both? I'd like to see a good run through the course (Like Claudio in DH) and then the still as well.Showing the video provides flow and then the photos provide location. I'm up for both formats and definitely a complete single lap video.
  • + 1
 @MMOF: definitely would not complain if both were an option.
  • + 4
 Great coverage! @MDelorme anyway we could get a map of the course on your next on? I'd love to be able to really picture the course and where your great pictures fit into it.
  • + 4
 Thanks PB! Man looking at the course I don't think I'd wanna be on a hard tail but that seems to be the weapon of choice for the weekend.
  • + 2
 I don't know, looks like prime real estate for a hard tail. 100% would ride.
  • + 3
 that resort looks sweet...
Now can yall do a section on the post ride beer possibilities please?
  • + 1
 I winced at every picture of that saddle at crotch height down a drop - hardtail and a dropper post would make perfect sense here. XCO logic still escapes me.
  • + 2
 Why boardwalk that climb? That's a serious amount of effort and it makes no sense!?!
  • + 2
 looks much smoother than nove mesto, i think most riders will be on hardtails
  • + 2
 Daaaaaamn that course. Soooo swweet.
  • + 2
 Definitely, the current XC needs a dropper seatpost.
  • + 1
 Nah, the weight difference between a remote dropper and a carbon fiber seat-post will make a bigger difference in the climb than the comfort clearance a dropper will give. Unless you start getting 0.5m+ drops in which case a dropper and FS will be welcomed.
  • + 2
 this course is still not rough enough to justify the weight penalty of a dropper and the necessity to change riding position thus losing time
  • + 2
 What tires is she running? They look nice and wide.
  • + 3
 Maxxis Ikon 3C EXO on DT Swiss XMC 1200
  • + 3
 Possibly in the 2.2 casing as that is what she had on her last bike check that featured her full-sus
  • + 2
 This course looks fun! Though I'd still want a dropper... haha
  • + 1
 XC finally looks like real-world mtb, not London-Olympics kind-of track.
  • - 2
 This course seems more like it's for a "trail" race than XC race, if there were such a thing. 120mm bike with a dropper could annihilate on the descents and the rough stuff.
Below threshold threads are hidden

Post a Comment



You must login to Pinkbike.
Don't have an account? Sign up

Join Pinkbike  Login
Copyright © 2000 - 2017. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv65 0.060148
Mobile Version of Website