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JUMP THE SHARK! Leogang Puts Up, So You Better Shut Up 22

Leave your complaints and your enduro bike at home. Leogang ain't your bike park track any longer.

JUMP THE SHARK! Leogang Puts Up, So You Better Shut Up

Welcome the 2020 World Championships of Mountain Biking in Leogang, Austria. This bike park setting is normally a complaint-filled snoozefest, right? Oh, the track is too easy. It's too boring. An enduro bike could win. Gwin won without a chain. Those moans and whinges were always baseless bullshit. Leogang was always legit. Now, in our current the-world-may-end-soon times, Leogang has stepped up to shut us up.

The World Champs downhill track features classic top sections and features, but after the first big, wooden curved wallride, racers get dumped into the steepest, greasiest, root-filled off-camber terrain seen in years. If that middle finger wasn't enough, Leogang has thrown in an all-time danger gap that would make Wade Simmons circa 2001 pucker right up. Some riders don't like it. There are off-the-record rumblings about safety and re-taping the course grappling with on-the-record rumblings about how fun the course looks. It's like that mask vs. no mask debate, basically. No matter who's right, the conditions will start out wet for practice and race day calls for snow. If this World Champs was as predictable as past Leogang comments in the age of Covid, what a let down that would be.

Sven Martin, @maddogboris and Dan Hearn slip, slide and celebrate World Champs! Thanks SRAM for the support.

Moody blues (or greys)

EWS racer, Noga Korem at her first-ever Downhill World Champs track walk.

Tracey Hannah seems stoked on the new section in the woods close to the bottom. She's in the minority.

Fresh roots in the new bottom section.

Fingers crossed we will have at least 2-3 more dry days before we get snow on Sunday.

Fabien Barel is here to support the Canyon team!

Once a wise man said, flow like water.

Sand people walk single file to conceal their numbers. Mud people don't give a f&*k.

Let's see how rideable this part of the track will be tomorrow!

Loic Bruni plus a bit of Team Support at trackwalk.

It's not home turf, it's home mud for Vali Höll.

Troy Brosnan has spent some time in Austria before World Champs and should be used to a bit of mud now. (Editor's note: Boris typed "bud" instead of mud in the caption. We know where his head is at : )

Squidding Aint Easy.

Circus nets to save you if you come short.

Another angle

In NWD films or on Happy Days, they didn't need nets to Jump the Shark. So cool to see unexpected gnarly features here at “bike park” Leogang. This is gonna be one hell of a World Champs.

More long, slippery, clay chutes.

Always steeper than it looks in photos. Not sure how people will ride, let alone survive this.

Some are dreading Sunday, others can’t wait.

Past winner and forever threat.

Dave's moody PB opener. We'll use this shot again in 2024.

Have we said, "A lot steeper than it looks" yet?

Lots to contemplate on this course. Like “will I run flats?”

This section will make or break your run. Finally a new gnarly woods section in Leogang that we’ve been asking for for years. And plenty of riders are regretting the outcome of their complaints.

Sketchy obstacles hidden under the mud. Next to an even sketchier bridge

Dollar per dab. A lot of money exchanging dirty hands today.

Muddy minefield made no better by a herd of cattle stomping over lines.

If an Aaron Gwin chills in the forest, can he stay warm?

Muddy bog waiting for juniors and women training bright and early tomorrow.

Guess who.

Yeah, add a foot of snow on Sunday and this is your Leogang start.

Laser pointer shows Vali the line (as if anyone has to show her the line here in Leogang or anywhere).

Peaty likes to keep the tires clean.

Maddogs and Englishmen

Nobody was brave enough to test the catch net but this huge booter. It's an intimidating way out of the steep woods.

This section will be claiming some victims tomorrow in training.

Here’s where things get interesting. The old course hooked right around the big wooden wall ride. Now riders are taken left into the woods, down a much steeper part of the hillside.

Thanks to Saalbach and Leogang for hosting us and allowing everyone to experience some racing again!

Matt Walker on the hunt for an Elite rainbow title to match his junior one.

The XC course is freshly bedded in thanks to the motorised mud mashers. Let’s wait and see how the DH course looks after training tomorrow.

Off-camber, roots, stumps, mud… there were some nervous faces pondering lines and tires on the hill today.

Fresh corners like this are something we haven’t seen in Leogang for a while. Things should get interesting.

By this point riders are probably wondering if anything has changed on the course since much of the top part remains the same as usual.

The infamous stump section remains, looking gnarly as ever.

Fresh snow on the mountain tops overnight but more due on race day, down to track level.

The odd patch of sunlight appeared briefly but dreams of a dry day disappeared by lunch time. See ya out there!

 

ALL THINGS 2020 WORLD CHAMPS

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