Accessibility Widget: On | Off

World Cup pace rising

Related:
Create New Tag

7/11/2011 9:38 AM

Interesting to see some big names saying stuff like this...

Dan Atherton: "World cup Downhill is fast....very fast. A lot of people having good solid runs this weekend and not getting s##t."

Justin Leov: "I also just want to say how gnarly this pace is this year, scary fast!"

|

7/11/2011 10:57 AM

Yeah it looks pretty unreal!

Gwin's changing the game like Hill did, and Nico before him.

Flat pedals seem to falling out of style too, just an observation. And style is taking a backseat to speed.

Peaty's run looked bonkers, raw power and brute strength in motion. Conversely, Gwin's run didn't look like...well anything in particular - just elbows out, low, full-on moto.

|

MRP - VP of Business Dev.

7/11/2011 4:35 PM
Edited Date/Time: 10/10/2011 11:57 AM

Listen to Marc talk about it. Sounds like they are absolutely pinned compared to previous seasons.






Team GT: Windham Race Day - More Mountain Bike Videos

|

7/12/2011 2:55 PM

I haven't followed racing for very long, so I have no clue about what I'm about to ask.

Is it the riders that are getting faster or the tracks? Or perhaps the suspension on the bikes have reached a point that these guys and just roll through pretty much anything, if they have the strength to hold on?

|

7/12/2011 3:24 PM

watching webcast of both msa and windham i was amazed at how fast they were going. i know they always go beyond speeds i can comprehend, but it is pretty incredible what the riders do when hitting the final. at paces like this, consistency like gwin has had is even more amazing.

|

7/12/2011 3:31 PM

i also wonder if riders are trying to "over-ride" their race runs now, ya know? listening to both beaumont and mick in that vid, maybe they're trying too hard and it's slowing them down in the long run. all of this is just too exciting though! can't wait for la bresse!

|

7/12/2011 3:48 PM

It's totally nutty seeing Gwin just pull 5+ seconds over the worlds best and then after that gap 1 second covers like 7 guys... guys who were previously known as "the worlds best". Well they still are, but you get what I'm saying. My only concern is the consequence of speed. But then again a lot of guys get TORE UP in moto and even have career or even worse life ending consequences. This is a reality though and the racers know it. The speed is just insane this year though. I've had the opportunity to see Gwin race a few times here in Fontana, CA and he never looks "out of control fast", just ultra mega smooth. He still hits nutty lines, but so smooth.

|

7/12/2011 4:23 PM
Edited Date/Time: 7/12/2011 4:24 PM

I'll probably catch hell for saying this but every sport goes through it. There's a point early in competition where the best guys in the sport can go 80-90% and still get wins. Then someone or a group of someones wants it more and ups the game.......and then that cycle continues. There was a time when somebody like cedric (hell all of them really) could trick out jumps and play to the crowd and still win races. Then comes the guy who doesn't dick around and beats them. It's exactly what guys like sam hil did and now gwinn (and lopes then graves in gate racing). As sports grow, so does the attention and so does the fielding of talent. There will always be 'that guy' who does something a little differently and changes the standard. Just imagine what we'll be seeing in another 10 years. The bikes will get better and stronger and so will the riders. And there will always be 'that guy' showing up at some point to spark this exact conversation. Hell just look at slopestyle contests 5 years ago and then go watch the local kid in his sister's pants and any dirtjump spot. Half of them are throwing down what would have been winning runs just a few years ago in big contests.

|

7/12/2011 4:24 PM

i love the direction wc dh is going. the racers are getting smoother (faster) and bikes better. the resort i live next too (winter park) is trying to say dh is dead its all all mountain. lol solvista bike park and i say no thats not what up

|

7/12/2011 4:27 PM

It's always the guys that look like they're not working hard for it that are going the fastest. A smooth and controlled style always looks slower in person, for some reason. To see someone like Gwin float through a rock garden with no apparent drama compared to a rider that might second-think a line choice or try to muscle through a turn almost looks boring in comparison. But that's what it is. If you go back and look at video of Nico scorching down an old World Cup track, his super smooth style would almost make you think he's on asphalt or something.

Also: Maybe at the top of the sport, fitness is catching up with (and surpassing) skill.

|

7/12/2011 5:33 PM

swanke....couldnt disagree with you more on the winter park comment. dh is not dead and with Gwin doing what he has done is freakin awesome! trestle/wp has a new dh trail on the way and plans for many more!

|

7/12/2011 6:02 PM

Saw that tweet by Dan A. Was sorta surprised to see it as it seems to be an admission of frustration. Not a good thing to let creep in unless it can motivate you. But ya, FAST is an understatement. The speed is just unreal. Hard to even imagine competing at that level. Would hate to see the sport progress to "simply speed" resulting in clipless pedals and lack of style, air, etc. Always been attracted to DH for the flare and finese of the sport...don't want to loose those aspects.

|

7/12/2011 6:07 PM

I've seen Peat, Gracia, Voulliouz and Kovarik at points in time where they were the best at what they do. I don't think the riders are taking any more risks now than in the days of the GT LTS. The primary difference with today's competitors is that all of them now are training to be able to maintain a heart rate and power level on the bike in a race run that only a few like Peat or Nico could maintain on all courses.

Now that training for DH has become sport specific, every World Cup rider is becoming a better master of their physical body. That means they're all able to ride flat out on the entire course. It's why a kid like Brosnan or Hart can come close to power houses like Peat & Minnar. They're actually fit enough to make up time on tech sections and not flat line on sprints.

Times get tighter because training knowledge and equipment are leveling out the playing field.

I stood there as Steve Peat came through the rock garden at Seven Springs, PA on a beater Lobo. That was on the edge of sanity. I've seen Palmer hit Mount Snow like it was pavement. Gracia ride the nuttiest section of trail ever at the same venue a different year. Witnessed Kovarik get a bike to turn places you can't imagine.

We're just finally getting to watch the reality of their talent play out in hi def now.

Let's remember that the best DH rider the US had quit DH because 10 years ago he said the tracks and equipment and speeds were getting too insane even for him. Sure his name was Lopes, but nobody could touch his reaction times at that point.

|

Trouble Maker. Here to spit truth in the form of sarcasm.

7/12/2011 8:36 PM

The pace is getting nuts out there, but its nice to still see guys like Peaty and Cedric in the top ten and always a threat. But if you think about it all, there was only one way for the sport to go and thats UP!!! Bikes are becoming lighter and better every year, there are lots of countries with fast riders now (instead of just France, England and Australia having them all), and lots of the jr riders are getting more opportunities to race and ride with the best. I'm calling Troy Brosnan as the next kid who beats out the current crop of young guns (Hart, Bryceland, McDonald, etc.).

|

7/12/2011 9:21 PM

Definitely not questioning those that actually race, but on a short course such as Windham, even the smallest hesitation on even a 1/2 pedal stroke will cost you 5-10 spots in the results. With that minimal margin for error, you're going balls-out or you're just another opening act for the big players later in the race.

I think the pace has ALWAYS been over-the-edge...it just seems more so these days with the advances in technology in not only the bikes/components, but also in technical wear. It doesn't hurt, either, that all the riders have the luxury of filming their practice runs w/POV cameras that they can review that night to see where they can get more speed.

As long as technology progresses, so too will our fun little sport!

|

7/12/2011 9:58 PM

bizutch wrote:

I've seen Peat, Gracia, Voulliouz and Kovarik at points in time where they were the best at what they do. I don't think the riders are taking any more risks now than in the days of the GT LTS. The primary difference with today's competitors is that all of them now are training to be able to maintain a heart rate and power level on the bike in a race run that only a few like Peat or Nico could maintain on all courses.

Now that training for DH has become sport specific, every World Cup rider is becoming a better master of their physical body. That means they're all able to ride flat out on the entire course. It's why a kid like Brosnan or Hart can come close to power houses like Peat & Minnar. They're actually fit enough to make up time on tech sections and not flat line on sprints.

Times get tighter because training knowledge and equipment are leveling out the playing field.

I stood there as Steve Peat came through the rock garden at Seven Springs, PA on a beater Lobo. That was on the edge of sanity. I've seen Palmer hit Mount Snow like it was pavement. Gracia ride the nuttiest section of trail ever at the same venue a different year. Witnessed Kovarik get a bike to turn places you can't imagine.

We're just finally getting to watch the reality of their talent play out in hi def now.

Let's remember that the best DH rider the US had quit DH because 10 years ago he said the tracks and equipment and speeds were getting too insane even for him. Sure his name was Lopes, but nobody could touch his reaction times at that point.

[LINK TO IMAGE]
|

7/12/2011 11:33 PM

bizutch wrote:

I've seen Peat, Gracia, Voulliouz and Kovarik at points in time where they were the best at what they do. I don't think the riders are taking any more risks now than in the days of the GT LTS. The primary difference with today's competitors is that all of them now are training to be able to maintain a heart rate and power level on the bike in a race run that only a few like Peat or Nico could maintain on all courses.

Now that training for DH has become sport specific, every World Cup rider is becoming a better master of their physical body. That means they're all able to ride flat out on the entire course. It's why a kid like Brosnan or Hart can come close to power houses like Peat & Minnar. They're actually fit enough to make up time on tech sections and not flat line on sprints.

Times get tighter because training knowledge and equipment are leveling out the playing field.

I stood there as Steve Peat came through the rock garden at Seven Springs, PA on a beater Lobo. That was on the edge of sanity. I've seen Palmer hit Mount Snow like it was pavement. Gracia ride the nuttiest section of trail ever at the same venue a different year. Witnessed Kovarik get a bike to turn places you can't imagine.

We're just finally getting to watch the reality of their talent play out in hi def now.

Let's remember that the best DH rider the US had quit DH because 10 years ago he said the tracks and equipment and speeds were getting too insane even for him. Sure his name was Lopes, but nobody could touch his reaction times at that point.

I miss Seven Springs.

|

7/12/2011 11:55 PM

The pace is getting faster because the sport is becoming more and more professional with time. Used to be, a chubby guy who laid off the brakes could win a dh event. Now guys are training full time with a full support staff to even be relatively competitive on the circuit.

|

"You want a toe? I can get you a toe. There are ways dude, you don't want to know about it. Hell, I could get you a toe by 3 o'clock this afternoon... with nailpolish."

7/13/2011 1:32 AM

Its a combination of everything, the bikes and gear getting better, riders getting more fit, and more bike skills. I think that also Gwin had a bit to do with everyone stepping their game, in my opinion confidence has A LOT to do with a riders performance, and Gwin's winning recently has given the younger guys that confidence they need to step their game up. Now that they know these older and more successful riders, and dare I say legends, can be beat its only a matter of time before we are going to see even MORE names up on the podium that have never been there. I also agree with what someone said above me, I hope it doesn't get to the point where we see less air time and style! Cause I too was drawn in to DH years ago by that. I am loving all the recent attention we are getting though, very good for our sport.

|

7/13/2011 2:52 AM

It's exciting to watch, for sure. Gwin reminds me of Nico in terms of his 'alien'-like consistency and precision riding. The pro setup at Trek also seems to have raised the standards in terms of preparation and resources... Martin Whitely reminds me of some sort of cross between Ross Braun and Bernie Ecclestone

Watching Earthed 2 last week, aside from the awesome soundtrack, it was interesting to see a young Gee Atherton scoring his first WC win at the same time that Sam Hill was showing signs of his winning streaks to come - breaking onto the podium in the same way Hart/Bryceland/McDonald are today

I wonder if it is a combination of natural and mechanical progression. Kids today are starting racing DH with far superior technology and the technical bar already raised way far beyond where we were 10 years ago when guys like Minnaar and Hannah were coming onto the scene. Suspension has reached it's ideal travel and just become more sophisticated over the last few years.

For many riders of a certain age, able to see danger more clearly than they could 10 years ago, it may be too much of a leap to progress from the 6 inch travel, narrow bars, high BB bikes and fast ski piste tracks they started on to the FAST, super steep and technical tracks and more capable bikes being ridden at the speeds we are seeing this year.

The 6'4" exception to this idea is Steve Peat though - a prime example of 'survival of the fittest'... where 'fittest' means "better adapted to live in changing environment"... its amazing to me that the guy has not only remained at the very top of such a demanding sport for so long, but has done it through the course of so much change and progression over the last 17 years

|

7/13/2011 2:56 AM

i think it is rising, but only in general. by that i mean, if Hill came along and did the same run at Val Di Sole as he did at World Champs (and obviously didnt fall off) i dont reckon Gwin could touch him. same with his run in Champery in 2007. But, the difference is now is that there wouldnt be a 10 second gap behind Hill, it would probably be a 2 second gap. you guys above are right, people are getting fitter, and the equipment and the support behind riders is getting better. however, @csermonet i dont think the level of bike skills are going up. I think their on the level where bike skills cant really go any further, just like it has been for a long time. As far as being worried about the loss of style in exchange for speed is concerned, look at Josh Brycelands run at MSA, same with Danny Hart actually, pulling some big whips and scrubs off the jumps! and josh said he did that to keep himself relaxed, so i cant imagine those guys letting up on the style any time soon! and either way, you watch the practice videos and everyone is getting their whip on, but realistically, race run is race run, you only get one of them, and time is of the essence these days!!! cant wait til Le Bresse now!!!

|

7/13/2011 4:17 AM

AERO: This is the next evolutional stage in quicker race runs, especially when riders are going as fast as they are now. This will be even more impactful on open tracks where there are exposed sections.

Anyone remeber the cover of Dirt some time last year when TREK had customised fearings on their session? They had done some testing in a wind tunnel but the whole idea seemed to have dissapeared since.

Not only does an aero dynamic product go quicker becuase of reduced wind resistance but it saves energy for the rider which could also allow them to push harder on longer tracks.

I would assume that aero technology could also be advanced in helmets and clothing. UCI have banned skin suits, no problem with that however there are fabrics that do better at shearing wind and the upside is that they dont even have to be that breathable considering the longest track is around 4:25

CARBON: We are seeing this move info DH quite a bit now, GT, Syndicate and now TREK are running composite frames and it seems there is some advantage to a lighter bike however I think the stiffness is equally as important with so much strain on the frames (enhanced by faster runs). Carbon is probably the best material to use if manufacturing an aero bike so it seems like a logical step forward to change the design to be more aero if its the way things are going...

|

7/13/2011 4:59 AM

Some tracks have a speed trap... it would be interesting to see if speeds have risen at all for these. And although many tracks change from year to year, I'd like to see GPS mapping and analysis of average speed from year to year (just as in the Tour de France, we saw how new doping skillz and bike tech increased their average speed a lot). To me it's insane to see Gwin going visibily much faster than other pros through sections, so I'd like to see it quantified... was he 5mph faster through that rock garden?

|

7/13/2011 5:43 AM

The pace is definatel picking up! As someone said earlier Nico picked it up, then Hill, now Gwin...

When Hill demolished the field in 07, Gee, Greg, and Steve all picked it up.. Now look at riders like Hart and Smith and there right there with the picked up pace.

Gwin will dominate the rest of this year and most of next but the top dogs, old school and new school will be right there and next year wont be the domination that we see this year..

And as far as clips and flats.... Courses this year have favored being clipped in because of the pedaling... All the course have been pretty pedal heavy... But watch out in champery.. if its muddy flats will win

|

7/13/2011 6:13 AM
Edited Date/Time: 7/13/2011 6:20 AM

@rob stewart - I think Gwin is every bit as fast, if not faster, than Hill. It will be interesting to see what happens when Sam comes back healthy and they can get a good fair race together, both riders stay on the bike etc. As far as bike skills, I don't see it that way, I know its totally unrelated to DH but look at slopestyle and the other freeride disciplines, guys are going bigger every year and coming out with new tricks every year. I understand that in racing there is only so much you can improve skills wise, but with the riders starting younger and on way better equipment than the older riders started on I think bike skills are definitely improving. Very small changes albeit, but having a big effect. As far as style goes, I loved that whip that Bryceland threw out there at MSA! And definitely loving Harts style out there as well, probably the two most stylish riders on the circuit right now. I definitely feel what Josh was saying, that he whipped that jump to keep himself relaxed, gotta have fun out there! I will say that Gwin's runs are, dare I say, boring? He is just pure precision speed, which may not be the best to watch but its definitely getting the results. I can't wait to see his 3MG section, Zink tweeted that he got a prescreening copy in the mail and made it a point to say Gwin's section was not human haha

@Springbok - Aero isn't going to go far, Trek stopped running those aero fairings for a reason. Motocross is at much higher speeds than downhill bikes for much longer periods of time and they are still using regular moto looking helmets and don't have crazy looking fairings on their bikes and don't wear any crazy aero suits. Someone correct me if I'm wrong but the whole reason they banned skin suits is so the riders would look more like moto riders, to appeal more to the masses. We don't necessarily look cool running around in skin suits or some crazy looking shark suit and the Trek bikes with the fairing didn't look that cool. But heck who knows, maybe they will bust those fairings out at World Champs?

|

7/13/2011 6:17 AM

The pace is definitley getting faster. Gwin's style is just deadly efficient. No wasted motion.

The moto scrub he threw over the road gap at Windham was incredible.

I do think all the other riders are pressing trying to go faster to keep up this season. They're all out thinking the tracks and end up making mistakes. Like everyone said, hopefully the young guns and some of the old guard figure it out this off-season and can pick up the pace next year.

|

7/13/2011 8:47 AM

csermonet wrote:

@rob stewart - I think Gwin is every bit as fast, if not faster, than Hill. It will be interesting to see what happens when Sam comes back healthy and they can get a good fair race together, both riders stay on the bike etc. As far as bike skills, I don't see it that way, I know its totally unrelated to DH but look at slopestyle and the other freeride disciplines, guys are going bigger every year and coming out with new tricks every year. I understand that in racing there is only so much you can improve skills wise, but with the riders starting younger and on way better equipment than the older riders started on I think bike skills are definitely improving. Very small changes albeit, but having a big effect. As far as style goes, I loved that whip that Bryceland threw out there at MSA! And definitely loving Harts style out there as well, probably the two most stylish riders on the circuit right now. I definitely feel what Josh was saying, that he whipped that jump to keep himself relaxed, gotta have fun out there! I will say that Gwin's runs are, dare I say, boring? He is just pure precision speed, which may not be the best to watch but its definitely getting the results. I can't wait to see his 3MG section, Zink tweeted that he got a prescreening copy in the mail and made it a point to say Gwin's section was not human haha

@Springbok - Aero isn't going to go far, Trek stopped running those aero fairings for a reason. Motocross is at much higher speeds than downhill bikes for much longer periods of time and they are still using regular moto looking helmets and don't have crazy looking fairings on their bikes and don't wear any crazy aero suits. Someone correct me if I'm wrong but the whole reason they banned skin suits is so the riders would look more like moto riders, to appeal more to the masses. We don't necessarily look cool running around in skin suits or some crazy looking shark suit and the Trek bikes with the fairing didn't look that cool. But heck who knows, maybe they will bust those fairings out at World Champs?

As for the Aero part, you are right, MX doesn't have it but they don't need it as much. They are running powered machines after all. Mountain bikers have a lot less power so any savings show themselves up a lot more.

There's a different problem to aero. In road racing (cyling that is) the aero circuimstances are quite stable. You have the wheels spinning, which you can regard as stable (they always spin the same for example) and the only variable basicly is the rider. Now they have their stance that doesn't change much, but it does a bit. But any way you turn it, they have to pedal practically the whole time at over 30 kph, up to and over 5 hours. Aero gains really do show at those time periods.

DH is 5 to 6 minutes at most. The bikes are turning, yawing, sliding, etc., so are not an ideal aerodynamic system since they are not stable. A whip would give nightmares to an aerodynamician :D

That and DH being a sprint sport (5 to 6 minutes is definetly a sprint) make aero gains probably negligible. So it's better for the designers to just concentrate on bringing the lightest and strongest parts out there with no need to wory on the aerodynamics.

|

7/13/2011 12:00 PM

Lots of good points, myself I don't think its any one thing say like which pedal flat or clips!

Its a combination of things, GWIN has taken it to a new level no doubt as have the others, I don't find the racing any less exciting because the whips are less, in fact watching Gwin scrubbing at speed is awesome, its becoming more like pro MX in some ways which is great for DH.

What we need though now is DH tracks that test the riders more, I'm missing Schladming myself, Windham looked cool probably would have made no different to results on a longer course to Gwin, its great to have course's that vary, like SA, USA etc but we need more rounds say like a move to 10 then 12 in coming years for a true World Championships.

Sports often label things WC but a true World Cup is one that travels the continents all of them, that's how you find a real World Champion of the WORLD its where DH mtb should / needs to go imo. Don't just do what other sports do, be different stand out, lead don't follow, be attractive to new opportunities and everyone will win!

Yes I now there's costs etc but that's why people who run the sport have the jobs they do, its there job to promote find sponsorship and take the sport truly global, its also self funding once you do do that the market exposure becomes irresistibly attractive, but you have to invest to get a return.

This would greatly raise the the competition and challenges for the riders as well.

Still its great work so far each year its stepping up, so props for that.

|


Still Dangerous!!

7/13/2011 12:21 PM

We have the third generation of pros on our hand and the beginning of the third stage of racing- the re-professionalization.
My Friday evening pre-Windham spiel exists here.

There is nothing surprising going on, but it is exciting to watch.

|

7/13/2011 8:00 PM
Edited Date/Time: 7/13/2011 8:01 PM

whatevea Gwin is drinking in the mornings... I want some! HIs speed just blows me away time and time again... The immediate differece is can see from last yr is TOMAC! WHat's TOMAC whispering into Gwinny's ears???

|