The anticipation was palpable, as the Juniors and Women boarded the gondola and made their way to the start hut.  With the sun bearing down with authority at 9am, we all knew it was going to be a hot one too.  Within the first two runs, rocks appeared like mushrooms after a rain, and bikes were quickly being turned from “out of the box new” to “selling for parts” condition.  No one was turning up the speed dial though, as there is a long week ahead of riding, with three days of practice leading into Finals on Sunday.

When the Elite Men dropped in, the course was already churned into a fine brown powder; a lot less tasty than Nesquick.  The sneaky holes, hidden wheel eating rocks and roots, and fading light made the afternoon practice session particularly hectic.  It wasn’t possible to gauge who was really going for it though, as riders were pulling up at every junction, just trying to get the hang of the track, section by section.

With Day 2 upon us, it will be interesting to see what sort of cheeky line choices get tested out, and who is going to start showing their cards with speed.  Drop in below to check out some of the action from the first practice session:

(Don’t forget, you can selection and photo to then scroll through the rest like a slideshow.)