When seasoned riders and journalists alike are calling a track, “One of the gnarliest, ever…”, you know things are looking pretty beastly.

The monster track in Italy this weekend went from rough-but-sick, to how-many-more-runs-do-I-have-to-take-before-I-can-go-home.  The holes turned into trenches, and the ruts into ravines.  Loose rocks littered the track like beer cans at a house party (how did that one, get over there?!), and the dust filled the air, giving everyone Black Lung almost instantly.  No one had it easy this week, from riders, to those track-side.  World Championships is always on another level in terms of difficulty and stress, but Val di Sole certainly brought it all to a new level.

The race was won and lost seemingly at the will of the track: some riders crashing out because of the degradation of the lines, and others because their bikes simple thought quitting in the middle of a run was a better idea than continuing on with the punishment.  If there was ever a track that was a true test of a rider, and thus forced the true champions to prove themselves through exemplary displays of athleticism and bravery, this was the one – the “Thor’s Hammer” of tracks; only the worthy may wield it, or in this case, win upon it.

2016 was a year to remember, revel in, and savor.  Thank you to everyone who tuned into the photo stories this summer, without you, I’m just some dude playing with plastic and glass in the dirt, typing late into the night for kicks and grins.  I’ll keep bringing you more fun reading and visuals, just perhaps not this week – I’m going to eat and sleep for the next few days, and not much else!  Safe travels to everyone returning home or headed to the next event, keep the rubber side down out there.

(Results:  Elite M W ; Junior M W