I was invited out to the UCI Downhill World Cup in Leogang, Austria by Bliss Protection on business. Now I’ve been to Fort William’s World Cup for a number of years, universally regarded for having the best track and crowd and no the track well, however nothing prepared me for the scale of the track.Based in Leogang’s famous bike park, the course is brutal. Big jumps, tight natural lines with large roots and drops, with rock gardens strewn in-between.
I’m the first to admit I’m technically not a great on a mountain bike. I have an engine and can take on moderate terrain, but stop short of drops and large jumps. The track only confirmed my thoughts and in several places I wondered, how do people ride the terrain?
Walking down the freeride track was tough enough, as countless fans took a spill in order to get a glimpse of their heroes taking on the track. Crashes were heavy, line choices crucial and keeping momentum a real art form. Being friends with several elite riders and mechanics, this has given me a whole new level of respect for their a craft. Their ability to analyse terrain, control the bike and mentally stay in charge.
A huge thanks to Bliss Protection for organising the trip, it was epic!
If you ever get the opportunity to get out and watch it in person. Do.