The year 2020 has not yet been able to deliver a lot of mountain bike racing action and unfortunately it also looks as if the first events are still far behind. The past two days were a small attempt to bring back some race feeling.
The initial thought came from Wyn Masters. The New Zealander, who is currently spending a lot of time in Munich, reached out to Racement at some point and expressed his wish to do something in order to generate content for his video series again. With Markus Pekoll, another enthusiast was quickly found, who could instantly deliver the perfect location with the Bikepark Schladming. Uwe Buchholz also didn´t hesitate to come on board, after all, he is a communicator, well networked and provides ideas that are more important than ever during this time. In the current situation, we as Racement are of course open for everything, after all we don't know where to put our excess energy.
So, the only question left was, what could be done and what is currently possible. Without any doubt, we wanted to follow all the regulations and realize an environment where NotARace could take place during these pandemic times. Large events are currently not allowed and therefore races are almost impossible at the moment. The bike parks are open again and this offer seems to be accepted as never before. That´s why we have developed a format that is small enough not to be an event and yet big enough to not forget about our favourite sport.
On July 2nd and 3rd there was a format in the Austrian Bikepark Schladming with the title that ex-presses everything: NotARace - iXS Cup Test Session. About 30 riders were invited, who completed a few timed training runs on these two days during normal bike park operation times and thus were able to experience something like racing against the clock after a long time. It was expressly not a race and therefore there was no winner. After only a few runs could be completed each day to get in, there was a time span in which the times were taken, i.e. like a timed training as known from the World Cup.
From the beginning on it was clear that a few media will certainly be interested in the matter. In the end, it turned out to be the big ones in MTB reporting that did not miss this opportunity. Pink-bike, VitalMTB, MTB News and the Red Bull Media House sent their representatives and with the productions of the participants themselves, a considerable amount of content was created…
It all started on Thursday morning with the Riders Briefing and in fact all but one of the invited athletes had come. Everyone seemed to be keen for riding together and so we went straight up the mountain. The timed riding took place at upper part of the pro downhill track, with the start at 1,750 m, about 100 meters below the mountain station, and the finish at the middle station at 1,325 m. One of the training groups managed to complete seven runs during the Timed Session, while most of the other riders contenting themselves with three to four. Fastest on the first day was David Trummer (AUT - YT Mob) followed by Greg Williamson (GBR - Commencal / 100%). The best time for women came from Vali Höll (AUT - SRAM TLD Racing), but just under two tenths of a second ahead of Nina Hoffmann (GER - Stif). Manuel Lettenbichler (GER - Red Bull / KTM) also did pretty well, with a time in midfield proving that he does not necessarily need an engine in his vehicle. Just in time for the end, a few dark clouds showed up on the horizon, but other than that, the weather was much better than predicted and perfectly appropriate for the occasion.
Friday started differently. After waking up in the morning it was already clear to everyone that this time, it would be a somewhat wetter test session than Thursday. However, this all seemed to be basically welcomed by the riders, because it was ideal for testing in both dry and wet conditions.
So the concept of Not A Race worked out completely and everyone took the opportunity to run a few more runs on one of the most popular tracks. The majority of riders completed four timed runs, with a third of the field doing six to seven runs. For Andreas Kolb (AUT - Gamux Factory Racing), the patience paid off in the end, as he set the best time of the day in his last run. The same thing happened to Thomas Estaque (FRA - Commencal / 100%), who delivered the second fastest time with just eight tenths of a second. This time it was Nina Hoffmann who set the fastest time for the women. Monika Hrastnik (SLO - Dorval AM PRO Race Team) followed. Even if it wasn't all about the times, they were important for some to be able to judge their own performance.
This was another attempt to bridge the race-free time and not to let the iXS Cup be forgotten. We currently have the hope that a few more races of the series can be held and until then we try to make the best of it.
#notarace #ixscup #testsession #schladming #austria #mtbmagasia