May 18/02 10:50 am - Madrid report and photos
Posted by Editoress on 05/18/02
World Cup MTB #1 - onsite report
This report made possible through the sponsorship of FACT Canada & Schwalbe Tires
We are less then 24 hours away from the start of the 2002 World Cup cross-country series, in Madrid, Spain. The races will be held in the Casa de Campo park, a large urban green space in the northwest corner of the city. The fact that the race is in the city, and the start line is only 150 metres from a subway station, means that the crowds are expected to be enormous tomorrow - they are estimating upwards of 60,000. If it is like the Worlds at Sierra Nevada in 2000, the noise will be deafening.
Local hero Maga Fullana hes her own expo
So far, the weather has been perfect - sunny, little wind, temperatures in the mid-20s. It is also very dry, so the track is dusty. It is also very fast, according to feedback supplied to the Trek-VW team mechanic by Roland Green and Alison Sydor. The riders did their practice laps early in the morning, before the citizen races, so we have not had a chance to talk to them yet.
The Trek-VW mechanic says that Alison and Roland will both be running hardtails - the 9.8 OCLV composite model. Sydor will use IRC Mythos tires - the front version on both front and rear - while Green will use IRC No Toes. They are both using the SID Black Box composite model seen at Sea Otter (and which Roland used at the Worlds). The handlebar lockout has been upgraded significantly, according to the Rock Shox tech guy, and it certainly is a cleaner, more professional looking unit, with a smoother action.
The 8 kilometre circuit consists of 3 large loops radiating out from the start-finish area. There is no major climb, just a series of short, sharp ascents and descents (see profile). The most difficult section technically is expected to be approximately between kilometres 5 and 7. There has been no decision made on number of laps yet, however, right now it looks like 5 for the women and 6 for the men. That could change between today and tomorrow, depending upon the weather and how fast the Juniors cover their 5 laps in about 2 hours time. We do not have a starting list yet for the Juniors, because registration will be open for at least another 30 minutes.
- The Casa de Campo park is rather notorious as a hangout for prostitutes, their clients and for drug pushers (and their clients). The police have a made a crackdown in the last few days to 'clean up' the area for the races this weekend.
- As was mentioned previously, I had a rather less then enjoyable trip to Madrid. It started with a last minute scramble to replace my ticket after it disappeared from the airline reservation system, and culminated in a 6 hour wait at Heathrow in London when the entire air traffic control system crashed... However, I felt a lot better after I heard from a German writer who was attacked in the Madrid subway (the Metro) - while he was fighting off one thief who was trying to walk away with his luggage, another one relieved him of all his money, credit cards and passport.