BLOG: UCI Downhill Mountain Bike World Cup Round 1 - Lourdes, France
After what seemed to feel like one of the longest off seasons yet, last month we made our way down to Bristol airport and boarded a plane to Toulouse, France, heading for Round 1 of the UCI Downhill Mountain Bike World Cup in Lourdes.
Lourdes is a small market town situated in the foothills of the Pyrenees. Surrounded by beautiful rolling mountains, many of which were still snow capped, the town is renowned for it's tourism, as it is one of the World's most important sites for pilgrimage and religion.
Just up from the hustle and bustle of the busy town however, lies one of the gnarliest downhill mountain bike race tracks in the World.
The clay based, shale littered, rocky track is around 3 minutes long and has hosted World Cup rounds for the previous 2 years.
Drops, steep shutes, jumps, rock gardens and technical sections, this track has it all!
The open area at the bottom of the track and the speedy ''Furnicular'' uplift system is one of the reasons Lourdes works so well for a race venue!
We arrived on the Wednesday, and after a good night's sleep from over 12 hours of travelling, we were up bright and early to head to the pits on Thursday morning.
The World Cup teams who we are officially supporting this year are Intense Factory Racing and VoulVoul Racing, whilst we continue to support individual athletes such as Aaron Gwin, Neko Mulally, Brendan Fairclough, Adam Brayton and many more.
First up, we headed over to Intense Factory Racing's new pits, and wow what a setup they have! Easily the biggest and best looking setup we have ever seen!
Greeting their new head mechanic, Chappy Fiene and catching up with Bernat, Ernie, Jennifer and the boys it was time to show them the goods - This year the team asked for gold colour titanium goodness, so we delivered!
Best looking bikes of the season so far? We think so!
We then headed over to French team VoulVoul Racing. Their main rider, Florent Payet and his team mates will be using our Ti Bolts, Direct Mount Stem Spacers and Race Ti Springs on their Mondraker Summum bikes this year.
These bikes are super light, and look so clean!
Aaron Gwin's mechanic, Juan Hall was pumped as ever. New season, a fresh bike and new motivations for both him and the reigning World Cup champion.
Aaron Gwin is running an XL size YT Tues bike this year, and opted for rainbow colour Ti Bolts throughout his whole fleet of bikes.
Having dropped off product with both the teams and all our supported riders, there was just one thing left to do.. head over to the SCOTT Sports Velo-Solutions pits for a coffee and catch up with the nicest guy on the circuit - Benoit Vergnaud.
Benoit has been Brendan Fairclough's mechanic for a few years now, and when he's not working on Brendan's bike he's either out riding or driving the team bus to the next race!
Brendan also opted for rainbow colour Ti Bolts this year. We think they compliment his custom painted frame really nicely!
It was so awesome to see so many of the World's top riders using our products - Most of the riders and mechanics seemed even more stoked than us!
Unfortunately as you will know, bad weather on the Sunday ruined the mens final race - But as they say, that's racing! The series has been blown wide open, with many of the usual top 20 riders now going into the next race in an un-protected qualifying position.
Will this cause a mix up? Probably not, and normality will most likely be restored at Round 2, Fort William next week, but whatever the case, it's made for an exciting season and we can't wait to get to Fort William to witness it all again!
Massive thank you to Kayleigh Adams Photography for coming out with us to Lourdes and capturing some great images.
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