XC and DH go head-to-head however the struggle for media protection is not any zero-sum recreation.
UK riders put in unbelievable efficiency to come back away with Gold and Bronze medals within the DH and XC occasions on the MTB World Championships in Scotland this summer time. Man Kesteven has been fascinated with which self-discipline ‘gained’ by way of how they regarded on the day and what are the potential impacts of that going ahead?
With Charlie Hatton taking gold, Laurie Greenland taking bronze, and Louise Ferguson and Phoebe Gale in 4th and fifth, UK riders had a storming set of leads to the Elite DH in Fort William. Aimi Kenyon bagged a 4th within the Junior ladies’s occasion too. A couple of days later, Tom Pidcock and Evie Richards took bronze within the frantic XCC brief monitor races in Glentress. Tom adopted up with a dominant win within the full XCO race which mirrored the field-crushing cost of Charlie Aldridge within the U23 XCO race. So, by way of ending positions, the DH crew undoubtedly had the most effective end in Scotland.
You’d suppose it could be a foregone conclusion that the legendary Fort Invoice DH course would run away with the ‘win’ by way of spectacle too. Heading down from the brutal rocks and boardwalk of Aonach Mor, into the steep and technical wooden part – made much more treacherous with more and more moist situations – and ending with the send-fest of ‘The Motorway’, it’s clearly an excellent difficult monitor, even for those who’ve by no means watched mountain biking earlier than.
Nonetheless, I’ve by no means seen an XC monitor look gnarlier than Glentress did for the World Champs. Understandably the digicam protection honed in on the close to vertical boulders of the ‘Salmon Ladder’ and the intimidating block-rock-built hole soar. There have been a number of log hops, bermed circulate trails and taxing rooty sections to additionally create pleasure, though paradoxically it was a flat gravel nook close to the end that was pivotal to each races. Within the males’s Elite XCC when Pidcock carved Luca Schwarzbaeur’s entrance wheel out from beneath him within the final lap, after which within the Elite XCO when gold medal favorite Mathieu van der Poel washed out on the primary lap.
Relating to commentary I don’t actually know what to say that hasn’t already been stated on-line, aside from the truth that making an attempt to attraction to each fanatical followers and first time watchers is a extremely laborious gig to steadiness. The Eurosport/Discovery workforce undoubtedly took the win in each DH and XC broadcasts in comparison with the BBC crew, so I assume it’s a rating draw for the completely different disciplines there.
What I might say is that by way of fixed protection, the UK XC riders undoubtedly bought far more constant air time as a result of they had been within the combine all through, not simply sitting on the recent seat within the closing phases. Patriotic viewers would little question have been frothing watching Charlie and Tom draw back to dominant wins with equally dominant protection, and further bonus comedy factors when Pidcock unintentionally wrapped a Yorkshire flag round his face simply earlier than the end line.
When it got here to the end line celebrations although, Charlie undoubtedly smashed it along with his pleasure and disbelief believing being shared with Atherton workforce mate and silver medal winner Andreas Kolb. A giant distinction to a visibly relieved Tom Pidcock bitching about free gears haunting him by way of the final laps.
From a thrill seekers viewpoint, downhill appears much more enjoyable too. You get a carry to the highest of the hill after which principally freewheel right down to the end doing skids and jumps like a child. You get to put on a full-face helmet and funky MX type gear too. That’s an enormous distinction with the clearly kind two enjoyable of XC, the place you’re predominantly watching folks crawling, gurning and struggling slowly uphill carrying awkwardly tight Lycra and a roadie lids.
“The UK XC riders undoubtedly bought far more constant air time as a result of they had been within the combine all through”
Pull again to the larger image although, and DH appears like a completely completely different, alien and infrequently terrifying world. Folks may watch it for the crashes, carnage and adrenaline overload, however they don’t have any intention of getting a go themselves, or taking their household for a check out. Even when they did, you could have a full-face helmet to experience Fort Invoice, and a DH bike is certainly a good suggestion too. Neither of which you’ll rent at Fort William like you’ll be able to at some DH venues.
Examine that to XC the place the package they’re carrying and the bikes they’re using look shut sufficient to ‘regular biking’ to not frighten novices. In case you rock up at Glentress you may give the precise course a go with none minimal gear necessities too.
Whereas apparent effort may put some folks off watching and taking part, a great deal of folks watch athletics or marathon operating as a spectacle and find yourself downloading a ‘sofa to 5k’ app and getting caught in themselves. This broader attraction is backed up by the truth that much more folks watch XC in comparison with DH globally too, and it’s the identical with bike gross sales.
The actual fact XC is wanting an increasing number of enjoyable with every occasion, whereas DH appears more and more intimidating, is unquestionably an enormous issue going ahead too. I feel that takes the rating to date to 2 all plus a rating draw, however on the danger of being as tacky, one factor is certainly clear: extra mountain biking protection of any type, with UK riders gathering a bunch of medals within the course of, is certainly a win for our sport total.