The latest round of the downhill World Cup in Mont-Sainte-Anne provided a masterclass in how to handle slippery terrain.
The heavens opened just before qualifying on Friday afternoon, saturating the course with water and adding to the difficulty of the already rough track.
As us Brits know better than anyone else, rain causes mud, and mud means seriously reduced traction. Our winters are renowned for being the muddiest around but our summers can often be no better and some of our favourite routes are just bogs regardless of the season.
Go with the flow
When it comes to handling mud the best bet is to let the bike do its business beneath you. Eyeing up a muddy patch and then staying agile on the bike allows you to handle any unpredictable slides far more calmly before the bike finds traction again.
Josh Bryceland demonstrated how to stay loose on the bike, allowing it to move beneath him when it was muddy. He took the win over Loic Bruni by just 0.2 seconds in a season plagued by injury and adding to the Santa Cruz Syndicate’s list of wins this season.
The rain caused any hidden roots within the fresh cut track to make themselves known. A nest of polished roots can spell the end of any flow on a trail; avoid washing out by picking up or unweighting the front wheel and allowing the rear wheel to slide until it finds traction.
The important part is the set-up, carrying too much speed and braking on the roots will spell disaster so brake beforehand and go in slower rather than faster. Likewise, minimise turning when on roots to avoid a complete loss of grip. You can see the best way to maximise flow by following this weighting and unweighting masterclass with Brendan Fairclough.
Rolling on rock
Wet rock can be just as slippery as any roots and there was plenty of it in in Mont Sainte Anne including the latest feature to grace the 25 year old course: Rampage Rock. A great slab with a mean looking huck at the end.
The course also featured one of the nastiest rock gardens of the series which was very greasy by the end of the race and saw both Mike Jones and Connor Fearon have horrendous crashes. The fastest riders seemed to find that the best bet was to straight line it, avoid turning as little as possible and leave off the brakes.
Rachel Atherton continues her streak of World Cup dominance by taking the win on the slick rocks at Mont Saint Anne. Being no stranger to the wet roots and rock of her home in Wales she looked dominant on course; taking the win by almost 4 seconds and pushing her lead in the series even further.