The Trek World Racing Summer Camp is now well underway but there's been no time of rest for the riders. The camp witnessed the team's long-anticipated Crossover Challenge whereby riders raced both the XC and DH disciplines to see who could perform best on the day. Situated in Chatel (France) the challenge took place in one of the most awesome riding spots in Europe and even though it was "just for fun" there was a definite smell of competition in the air as cross-country riders Lukas Flueckiger, Mathias Flueckiger and Emily Batty (pictured in DH gear) swapped their Top Fuels for their teammates’ Session 88s before taking to the downhill track for the first time ever.Well kitted-out in the appropriate gear and following some useful practice runs and advice from their pro-DH teammates, the XC crew were ready to race— and the results were great! All riders rode hard and fast, completing the 1.7km, 253-metre-drop course with impressive times that earnt big respect from their downhill counterparts, Justin Leov, Tracy Moseley and 23 Degrees rider, Dennis Dertell, who was standing in for an injured Andrew Neethling. Next to take to the track was the downhill crew who unsurprisingly raced faster but still had the thought of their own big challenge on their minds later that day—a gruelling cross-country time trial guaranteed to test their physical strength. The competition had the riders paired off, with Lukas challenging Justin, Mathias challenging Dennis and Emily challenging Tracy. The time difference from the DH between the pairs of riders would be taken across to the XC time trial, as a time percentage bonus.
A quick lunch and gondola ride back up the mountain was all the preparation the riders got before it was back on their bikes—this time the downhill contingent swapping their Session 88s for their 8500 hardtails and the XC crew comfortably back on their Top Fuels.
The 5.94km track combined some rapid downhill with some seriously steep climbs that meant Tracy, Justin and Dennis had to dig as deep as they could to power-up enough energy to complete the final uphill mountain climb which even the XC riders found pretty challenging.
Tracy had a 17.27% time advantage going into her XC time trail, so after Emily did her lap in 24m 38secs, Tracy needed to complete her lap in 28m 53secs or better. Amazingly she rode 28m 52secs, winning by just 1 second! So now the DHers were leading 1-0 in the best of three competition.
Next up, Dennis only had a 3.74% advantage going into the XC, and paired up with one the greatest XC climbers in the world, it was going to be a tall order. Mathias recorded the fastest lap of the day with 19m 46secs, meaning Dennis' time of 23m 53secs was well outside the 20m 30secs target. So now it was 1-1, even, between XC and DH.
Finally, it came down to being between the two lead riders, Justin against Lukas with Justin carrying a 10.99% advantage. Lukas rode strongly to record 19m 46secs, this meant Justin had to ride 22m 10secs or better to win his challenge, and take the win for DH. In the end, Justin (pictured below) rode an impressive 22m 37secs, just 27secs short of the win, giving victory to XC in the first ever Crossover Challenge. A mere 27 seconds (or 1.8%) decided the day.
Competition complete, all riders said it was an awesome day and that experiencing a taste of what their teammates compete in had inspired them. Of their own experience they said:
Emily: "I can't believe it's taken me this long to discover downhill riding! It was so much fun and I can't wait to do it again! It is so completely different and so much fun." Mathias: "It was really fun for me—it's really different when you ride a downhill bike. Also the protection makes riding feel really different. The position and the bike are so different too—it behaves completely differently which is a cool experience. I had really good fun and I'd love to do it again although I'll stick to cross-country professionally—I like the challenge of riding up hills too much!"
Lukas: "It was interesting to see what it takes to be a good downhill rider—I've never seen that before. I think it's also good the other side see what it takes to be a good XC rider. We're a team and now we understand better the other disciplines and I hope we do it again next year! It was fun!"
Tracy: "It was really cool to see the XC guys on downhill bikes and it was great to see them all put in such good times. After that, knowing how much climbing there was to do on the XC track made the challenge even harder—next time I'd like a more technical downhill and less uphill on the cross-country! It was brilliant fun!"
Justin: "What a hard effort, I got smoked! It really was a tough uphill today but it was good fun and we have to do it on a more technical DH track next year and get our revenge!".
The team Summer Camp continues for the next couple of weeks before the riders head to nearby Champery for the double World Cup on July 24/25.
1. Justin Leov – 2m 09.1secs
2. Dennis Dertell – 2m 16.1secs
3. Tracy Moseley – 2m 17.8secs
4. Mathias Flueckiger – 2m 21.2secs
5. Lukas Flueckiger – 2m 23.3secs
6. Emily Batty – 2m 41.6secs
XC Time Trial:
1. Mathias Flueckiger – 19m 46.3secs
2. Lukas Flueckiger – 19m 59.0secs
3. Justin Leov – 22m 37.4secs
4. Dennis Dertell – 23m 53.2secs
5. Emily Batty – 24m 38.6secs
6. Tracy Moseley – 28m 52.2secs