It has been a long time between drinks for Cairns but the UCI MTB World Cup has finally arrived, and its been wet, wet, wet.
The first race held here in 1996 was a long remembered legendary event held at a time when the sport was exploding. Today a whole new generation of riders have returned to experience some of the most demanding trails in Queensland, if not the country.
The racing takes place today, Saturday and Sunday but before that there was training and practice runs to do, along with a bit of tourism.
If there is one thing cyclists understand it is that mass media have a long way to go in reporting and commenting fairly about the sport and activity.
Few articles are balanced, many are deliberately inflammatory while others are betwixt and between, often written by journalists who simply have no idea even though they often say that they themselves are cyclists.
But as cyclists we’re used to that. Used to the misrepresentation, inflammatory comment and outright incitement.
After a fast, furious, dusty and eventful day of racing the Paris-Roubaix, Team Sky’s Bradley Wiggins proved he has the mettle to go further on the cobbles, if he chooses.
There were a number of questions hovering over Wiggins prior to the race; could he mix it with the best pavé riders in the world?
Even cycling’s king of the cobbles Fabian Cancellara seemed confused when asked about Sir Wiggo and cobbled classics, “Wiggins? Why?”
It’s on. The Tour de France that is. And we’re not even there yet. How can you tell? Trash talk. July is going to be awesome.
After the first three months of the year it’s clear that Team Sky is not the force it was last year, or even the one before that.
The team looks unsettled both on the road and off it. More ad hoc than marginal gain. Sure, illness and injury have played their part, but something just feels different this time around.
In an interesting piece in the UK’s Independent, Andy Waterman asks, “When did it all start to go downhill for mountain biking?”
In it he charts the rise and fall of mountain biking in his home country and goes on to list a number of points he says were critical in its decline as a mass participation sport, including an increasing complexity in equipment choice and its portrayal as an extreme activity.
It’s a pretty good analysis and could easily be applied to any number of nations where mountain biking was once a strong presence, the US and Australia included.