We arrived in La Massana, Andorra, last night after a drive up from Barcelona.
A pizza parlour was found for an evening meal, there we met several riders including the Chainreaction team and Ralph Jones and a few others who had all recently suffered a bout of the Andorran loose stool syndrome, the dodgy virus quickly spread to my laptop computer rendering the poor thing useless. Hence the lack of updates. Sorry.
I am now in a goat herders hut in the mountains using his primitive Amstrad vidi printer system to keep you updated.
Hopefully normal service with techni-colour pictures will resume shortly, but for now it's just words I'm afraid.
Some how managed to squeeze this photo on, not sure how...but keeping checking back for updates.
Contrary to reports it's actually sunny at the moment, though it has rained for the past three weeks and promises to rain tomorrow, and the next day and the day after that, race day, which means the result could be interesting.
Andorra sits high in the Pyreneese mountain range, and on taking the gondola from La Massala to the top I was greeted with stunning snow capped vistas and rock strew slopes, which led me to expect an awsome track.
What I found looked a bit of an anti climax (pictures to follow).
Looks like they haven't made the best use of the hill. From the start hut, you desend the open piste in a series of fast corners, before jinking off left round a couple of berms a step down then it's into the woods for a tight twisty section. The ground here is a loamy/clay combination that looks sticky even in the dry. Not sure how gloopy it will be in the wet, but every one is running spikes already.
A few off camber sections, a couple of rocks, an old pallet, more tight twisty tree sections then it's over a really soft double and over the finish. It's a short track with times estimated just over 2 mins.
Riders I've spoken to say it's fun to ride, but is it a World Cup standard track? I'm not sure. "It's just like a Midlands race" said Camellini. 16 year old Gareth Brewin stated "I likes it" where as DirtTV presenter Cunny retorted "I f*****g hates it"
It's the first day of practise today so most folk are just cruising, checking out lines. Rennie seems to be on a mission, he seemed to be cramming in more runs than anybody. Hill and Fairclough got a few in, as did Peaty and Minnaar. The Athertons look fired up, specially Rachel after her second spot in Maribor.
Scott Beaumont told us that the 4x track was "very soft indeed". There are some big-ish jumps but if it rains in the next few days it could make things a tad pedestrian.
The layout of the whole event-caboodle is a bit awkward, you have to drive from the town to the top where the pits are, then take a chairlift to the start of the downhill, the finish is at a remote location then it's a chair lift and a walk back to the pits and the comfort/security/coffee and sandwiches of the press room...ahhhh. Hopefully the loose-stool-computer situation will be sorted out tonight so I'll be able to beam you some lovely colourful pictures tomorrow, stay tuned.