Photographer Victor Lucas brings us ten unique images from the first day of practise at the World Cup finals in Windham.
After a couple of months trucking around the Alps living out of my van, I've had to trim everything down to the bare essentials for air travel to the World Cup Final here in Windham in the northeast corner of the US and A.
That meant leaving behind my most important photo tool - the umbrella. Unfortunately the curse of the World Cup weather seems to have followed us and it was raining solidly for the first few days this week. I guess this region is called New England for a reason.
US National DH Champ, Jill Kintner takes a high plate number and lines up for her first DH World Cup. She says its great to have no pressure, but knowing how competitive she is, we all know she will be trying damn hard.
So first thing on my list was to get a new rain shelter sorted out for what could be another wet race. Marshy helped me rig up this custom handlebar extender so as I can go handsfree on the umbrella and shoot photos with 2 hands. Safety first kids. Of course after all that effort, the sun has come out. But if the umbrella works to scare the rain away, that's fine too.
Oh yes, Sam Hill is back. He looks pretty relaxed and is obviously using this race to get ready for the World Champs next week. Everyone loves to be the underdog.
Greg Minnaar had a crash today and might have a few aches and pains to deal with tomorrow. Maybe an edge for Gee? Who knows, but qualifying will tell the story tomorrow.
Rachel Atherton is back in action. Although she is most likely focused on the World Champs next week, she is most certainly a potential spanner in the works for Ragot and Jonnier.
Emmeline Ragot is bound to do well if she can keep a clear head. But she needs to take 175 points more than Sabrina for the overall title.
Gee Atherton runs the number 1 plate this week. He's 7 points ahead of Greg Minnaar for the overall. The pressure is heavily on for these two riders. Either of them could put in a killer run on this course, with its mix of technical terrain and short pedally sections. Times will be well under 3 minutes here, so the winner will have to be absolutely flat out and on the edge. No room for error and nowhere to relax.
Tracy Moseley was fastest woman in timed practice today. Perhaps this course will suit her. If she takes a win, she can get enough points to make 2nd place overall.
There's no shortage of interesting shapes in the ground here, and there are plenty of opportunities for banzai lines to clear gnarly terrain. Filip Polc makes it cleanly over the 50 foot road gap about half way down the course. This is also the first split time spot.
The Windham course has plenty of rocks, not quite a St Anne or Maribor rock garden, but nasty enough. Danny Hart charging through on his way to a fastest timed run today.