Fort William Day 1
Here we are then, year 15 at the Bill. It still rains, there's a new bit that looks like the old bits and there's still nothing that dissuades the midges.
Photos: Seb Schieck
We shouldn't be negative though, while some may come to Fort William and see the same old, same old, it always has the potential to surprise. There's something special about this barren hillside - a unique mix of history, location and physicality that can unsettle even the most resolute racers. For the past two years, Greg Minnaar has stamped his authority on the course. He's won nearly half the World Cups that have been held here, a truly astonishing record that could very easily be improved upon this weekend.
The unknown factor this weekend will be the chasing pack that are either already on the 29 inch wheels or secretly wishing they were. Revealed today was Loic Bruni's, although he's adamant he won't actually be throwing a leg over it until he's done more testing, for now it's just a statement and a warning to decorate the front of the pits.
Tomorrow is forecast to be dry and sunny - a perfect, level playing field for finding out how much faster (if at all) the big wheels really are. Catch all the day one action here: