A bit of a grim start to another day of practice here at Hafjell World Champs. But with it looking like the cloud would burn off by the afternoon, we were all hoping for that gorgeous Nordic sunshine to come back.
Although a day of practice for the Elite riders, it was all systems go for the wee Juniors. A timed seeding run early on this morning meant an unappealing 7am start with practice kicking off at 8. Not the easiest to get a bunch of teens out of bed at this hour!
Apart from the ones who actually had to be up, everyone else was still catching the Zzzz's. British Cycling's Junior mechanic squad assembly promptly and eager to go early doors!
There's quiet solitude around the pits at such an early hour in the morning. No Elite riders in sight here, just a ghost town walk over to the lift for Junior practice.
All the bars, gels, supplements and resources to keep you going for a week of racing. Diet is important but easily overlooked whilst at races. It's easy to find yourself snacking on Euro rubbish and missing out on the essentials to keep you topped up and pinned on track!
World Champs is all about working as a team with limited practice available it's necessary to have eyes on everyone. All the team members chip in with vital information on line choice and what the other riders are doing, all followed up in the evening with team discussions. It's easy for riders to miss lines when they are coming into them with speed and it helps to have people on the ground pointing out errors and potential gains.
Miserable conditions in the base of the valley turned into no fly zone by the top. With visibility down to less than 10ft at times, riders went into the booters pretty blind.
But some still had big shapes in them. Switzerland's Mike Schär braving the clouds and busting out this keen whip.
Amaury Pierron making it a double top stop seeding as he comes in 3rd just being country man Loris and the Brit Taylor Vernon. France pushing hard this year with a solid Junior team which have two World Cup winning riders.
Josh Bryceland out on track early trying to get some last minute line advice from Jellybean in the rock garden. With plenty of options and shapes to be made, its more about picking one and riding it fast than trying to dabble around finding the best one.
The cloud stuck around for pretty much all morning and wasn't going to disappear during seeding. Ben Hill pushing on through the cloud and ending up with a 31st place seed. One of several of a strong Junior Aussie team that has made the trip over for Worlds.
Laurie Greenland did himself proud in his seeding run today, slotting nicely into 6th place. With plenty left in the small package that he is, he plans to go off that line like a fire cracker on Sunday!
Missing out in Meribel, Luca Shaw has come into this round with revenge in between his teeth, but ploughing hard into seeding today he only managed to pull a 5th place out. Maybe without the pressure of being last man down things will come together.
Loris Vergier taking it home in seeding today with the number one spot, a massive 3.5 seconds up on 2nd place Taylor. The boost from winning the WC overall has really pushed him further in this race.
Taylor Vernon really excelled in the rocks and tech sections. Growing up in the Welsh valley's it's all you have to ride, steep and gnarly. 2nd place in seeding today for young Taylor.
An odd start for the Women this morning as they started practice at 11.30. Fresh as a daisy and out on track, Manon Carpenter took it easy and smashed out a few fast laps, before calling it and resting up for tomorrow. Fast through the bike park berms in the middle section of the track.
They don't call this section 'No Brakes' for nothing, its not a advisory, its a rule! Tahnee Seagrave looking remarkably chill considering she had no fingers on levers. At least you know you're keeping all your important speed coming into the final wooded section.
Elite men came on track for an afternoon of practice action. No pressure of seeding or qualifying this week, a round of training followed by a timed run on Saturday before the main event. Wyn Masters floating his way down the track as he finds all the humps and bumps to get some style on.
Needles looking especially quick again on track. Some tracks just click for riders and this one has for him. A well rounded rider that can tackle all the variation of features. Fast through the bike bike park corners like he was on rails.
Its didn't take long for Myriam Nicole to get back into the swing of going fast! The hand injury not appearing to make much difference as she goes flat out in the open section.
Emmeline Ragot making up another number in the already strong French team. Looking fierce on track, and pinned in the rocky sections, it will be interesting to see where she fits in in tomorrows timed runs…expect high!
Danny has had a good ride here before, picking up 2nd last year on a soaking wet track. With rumours floating that it could rain on Sunday, Danny's feet will be twitching to make 2011 repeat. Might be packing umbrellas come Sunday if the locals are correct?!
A disappointing year for Loic Bruni saw disaster and misfortune in the World Cup rounds. With everything to play for at Worlds, expect Bruni to put it all on the line. Bruni sending the big hop step down in the middle of the track.
With two of the top riders being British, there becomes a fine line between riding for your country and riding for yourself, everyone wants to see a Brit on the top step, but a the end of the day its a personal goal and everyone is fighting for it. Rachel also looking on it in practice today.
When the week is spread out over 4 days of action, you would have thought there would be plenty of practice time. But in fact practice time becomes even more limited, with only two and half hors out on track to get it all dialled in. Tough for riders like Josh who like to have fun in the morning and nail it in the afternoon, you have to be quick off the mark or you get left behind.
Consistently fast looking, Remi Thirion will be fighting for a solid result here. Remi always manages to look great in practice, but can't pull it together when it comes to his race run, although always up there in the top 10s and 20s, he will need to dig deep for a place here at Worlds.
The old saying foot out, flat out coming into play for Gee Atherton and he comes spraying around the loose dusty corners. Feeling confident and hoping this year is his, he looks forward to getting stuck into a race run.
Aaron Gwin focused on the prize and ready for this. Gwin has the ability to take it pretty chill in practice, but then when push comes to shove he can really stick it out there and put down winning times.
Sour apples don't taste that great. I caught up with Rachel briefly in the pits as she chats about her day. "[audio url="http://cdn.coresites.factorymedia.com/dirt_new/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/29_audio_01.mp3"]"
Freshly serviced cans ready to go back on the bikes. With support and feedback from the WC teams, Rockshox has come on leaps in the past year or so. Its not just a tough race on the track, it's a tough components war.
The Hart family have made the trip out to come watch Danny at this final race of the year. Having followed him around the UK weekend after weekend as he was growing up, it's rare to have them all here to cheer him of track side. It will be like Fort William all over again!
A solid day for Sam Hill looking comfortable as ever on track. That could be down to him being here early for some pre-race training, or just that he has found his track. Could well be another one for Sam Hill this weekend rolling off the back of some solid results.
The cloud eventually all cleared to end the day of practice. Another early start tomorrow sees the Women out on track at 7am for a short bout of practice before hitting some timed runs. Join us tomorrow to see how the times stack up.
"29_audio_01". Released: 2014.
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The Juniors have been throwing down their seeding runs and the Elite Men and Women get some practice in for the big race. Tomorrow sees the pressure rise and riders will be pushing hard to make it stick on what could be a wet track in Norway.
We have been out in Norway this week and if you want to catch up on the highlights then check them out right here: