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Mountain Bike World Championships

The UCI Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships were held at Stromlo Forest Park over the weekend so I went out to have a look at the women's cross country. The amount of work that has been done to do up the place was very impressive. The Event Village was easily trice the size that it was for the Scott 24. There was several thousand spectators wandering around.

I watched the riders at the section known as the Fang where there are actually two steep downhill sections, an easy one and a faster one for overtaking. Most riders chose the easy option. Then I moved up to the notorious Hammerhead, a sequence of three large boulders. (Left. The bright yellow at the bottom is padding to catch falling cyclists. Canberra is in the background. A Russian cyclist is negotiating the first of three boulders.)

Australian cyclist Ben Henderson described the Hammerhead as a "frighteningly steep rock face descent... enough to make seasoned Olympians tremble at the sight of the seemingly vertical rock cascade." This proved to be literally true. One American cyclist picked up her bike and ran down. Another cyclist froze atop the first boulder. A cyclist coming up behind her (in foreign colours but in English, with an Australian accent) said: "You can do it! Go! Go! Go!" And she did, albeit with teeth gritted.

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