17 days until the start of the 2017 EWS season and 49 days almost to the minute until racing will conclude at UCI DH WC #1 in Lourdes.
The freshness of it all, new teams, new riders on new bikes, colours, kits, venues and new ventures. Wheel size or watts the shiny new things are what keep so many people coming back for a fresh dose of race fever. Whether rider, racer, industry hack, journalist, spectator, coach, fan or fan-boy…this “newness” each season drags the heart-rate a little higher, pushes the addiction a little deeper and keeps the glint of hope shimmering in everyone’s eyes.
Wrapped up with the freshness & newness is the sameness – a must, the blend of fresh and same-old keeps things authentic, keeps DH and Enduro what they are – racing can’t change too much from the basics; A to B, fastest wins. That’s what we are all here for. Displays of preparation and execution against the clock.
Driven by instinct maybe or more possibly culture, the “players” whether fans or media keyboard jockey will speculate. Bench racing; who’s on the up, who’s got what to prove?
The athlete’s in all this need to be strategic, strategy implies purposeful thought. Getting sucked into speculation and expectation is a recipe for disaster – tactical nightmare, shuffling emotions about as best one can only partially dealing with the physiological fall-out inevitably linked to emotional reaction.
2016 is gone. Those with paper to fill will talk of the title defense, the rising star or failing veteran. But there is nothing to defend.
Whether your name is Rude, Ravanel, Callaghan or Winton. Atherton, Gwin, Seagrave or Minnaar. Races can only be won. There is no defense to make. Each week, day & racing minute are opportunities for action only. If you aim to write some history, there’s only one way to go about it.
Races & Championships are only won, never defended.