By: Colin Meagher
It's been what? Seven years since Anne Caroline Chausson competed against top shelf DH racers? And the Frenchwoman is slicing through the competition like a Samurai sword through jello. Emmeline Ragot was a close second, followed by Rachel Atherton, Jill Kintner and then Fionn Griffiths.
In the men, Brian Lopes has been off the race circuit for a couple of years but he's still got some in the tank, beating out a number of current World Cup riders to take his millionth win in the Air DH (his sixth, actually). Barely. Sam Blenkinsop was a mere .48 seconds back. To some, blitzing A-line in 4:15 seems insane, and it is. Just think hucking big to flat for 4:15. For a pro racer, though, it's a matter of focus and speed control with the "Bubba Scrub" to keep low and in control. Only Gee Atherton, Bryn Atkinson, and Fabien Cousine were able to keep their focus the entire run down A-line; a mere 3.59 seconds separated the top five riders.
After the Air DH, the slopestyle circus was the main attraction. Gusty winds had riders walking the high wire to stitch their lines together. Not everyone was successful negotiating the stunts, including one big, meaty drop with a generous amount of real estate to clear before hitting the transition that claimed one rider (word's out that it was a broken leg). Only a handful of riders were willing to give that one a go afterwards, as the winds were gusting hard and unpredictably, and turning into a wind swept tomahawk is low on most rider's list of things to do.
The day was capped by the Saint Deep Summer Photo Challenge, which was won by Bike magazine's senior photographer, Jordan Manley–congrats Jordan.