The Buzz leading into the first day of World Championship competition focused almost entirely on injuries. And nobody's name was mentioned more than Steve Peat.
After a few weeks of speculation, it looks like Peaty, who badly dislocated his ankle in July, is going to race after all. What follows is mostly hearsay, but from somewhat reputable sources: Peaty started practice on Wednesday with clipless Mallets, but crashed when he didn't have enough strength in his injured leg to unclip. Then he switched to flats, and couldn't keep his feet on the pedals.
On Thursday, a clipped-in Peaty managed to qualify 10th in seeding runs, though a lot of the favorites were soft-pedaling. Seems nobody wants the pressure of starting the World Championship downhill race last. Nobody, except Greg Minnaar, that is. He finished first with a time of 4:53.
When Peat starts on Sunday, he will be rocking a new custom paintjob on his V10. Both Peat and teammate Nathan Rennie received some fresh paint for the world Championships featuring the colors of their national flags. Peat's is red white and blue, while Rennie's is green and gold (which looked better than yellow).
In the women's DH seeding runs, Rachel Atherton, who is returning from a broken arm, eliminated any doubts that she was ready to race. She qualified first, beating second-place finisher Tracy Moseley by more than 8 seconds. With two Brits sitting in first and second, the crowd should will likely have worked itself into a frenzy by the end of the women's DH race on Sunday.
While Atherton appears to have fully recovered, four-cross favorite Jill Kintner badly injured her elbow during qualifications on Thursday. Those who spoke with her after the crash said she will try to race finals tonight, but there's a chance the injury might be too severe to overcome.
After three relatively dry days of practice, it began raining Friday morning and a light drizzle has persisted throughout the day. But the courses so far are still in good shape, racers seem to be in good spirits and the fans are just beginning to crowd the venue. Should be an amazing weekend of racing.