Why The Mtb Course For The Rio 2016 Olympic Games Is Special

Postby Melissa_Theuriau on Wed 17/Aug/16 1:07pm

The world’s top riders hailed the track after Sunday’s test event, so rio2016.com asked the creators how they did it

Why the mountain bike course for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games is so special

mKd-vCpy.jpg

The view from Flag Mountain, the highest part of the course (Rio 2016/Alexandre Loureiro)

The Rio 2016 mountain bike test event was a rip-roaring success on Sunday (11 October), with the world’s leading riders lining up to sing the course’s praises. The International Cycling Union (UCI) delegate even said it would be “way better” than the London 2012 track. So what makes the course at the Mountain Bike Centre in Deodoro Olympic Park so special?

Nick Floros, the South African course designer and ex-mountain biker responsible for the track, explained that the key concerns were to create a technically challenging trail that would bring out the best in the competitors and allow spectators to see as much as possible of the action, while also making the best use of the natural landscape and reflecting the host city and nation.

This resulted in a series of features, such as:

The Flip-Flops

Rocky obstacles in the shape of footprints. The riders jump off the big toe on to the inside of the foot, throwing them forward and creating a flow between the feet. “I wanted to come up with a Brazilian flavour and flip-flops are something that everyone in Brazil has,” said Floros. “You need to give the course its own character and a bit of local identity, and balance that with something that works well for the riders.”

Image
A cyclist jumps into one of the Flip-Flops (Photo: Rio 2016/Alex Ferro)

Flag Mountain:

A natural hill that is the highest point of land, riders climb about 1km to the summit, making it one of the longest cross country climbs in the world (see top photo). “It opens the competition up to a broader range of riders,” said Floros. “It’s not super steep, it’s pretty gradual, so the bigger riders should be able to stick with the smaller guys.”

Rio Rocks:

A natural rocky area that was exposed during the construction of the course, at the start of the descent from the top of Flag Mountain, it has a jump at the end. “Whatever natural features were out there, we tried to use them,” said Floros. “This one reflects the topography around Rio.”

Image
One of the riders jumps off the end of Rio Rocks (Photo: Rio 2016/Alexandre Loureiro)

Coconut Beach

As the trail passes in front of two big rock faces that were previously hidden by overgrowth, a batch of coconut trees gives the area its name. There will be seats at this part of the track.

Rio 40 Degrees

A 40-degree descent down a ‘staircase’ made of wooden beams, with the odd rock thrown in, the name also refers to the warm Brazilian weather.

Image
Rio 40 Degrees tests the nerve of the competitors (Photo: Rio 2016/Paulo Mumia)

Downtown

A rocky descent that points towards the downtown area of Rio de Janeiro, this section was made by Floros using rocks from a local quarry
Image
The Downtown section is full of rocky obstacles (Photo: Rio 2016/Alex Ferro)


Olympic evolution


Floros also explained how mountain bike tracks had changed since the sport made its Olympic debut at the Atlanta 1996 Games. “The first tracks were very, very basic, there was not too much construction,” he said. “Then London set the bench-mark for having a very spectator-friendly course and the riders really enjoyed it. The lay of the land allowed for spectators to see a large portion of the track, whereas traditional courses are in wooded areas with far less visibility. The beauty of Rio is that spectators can stand at the highest point (on a hill opposite the grand stand) and see 85 to 90 per cent of the course.”The Deodoro venue will have space for 25,000 spectators, and Rio 2016 mountain bike manager Paul Davis, who was technical operations manager at London 2012, confirmed that “London had about 60 per cent visibility, whereas here we’ll have about 85”.

Video: ride the Rio Olympic mountain bike course with Andrea Tiveri:


Only fine-tuning, which could involve extending the distance between the start line and the first corner, is necessary between now and the Games. Another element that should be improved, but without human input, is the weather. The intense heat (about 35 degrees) was commented on by many of the competitors at the test event, which took place in spring-time in Brazil. The Olympic Games will take place in August, which is winter in Brazil. “I measured the temperature in Deodoro on the same day the competition will be on next year, and it was 25 degrees – so about 10 degrees cooler,” said Davis. “It’s still quite hot for Europeans, but it’s part of the challenge.”

https://www.rio2016.com/en/news/why-the ... so-special
Melissa_Theuriau
User avatar
"Vorb News Reader"
Member for: 11 years 7 months

Re: Why The Mtb Course For The Rio 2016 Olympic Games

Postby AgrAde on Wed 17/Aug/16 1:25pm

Why the mtb course.
AgrAde
User avatar
Member for: 13 years 10 months

Re: Why The Mtb Course For The Rio 2016 Olympic Games Is Special

Postby dwgknz on Mon 22/Aug/16 11:19am

Did anyone watch the race? Was Sagan really leading and threatening the likes of Schurter and Kulhavy?

What happened to Gaze? Sagan was ahead of him at the finish and had a lot of technical problems apparently.
dwgknz
User avatar
Member for: 4 years 7 months

Re: Why The Mtb Course For The Rio 2016 Olympic Games Is Special

Postby Rik on Mon 22/Aug/16 11:37am

Sagan was in the lead group at the beginning of the race, but so where a few others that never medaled, so his placing at the beginning means nothing. But for sure any hopes of medalling where blown out by the puncture.

Damn that course looked fun though. but pretty gnarly through the rocks after overnight rain. OTBs in lycra = not fun.
Rik
User avatar
""Cities are becoming more rational again, after the folly of car-centric planning," Colville-Andersen"
Member for: 9 years 4 months

Re: Why The Mtb Course For The Rio 2016 Olympic Games Is Special

Postby happybaboon on Mon 22/Aug/16 12:20pm

Sagan's got fantastic bike handling skillz. Combined with pro tour experience and fitness I see no reason why he wouldn't be a major threat on any XC course.
happybaboon
User avatar
"Proud owner of vorb's largest"
Member for: 15 years 8 months

Re: Why The Mtb Course For The Rio 2016 Olympic Games Is Special

Postby scatter on Mon 22/Aug/16 1:01pm

happybaboon wrote:Sagan's got fantastic bike handling skillz. Combined with pro tour experience and fitness I see no reason why he wouldn't be a major threat on any XC course.

Especially seeing as he was the Junior Mountain Bike World Champ in 2008.....
scatter
User avatar
"The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook"
Member for: 14 years 9 months

Re: Why The Mtb Course For The Rio 2016 Olympic Games Is Special

Postby nostromo on Mon 22/Aug/16 5:29pm

Just watching the replay now, course looks awesome with great TV coverage. Pretty exiting race too.
Things seem to have improved greatly since the XC snore fests I remember.
nostromo
User avatar
":-("
Member for: 11 years 7 months

Re: Why The Mtb Course For The Rio 2016 Olympic Games Is Special

Postby RHR_Rob on Tue 23/Aug/16 12:01pm

Sam Gaze says "Sometimes you're the hammer and sometimes you're the nail and unfortunately today I was the nail."
and his gears stopped working as well! you would think with a fully serviced top end bike it would mechanically (excluding punctures which may be due to running too lighter tyre) last a 90min ride - i would be well pissed off if my electronic gears (i assume he was using) packed up on the Olympics.

I do also wounder why they don't carry a Co2 - it wouldn't work with every puncture but it would if you burped or had a slow puncture.
RHR_Rob
Member for: 13 years 9 months

Re: Why The Mtb Course For The Rio 2016 Olympic Games Is Special

Postby Rik on Tue 23/Aug/16 12:38pm

RHR_Rob wrote:i would be well pissed off if my electronic gears (i assume he was using) packed up on the Olympics.


I'm betting the gears thing was a pretty simple fix. something dumb like the RD went into 'crash protection' mode or a plug came loose (assuming it wasn't a wireless setup), but who's got time in the middle of an Olympic medal race to stop and check all your connectors are secure. Frustrating. But looking for the silver lining, he should take a bash the Single speed champs, :p (Sorry Sam)
Rik
User avatar
""Cities are becoming more rational again, after the folly of car-centric planning," Colville-Andersen"
Member for: 9 years 4 months

Re: Why The Mtb Course For The Rio 2016 Olympic Games Is Special

Postby wgtngrl on Wed 24/Aug/16 11:33am

RHR_Rob wrote:I do also wounder why they don't carry a Co2 - it wouldn't work with every puncture but it would if you burped or had a slow puncture.

I completely agree. A few riders still did up until a couple of years ago. Now none of them seem to. I remember seeing the spares sometimes appearing to come loose and probably be a bit of a pain, but I'd rather come up with a better way to secure at least the CO2 than cost a medal at such an important race. I had to wonder how much of a difference it could have made to Sabine Spitz and Maja Wloszczowska at world champs - especially Sabine puncturing so far from the tech zone.

Another thing is that at that level often there is no sealant (to save weight). So even small holes can be catastrophic.

The Rio course was definitely going to damage light weight rubber if the lines weren't perfect - and it was the type of fatiguing course that invited small mistakes. The riders had to make the call. Note that Nino has been running Maxxis since the La Bresse world cup where first raced the 29er (with tubulars) and punctured twice.
wgtngrl
User avatarMedal
Member for: 13 years 4 months

Re: Why The Mtb Course For The Rio 2016 Olympic Games Is Special

Postby RHR_Rob on Wed 24/Aug/16 11:58am

wgtngrl wrote:
RHR_Rob wrote:
Another thing is that at that level often there is no sealant (to save weight). So even small holes can be catastrophic.



Well then they deserve what they get......
RHR_Rob
Member for: 13 years 9 months

Re: Why The Mtb Course For The Rio 2016 Olympic Games Is Special

Postby wgtngrl on Wed 24/Aug/16 2:17pm

RHR_Rob wrote:
wgtngrl wrote:Another thing is that at that level often there is no sealant (to save weight). So even small holes can be catastrophic.


Well then they deserve what they get......

That'll generally be done with a more robust tyre, weighing up that there is less risk of getting a puncture in the first place. So in terms of deserving what they get, no more so than running lighter rubber. There are lots of little decisions made where risk vs benefit has to be, and is, considered.
wgtngrl
User avatarMedal
Member for: 13 years 4 months

Re: Why The Mtb Course For The Rio 2016 Olympic Games Is Special

Postby mfw on Wed 24/Aug/16 2:39pm

Exo Minions FTW :D
mfw
User avatarMedal
Member for: 9 years 11 months

Cross Country Racing | Cycling | Mountain Biking | News - Latest Posts

Who is online

58 Users browsing this website: Google [Bot], Google Adsense [Bot] and 54 guests

REMEBER TO CLICK THE LINKS WHEN BUYING FROM VORB SUPPORTERS


  • ProBikeKit
  • Torpedo7
  • Vorb Shop
  • Wiggle
  • Chain Reaction Cycles
  • GT Bicycles
  • Merlin Cycles