The Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships were officially opened today with a ceremony and race in Civic. Canberra showed the international competitors and specatators a sample of the early spring weather to come – sun, followed by rain, followed by sun.
The opening ceremony was fairly typical. The RMC Marching band lead the teams into Garema Place; there was a welcome to country, by Ngunnawal elder Aunty Agnes; speeches from big wigs; Andrew Barr said some nice things about Canberra & Stromlo; and a large mascot kangaroo, emu & cockatoo wandered through the crowd (much to the delight of the overseas visitors – including the German team).
After the formalities were over, a criterium race was staged through Garema Place and Petrie Plaza, including a small set of stairs at the end of Petrie Plaza. The Rat Patrol turned up with a rat low rider and tall bike, which had an “interesting” time negotiating the fairly simple city circuit (I heard that the low rider binned it on the steps during the race). In addition to the rat bikes, a couple of guys in summer suits also brightened up the field. One very keen entrant in the Open Men field raced on a heavy downhill/freeride bike, and wore a full face helmet.
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Tomorrow (Tuesday) will see the downhill and cross country courses open for training, so the keen riders will be out for at least one run at Stromlo tomorrow. The Team Relay event is also being run, which is like a tag-team cross country race. Entry is free on Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday, so you can get a taste for MTB before paying for entry on Friday, Saturday & Sunday.
For more coverage and better photos of today’s opening ceremony and crit race, see Jim Trail’s write up on ABC.