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A look behind the scenes of Fort William’s biggest weekend of the year

As with all great things in life, the smoother and more professional the outward appearance of a venue, event or personality, the more work has gone in behind the scenes to make it that series lifts the veil from some of the iconic British mountain bike institutions, showing just some of the backstage work that goes on to keep events and locations running issue features the Fort William Downhill World Cup. It’s a highlight in many a British mountain biker’s calendar; a long drive north to spend a weekend surrounded by midges as they watch the pros bomb it down the infamous Fort William track.

This year, we headed up and got behind the scenes of the event. Before most of the spectators had even packed up and begun their journey north, the crew at Nevis Range were already hard at work nailing in the last pieces to the track ready for the hectic weekend. To the casual (and even the rabidly keen) spectator, the Fort William World Cup just happens; they will have given little thought to what’s been going on behind the scenes for months. Everyone makes the long journey north expecting to find a fully operational, world-class downhill race for their entertainment. And that’s what they get when they arrive in the small Nevis Range ski resort, just outside Fort William. Those who look in earlier in the week, say on Wednesday morning, might still find a few rough edges and works-in progress, but by thursday, the team trucks are in, the banners are up and the course is fully marked up for the course walk and Claudio’s first run.

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About Singletrack

Editorial: There Is No Right Or Wrong. Choose a bike, any bike, and enjoy it. International Adventure: Panning For Trail Gold In Arizona. Huw Oliver finds gold in the ghost towns of Arizona. Classic Ride: Don’t Mynd If I Do. Tom Hutton rides the Long Mynd in search of forgotten corners and new trails. Behind the Scenes: Colour Wheels. Sim Mainey finds out how the next bike fashions are decided. UK Adventure: Cornish Fasties Barney Marsh goes to the edge of the UK and finds a world of overlooked trails. UK Adventure: How To Lose Friends And Alienate People. Sanny reduces the nicest man in mountain biking to rude words. Hope’s Helping Hand. Chipps checks out a bit of innovative thinking from Hope Technology. Bike Test: Overlooked Awesome. Daz Hall checks out three smaller wheeled, shorter travel bikes that you probably should be riding, from Bird, Cotic and Santa Cruz. Column: Jason steps out of his comfort zone. Pete’s Pros: Rock[et] Science Manon Carpenter may not be racing much, but Pete Scullion finds she’s still aiming high. A Day In The Life: Fort William Saskia Dugon goes behind the scenes at this noisiest of World Cup races. MTB Culture: The Quiet Revolution Rich Rothwell argues that GPS technology has opened up a whole new world of mountain biking joy. Last Word Hannah gets to ride somewhere she thought might only be a far-flung fantasy.