The UCI Downhill Mountain Bike World Cup returns for round two this weekend, and after an entertaining opener in France it’s time to head down under, to one of the few places on Earth with weather less predictable than Scotland – Cairns, Australia.
Now, we could write a couple more paragraphs here about the carnage that went on when the World Cup was last in Cairns in 2014...
But rather than doing that, and telling some top notch jokes about snakes, spiders, beer and BBQs, we’re just going to say “welcome to the jungle" a bunch of times and then give you our predictions for the weekend, because that seems to be the done thing whenever you’re talking about, looking at, or writing about anything remotely related to the jungle. Obviously.
Welcome to the jungle. W-e-l-c-o-m-e t-o t-h-e j-u-n-g-l-e. Welcome to the jungle. Welcome to the jungle.
Liked that last one didn’t you? It was italic and flirtatious, like being stroked in the face by Aaron Gwin’s bike handling skills. Anyway, here are our predictions for the Cairns World Cup. We’re pretty sure they’re bulletproof:
1) Having fallen off while nobody was watching, a junior rider unable to get back up in the thick Cairns mud will become camouflaged in the sticky brown surroundings, and will forever be trapped on the downhill course where he will slowly crust over and become just another feature
Chants of "One of us! One of us! One of us!" will echo silently from the trees as he takes his place among the roots and rocks.
2) Having had to borrow a pair of Five Tens from a fan on the sidelines at Cairns in 2014, Gee Atherton will this year hitchhike to Australia for Sunday and borrow some shoes, socks, a riding jersey and some insect repellent from a supporter on arrival
It absolutely poured down with rain in Oz last time the World Cup circuit stopped in Cairns, and Gee wasn't prepared for having to ride with flats, having to borrow a pair of shoes from the sidelines in order to do so.
Now he knows he can just ask Aussie fans for stuff though, why stop at Five Tens? He might get a new car, a handful of cow bells and a few new wives this time around.
3) The fan that stole Adam Brayton’s bike in 2014 and hideously crashed out to do the same again – but this time win the race
Having seen his chance at glory after Brayton went off his bike and ended up in hospital, this fan grabbed the stray rig and took to the course to try and finish what Adam had started. He quickly also ended up in hospital, in absolutely brutal fashion.
We reckon he's been practising in case he gets the chance to extend his 15 minutes of fame at the weekend though, and we're fully backing him to make the podium this time around.
4) ...or go the other way and this time come back with a white van and a pair of bolt cutters, and steal every single bike at base camp when they’re not looking
Well, it was a pretty bold move to grab Brayton's bike and go for a shred the first time around.
5) This scene to be re-created at the start gate when it starts inevitably pissing it down on finals day
"Get busy living, or get busy dying." - that guy from the Shawshank Redemption.
6) ...and subsequently this to become a more than familiar sight throughout the coverage
7) Rob Warner to get over excited and scream a metaphor to describe the thickness of the mud, the ferocity of the rain, or the dryness of the dirt that will offend thousands around the world
Maybe we'll even get some more ammo for Rob Warner quotes on wanderlust-inspiring backgrounds.
8) Having forgotten to install windscreen wipers on their goggles, two to three riders to veer off-track, ride into the jungle and never be seen again
Or maybe they'll pop up again in a few years, riding out of the trees with a herd of now-loyal platypus and kangaroos behind them.
9) The phrase “Welcome to the jungle" to be used every time someone crashes, skids, it pours down with rain, there’s a panning establishing shot on the live-feed, an animal appears, or Axl Rose comes up in conversation
Well, we've kind of already covered this one. Welcome to the jungle.
10) Loic Bruni to be fastest in qualifying and up at every split, but then get attacked by a gang of ravenous jungle snakes inches before the finish line, only being able to drag himself over the line in second place and again narrowly missing out on his first World Cup win
"Sometimes it does feel like destiny doesn’t want me to win a World Cup..." - poor Loic Bruni.
11) Having drunk four cans of beer, your mate Brian [replace name as appropriate] squints his eyes at the live-feed halfway through finals and declares: “I reckon I’d actually do alright on that course"
Alright Brian. Finish your can and off you head home.