Skip to Main Navigation
Skip to Content
11th June 2007
'STEEP' is the word to summarize this downhill track which twists it's way through the trees down a serious, slippery slope. Even in the team manager's meeting it was brought up that one risked breaking both ankles to attempt to walk the course. In fact, during a walking inspection Greg Minnaar slipped and dislocated a tricky shoulder, so it was no joke. The only way to get injured riders off the mountain was to pluck them off the mountain with a helicopter, which was fondly called "Carcass 'Copter" and "Yard Sale Collector".
Peat says, "The track is easy for half the field and hard for half the field. I like it, a lot of people don't, but I liked it from the first practice. If it rains it will be a horrible mess. If it stays dry it will be good to race. The turns are blowing out now, and when it comes to finals tomorrow we're going to have to be a little cautious. (Saturday afternoon brought a heavy rain shower).
"It's a tough track and you need to relax in practice but that is tough because it's steep and you don't know the track for the first few runs. It's a good track and it challenges everybody. It's good the guys clipped in can see the advantages of flat pedals. Yesterday a bunch of guys ran out and bought 5 Ten shoes and trained on flats," said Rennie.
Tire changes happened each run as riders tested the traction and they ran bigger rotors for better stopping to manage the steep track. The sounds of the beating helicopter blades were heard repeatedly though the day plucking up course casualties.
Qualifier morning, practice started late after a one hour rain shower greased up the course. After practice chatter: "That is carnage out there. People are like Go, Go, Go, and I don't want to. I love it when they yell 'Go Rennie' then I cartwheel into the fence, and they still cheer. You just have to go slower into those turns. I'm just going to try to keep my tires rolling," said Rennie. Peaty says, "The hardest thing is slowing down. I'm just going to try to get down without crashing."
Qualifier is just finishing and Sam Hill posts the fastest time with a 4:01.89. But to summarize qualifier in one word it is crash! Most everyone had multiple crashes and as they compared run notes it was 'how many times did you crash?' Peaty and Rennie both crashed twice with times well back at 4:49.73 and 4:42.76, qualifying in 60th and 41st respectively. Greg Minnaar came down crashing with a 5:54 .58 and said the catch netting worked really well, and when he crashed he just grabbed his arms tight to protect his shoulder and rode the ground torpedo style. Vanessa Quin said it is hard to get your bike out of the netting. Carnage and destruction was the name of the game for qualifier, and the destruction Hill put on everyone hurt the most. His time beat second place Mickael Pascal by a whopping 14.56 seconds!!
Race time, here's what went down: Peat comes down early with a 4:11.81 and takes the hot seat. Teammate Nathan Rennie crosses the line, finishes 30th and says, "I rode really good between crashes!" Peaty protégé, Josh Bryceland, one of the last few to come down in the dry, finishes with a 4:22.95 and places 7th overall and wears the junior leaders jersey.
Matti Lehikoinen flies down and bumps Peaty from the hot seat. A few raindrops are felt, Peaty says, "If you're 'gonna rain, do it," and the heavens opened up and delivered a deluge.
Riders struggled in. Nico Vouilloz proves he is not an alien by crashing with the best and places 63rd. But the story is Sam Hill, the last man down the track rides as if it was dry, crashes and comes in third with a 4:11.84, just .03 behind Peat and 1.63 behind Lehikoinen.
Overheard: Neethling says, "If Sam wins I'll walk out of here in my underware. Neethling starts to strip down as we see Hill's split as the impossible suddenly seemed real. "Sam is the king today, give him the crown. What he did was amazing!" said Peat.
Lehikoinen said, "Sam is the winner today."
Packing up and still raining…
The boys go to Scotland next week to race at Fort William then on to Mt. Ste. Anne for the next World Cup.
Skip to Main Navigation