This past weekend was my Third World championship event, but first one being a spectator. My travels to Mont Sainte Anne, Quebec, started on Saturday morning where i caught the VIA trainway from Woodstock station. It was a 2 hour trip to Toronto where I had another 4 hours to wait before my flight from Toronto city airport to Quebec. I made my way through Toronto with my street map and had a look at all the buildings and other things that foreigners like me are amazed by. Found an Oakley shop in Queen street so had to buy some new shades! after alot of walking I caught the ferry across to the airport and departed for Quebec. The only unplanned part of my trip was how to get from Quebec city airport to Mont Sainte Anne which was about 40kms away. I soon found out that my initial plan of catching a bus wasn't going to work because they didn't operate on weekends. So the only other option was a taxi that cost me $110. I met the South African team at Chalet Montmerency, about 2km from the race village. Was awesome to see my buddies again, and meet a few new riders from the motherland. We watched the pump track world champs Saturday night, alot of the pro's had entered but the junior rider Mitch Rapelato ended up winning, he is really skilled on a bike, was awesome to watch.
I woke up Sunday real excited for the days racing, weather was overcast and raining lightly but not enough to dampen the mood of the event! I caught a Gondola up to the top of the mountain and walked down the course. It was amazing seeing a world class track like Mont Sainte Anne in real life, all those years seeing it on DVDs and reading about it. Finally I was there! The track was super rough and rutted out, the rain had made it real tacky. The riders said it wasn't so technical, just the speed you were travelling at and how long the track was made it real tough on the body. For race time i found a prime position in the finish area, in front of the Live TV screen, then to the left was the timing board so I could see the splits and final times. Our SA boys rode really well, evan though they may have not been pleased with their final results. Tim went over the bars in his run but still finished 8th in the juniors, he was definitely on a top 5 overall in his run before the crash. Unfortunately Sime had a big crash in practice that left him with a broken collar bone and fractured wrist. Andrew held the hot seat for at least ten riders until Danni Hart came down. Needles finished 11th for the day. Greg was down on Sam's split time, he looked like he was going to make a comeback until he hit a tree with his shoulder in a rock garden and stalled. He rode well to still end up on the podium finishing 3rd. He told us afterwards that the last few riders battled with the rain blocking their vision, and the track is so rough and steep that there weren't really any places to pull tear offs. Where Sam and Steve came down earlier so they
had better riding conditions. The crowd were going nuts to see Canadian Steve Smith on the podium, he really impressed me with his ride, definitely deserved the 2nd place.
Final results for the day were:
1) Sam Hill 4:37.93
2) Steve Smith + 2.63
3) Greg Minnaar + 3.00
4) Aarin Gwin + 4.08
5) Gee Atherton + 4.71
Couldn't believe it was all over. But what an experience, worth every bit of the effort to get there. All the riders let loose at the afterparty Sunday night. Greg said to us when he was leaving our chalet afterwards - " I'll see you guys at the afterparty. Well I won't see you...but I'll be there." And that's pretty much what happened haha, what a good night.
I left Quebec on Tuesday at 10:30am and arrived in Toronto at 12:30. My train was only at 5pm so I caught the subway from union station up to Don mills where Liam fetched me and I got to spend some quality time with my bud before I headed back to Woodstock. had such an amazing weekend, I will always have a passion for my sport that will never fade. The love of the sport keeps me motivated, and after this weekends racing I am evan more excited for next years season and especially the world cup in Pietermaritzburg.
Below are a few pics from Toronto, my travels and Quebec. Forgot my phone at the Chalet on Sunday so there are no pics from race day unfortunately.