Finally the weekend that myself and a lot of other South Africans had been waiting for arrived. The first stop of the world cup circuit in our hometown of Pietermaritzburg. The venue was looking amazing. 4X, XC and DH courses taped and waiting for the riders. The vibe around the event was something I have never experienced and I was loving every second of it.
The track was long and very physical. I did a few hard practice runs to get my head around the course from top to bottom in one complete run. I divided it up into 3 sections. The top was fast, flowed well and alot of gradient changes. The second had some big jumps and flat out pedalling, 40 seconds of it to be exact! The third was alot quicker than the previous section which helped alot seeing as though you were so tired already. A few jumps later and you crossed the line, out of breathe and gasping for air.
I had no idea what to expect for qualifying so I just gave it everything from the start. I made a few mistakes at the top but nothing to serious. I felt I could have pedalled more in the second section but overall was happy with the run qualifying 58th. I was stoked to be in the final racing against all the guys I have looked up to my whole racing career. Sundays final came around and the vibe at the top of the course was tense, all you could hear was indoor trainers buzzing, the timing device counting down for the riders and the commissar calling rider names. I had waited for this day all year and couldn't wait to get on track. I left the gate pumped and ready for the task ahead. I couldn't believe how much faster the track was rolling compared to practice, I nailed all my lines and pedalled as hard as I could. Entering the 3rd and final section disaster struck. I was 2 seconds behind the leader at the split untill I came over the right hand hip near the bottom. I rolled the rear tyre off the rim pulling the tube into the spokes causing it to explode. I didn't want to believe what just happened and just kept on pedaling. Eventually my rear wheel locked up and wouldn't turn any more. My race was over. I was absolutely gutted. The crowd support was amazing, evan though I walked my bike across the line.
After a cool down and getting my head around what happened I went to the line and watched the rest of the race. Was awesome to see the rest of the SA guys representing. The crowed were on their feet as Greg crossed the line, he ended up losing by 0.2 of a second to Aaron Gwin.
Overall it was an amazing weekend that i would do all over again evan knowing about the blowout right at the bottom of the course! Really exciting to know that we have been awarded the world championships for 2013!