Friday, April 17, 2009

South Africa World Cup Round 1 and Safari's

So here I was sitting on a plane to South Africa wondering, what it really was going to be like, and if it was really as dangerous as so many people had told me. Well I arrived a Joburg Airport and met up with Aussie rider Will Rischbieth and we flew to Pietermaritzburg. Will fell asleep just before landing and shit himself when we landed was pretty funny! I got picked up by a Family friend, who took me to where I would be staying, which was just up the road from where the track was. 

I stayed with the Willis family who looked after me the whole time and i had a great time staying thanks for having me. Anyways me and Will did a bit of XC riding on the WC xc course which was killer on our borrowed bikes we were getting real loose on the off camber sections it was pretty sick.

That weekend was the South African National race on basically the same course as the WC, it was a test event kind of thing, the first practice day was super wet and the top steep section of the track was like riding on an ice rink, there was little or no traction. I got a bit carried away on my first run and slid out into a rock got highsided, I came away ok but with bent cranks. Which with 3 people and a metal pole we managed to kind of straighten.

I raced the national event with my pedals on different angles making the pedalling pretty arkward, I think i ended up around 18th or something but couldnt find any results so dont know, still had fun though. The race was won by Chris Kovaric who put in an awesome run.

The next week i kicked it off with going fishing at some dam although not catching anything which sucked, so then we did a bit of tubing behind the boat which worked my shoulders bigtime. The next day we went out to the game park with a relation of the people i stayed with, he was intent on taking me on the most extreme Safari possible, driving through rivers and going up hillclimbs it was sick, it was great to see all the animals and everything. 

Then it was back on the bike again for a bit more practice for the WC. The course was super fun to ride in practice it had some sick section that were just flat out and some good jumps as well. But to race it was epic the flat section in the middle seemed to take for ever to pedal along, everyone found this out in fridays Qualifying runs. I qualifyed in 31st spot which i was happy with for the run that i had, I knew i would just have to wind it on a bit more on sunday, Sik Mick Hannah qualifyed first on his comeback ride which was awesome to see.

Sunday came round fast as ever and all of a sudden I was at the tope of the hill, warming up for the first world cup of the year. I went in to the gate feeling pretty confident i could put down a solid run. I rode pretty strong but tryed to conserve energy for the pedally middle section where i could and i think i held back abit too much i crossed the line feeling the i could of given it abit more, but the same time happy to kick off the season and better my qualifying finishing 29th. 

Four riders after me fellow NZ rider Cam Cole came down and killed it he sat in the hot seat only until Sam Hill knocked him out, Putting Cam in 6th for the day an the first NZ rider just infront of Justin Leov. Nice work Cam. The win was taken by Hometown Hero Greg Minnaar which was great to see and Mick Hannah was 2nd with the Veteran Steve Peat in 3rd. So that was WC1 done and dusted for me. Now it was off to the afterparty which was a pretty good night, next im off to Italy! 

Thats all from me for SA


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