This was my 1st WC DH race. I know you are saying, "WTH, you have not been to a WC DH race? It is hard to believe. I have pretty much been everywhere, at least I thought I had. You remember that commercial with the song, "I've been everywhere, I've been everywhere...", that was written about me. Really, it was. If you do not believe me, look it up. It was written about a guy that has been everywhere. Duh. If you do not remember the little jingle, trust me it was written about me. Unless you have trust issues, then I do not know how to help you.
Regardless, the song is clearly not true as I not been to a WC DH race - at least before last weekend. So does that make the song a liar, or me nearly left handed? But alas, I have now been and it was stupendious. (That may be a Gaelic word, but a wee bit more on that later.)
Scot's talk fast, but they say a few words alot. They say "wee" for little, they say "lovely" when they want to say something is nice, they say "you's" which is plural for you, they say "I" which is said "Aye" which is used in a sentence for me kinda like - and a heap more really delightful things. It is truly a lovely language. They also live in a wee lovely country(Ha, I am Scot. Which is different than Scott - he is a friend of mine. I am Scot.) In fact, I think that Scotland may be my new favorite place. Mountains, delightful people, fun loving outdoors things to do, kilts, accents, good ale's, the Loch Ness monster (which by the way has her own ale) etc... Go there.
A World Cup race is a kinda big deal, and Fort William is the granddaddy of them all also (Which is not the same as Greg Williamson's grandad). 40,000 people at the bottom, a wall of sound for the riders to smash down into, a really cool prepared trail at the top, lotsa rocks and fast then a tight woods section in the middle and just a killer MX track of a bomber section at the bottom. Huge gap jumps, tabletops, high speeds and as I said 40,000 crazies screaming and pounding on things like maniacs at the bottom.
I learned a few truths this weekend, that really way heavily on me going forward. What I do on a mountain bike and what a downhiller does - is 2 completely different worlds. They really are only related because we are both riding off road on a bicycle, from there they are not really similar in any way. I enjoy a good fast swoop on a trail, but what they are doing is akin to the difference between when Ricky Carmichael rides an MX track and when I do. A wee bit like the difference between what you do when you drive a car and what an F1 driver does when they drive their race car. It is a whole different sport.
A nice but kinda long video from the Parkin Brothers follows. It was just this epic being there, and this explains what I mean by the differences in their riding and in my riding. Click the link, and you will see what I mean.
If you have not been to the race, it should really be on your bucket list. Scotland is spectacular and the race itself is amazing. Wow. This is my little one minute video slideshow from my visit there. Enjoy.
Brook MacDonald, Greg Williamson, Neko Mulally, George Brannigan. Remember all those names. Brook MacDonald is already a podium World Cup rider with the top step in his past and many more in his future. Greg Williamson hit top 10 this past weekend, so look for more of that from him. George Brannigan is recovering from knee surgery this past off season, so he will continue to get better and better. Neko Mulally is young, but he is developing still and I am convinced he has future WC podiums in him.
We also did a few rides while we were there on some really great singletrack. Not long, as we only had 2 or so hours per day to ride. But they were really fun. Couple of photos below of Liz enjoying herself on a trail somewhere in Scotland. What a hoot.
Do mind the gap. Wouldn't want you to get your toe caught in it or anything like that.