Bummer time

I randomly decided to troll pinkbike for any pictures from my trip on the East Coast. I didn’t, but I did find this gem from Colin Meager at Leogang:

Date: 2011-06-11
Trail: Leogang Bike Park
Riders: Charlie Sponsel
Description: Reality sets in for Charlie Sponsel; +1:02.79 does not make the big dance.

So, story time.

We only had one day of practice before qualifying on Saturday. Conditions were fairly dry on Friday morning, and they got faster and dryer all day. I had a blast all day, and got to shred the best course I’ve ever ridden with Jill, Team Yeti and Team Evil. Eliot Jackson is the nicest kid on the planet, by the way.

It rained all Friday night. Saturday rolls around and the track is hammered. 2 foot deep ruts, enormous holes and braking bumps, it was bad news. There were mud holes and ruts so deep that your pedals dragged while you were going straight. Some spots were just as fast, others you had to go even faster if you hoped to stay out of the holes, and some spots you had to slow way down if you wanted to survive. Tough conditions for anyone, and especially tough considering I’d never ridden anything like it.

Saturday’s conditions were for the smart and the experienced. Bringing neither of those qualities to the table, I had to guess where to throttle wide and where to speed check. I guessed wrong. In 3 runs on Saturday I had 6 crashes. 2 of those 6 involved crashing my brains out.

I put all that out of my head for my qualifying run. I was in a great mental place, and I had a great run going until I didn’t. One stupid cross-root at the bottom of the hill ended my run. I fought the fall for a while before I went over the bars, and I got back up pretty quick. I rode the next super steep, rooty section decently fast considering both feet were unclipped. After escaping the steepest, scariest part of the course, I found another root to crash on in a nice, easy part of the course. When your feet aren’t on the pedals, anything can end your run. Or re-end it, in my case.

By now I knew I was out of the running, so I sat down on the side of the course. I’d just flown over the bars, and I was well downhill of my bike. The race was on 30 second intervals, so by now I figured the guy behind me would be right on top of me. I listened for whistles, for bike noises, and for cheering. I didn’t hear any, so I got up, walked up to my bike, and rolled down the hill. at this point, I knew it was over, so I was pretty bummed. I rolled through the finish line, laid down on some grass, and contemplated many things. It was a nice combination of pissed, disappointed, and stunned.

As I was contemplating many things, I heard somebody snapping a bunch of photos. Three possibilities crossed my mind:

1. Some Euro is taking my picture, and I will never, ever see it, ever.
2. Some major photo guy is taking my picture, and everyone in the world is going to see it and laugh at me for sucking at life.
3. I might have enough money in my backpack for a pizza.

As it turns out, none of these were true. I only had enough $$ for another crummy sandwich, I found the picture on Pinkbike here, and it wasn’t used in a major article, so only you guys will be laughing at my failure.

Lessons learned from that race:

-Robots are made of metal, and metal doesn’t always get along with rain.
-Mud tires aren’t always the best pick, even in mud. This fact still confuses me.
-Europeans make weird sandwiches.
-World Cups are sweet.
-Aaron Gwin is on another level this year.
-Beds in Austria are not very big.

That is all,

One thought on “Bummer time

  1. Why is the toilet paper right next to the bed? Oh wait… never mind. I get it.

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