World Championships

We practice reading dirt conditions, wet roots, and blown up turns, but how do you read the corner speed on a wooden wallride? And in case you thought the answer was “you can go as fast as you want on a wooden wallride,” please consult these photos of Andrew Neethling’s otherwise stellar World Champs run:

Andrew Neethling loves having ladder bridge wallrides in downhill race courses. Especially at races where it always rains. 

He was on chicken wire when he slid out. How do you read chicken wire?
Fun fact #1: still clipped in like a boss. Fun fact #2: he’s not wearing a Leatt brace in this picture.

After blowing up his brakes and missing out on a World Championship title that, arguably, was his to lose, it only took Aaron Gwin two minutes to compose himself, get things in perspective, and have fun gooning off the finish line jump. The rest of us would have thrown our bikes and helmets into the woods and cursed at the heavens, but after a whole season of showing us how to win like a champ, Mr. Sportsmanship here decided to put on a clinic of how to lose like a true champion. Hats off to you, Mr. Gwin.

And hats off to Greg, as well. He’s a had a World Championship drought almost as long as Peaty’s was. Minnaar’s been the bridesmaid at World Champs in Les Gets, Rotorua, and in Pietermaritzburg when he lost to Peat by 0.05, and he’s gotten third just as many times. He probably has more 2nd place medals than any other rider on the planet. He’s a consistently great rider, a true professional, and just look at him; he’s every bit as happy as Gee and Steve are pissed.

[Editor’s note: Greg was the first loser at Les Gets ’04, Rotorua ’06, and Canberra in ’09. I accidentally wrote Pietermaritzburg instead of Canberra. My bad. My mistake was so significant that I probably tilted the earth off axis. Sorry.]

Also, did you notice that Greg Minnaar was one of the only guys in the top ten at World Champs that didn’t have an energy drink sponsor? That means that, prior to Greg, World Champs hasn’t been won by someone without an obnoxious looking helmet since Fabien Barel in ’05.

Just kidding, the neon yellow atrocity that Minnaar wears on his head is still pretty obnoxious.

Maybe it’s a good thing when the non-rockstar athlete wins; energy drinks are straight poison, after all. Besides, when are we going to start seeing our top guys getting sponsored by real companies like mountain dew again?

Energy drinks=poison

Mountain Dew = awesome

Real men drink Dew. I would start running a mountain dew helmet today if they contacted me. I would do it for free. I’ve considered paying money to get my helmet painted with the mountain dew logo.

Palmer killing it for Mountain Dew and Slayer.
One last thought: if you’re one of those people that thinks “The World Cup overall is way more important. I don’t even know why we have a one-day World Championship,” then you’re an idiot and you should go kill yourself. Obviously it takes way more consistency and general skill to win a World Cup overall.
That’s the entire reason why we have the World Champs. That’s the entire appeal of the event- consistency doesn’t matter. You go out there and just pour it on as fast as you can go. It’s a one day, checkers or wreckers race. It’s the official Fuck It World Champs. It’s all the drama and tension and prestige of the whole season, all your training and preparation wrapped up in 4 minutes. On top of that it’s the one event in our sport where you represent the nation where you were born instead of the company that offered to pay you the most. If you don’t think that’s incredible and an event worth keeping around, go die now.

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