By Darren Berrecloth
Sunday has come and gone and I am still in one piece after the biggest event of the year. Stoked to say the least.
The day started out with clear skies and dead calm winds, with all the staff and athletes preparing to roll up the hill at the break of dawn. One thing I will mention is the 3d film crew that red bull hired. It consisted of 60 people and a setup straight from hollywood. Yes thats right folks you will be able to watch me in 3d………..
My day started out good since I had nothing left to dig, after 4 hard long days of digging I was more than content with the originality flow and just radness of my line it had all that big mountain represents, big airs, technical steeps, technical turns and new school moves. I practiced riding the lower 3 jumps of my line to warm up. After warming up we had the riders meeting and then headed up the slope. The heli was in the air and the excitement was high, Gee was third on the start list. He rolled through his line with ease and stomped Romanuks line at the bottom and scored a 82. We at the top kinda scratched our heads and thought it was a little high but no worries. The rest of the riders finished ridge one and it was our turn on ridge line 2. Zink rolled down the hill to the oakley wood drop and sent his 360 and unfortunately went down pretty hard, which was the case for a few people. It was me and Bourdo left at the top with me last to go we felt the wind gusting and I gave him some encouragement to stomp his line which was one of the raddest things ridden this year. He dropped in straight from the top into a steep cliff to a tight s turn, he stomped the crap out of it. So now its my turn and I cringe at the wind but I’m cued in by the starting guy and the heli is wrapping around the start near eye level, so its go time. I drop into my line and make the first corner to the first air and scream down the chute into the big drop and as soon as I leave the takeoff I’m blasted by a wind gust and it blows me sideways to the right and I land the air but miss the corner. I scurried back up and rolled the rest of the line until I came to the road gap which once again a headwind, I cased the jump because of the wind and my run was pretty much over.
Mentally frustrated and very angry I almost broke my other hand trying to punch out the window of my rental car, smart yah I know but when your that angry you try and hold it back. I couldn’t believe that I was getting screwed once again by wind. Run 2 saw the ridge one guys go and with increasing winds they struggled and when it came time for ridge 2 to drop in we called it since the winds were too high and very dangerous to try riding in weather such as that. We waited just below the top for over 2 hours while the weather hammered the ridge with rain, wind, thunder and lightning. Just minutes before everyone called the event off, myself and Todd Barber saw a patch of clear sky emerging on the horizon. That was enough to wait another 20 minutes which proved out to be worth it.
The skies broke and our 2nd runs were under way. Zink stomped his spin and victory lapped the rest of the line and Bourdo went for his flat spin and fell. I was a bag of mixed emotions. I am usually relaxed and focused at contests, but after all that I went through that day I was a bit of a mess mentally. I dropped into my line but since so many people hiked up it I lost my front tire on the corner which was frightening since I went off the cliff in a nac nac. I somehow managed to pull it back and shred my whole line by the skin of my teeth and at the bottom I went a little fast on my 360 drop and landed at the bottom of the tranny and stomped it perfectly……
I can’t even tell you how happy and relieved I was to finally get my line even though before I dropped in I was not confident at all since I had realized that maybe my line was a little too hard. I was dissapointed but not surprised at the judges scores they gave me. I busted my ass all week building a line that was a true representation of big mountain riding with no machine built or wood features. Some may question that comment since I love slopestyle events so much, but if you didn’t know that big mountain riding is my favorite well now you do.
Deep inside I knew that the judges get pursuaded when someone does one rad thing but I held to what I wanted to do which was not ride stunts and jumps that someone else built, I do that all year. I’m proud of myself to not cratering in to doing what other people want. Because it was tempting………………
I hope I leave all who read this insight with motivation to do what drives your passion. Keep the rubber side down and ride hard.1st-Zink 2nd-Gee 3rd-Claw