Redbull Hardline or ... We love Rachel Atherton
We had made it. Dan's dream was about to come true. The weather was average but we had hope for some sun and as Dan often says "there isn't bad weather, only bad clothing". Which is all well in good when you can get your gummies out, but alas being many kilometres from the gumboot bucket our feet were not going to be 'ready' for the weather at hand. Ah well, at least we had good jackets. We don't look that sad really.
Plus look at the view! A mountain bike race under a waterfall is pretty wicked.
We started by heading through the mud (I possible was the slowest, I did not want to fall over!) and up the hill. The practise runs were on, so it seemed very relaxed with not too much happening. The odd biker came down and so we got to see them launch themselves over a couple of high jumps.
Lots of people were heading up into the forest to go further up. Our group split at this point because Hannah and I weren't super keen on walking up a very large and steep looking hill.
Hannah and Sharon's Tale
We watched for a bit and decided to see if we could find some flatter bit to stand on, that would still give us a good view. The timed races were about to start so we wanted a good viewing platform.
We weren't disappointed. We had a fantastic view of the bikers coming down and we could also see the commentators that we had watched many times when Dan watches the racing. Well, I heard them first, one has a very distinctive voice. The filming moved closer so we had a perfect view of them.
This is us 'touching' them mahahaha
The boys you can see watching were with a Mum I started chatting too. They had family in New Zealand so we had a great yarn about mountain biking, NZ and travel.
Check out this cutie!
I attempted to take a few shots of the races. Hannah was singing a bit of something in the background. I don't think she cared quite as much as the rest of us. :)
By this time the racing was almost over so we headed back down in hunt of a hot drink and hot chips to warm our toes up. I wonder if you can work out who this guy is?
I had a bit of a fangirl moment when I saw that Rachel Atherton was around. She is my hero! I know I don't bike but honestly, this girl is incredible. She and her brothers all bike, and she got into it because they were and she wanted to do what they could do. And now she kicks butt at it. She's just won the World Champs. She is my mountain biking hero. And I got to met her!!!!!
(Hannah did give me a very stern talking too before we went over - I was NOT allowed to embarrass her in any way and I was not to lose it like I did with Jacinda ! ! ! )
I think I did ok. Hannah didn't tell me off ... much.
Side note: We did find this guy (green jacket, pointing, microphone) who we thought was Sage Harris, an old colleague. I'll be honest if it wasn't for the accent they could have been the same person.
And I promise I didn't do anything weird when Rachel stood a few feet away from us filming her brother on his timed run. She was way closer than the camera makes out.
Since Gee Atherton was the last one down we figured the boys couldn't be too far away from returning.
Dan and Asher's Story
While the girls were down at the finish line hanging with Rachel, Dad and I went for a hike up the hill to see some action at some jumps. And you bet we did.
This jump is wicked fun to watch. You're so close to the riders and they are going so fast!
I think this is one of the French riders.
This section is called 'Dirty Ferns', which involves a massive step-up jump. It's pretty epic.
Coming out of the Dirty Ferns into the woods just before the first jump we showed you, is this bit, which they go so fast (like 50km/h) and they dig into this corner pretty heavily.
This is The Road Gap. You jump off this platform across the road and down into the forest below.
(not our picture)
Apparently, it's the easiest feature on the course. The easiest feature on the hardest downhill MTB track in the world.
It was pretty epic to watch!
We then made our way back down the mountain as the finals were about to begin, and we wanted to see the most at the final jumps. It was so muddy coming down the hill, I slipped over heaps. Literally, you walk down the side of the hill, no path at some points so I wasn't the only one falling over. My white jeans really thanked me afterwards. *facepalm*.
This is us all laughing at Asher's dirty grey/white pants. Hannah and I managed to miss his biggest fall, that would have been one to get on camera.
I have no idea what we are doing below.
Anyway, it was time to watch the finals. The top 10 who had the fastest time race again, aiming to be the fastest. They come down in order of place, so Gee Atherton was the last.
We headed back up the hill to watch a few of the top 10 come down. Dan and I worked hard on getting a selfie with the action in the background. This is harder than you would expect, especially when Dan forgets what we are doing.
It was nail-biting stuff. We were all rooting for Gee because he has raced this since it was built by his big brother Dan and he hasn't won yet. He also has had a few rough years of injuries and not so great results after being in the top few for World Champs etc, so we felt like it was his time. Plus I personally wanted the Atherton family to have a great family dinner celebration with both racing siblings having won their races. It was totally Gee's time for the Star Plate.
And he did it. His time was soooo fast. It was his race and the crowd literally went wild. The coolest thing about the mountain biking crew is that they are a bit of a family, so even though they may have raced and not won they still celebrate hard with the person who does. It's pretty cool to watch.
Gee, having just come off with a win. He's in red with mud all over his back.
They do the presentations pretty quickly after it. You can see the top three below with their winnings.
It was quite a crowd.
After that, we need to wait for the raffle draw (yes, they had a raffle draw). My good friend Rachel was drawing it, so it was an added bonus. We didn't win anything but Dan got to meet her too and have her sign his Dirty Ferns key ring.
(That's mountain bike speak for cool)
We headed home and watched it all again on TV the next night. And yes we did see ourselves. And yes we did re-wind and try and get a picture of us. (It didn't work).