Ahhh World Champs, the culmination of a season of hard work, the biggest race of the year. Getting selected to represent New Zealand is always a goal of mine each year, it is such an awesome feeling to be able to put on the Silver Fern.
This year the World Championships was held in Lenzerheide, Switzerland. A stunning place in the alps, it’s always an awesome place to go as long as you don’t have to buy too much stuff….little old New Zealand dollars don’t go very far over there!
After a very bland opening ceremony (to be fair this was expected) we finally got a look at the track. Similar to previous years, there were a few small changes that would change things up a bit and I was excited to get back on the bike. After the last two weeks, I had managed to kick my cold and the right ankle was feeling almost back to normal, game on!
One of the coolest things about World Champs is the sense of occasion; World Cup’s just don’t carry the same weight to them. Also, as it is a one off event, companies and teams like to mark he occasion with custom bikes for their riders. Having never had a custom bike in my racing career, I was so stoked to be presented with an absolutely stunning rig for the weekend courtesy of the lads at Stickers Decals and Graphics! It looks stunning I think you’ll agree! Also, a quick thank you to Harry for sorting it out and to Ben for putting the finishing touches to the suspension components and wheels!
With a bike like this I don’t think anyone would argue with me if I said I didn’t want to get it dirty! But it was that time again so up I went to put the puzzle together one more time this season. The track was riding well and my bike felt amazing. I was loving it and really looking forward to bringing the pace up a bit later in the day.
The only part of the track that was giving people trouble was the first rock garden, a vicious conglomeration of basically everything nasty. I saw some horrendous crashes in there throughout the course of the day. This lead to me taking a slightly conservative line to the right that I felt was a good balance of consistency and speed. I had it nicely right up until it rained….
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Going for the trifecta and wrapping the blogs from the 2K18 season up we have Lenzerheide! I'm posting this from hospital again…forgetting what being outside feels like…tomorrow marks a week since I got admitted and still not sure when I'll be going home…. #racingformydinner @fsfunnfactory @horleys @flowstyleco @funnmtb @bluegrass_eagle @granite_design @racingbros @fox @blueshark_nz @hendygroup @centurionathlticperformance_nz @burkescycles @yt_industries @trpcycling @boxmtb @feedbacksports #247fitness @xforce_optics @scgshoes @maxxistires @imbikemag @adrian_armstrong_mtb_coach #mtb #race #bikes #downhill #sport #horleys #myhorleys #horleysathlete
With far less pressure than a World Cup with a raised qualifying limit (80 riders instead of 60) most people just decided to call it there and rest up for the next day. I however had some unfinished business with the track and I figured that if it did rain again it would be nice to know how it was going to ride. On my second wet run down I got a bit squirrely in the rock garden and pushed back up for round 2. Heading in again I knew my approach was a bit cautious but I was committed and just wanted to ride through the line I had picked out, a visual reminder of where I should be looking etc.
About halfway through I hit a rock slightly weird and got bounced off line, then faced with a massive rock that I didn’t think I would get over, I tried to go around it. This resulted in my front wheel deflecting off the side of it with my weight going the other way. I stuck my left foot out to try and balance myself….this was a bad idea. As it planted on the ground, I continued straight over the top and felt all manner of bad movements going on followed by instant pain. It was clear that this was not your normal crash and as I went tumbling down I wanted that bloody reset button from last week again.
The next two hours is a blur of helicopters, x-rays, ultrasounds and all sorts of other stuff. The upshot of it all was not a break but basically everything else. Two torn ligaments, a ruptured artery and a haematoma in the ankle as well as it looking like a watermelon. No World Champs for me….
I wish that was the end of it and I could say that it has been healing well. But to cut a long story short the ankle got infected a couple of days after the accident and after just sneaking home on the plane I have spent the last 5 days in hospital fighting a pretty bad case of Cellulitis. Cellulitis is where the skin cells get highly irritated, hyper sensitive and swollen. It is particularly uncomfortable and the antibiotics are only just getting on top of it now. Not really how I wanted my season to trip home to end.
With the infection beginning to heal the doctors have turned their attention to the damage I have done to see whether I will need surgery to repair the ligaments or whether they will heal by themselves. For me, I am not too worried; I just want to make sure that it is as strong as possible because I have a season to race in 2019!
Once healed I’ll be straight back into coaching and video production as well as some domestic races, there is plenty going on in the spring so now it’s all about getting the rehab going and then jumping back on the rig, I can’t wait!
From here, I want to say a big thank you to everybody for following and reading the blog this year. It’s been a fantastic season for me despite the last few races and I really hope you have all enjoyed being along for the ride! I’ll be seeing you all very soon!