It all started on Monday 3rd of Dec. We were heading off to Thredbo for a big mountain biking festival and I was so exited because it was my first time at Cannonball. We had heard a few (other) VIPs would attend, too – exciting! The drive was long but the weather was great, the mountain looked beautiful and I was ready to go riding in the morning.
The next day at the lifts it was quiet because we were early to get tonnes of practice runs in before dad and I would race on one of the trails called Flow. I loved the new sections of the track; they are great and personally make the trail easier because of all berms (berms are a type of turn with steep walls so you don’t have to slow down so much for it). Berms can be scary at first because they can be really tall and steep but once you learnt how to ride them they are the fastest way around corners. The first day we went six times down the mountain on the Flow trial and it was the best, but I felt a bit tired in the evening.
Let me describe the Flow trail a bit: It’s really nice and smooth with lovely berms from top to bottom.
There are some small rocky sections and a few jumps but they are fine. It can be quite dusty sometimes but the trail wears very well although some brake bumps came through during the weekend.
On Wednesday a lot of tents started appearing in the main area and I got to help set up the DHARCO tent (DHARCO stands for DownHill Australian Racing CO; its a company mainly selling cool riding gear). I even met a nice boy called Ash and we went riding together later that day. Dad started showing me people that were – in the mountain biking world – famous and it was awesome seeing people from TV right in front of me. I started collecting autographs all over my helmet …
(look at my upcoming post “My autographs”) which was very cool. My first ones were from Yoann Barelli (he’s an EWS rider from France riding on a Commencal), Rae Morrison (she’s also an EWS rider from New Zealand) and Josh Carlson (another EWS ace, he is from Wollongong which is practically around the corner). The next autograph I collected was from Kyle Strait who I met at the Dharco stand; he is of course one of the best free riders in the world – check it here: https://www.redbull.com/za-en/videos/AP-1X9K9P6YH2111.
On Thursday the entire Santa Cruz Syndicate team arrived and I got all four of them to sign my helmet; Loris Vergier (from France), Luca Shaw (from U.S.A.), Greg Minnaar ( who is a three time DH World Champion and won 22 DH Worldcup races; he is from South Africa) and Steve Peat (from Britain) plus a lot of other people. By the end of the day I collected all of the autographs I wanted and I was very satisfied. And I now have a very special helmet, too. Then afterwards I went to the opening party and got even more autographs but this time on posters …
(there was a huge line with a ton of people waiting in line) and I got some for my friends, too.
Friday was the big day for me, race day.
I got really nervous but luckily I met a friend called Macey (she now rides the Commencal bike dad and I built together) and I helped her and other kids collect autographs in the pits and while we took the lift up to the starting line we were talking about stuff to calm ourselves down and I think that helped both of us with our nerves.
Before the race I went down to the start and I met a couple of nice girls other than Macey which was nice.
I am very proud of my race run! I came… 6th out of 9 with a time of 11min:45sec:13 mili. I think I did well considering I haven’t been on the bike for such a loooooooooooong time (around 10 months). But I really pushed myself hard to stay off the brakes and pedal wherever possible. Afterwards I went back to the DHARCO tent and told everyone I could about my race and my time.
In the afternoon after my race run I took a selfie with Luca Shaw and Kyle Strait …
and it was very exciting! That day was amazing for dad as well because Greg Minnaar asked to use dads tools!!!
Our friend took a photo, thanks Tash 🙂 That afternoon after a few rides we went to the pump track party which is a head to head competition on an awesome pump track.
We didn’t watch all of it but we watched the start and that was surprising to see how fast these guys can go without a single pedalstroke (they would be disqualified for cranking the pedals, they are only allowed to pump).
The next day was awsome because the Whip Wars were going to be on. It was absolutely amazingly awesome!!! People did huge whips …
and some did tricks like no handers (yes that’s Kyle Strait again),
superman, front flip, back flip, barrel roll and much more. A few guys crashed and one had a serious fall but fortunately it wasn’t hospital serious.
On Sunday, the last day of Cannonball, the Commencal Australian Open Downhill Cup was run. Unfortunately it was also the rainiest day. Our friend Al was a marshal (which means he was responsible for part of the track and had to ensure there were no accidents). Dad and I did a few runs of the Flow trail and we stopped to say hi to Al.
On one run I rode a bit with our friend Tash and Rachel Strait. After my first run it started to rain a bit but while I was waiting I got interviewed by the ABC for the radio (no joke I swear) which was very cool and made me proud. Afterwards the rain stopped and dad and I went for two more runs before the thunderstorm came down on us.
The next day was Monday: no more tents or excitement, just silence and for me, sadness. Only the long and boring journey home was left – I can’t wait for the next Cannonball Festival next year.
Thank you so much for reading post and remember that I will have a new post coming out soon about the signatures that I got.