Afterbang - Chapter 3 - Vallnord WC

Aug 2, 2013
by Nathan Hughes  
Lunacy: Intermittent insanity, formerly believed to be related to phases of the moon.

Moon lift
Forest sun
Moon Walker
  Moon Walker. One giant leap across some lunar rock.

Lorenzoe Sudding arrived at the start gate with this little note on his bars. 23rd is a solid result but it surely isn t what he wanted today.
  Downhill racing is a battle of the mind... Note to self: Lorenzo Suding.

Getting in the zone with Gee
  And yet the mind is nothing without the body.

Jill Kintner getting a quick power nap in before her run.
  While some up the ante, others get meditative.... Jill Kintner on black-out before her run.

Divine intervention
  Fitness, mental fortitude, slumber...the use of an insane alter-ego... There's a sea of choice when it comes to race day approach. And by the father, the son and the holy spirit, some may even wait for divine intervention.

  Whatever your like Troy and remember to put on the correct sponsorship socks. Only the green stripes will do today.

Mick n fans
All the preparation goes on ice when there are people to please. The top guys are a class act with the fans. Immune to cringe, they'll give them all the time, autographs and photos they desire.

 Call me
  'Call me'... Luke puts the word out to all the babes on Pinkbike.

Hill portrait with a fan
Hill s about
  It's funny how fickle the masses can be. Like in so many sports, when Hill was at the top he had a tough time at the hands of the haters. Now as the 'underdog' he's never been more popular, but you can tell he's cautious from those times. Now Gwin's got similar beef to bear off the back of all his successes. Really he's just another good dude.

Gwin fan
  Gwin's still stoked to ride and stoked to meet supporters. Another top 10, why shouldn't he be?

Happy Masters
  Not everyone's got a fan club yet, but Wyn's well on his way thanks to his famous broadcasts and ever-fine spirits.

The woods were picturesque
  You've got to keep up appearances. People say the supermarket is the best place to meet someone special. In fact, they'll tell you a lot of places... but no one ever says the forest. So let's talk about girls for a bit...

Rach keeping the Atherton powerhouse going in full force. Although it wasn t Gee s day Rachel is unstoppable this season. Can t let her game up though as Manon Carpenter was only a second off and beat her in qualifications.
bigquotesI knew I was gonna have to push hard to catch Manon. The track was so gnarly and so long I knew where my strengths would be and where hers would be. So just tried to ride like I know I could. It's so cool how fast the girls are going now, it's incredible. Pompom would have been right up there with me and Manon too if she hadn't caught the girl up in front of her! It was nerve racking.- Rachel Atherton, GT Factory Racing

Morgane Charre seemingly come out of nowhere to trake the World Championships title last year but it s clear that the 3 plate is not a fluke. On a track that s given many top riders serious grief Charre came home fourth.
  Morgane Charre in deep. None of the main forest sections at Vallnord could be televised... Understandable, it was almost as long as Fort William, but twice the gradient. Pity because they were a lens-peeper's wet-dream.

Vallnord Lichen
Bw Nicole
Fisheye Myrium
  Commencal riders are happy riders in their homeland, Andorra. Third on the day, currently 6th in the series, Nicole doesn't have too far to climb unless she still intends to compete with the title-holder herself.

Manon interview
Carpenter getting wild
  Carpenter got pretty wild knowing what had to be done. She knew she had a shot on the steep stuff and nearly nailed it in the closest match of the year. 2nd, 7th and 2nd puts her 3rd in the series behind Ragot and 230 points behind the girl in black and yellow.

Gee n Mark
  Atherton Racing team-talks, trackside.

Thome rooster
  GStaad Scott's Patrick Thome enjoying some roost in the heat.

Brook Macdonal may be injured at the moment but he s still all smiles and looking forward to redemption at Mont Ste Anne in 2 weeks.
  Brook Macdonald's a bit on the sore side right now, but he's still all smiles and looking forward to redemption at Mont Ste Anne in two weeks where he missed the podium by a solitary beard hair last season.

Team spesh
Gwin picking it up
  So does 10th place mean you're riding badly? Because it sounds obscene to say. His series campaign for the title may be over, but be afraid for Champs.

  Someone who will be over the moon with 9th... Gutierrez pinning towards an ever more established mountain bike celebrity status.

Oh what a ride As of this race CG is officially retired. And what a career 18 years of racing. Ten World Cup podium appearances including 2 for Dual Slalom . Five medals for World Champ podiums including 2 as a junior . A win at the third Redbull Rampage. And 440 days in rehab for injuries sustained during that career. No doubt CG is busy getting drunk somewhere in celebration but beyone the shadow of a doubt we haven t heard the last of the famous flying Frenchman . I plan to do a lot more filming. And Enduro is pretty fun--it s like racing used to be before it got serious . -CG.
  18 years of racing. 10 World Cup podium appearances (including 2 for Dual Slalom). 5 medals for World Champ podiums (including 2 as a junior). A victory at the third Red Bull Rampage. 440 days in rehab for injuries. And we haven't heard the last of the famous 'flying Frenchman'.

bigquotesI plan to do a lot more filming. And enduro is pretty fun - it's like racing used to be before it got serious.- Cedric Gracia, CG Racing Brigade

Cam Cole took one of the gnarliest crashes anyone s seen today. Seen here getting airlifted out of the woods. Also for anyone questioning why Red Bull cut the coverage. Due to the satellite time and production cost to put on live coverage runs well over 4 000 an hour. With such a big delay Red Bull had to pull the plug on the live coverage. You can still watch the replay though.
  The world waited nervously and Red Bull had to pull the plug on their super-expense live coverage after Cam Cole took one of the gnarliest spills since his last in Champery 2011. He would finish his run in the helicopter with a broken T7, but the prognosis for full recovery is a relief to us all. Get well soon Cam!

Brosnan ftw
Bros to the line
  It was easy to forget the brilliance of Sam Hill's former protege while out injured, but Troy is legit upper-crust material. Only 10 points behind Bruni, 7th in the series on his second podium of the year already. He's getting up to speed and at this point no one knows quite the pace he might be able to set.

Mulally pushing
  A top form Neko Mulally pushes it through the beam.... 3rd at split 1, but couldn't sustain the same level of assault the whole mile.

Brendan on the home straight
  Something woke Brendan up like a wet fish to the face at this world cup... No doubt it was the gratuitous steep 'n' gnarliness of the course. He was seen sharking behind Minnaar at race speed during practice completely ignoring a rear flat and generally acting a menace all week. Although not his former glory, only 5 seconds back is massive leap forward for the purveyor of off-axis airtime.

Smith on track
  The Vancouver Island vigilante was quietly confident at Vallnord. In the end maybe he went a fraction too light on risk. Second in the series, 203 points behind Atherton is a big ask, but not other-worldly.

Sick Mick reflects
  Sick Mick sweats and reflects after the fight.
Remi Thirion 100m out and eyes on the prize.
  Run of a lifetime, Remi Thirion, 100m out and eyes on the prize.

Foot out to the line
Vic lap
Can t hear you
  'Quel est ce bruit etrange??'

  Gee looked indestructible on this track and despite his displeasure at the final third of the course he almost made it a hat-trick. Leading out on 680 points you'd have more chance catching Frank Abignail Junior shoplifting.

bigquotesIt was good I felt strong on the first two thirds of the course all week. It suited me... the bottom third to be honest wasn't my cup of tea. That steep kind of off-the-brakes chute. I'm not gonna say there's not much to it but it's just steep fast berms that definitely don't suit me and I knew it would be my weakest part of the track... sure enough that's where I lost the time. I'm stoked with second to be honest, because after seeing the course I thought I could easily be further back than that... Second's good and solid points so I'm happy to keep that momentum.- Gee Atherton, GT Factory Racing

Bro Fist
  Stevie offers the 'bro fist' to Remi as the numbers go red on Atherton, the third-last man down.

Gee into 2nd
Start gate
Greg warp
One life
  One life. Sharer's of the great South African's yolo philosophy unite.

5th for Greg
  Third here in 2008 and again in 2009, fastest through the speed-trap, Minnaar, slipped off the podium this time, but every chance he still had a superb run. The level's getting out of hand.

Remi put out Sam s fire today in Andorra but the embers are still burning hot and ready to flame back up any minute.
  Remi may have been about to put out Sam's fire, but the embers would still be burning hot and ready to flame back up any minute.

Mrs Hill
  Mrs. Hill could hardly bear to watch... us neither.
Push to the beam
  Woah it was near...

Sam Hill getting bombarded by the media.
So Sam congrats, but we thought there might have been more! Was there a mistake up there, we saw you slip a pedal on the live feed?

Hill: I dunno, I started off alright, nearly threw it away on the first turn getting wild on some loose stuff. From there on got it going pretty good, tried to stay smooth and not over-ride it at all. Kind of got a bit tight towards the bottom 'cause some of the edges were going.

Did you still think you might have had it on the final corner?

Hill: I knew I was in touch because the crowd were going pretty wild and there were parts I got faster than the other day.

Can you be happy with third?

Hill: Yeah I can…last race I was on the ground in the dust, so an improvement from that, but definitely chasing that number one spot.

Does it soften the blow of not ending number 1 today that we had something of a wildcard on top?

Hill: No it doesn’t really bother me who’s winning…Remi put out an awesome run, he’s always riding fast so probably it was something that’s been looming around for while so congrats to him. Every race that comes up it doesn’t matter to me who wins I just wanna try beat them all. I need to try and get on top and close down on the points.

Sam Hill always the target of just about every post race interviewer.
Abducted by the crowd.
bigquotesIncredible! My first podium... First place it's just amazing for me... My objective top 10!- Remi Thirion, Commencal/Riding Addiction

Steve Smith and Troy Brosnan playoff beards as we get into the final stretch Roy has some work to put in to catch up to Brook and Stevie.
  Realizing the race was done, Smith and Brosnan go for a last-ditch beard-off in a bid to out-compete the only modestly stubbled Remi. Brook won out.

Remi Thirion scored his first ever world cup podium this week. A win in front of the home crowd with his sponsor s head office less than a KM away was a fairy tale come true for the frenchman.
  Remi Thirion scored his first ever World Cup podium, in front of the home crowd with his sponsor's head office less than a kilometre away. And on the toughest track of the year. It was a fairytale come true for the Frenchman.

Chainsaw celebrations
  If you didn't get even a slight tingle of spinal excitement while you watched all that lunacy unfold then for you, I recommend a trip to your local mental health practitioner...or look, just go and watch the golf.

Sam Hill wipes what either could be dust or a tear out of his eye. So close for Hill his day is coming soon though. He s fast and extremely determined this season. Sam won World Champs in Mt St Anne in 2010 and only a few weeks away he could lay down the law on a track he knows he can win on.
  There's something in my eye... No really. Will Hill find comfort on the top step at St Anne, scene of his massive 2010 champs gold? After a torturous 3 years+ without a win, Hill was almost true to the promises made in his top-draw qualifier two days before. He was the real thing back in the day and he remains it now. A true downhill legend. Back. In. This.


  • 76 5
 Downhill racing needs Hill up there on top.
  • 40 2
 Sam is my favorite rider because of the legendary runs he's thrown down (ironically, he got third in those - Val di Sole and Champery) and for making everyone go faster after seeing what he could do in 2007. He won the overall title as well in 2009 aboard the demo(!). I don't particularly care about who can pedal Pietermaritzburg or the Fort William motorway the fastest. For me, the greatest is the one who can ride the steepest, gnarliest tracks in the history of the sport and simply rip it apart. 5 time world champ (2 as a junior) and 2 time overall world cup winner. After so much injury and time out from racing, I don't know if he'll ever stand on that top step again but his place as one of the greatest of all time has been secured. To quote Rob Warner: "maybe not the most consistent, but for all out speed . . . there's never been anyone like him".
  • 4 14
flag DHhazza (Aug 2, 2013 at 4:23) (Below Threshold)
 Downhill racing needs Sam bleddy Dale on top boy
  • 5 2
 cant wait for this week-end at MSA
  • 2 26
flag hardyk (Aug 2, 2013 at 8:25) (Below Threshold)
 you could say that hill's career is going.... downhill... yeaaaaaaah
  • 8 0
 Sam's riding changed the way everyone rides downhill, dials in their suspension and even the way bike companies make downhill, and I guess enduro, frames today. He pushed the all of us in this awesome sport to take bigger risks, bigger airs, straightline sections and perfect the float through nasty bits. I'm not taking anything away from Rennie here. Just huge props to Sam. Oh, and coming back into the top 5 or even 15 after so many years out is effing unheard of pretty much. Don't even get me going on Peaty here... Sam's time.
  • 5 0
 And that's why I'm stoked to ride an Iron Horse.
  • 1 0
 Well said bike078. Has and always will be my favorite rider.
  • 1 1
 You crazy fool
  • 35 1
 Fantastic photo coverage and words, great work Nathan and all!
  • 7 1
 I concur.
  • 7 0
 Always stoked to see original shots, with perfect lighting and composition. This set is on another level. Thank you.
  • 25 0
 So pumped for Sam in the next race!!!
  • 25 0
 Dat ass.
  • 19 0
 Great Photo Story. I personally like it better than a Video recap , they're sometimes to hectic for my old brain ;-). Super Photos and great to see Hill on the way back to the top and at the same time someone completely new up there too.
  • 22 0
 Speedy recovery to Cam
  • 14 0
  • 12 0
 like a BOS :o
  • 6 1
 Can someone get Remi a friggin BOS jersey.....
  • 1 1
 why ?
  • 4 1
 Lannarchy. You do know that Fox clothing and Fox suspension are 2 different companies? He can wear Fox gear and ride Bos suspension. No issues.
  • 3 1
 because thats what he won on.......... Pretty sure no one gives a shit who made his jersey/pants.
  • 2 2
 thats what you ment though .. that he had fox suspension on his jersey !! .. hahaha
  • 5 0
 I am fully aware of both companies with two totally different logos.... he has BOS on his jersey in tiny letters.... Id sure love to see a fox (suspension) jersey with another suspension companies sponsor on it. That aside, my reply was to his comment of "like a BOS"..... ie It would be cool to see a BOS jersey. Holy shit this is way to much explination for a simple comment ment to be funny.
  • 1 1
 yeah i got your joke! no hard guys come on
  • 8 0
 The shot with the crowd holding up Remi on the shoulders is epic. It's very likely where sport becomes legendary... I know, it's just one race, but it's worth much more because of the story behind and, of course, the rider. Well done, Remi!
  • 7 0
 Good stuff Nathan, I prefer the photo stuff to video..
  • 6 0
 WIN IN MONT ST ANNE SAM!!!!!!!!!!! You can do it bro
  • 5 0
 excellent report and photos - great job!
  • 4 0
 Brook McDonald , mountain bike slayer by day , Brian Blessed impersonator by night.
  • 2 0
 Gordon's alive?
  • 4 0
 Awesome weekends racing........ best yet imo!
  • 3 0
 Beard off between Smith and Brosnan? then Brook Macdonald steps in... we all know who won.
  • 11 0
 Sorry Troy...beard ETA....2016
  • 4 0
 AMAZING PHOTOS! Thank you for this compilation.
  • 1 0
 can someone explain to me how's possible that PomPom caught the girl in front of her? didn't anyone tell her to wait the arrival of the rider before her?

they ruined PomPom race run
  • 3 0
 Go upHill going down Hill !!! 2 steps to go !!!
  • 2 0
 Keep it up Remi, want to see more of that beautiful Commencal bike shooting down the track like a avalanche.
  • 1 0
 its good for the competition when more riders reach for the win . remis ride down the track was amazing good especialy the last part i love watching Downhill Thanks Redbull
  • 2 1
 this maybe a stupid question but whats the little red things cable tied to the fork lowers?
  • 1 0
 Timing Chip
  • 1 0
 transponder for the timing
  • 1 0
 Transponders. They are just little sensors for the timing gear to pick up.
  • 1 0
 Timing transponder.
  • 3 2
 They're effectively transponders for the timing poles at the top, all the splits and the bottom. (I think) I'd be happy to be corrected but I'm pretty sure thats what they're for. Smile
  • 5 0
 If you believe the rumours, those are transponders for timing...
  • 5 0
 What are they again?
  • 4 0
 Not sure if anyone else knew this, but they are transponders for the timing.
  • 2 0
 Hill is a bad ass and yes, lookout for Gwin at Champs!
  • 1 0
 Such unexpected winning is just something we've not seen for a long long time
  • 1 0
 A two week wait till MS what is this madness, we've waited ennough this season
  • 1 0
 We at Rincon MTB Pro Shop love Sam Hill
  • 1 0
 The guy getting an autograph from Mik looks so happy
  • 1 0
 Hill will win the next round .flat pedal thunder
  • 2 1
 Someone please get Remi a friggin BOS jersey......
  • 1 0
 why ?
  • 2 0
 amazing pics!
  • 2 0
 What in the Sam Hill...?
  • 1 0
 Why the hell is there a guy walking round by Remi holding a chainsaw?
  • 1 1
 why Gee always looks like angry?
  • 2 0
 Because he's a killing machine.
  • 1 2
 How can buy the monster hat? anyone konw??
  • 3 0
 how does i shot web?
  • 1 0
 ? ?
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