What's Your Excuse? World Cup DH Lenzerheide

Jul 6, 2015
by Paul Aston  
The finish areas at any race are renowned for recounts of crashes, bizarre occurrences and mechanicals on track. Downhill is a sport of excuses and it's not uncommon to hear some wild stories once the run is over. You hear of huge crashes that cost big time, or the terrifying moment a rider recalls the moment they nearly died but held on to it. Then there's the exasperated tales of the dog, log or rock that appeared around the next blind corner and bike parts of usual perfect reliability that fail on the first turn. The added pressure of a World cup turns up the heat as riders balance on a knife edge, bikes are pushed to the limit and mental stability walks a fine line. All of these usually result in a vast array of entertaining excuses, so I headed to the Lenzerheide finish to find out what they were.

Bernard Kerr

bigquotesIt felt good man, then I don't even know what happened, honestly I thought I hit the turn perfect, no faster than I have been going, then my back wheel just went from underneath me and I was on the ground before I knew it. Lay on the floor for a bit, then I had to hit my brake down in the air to get it back in position. Bernie Kerr - Pivot - 17th

bigquotesYeah I was OK in the first bit, you know, on my lines then I just clipped my pedal on a tree pad that had moved on to my line, and I just did like a 360 on the bike, then I had to push the bike and run! Patrick Thome - CK Racing - 73rd

Loic Bruni

bigquotesI was surprised when I crossed the line and I was second. Honestly I did a lot of little mistakes that cost a lot on the track. It was wild it was really good for the crowd, so many people and good times. Really happy, I thought my first win may be today to be honest I was feeling confident, maybe a little too much. A few mistakes still happy to be on the podium. Even if it's not the top step it's one of the top ones so it is still good! Loic Bruni - Lapierre - 2nd

bigquotesJust the rider was the problem! Not a clean run, it's really slippery. I did a really bad qualifying and final, I'm really upset. No punctures or mechanicals, the problem was just me! Pierre Charles-George - Team Lac Blanc/Scott - 68th

Greg Williamson

bigquotesNah no excuses! Just struggled, I had a crash last weekend and I'm nursing an injury. Just happy to get through it to be honest, but not happy at all with the result, but ah well. Get back to the training and hope for more at the next one. Greg Williamson - Trek World Racing - 43rd

bigquotesNothing really just one little mistake, but I guess it's just so tight here it can make that big difference can't it. Not really what I wanted today at all but the big wait at the top was annoying, nobody could give you a definite answer on how long you had to wait. It started before I had done my warm up, so I never really knew when to start. Then I did the warm up and there was another course hold. It is what it is though! Joe Smith - Chain Reaction Cycles/Paypal - 24th

Manon Carpenter

bigquotesExcuses?! None... hang on, I did have a cold. There was also a rock on one of the wooden take-off's that I had to dodge around. Umm, what else, I don't like the dust haha. After a crash, then a DSQ, I just wanted to stay between the tapes here. Oh, and there are too many berms. Manon Carpenter - Madison Saracen Factory Racing - 2nd

bigquotesAhh it was loose as f*** haha. straight out of the gate I thought I was going to attack everything. But I just started blowing stuff out but I think 'cus I was trying to ride fast it kinda like made up for it. It worked out well I'm stoked. Maybe I turned the YOLO meter up a bit to much!, nah I'm pretty happy. Eddie Masters - Bergamont Hayes Factory Team - 11th

Remi Thirion

bigquotesNot too bad, I take my lines but made a few mistakes at the top. Just a solid run, sixth place, yesterday fifth. Good weekend! Remi Thirion - Commencal Riding Addiction - 6th

bigquotesNah none. Just tried a bit too hard I think. It was good I think, I was a bit more chilled yesterday, and then today I went hunting for a few more places. But I'm happy, I just happy to make it through to qualis that's normally the hardest part. I qualified at Leogang, but with a crash so that was a bit of a bummer. Kenta Gallagher - 777 Racing - 41st

Marcelo Gutierrez

bigquotesKinda rode a bit angry, to be honest. At the start I got a bit wild then started making mistakes, the track was so loose compared to practice, at least I thought so. Felt good but I just attacked too hard. I was thinking about a few years ago in Andorra when a heli came in and blew rocks in to the track. I was doing this inside before the step up where the speed trap is. I knew I had to be aware of the rocks, and it was full of rocks there. Marcelo Gutierrez - Giant Factory Off-Road Racing -28th

bigquotesIt was good and bad. I felt a little stressed after last year with having a few mistakes and crashes, so this week was one of those ones. I just wanted to make sure I came down on two wheels. Even that, without pushing hard this track is really deadly I nearly went down one or two times, it doesn't feel like you're flying and the next thing you know you are sliding. Zero traction which makes it tough but a lot of fun. So yeah, a few mistakes but still just stoked to get down with a clean run. On one corner I lost my feet, I got a bar swap which sent me forward, nearly flipped over the bars and then pretty much did a nose-wheelie bar hump up the jump, then rode all the next woods unclipped, not ideal but I made it down. Stevie Smith - Devinci

Danny Hart

bigquotes I had a good run and, yeah these boys have just outdone me. There was a load of big rocks but that's not really an excuse because everybody has the same thing. I rode well, it's close racing. Well, I say close racing but Lucas has just gone 3 seconds up! The dust makes you ride tentative, need a bit of moisture in the dirt. Danny Hart - MS Mondraker - 7th

bigquotesOh man, too many drugs I was Mr Spaghetti man. I went to hospital after I crashed they were like no it's fine and come back tomorrow. Then I went and saw Laura from Harris and Ross she was like 'that isn't' right.' She rang a surgeon and told him what was going on and he was like it's dislocated. It had come out then gone underneath my hand. So after it had been out for like three hours it had tightened up and gone in to mad spasm, so it took about five minutes hanging off it to get it back in. Then it went back in. I didn't have lunch because I felt sick after she was pulling on it. I had loads of painkillers. Got to the top and there were massive delays. I was just Mr spaghetti man all over the place but I got down. Not the best day but the crowd is ace and buzzin' to be here. Josh Bryceland - Santa Cruz Syndicate

Casey Brown

bigquotesIt was good. I stopped in the first rock garden because I was all zen'd out in my zone and then all the noise came and I just froze. I was scared, it was a loud track with tons of spectators, it's wicked. Then I got it back together and yeah pulled it back for 6th place Casey Brown - Bergamont Hayes Factory Team - 6th

bigquotesRun was pretty good, I kind of really wanted to win here and knew that I could. I put a bit of pressure on myself to do well but err, kinda had a few small mistakes that added up. I hit all my lines and hit that big stump gap thing so I was pretty stoked with that. Not on the podium which is what I wanted, but 4th, I'm still happy with that. Keeping consistent all year and hoping that will pay off but I really want to win one of these things soon. Troy Brosnan - Specialized - 4th

Eliot Jackson

bigquotesHahaha, no man. I'm just a bit out of shape, I'm happy to come back you know, have a smooth run. I only got back on my bike on last Friday, it's good just to get a race in. I haven't raced since Crankworx. Eliot Jackson - Pivot Cycles - 50th

bigquotesWell, I'm not used to the dry, that's my first excuse, I'm used to the rain! I rode all right apart from in the woods and 'The Plunge' drop, I came in and drifted offline, I couldn't get on the inside so I wasted a good bit of time squidding around the outside there, apart from that I stepped it up a bit, I had to, it wasn't enough but, oh well.Fraser McGlone - Perth City Cycles - 54th

Gee Atherton

bigquotesIt was, errm, alright really. A few bits I just made mistakes that cost me some stalls. It was a difficult track to put a smooth run together on 'cus it was so messy and so choppy, but yeah happy enough really. Gee Atherton - GT - 5th

bigquotesToo many mistakes. My goal was to get a 3.10 or under, I definitely went quicker in sections, just too many little mistakes all the way down. Pushing too hard I think... Stefan Garlicki, Solid/Reverse Factory Racing - 66th

Sam Blenkinsop

bigquotesI just didn't ride like I know I can, nothing else to say, just pissed off. Yeah I just tried to ride smooth, but then too slow. F***, just wasted a run really, when I got to the bottom I felt like I didn't try. No mistakes except a couple at the top, then I just tried to ride too clean, tried to do what I did yesterday, and hold it back a little but too slow. It's so much drier than what it was in practice, looser, bigger holes, f*** my bike felt good I just don't know what happened. I need to go home and have a sleep haha. Sam Blenkinsop - Norco World Team - 25th

bigquotesA good run really, a few odd mistakes but you are going to get that on a loose track. The main thing was at 'The Plunge' drop in the woods, there's a big fat root after it that I have been missing all weekend but I just plopped the front end in behind the root, came unclipped and got a bit wild. I got it back together though! Jay Williamson - SPS Syndicate - 62nd

Ruaridh Cunningham

bigquotesNot really mate. No dogs in the track, but it's normally about 32 degrees, hot and dusty in Scotland so I'm pretty used to riding these conditions, should have done better you know. This is a typical Scottish winter we're having this weekend it's what I'm used to... Nah it was pretty solid to be honest, one little mistake in the woods but if you're pushing you're always going to have them. Ruaridh 'Roycat' Cunningham - Unior Tools Team - 20th

bigquotesI didn't take enough risk, it's my first finals run of the season because I had problems at all of other world cups, I just wanted to have a good run, clean. The result will be not amazing but I'm going to get some points and get a better number. Track was amazing, I really loved this track, just a bit too much on the brakes sometimes, a bit scared maybe in a few parts. Guillaume Cauvin - Giant Factory Off-Road Racing - 21st

Brandan Fairclough

bigquotesNo excuses, felt quite good this morning and my thumb felt good. I got fatigued near the bottom and couldn't hold on and threw it away a little bit. I've pulled some ligaments around in my thumb and done some bits and bobs to it. Brendan Fairclough Gstaad/Scott - 15th

bigquotesErrr, well I caught me hair in me chain. Nah I tried hard. It's a hard track to race, it's a really good fun track but just an absolute bugger to race. I was pushing on and getting me lines right, but just not fast enough. I got smoked yesterday so I thought I'd better do summat about it, but I think I might 'av gone slower today haha, all good fun. Sam Dale - Madison Saracen - 33rd

George Brannigan

bigquotesWell, it wasn't a very good run to be honest. I crashed in the first off camber, I've been doing the same high line all weekend then I went down on it in my race run unfortunately, but **** happens. I tried to continue riding just like I hadn't crashed and I had a pretty good run other than that. But it was too far gone by then. George Brannigan - Trek World Racing - 70th

bigquotesYeah I do have an excuse actually, the sun was too bright for me yesterday and I got sun stroke. So I watched the women's race from my hotel room! Steffi Marth - Trek Gravity Girls

Matt Simmonds

bigquotesHahahah, no excuses. The crowd was shouting a bit too loud actually, it put me off a little haha. Nah the crowd was awesome, track was awesome, I just rode ****, so no excuses I just need to get faster. Matt Simmonds - Madison Saracen - 22nd

bigquotesI will to have see how the race will end. But I was feeling really good today, and was quite aggressive in the start. Right now I just hope that the guy that just crashed is OK.Markus Pekoll - MS Mondraker - 49th

Brook Macdonald

bigquotesI had a pretty solid bottom section, just rode real tight up top and made a bunch of mistakes on a bunch of corners, I was a bit disappointed and I knew I had to push a the bottom because the times are so tight, and being a short track I know I had a lot of work to do. I think it paid of a little, a few people came in on 3.04's just in front of me. Whoever can put together a clean run and ride smooth is the key to this track. No excuses though. Brook Macdonald - Trek World Racing - 10th

Reece Wallace

bigquotesWell, there's plenty of loose rocks in the track but that's not my excuse! My excuse to be honest, is that there's no rain. It's not enough like Scotland here, it needs more ruts! No, it's really good, I'm happy to be going away uninjured and to be constantly improving. I learned a lot over the weekend and that is what this year is for.Reece Wilson - Unior Tools - 35th

Greg Minnaar

bigquotesIt was good. I mean the conditions were tough man, it was dry, broken up and dusty. I felt I made one big mistake when I was coming off the Plunge, I kind of stalled out a bit, but man in these conditions it was good. A few small wobbles but yeah I think it's par for the course in these conditions. I've just been having such a good time on the bike! Greg Minnaar - Santa Cruz Syndicate - 1st

Author Info:
astonmtb avatar

Member since Aug 23, 2009
486 articles

  • 319 4
 My chain stayed on - Aaron gwin
  • 22 48
flag rifu (Jul 6, 2015 at 15:27) (Below Threshold)
 the next time he wins without a chain, we should call him the American Chainless Massacre
  • 152 3
 Really liked this article! Sometimes we give too much attention and focus to the "top guys". Very interesting to see the perspectives of many different riders on the circuit.
  • 2 0
 This is the best article I've read for certainly a few weeks.
  • 132 3
 I'm really liking Pinkbike as of late, great coverage with unique and interesting articles. Keep it up guys! This was a fun read!
  • 80 0
 Had to read Ratboy's "excuse" a few times. I think he was still on pain killers when he told that lovely story! haha
  • 39 0
 This article would be out earlier, but it must have taken quite some effort to translate and write down Ratboy's statement!
  • 31 0
 "...so it took about five minutes hanging off it to get it back in. Then it went back in. ...I felt sick after she was pulling on it."

Whoa, what in the hell is going on over there!?
  • 14 0
 Hands down best excuse - Spaghetti Man rides World Cup on drugs!
  • 2 0
 Known drugger. Smile
  • 44 0
 Mr Spaghetti Man… effin hilarious!
  • 6 0
  • 7 0
 Did you see them reset his finger? I'd be Spaghetti man, after that!

Impressive he rode like he did, considering how that must have felt.
  • 2 0
 I had to have a finger nail pulled out at the hospital a few years ago. Fuck me it was the worst 17 minutes of my life. I was drenched in sweat after. This sounded a lot more painful but he got off lightly because it was only about four seconds of pain
  • 40 0
 World Cup racers would make poor politicians - waaaay to much accountability and not enough excuses to make it.
  • 38 0
 "Naaa" - Sam Hill
  • 19 2
 These guys are the at the top level of this sport because they take responsibility for their own performance. I don't see too many excuses here, mostly just accurate evaluations of their runs. Understanding strengths and weaknesses is key to improvement. It's awesome to hear what's going through the minds of best in the world when they think about their runs. Thanks PB!
  • 4 0
 It's nice to hear that the top riders in the sport also go through the same self analysis that all of us amateurs go through. Not every race is perfect. Most if not all races are filled with mistakes or things you could have done better. Good story PB.
  • 15 0
 Sooo wanted a comment from Conner Fearon. I would be gutted if I was him. He defiantly put down the most ballsey run of the race!
  • 6 0
 Minnar was the only person faster than him at split one, he was on a great run. I was also hoping for a comment from him. Loved reading Carpenter's though.
  • 17 1
 Greg Minaar only has excuses for not loosing.
  • 12 0
 I want to hear from the guy who got help lifted in a fishing net! That looked sketchy as hahaha
  • 4 2
 Heli lifted*
  • 10 0
 I really loved Manon's quote, very funny.
  • 21 13
 My excuse is the Red Bull player. Well done Red Bull.
  • 66 12
 Oh, did the extensive free coverage of the sport you love have an unexpected problem which was resolved in time for the last riders and rectified for the replay? You poor thing. Without Red Bull how would you watch the DH?
  • 7 31
flag chr1st14n123 (Jul 6, 2015 at 11:39) (Below Threshold)
 Oooh sorry! Don't hurt me please.
  • 8 0
 @Patrick9-32 HAHAHA well said! I'm a Moto GP fan as well and I would LOVE to be able to watch the races for free with out having to make an account or anything!
  • 7 0
 Surely 'never look a gift horse in the mouth' is a saying in Yorkshire as well?
  • 5 1
 Did you have to wake up at 5:30am to watch the coverage? I sure did. Was I gutted when the live feed went tits-up? You betcha. It came back in time for the top riders, so I coped. Was the replay stellar? Damned straight!!

Just like in racing itself, sh*t happens with live feeds from time-to-time.
  • 4 0
 Ok i just wanted to sorry for my previous maybe stupid comments. I don't like to be a negative person. From now on i will not take red bull's coverage for granted! Sorry to the people who i had provoked a response from.
  • 2 0
 Lol - you are truly forgiven, @chr1st14n123!
  • 7 0
 i love how much of their personalities come across in a couple of sentences, Masters + Bryceland my personal favourites
  • 5 1
 Nice article. Some comments were really interesting and genuine, not like in F1 where drivers will always blame something else except themselves. (ie: car setup, pit stops, temperature, tires, etc)

"so no excuses I just need to get faster."
  • 3 5
 It's different in F1 since the sport is 90% down to the engineers not the driver.
  • 3 0
 @SK250 definitely. I wouldn't call these excuses.
  • 1 0
 @ermoldaker I would not be sure of 90% being down to engineers. I must agree that many times it used to be Hamilton vs Adrian Newey when Vettel in RB or Ferrari vs Ross Brawn when JB on Brawn GP. The essence of racing and the way teams work is that drivers/riders are payed not only to race, but also to develop a car as a whole. Of course money takes a huge roll on this, but in the end everybody has a certain job and time has shown that money will not always make you win, at least in F1.

Many times a car may not work for a driver, but then comes another driver that is very good with providing feedback and communication and can develop a winning car.

An engineer can only design a car that on paper looks and seems fast, but it's up to the driver to actually tell the engineer what works and doesn't when on track and being exposed to more variables.
  • 1 2
 If we want to take an engineer's approach to this, Rosberg's best time was 97.403 seconds and Hamilton's was 97.093. A 0.31 second improvement in lap time is a 0.32% improvement... Hence I was being generous to the drivers at 90%
  • 1 1
 @ermoldaker what part of "drivers are payed not only to race, but to develop the car" didn't you understand? Engineers can't develop a winning car without hearing from drivers feedback. Why do you think drivers are so jealous and never pass tips between them? What do think pre season test are for? How do you think a car's on going development through the season happens?

Hamilton may be more sensitive or have more knowledge on car setup/feeling, hence he can better communicate what is going on when the car is actually moving and the engineer can adapt the car's setup.

Also, I hope you do realize that winning takes much more than an engineer's design. A race lasts for 1.5 hours were lots of things can happen and no design or engineer can save you.

Gwin will smoke you riding a $100 Walmart hard tail down the trail. Will you blame your 5K DH bike engineer for not being able to produce a fast bike, or is it that the $100 bike with NASA engineering made Gwin victorious?
  • 1 0
 I read your reply and fully understand your layman's point of view. You miss the whole point of what I'm saying and I understand that you won't understand the intricacies of the full problem.

Your point about Hamilton being more sensitive and helping the engineer set up the car better has very much proven my point. And my original thoughts on not being able to draw comparisons between the two sports still stands for two reasons - a) because there aren't any engineers in mountain biking, only designers and b) there are far more variables and a much greater reliance on the skill of the pilot and their state of mind in downhill mountain biking.

Furthermore, testing in F1 is limited and only a fraction of the development that happens and, as such, engineering supports 1000s of times the workload of the team than actual hours with the wheels of the car turning.
  • 1 0
 call it whatever you want to call it. Your initial point was that 90% of a victory in F1 was because of the engineers.

My point is: that's not correct for the reasons stated above, which I think make up more than 10%.
  • 5 2
 No Gwin. You could tell he just plowed hard into a couple turns and killed his momentum. Guys in the top 5 basically had "clean" runs. Drifts, bobbles, but no momentum bogs. You could tell Gwin was pushing hard and sort of hitting the brakes late on a couple turns.

That's a sign of pushing to make up for lost time and overcooking a turn. Believe they mentioned in the live feed that once we saw him on track for any length that he was already down time wise, so pretty obvious he was trying to hunt back time and it was hurting his momentum, which is all this track was...building up speed and not killing it.
  • 5 0
 My excuse is 30years too old & was not there any away, but DH got so much faster over the last few year, riders training harder pushing the limits is great to see
  • 3 0
 Pekoll: "I just hope that the guy that just crashed is OK" - class act
Stevie: "nose-wheelie bar hump up the jump" - would have loved to have seen that
Roycat: "This is a typical Scottish winter we're having this weekend it's what I'm used to" - genius
Fun article!
  • 5 0
 Ratboy IS my painkiller! Love that goofy vermin.
  • 2 0
 Cool feature...keep these up for sure!

Very cool to hear the perspective of the guys/gals you just watched race the weekend prior. Also great to see that most/all of them are well-grounded and have a good sense of humor.
  • 7 2
 Aaron Gwin: no comment.
  • 27 10
 " it was God's fault "
  • 4 3
 Blasphemy bigburd lol! You could tell he wasn't happy with his run.
  • 5 4
 god works in misterious ways
  • 4 0
 I REALLY like potato chips thats my excuse
  • 1 1
 Can't help but wonder did Patrick Thome hit the same tree pad as Emmeline Ragot? She seemed to be perfectly controlled, then, just as happened to Thome, she clipped, and spun out...
  • 2 0
 Seems like lots of riders were brushing by that tree all weekend. I would have slammed it repeatedly.
  • 3 0
 Sweet article, I like it. Wanted to hear from Tracey Hannah though!
  • 4 0
 Mr Spaghetti Man!
  • 4 2
 Ill scroll back up... No Gwin?
  • 2 0
 I like this. Good idea pinkbike
  • 2 1
 My excuse is too slow, didn't even qualify to compete because I dnt have enough uci points.
  • 1 0
 Bergamont Hayes Factory Team - what's your excuse? Do you get it? Smile
  • 1 0
 Hahah Mr spaghetti man! What a pisser!
  • 1 4
 all the riders would have had better runs if all their bikes didn't LLAS
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