Photos: Sterling Lorence, with additional photography by Nathan Hughes
Video: Anthill Films
For Brook MacDonald, it’s been an eventful few months to say the least. On August 31, 2019 he suffered a devastating crash during a practice run on the World Champs Downhill course at Mont-Sainte-Anne, Canada. Brook qualified third fastest the day before and was feeling strong for the weekend’s race before getting thrown from his bike on the “La Tarzan” rock drop feature in one of the wooded sections of the track.
“I was just unlucky,” says the 27-year-old New Zealander. “With the wet weather the day before, the track had changed with a root coming out. That put me offline just a little bit and pitched me over the handlebars.”
At the scene, Brook was experiencing intense pain and was unable to feel his legs. After his extraction he was flown to hospital and told by doctors that he had broken two vertebrae and would require immediate surgery. The next day he left the hospital with eight screws and two rods stabilizing his spine.
Now back home in New Zealand and attending daily physiotherapy sessions, the downhill racer who earned his nickname of “The Bulldog” is walking again, spinning on a trainer and growing stronger every day.
From the depressing lows of lying in a Canadian hospital bed dealing with insurance paperwork and organizing his flights home to the exhilarating highs of taking his first unassisted steps again, all along Brook has been flooded with messages of support from the world over.
Brook’s Mondraker bikes have gained some temporary respite from the punishment that he loves to dish out, but it won’t be long before he’s back in the saddle with the same doggedness that earned him a top 10 ranking in World Cup Downhill racing.