The most intense and emotional race I have ever been to. Maybe I was just more invested but whatever it was as soon as Greg Minnaar came over the line with his blazing time I began to ball up, and when he jumped in the crowd in celebration of destroying the clock I couldn't hold back any longer and teared up. Then when Josh Bryceland smashed it down the hill I couldn't have been more proud to see my boy Ratty on the podium next to Greg.
Then Loic Bruni, probably one of the funnest guys on the circuit and what seems like 'always a bridesmaid, never a bride' came down the hill with an absolutely flawless run and a time that was so quick I could swear the trees were catching fire as he went past them. As Loic crossed the line and the crowd exploded like an atom bomb and it was totally deafening.
As Troy came down and everyone was glued to the monitors and watched him go down the crowd erupted again and I witnessed Loic himself begin to tear up. Everyone already knew Loic would take the rainbows at this point but it all came down to one last racer, Gwin. Granted Gwin has not had the best track record for Worlds but he has been completely unstoppable on the World Cup circuit so today could have been his day.
The crowd was still crying and yelling for Loic and chanting "Minnaar - One-Life!" "Rat-Boy! Rat-Boy!" as well as "Yo-LOLO!" when there was a quietus rush over the crowd as they all watched Gwin go down, the moment was like watching a title wave come over you; inevitability, elation and that feeling in your bones something outside of this world was moving you.
All at the same time as the silence hit, a wave of noise filled the stadium that I know could be heard all the way to the top of the 6500-foot peak of the resort. I know this because later I was told as much. People in the next town over heard the explosion of excitement and celebration as Loic was crowned king. The season was hard fought and Loic, a more than deserving French Dragoon, was the victor. Never more only the bridesmaid, but (for the next year at least), the king.
I tear up in joy on my keyboard even as I write this.
Veni, vidi, vixi victoire my friend.
- Bike Checks