1 Nov 2016


I’m back in NZ after almost 5 months based out of Canada, and it definitely feels good to get to relax for the first time in a while. The body is well and truly in need of a rest after the battering it took at Rampage, more on that later though. I am based in Queenstown again for my Southern Hemisphere summer, which continues to keep on growing and new spots and tracks continue to keep popping up!

As you have probably seen Rampage didn’t go amazingly well for me. I felt like I spent more time rolling around in the dirt than on my bike. The line I chose was widely talked about as one of the gnarlier lines on the hill, which I feel is pretty cool. The only issue with that is that it took me out pretty early! First crash I had was testing out my blind, 52 foot stepdown (biggest gap on the hill according to the measurers), I mucked up the jump before it a bit but was committed so still went for it, not the best idea in hindsight. I came in on a slight angle and landed right on the edge of my landing, which was only a meter wide, resulting in my having a HUGE over the bars! Somehow I walked away from what was one of the biggest crashes I have ever had absolutely fine bar a few cuts here and there. I went back up after checking over my bike to tick it off and the second time it worked out perfectly. I was feeling good so I thought I would hit my big drop which was right after the big stepdown, get it out of the way. I ended up going a little bit to fast and because it is a plumb drop it meant that I landed about 10 foot down the landing. As soon as I took off I knew I was going to land deep so for some silly reason my mind told me to land back wheel to help absorb the impact, it just made things worse. I landed back wheel and couldn’t hold on/ slid out, it wasn’t a bad crash but I did happen to roll into some big rocks which forced my goggles into my eye brow which cut it pretty good and I also put my wrist out and tweaked it pretty bad. At first I thought it might have been broken but thankfully it turned out to just be sprained.

Come comp day I had done a total of an hours practice, hitting about ¼ of my line. I was unsure if I would be able to ride right up until after I had my wrist taped up. They did a real good job on it and somehow I could hold on which I was stoked on! Come comp run I did the exact same mistake on the jump before the big stepdown but knew to make sure I was aiming in the right direction so thought I would be fine, turns out I lost a bit of speed and ended up coming up about half a meter too short, another huge crash following. Again I got away unhurt, just winded. I really didn’t know if I should go up to do another run but I didn’t get any signs that I shouldn’t and decided I would struggle to live with myself if I was capable of riding and didn’t, so I went back up for another. My second run went even worse, the landing on the first drop was pretty blown out on my first run (I was one of the last to drop out of the 80% that took that drop) and by the time second runs came around it was a lot worse. I didn’t look at it before my second run and when I got to the top of the drop I saw how bad it was and decided to try land to the side of it, but with my momentum already taking me towards the bomb hole and me trying to move my bike to the side it was never going to end well! End result was a crash which finally did some proper damage to me, a sprained knee and 26 stitches to me elbow which I had long sleeves and an elbow pad covering! Turns out the elbow pad slipped to the side and a sharp rock did the rest.

I’m on the mend now and already getting bored of not being able to ride my bike, another week or two and I feel like it should have all come right and should be able to get back on the bike. I felt honoured to get voted for by my peers to take home the Mcgazza Spirit Award! Pretty cool thing to be able to bring back to Queenstown. Hopefully they give me another shot next year and I can finish what I started and get a top to bottom run with some tricks in there!

I am resting up a few sprains for few weeks to ensure I don’t re-aggravate them then straight back into it!

-Conor Macfarlane.

Article courtesy of WideOpen.co.nz // Photos © Bejon Haswell
You can read the full article HERE on wideopen.co.nz