Twas a rainy afternoon in Wellington, just past four, when we set off from Dirt Merchants 60 boys ‘n’ girls or more. It sounds poetic and it was.
We all ride our local trails and think ‘damn I’m fast’ but if you compare yourself with the pros – you realise what these guys are capable of.
Seeing ‘Ratboy’ huck over one of the metal road barriers, seeing the Santa Cruz Crew hitting a hip jump blind and whipping it straight off. Makes you realise why these guys get paid for riding.
Cedric Gracia: Red Bull Rampage winner: knows how to get air
I was lucky enough to be riding behind a mere living legend on my way up to the top of Pol Hill. The first corner into ‘Car Parts’ Cedric Gracia effortlessly slide round it like he’d done it a thousand times. He is a gracious gentleman who was appreciative of our trails and the views that they offer (although rain hampered that to some degree), but when he’s in the presence of the group and when riding he has a twinkle in his eye and a skip in his step: the tale tale signs of a Red Bull Rampage winner.
Cedric Gracia once in-famously crashed and severed his femoral artery, whilst practicing for Megavalanche race in the Reunion Islands. He survived through his quick reactions to stem the bedding by grabbing hold of the ends of his artery and getting his mate to kneel on it whilst medical help arrived.
Enough said I was star struck and stoked to meet the man.
I have to say though, Wellington’s Groms are on their way up and were every bit as impressive to watch as the stars. Whilst everyone embarked on drinking beers at the pub, Ratboy set off with the young fellas for more riding up Mt Vic, so he must have been impressed too.