Note: Following the result of a lifetime for Laurie Greenland at World Champs 2016, this feature was written by the young Brit’s dad, Ben, and published in Hurly Burly – the downhill yearbook – in December ’16.
Words: Ben Greenland || Photos: Sebastian Schieck & Sven Martin
I can’t lie, I’m still buzzing after Worlds and I’m writing three months later! The track was the hardest of the year I think, and getting to see it trackside was a real pleasure for a DH fan. Practice was wild every session: every section was mint, the WRC of MTB, non-stop action with the riders putting on a great show getting up to speed. Respect to all the riders who got up to race-pace on that track.
I’ve been asked to write about what it takes to get to that point when your kid is getting silver at Worlds; the sacrifices and the good times. I have to be honest and say that I mainly just took him riding and had a load of fun hanging out. DH got us through good times and bad so I guess that Laurie’s Worlds run represents the pinnacle of the journey so far. That said, there’s so many people behind the race making it all click into place, from Gemma at home, Andy his trainer, to the MS Mondraker crew and British Cycling team giving us this opportunity, plus BC’s support through the week with line analysis. Then tips from other Brits trackside like Steve and Rat, there’s so much going on to make sure the riders and bikes are at their peak out there.
Watching the race was a rollercoaster ride. Laurie’s run was just on the right side of the edge, hitting all the lines he had worked on looked pretty wild but they were the lines he had been working on all week. There was a point when I thought he had tucked his front wheel and lost it but he just popped out of it, still at warp speed and straight into the next corner. That was about as much excitement as I could cope with down at the finish watching the screen!
After he came down it was clear he had laid down a big run and I was just hoping he would get a podium, thinking mistakenly it was top five like at World Cups… Then as rider after rider didn’t beat his time I began to worry he would actually win it, maybe a crazy thing to say but at this stage of his career that would be a hard thing to cope with. Year on year the progression has been worked for and I wouldn’t be surprised if there is more to come, so second in his first year as a senior really is the dream result, showing his progress, making people take notice of all the work being put in but keeping Laurie so motivated to keep improving, training and enjoying the journey. Best result possible, and 2017 will be another fun challenge I’m sure…
Ben Greenland is father to Laurie and an all-round good guy who likes to ride and race bikes.
Read this and many more features like it, plus round-by-round accounts of the 2016 UCI DH World Cup season and pore over hundreds of the best images of the season in Hurly Burly book. Buy yours now and relive every moment of one of the most exhilarating seasons in the sport's history.