Thanks to Trevor Martin for the edit and the following words about the event…
A few great things about Valparaiso Chile:
Drawing crowds of more than 10,000 screaming fans and international competitors from around the globe, this is a mountain bike race like none other in the history. This year marked the 10th event that has run annually since it’s first race; a marketing gimmick for a local cycling magazine. Each year that passes brings larger crowds, larger jumps and more sponsors taking claim in the events success.
This year was my third trip to central Chile for the Valparaiso Cerro Abajo and I feel I couldn’t have been more prepared for it. I have placed as good as 20th in past competitions and was aiming for a crack at the top 10 this year. I felt strong during the morning’s practice until disaster struck while trying to dial in a challenging stair gap midway through the course. This part of the course held one of the more challenging options with a descent time advantage to double a stair set. This advantage comes with higher consequences as well which I fully felt the wrath of. Upon landing the gap, there are four or five sets of steep, tight stairs that lead to the street at the bottom. The stairs were a little more than I was prepared to handle at the speed I was traveling and I ended up getting bucked forward near the last set. At that point I was merely hanging on and preparing for the inevitable impact at the bottom of the stairs. My bike veered offline ever so slightly and my right hand, still clenching the handle bar, landed on top of the metal handrail, crushing my fingers and the break lever. Before I could blink, I knew the time had come to let go, tuck, roll and hope for the best.
Amazingly, I was on my feet sliding backwards looking up the course just as quickly as I had hit the ground. Despite my index finger being absolutely crushed from the handrail I survived relatively unharmed. The front wheel of the bike was destroyed in the impact and my finger had little to no function. A local woman spectating the action quickly ran inside her house, about 10 feet away and came back with a bandage, gauze and ice. The locals had me back on my bike in a matter of minutes with an overwhelming amount of enthusiasm and applause when I waived that I will survive.
For a full speed spectators view of Trevor’s crash and all the other crazy features check out PinkBike.com for their event video.