(Photo of Casey shot a month before he left for District Ride: 360-Tailwhip)
Being invited to Red Bull District Ride was a real honor. Growing up I watched the old District Ride events and thought it was so cool that there was a course through a beautiful city and a drop off of a castle. It was an inspiring moment last year for me making it onto the podium in Crankworx last year. Going to Germany, was wicked! I had never been across seas before and was looking forward to it.
I was travelling with Mitch Chubey, so I was pretty stoked to have companion on a trip for once, especially a long one. We flew from Vancouver to Toronto where we meant up with Anthony Messere, his Aunty Cheryl, Cam & Bonee McCaul and the Morpheus film crew. It was going to be a good plane ride.
After a long plane ride of watching movies and playing games on my iPhone we finally landed in Munich Germany. Wow this place is beautiful! The country side was amazing, and being a hunter I couldn’t believe all the deer in the hop fields. I was simply blown away in a matter of miles. We stopped at a gas station on our drive to Nuremburg for some beverages. They had a really nice hotel setup for us. Red Bull pretty much owned the hotel for the week. Getting out of the van and having everything taken care of for you was a huge pleasure after a 36+ hour trip.
After building our bikes we decided to go check out the course. There wasn’t really much to check out other then the top drop and the final jump because they hadn’t finished everything yet but those guys know how to build! We met up with Aaron Chase the course designer, and amazing rider to show us around. We had some lunch and waited for everyone else to show up. We didn’t have anything to do the next day other then a rider dinner, which was amazing by the way. So we hit the town.
The next day was a struggle, now I am not saying we were hung over or anything, but because our sleeping patterns were totally out of wack. I went to bed a 4am and woke up at 4pm then the next night I went to bed at 12am and woke up at 4:30am and it just so happen that Greg Watts couldn’t sleep either so we met up and went for breakfast. Practice the first day was pretty fun, no one had any idea what to do so basically instead of a normal comp practice where everyone is kind of quiet and keeping to themselves, we all just hung out and rode every district together and figured things out. There was no pressure just a bunch of friends having fun, that’s the way it should be!
We all pretty much had our runs figured out mentally. We were supposed to do the first runs of qualifying that evening but none of us had enough practice and it was lightly raining which made all the features slippery, which is how I got hurt but I will to that in a second. It didn’t help that we were riding on cobblestone streets which were even slipperier that the wood. So we all came together and organized everything for tomorrow.
Woke up pretty early and went down for breakfast, couldn’t really eat much so I grabbed my pads and rode over to the course with Kurt Sorge and Eric Lawrenuk for our warm up session. We had to do 3 runs before finals. First run was to make sure the camera crews were set up in the right spots for the live feed and video production. Kind of a pain in the butt if you ask me because its one heck of a tiring ride down to the bottom. In my first run I was just styling and having fun on the course flowing my way down not doing any trick just getting my speeds right. I came into the skate park district and stepped up onto the box and that’s when it all went horribly wrong for me. It was early in the morning so the wetness on the features was not 100% dry yet. When I jumped on I planned to hit the step down transfer from the yellow bank to the purple hip landing. My front tire slid out on my as I was going up the bank and sent me half on the landing and half onto the fence. I slightly remember a second before impact that I knew this was not going to go over well. I slid my face across the cobblestone and hurt pretty much every part on my body. Being super winded on the ground gasping for air when I opened my eyes all I saw was German dudes hold white sheets around me as if I was dead or something. That really freaked me out so I torn the sheets out of there hands and slowly got up to my feet and walked away with the doctors. My injuries were a bruised sternum; both rib cages were bruised as well. My knee was super swollen, burn mark on my face and a nice wood cut on my hip. I couldn’t take deep breaths or I was in a lot of pain, walking hurt so much. I tried to ride but any quick movements put me down. It was not a good morning…. The Claw told me that I am lucky even to be walking from that crash. He watched it on the TV above, as he was next in line. So I guess I got out of it pretty well.
At least the bright side was that I was in Germany, a beautiful place and at an amazing event with all my friends and fans. So I sat back and watched the show go down!
Overall I had the best time ever, wish I could have ridden but that’s the she goes in this sport. One season you’re on top of your game, the next your injured at every event you attend. Puts a huge damper on everything.
I’d like to thank Tarek Rasouli and the Rasoulition Team for hosting a great event and end to the world tour. Also to all the sponsors of the event, thank you!
Well that’s a wrap on my first time to Europe, I know it won’t be the last so stay tuned!
- Casey Groves