We asked Alasdair to tell us the story of his racing DH, and I bit about the struggle he’s been through to be a top racer. Al is a man of few words and a really positive guy, so he didn’t have a lot to say, but what he said was very insightful. Here are his words.
I’ve been in love with bikes since I was a child. When I got into downhill mountain bike racing it was an unreal feeling. I became addicted to the sport!
All day while I was at school I just couldn’t stop dreaming about riding. I eventually started to take part in National races in South Africa and ended up with a few medals. I had never received a medal in a sport before so I knew DH was my sport.
It made me feel important standing on the podium after a race and being noticed in cycling. In my matric school year I was selected to race as a junior for the South African Federation Team at World Champs in Switzerland. I couldn’t believe it! I had tears of joy.
Going overseas for the first time to race was a huge experience. It was also a tremendous eye opener because the track was insanely steep. When I finished school I started working at a gym. I learnt a lot working there, for example, I always thought lifting weights would make me fast at riding but all it was made me heavy. I was loving life it couldn’t get any better. Half way through the year I went on holiday with a friend. I was all hyped up after an awesome holiday with my mate but when I got home my life had changed dramatically! I came home to find out that my father had walked out on my family leaving us nothing, but broken hearts.
I tried to stay as positive as I could and kept to my self doing my own thing. I eventually said to myself:
I’m not going to let one person mess up my life! I’m going to use this to push harder and harder and succeed!
My friends helped me to stay positive and kept me from going down the wrong road. I trained so hard and ended up overtraining a bit, hurting myself. I hustled to all the nationals around SA and started to improve in my riding. Through the December holiday I carried on training, keeping my mind off of the difficult family situation.
I must say that during 2013 I’ve never been as happy just doing my own thing and not letting someone bring me down because I’m better than that. After all, that’s how winning is done. I attended all the races around SA and got selected to represent my country in my home town of Pietermaritzburg. This was a dream come true. It was just amazing. We had fantastic support and everyone was so happy and excited. When I put that SA jersey on I had shivers running down my whole body. Hearing the roar of the crowd while speeding down my home track and then suddenly being at the finish was such amazing feeling.
To become a champion is just mind over matter. Never let people who have not succeeded in anything in their life bring you down! Be positive, everyone has what it takes to become a champion with passion, heart and rage. It is amazing what positivity can do for one. Never ever give up. Keep on pushing forward until you reach the end and once you have reached that point you will be the happiest person alive. Don’t make people feel sorry for you. It is just pointless. Act as if nothing has happened if you are going through a rough patch, keep that smile on your face. Always remember to be humble and help others achieve their dreams.
Sputnik Corporation is very proud to have supported Alasdair in 2013 and we can only hope to be able to help him go even further in the future. It is a truely humbling experience, watching someone take the little he had been given and do so much with it. Well done dude.