Tall Tales is a collection of our favourite crazy bike-related stories from our favourite riders, racers and industry legends.
Everyone has that story that they wait until the end of the night to pull out when the anecdotal oneupmanship starts to get into the final round. Tall Tales is a collection of our favourite bike-related stories from the best in the business.
Today’s tale is an absolute blinder from Steve Peat, set at the after-party of the 2007 UCI Downhill World Championships.
Photos by Sven Martin.
Lets set the scene…
World Champs in 2007 Fort William.
I had had a horrendous race, battling a huge ankle injury and barely being able to make it to the start line. My run went shockingly, I slid out on one of the top wooden bridges and slammed on my seat really hard, the bolt broke and my seat came off the bike.
I managed to ride down the rest of the track, albeit very slowly, then for some reason decided to still do the big jumps on the motorway section leading into the finish, the seat post stuck up ready to impale me.
Luckily it didn’t but as you could imagine I wasn’t in the best of moods and got straight on the beers to drown my sorrows.
My team mate at the time was Nathan Rennie who also likes a bevy or 10. The pit party had been real fun and as people started to pack up we were hanging around the SRAM pits. The ride of the day went to Sam Hill who had successfully defended his World Champion title from Rotorua, New Zealand the previous year.
“Let’s find some cutters and sabotage Sam’s bike.”
I had been sharing a story with Rennie (more to come…) and as I finished, it sparked a light in his eyes.
Let’s find some cutters and sabotage Sam’s bike.
Rennie thought he would find it funny as he had been on the MadCatz Team with Sam for a few years before. We got all mischievous and proceeded to cut a few spokes in the wheels, we were laughing and having a good time and then Rennie went for the brake hose, then the next.
At this point, we decided it would be a good time to retreat to our Syndicate pits and watch it all unfold.
My guilt trip had already started to set in and I was quickly sobering up at the thought of what we had just done. Rennie was a little drunker than me so just carried on the same.
It took a little longer than expected for the guys to work out what had happened to the bike and tempers started to flare, the SRAM guys were pissed off as the bike was in their care, Sam’s mechanic Jacey was in a rage, he came over to our pits and just stood outside staring into the party that was happening.
Only myself and Rennie knew the real reason he was stood there so everyone else just thought he was being very strange.
“Some punches would have certainly been thrown”
He didn’t know for sure it was us but had high suspicions.
My guilt was building and building, so had to go out there and try to explain, but because of the story I’ll tell at the end it was tough to explain why we had done it apart from a joke.
There were lots of disappointed people that couldn’t believe we had chopped up the newly-crowned World Champion’s bike.
I think if myself and Rennie hadn’t been on the larger side of physique, then some punches would have certainly been thrown. Once it had calmed down a little I went over and apologised to Sam and his manager Sean, I told them the story of why and what had triggered us and I think Sam saw the funny side of it… but Jacey and Sean seemed a little more annoyed with us. Rennie was still off somewhere drinking and left me to the apologies!
Take it back a few years to 1995 and the European Champs in the Czech Republic… Myself, Warner and Jason McRoy were roomed together as we were riding for the British team.
I don’t really remember our results from the race, only that Francois Gachet had won. On departure we were staying up on the first floor and myself and Jason were downstairs waiting for Rob, we had to beg a lift-off him back to the airport in the back of his Transit van.
“Give ’em, here let me have a go”
Rob was dragging his heels as usual so we shouted up and spurred him on, he appeared at the window with his bike bag in his hands, “here lads catch this” and down it came with a massive crash. We pissed ourselves then chucked all the bikes in the back of the van and climbed in with them. Warner was taking the mick out of us all the way as we had to sit in the back so we decided to open up his bike bag and mess with it a bit, we were laughing and got carried away.
Jason found some snippers and cut few spokes, we were in hysterics. “Give ’em, here let me have a go”, the sound of spokes getting cut under tension is amazing. Then we moved on to his brake cables, snip snip.
I think me and Jason laughed all the way home and never said a word to Warner. It wasn’t until next time we met up that Warner mentioned it was a stupid idea throwing his bike bag out of the window, as it had ruined his bike and even broken spokes and brake cables.
So there you go, this is the story of why myself and Nathan Rennie decided to cut up Sam Hill’s World Championship-winning bike. His mechanic Jacey has still never got over it…
For all of the Tall Tales series from the likes of Dan Milner, Vero Sandler and Anka Martin, head here.
Check out our Wise Words interview with Steve Peat here.
Read all our other unique content on our Features page here.