“Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat." – Theodore Roosevelt.
You know when any mountain biking video opens with a quote like that; it’s not going to be your run-of-the-mill edit. Yes, it’s a little dramatic, and yes, it’s a pretty damn epic line to bring to the world of two wheels, but after you’ve watched this feature on Brandon Semenuk, you’ll understand exactly why it’s there.
It’s safe to say that there’s always pressure on Semenuk to perform whenever he gets on the bike. The Whistler-born biker won the Diamond Series last year and he’s got a whole host of Crankworx medals to his name.
When it came to Crankworx Rotorua then, the opening event in the 2015 Diamond Series and first time the tour has touched down in New Zealand, it was all eyes on Brandon and his main rival from last season, fellow Canadian Brett Rheeder.
We can’t even imagine the pressure Semenuk will have been feeling after Rheeder ran out to a 93.33 on his first run, opening with a flip whip and cork 720, chucking in opposite truck drivers and tail whips and finishing backflip-bar spin to tuck no-hander.
Semenuk came out swinging on run one though. Double truck driver, tuck no-hander to tail whip... it was all going perfectly, right up until that he went for the cork 720 to end it all of, and came up short.
Brandon wrestled with himself over whether to carry on, eventually deciding to take on run two, but backing out of the run after just a few jumps. The crowd weren't happy. The internet was hurling abuse at the guy. How could he just walk away from the run? Why wasn’t he giving it his all?
The stunning feature above shows exactly what he was thinking, and after watching this, it’s safe to say that nobody will be saying a bad word about Brandon again in the foreseeable future.
Why did he stop run two? Long story short, he basically couldn’t see. The impact of the crash from his cork 720 attempt was gnarly as hell, and to be perfectly honest, he shouldn’t have even attempted his second run at all.
It takes a lot for a champion to bring home a trophy. It takes even more for a champion to see the bigger picture and walk away from the opportunity to win, to regroup for another day.