Mountain bike rider Danielle Beecroft has beaten the world's best – and the odds – to take out the women’s dual slalom event in the final leg of the Crankworx World Tour series.
The August 17 event in Canada was Beecroft’s first competition since coming back from a bad concussion she sustained during the second leg of the world series in Austria, which saw her off the bike for almost two months.
“I knocked myself out in Austria. It was the first corner of the first lap of the first practice,” she said.
“It was a pretty bad one, it was quite scary because I couldn’t remember anything for quite some time.
“I had to see a brain specialist and couldn’t ride for almost two months.”
Getting back on the bike just a week before flying out to Canada, Beecroft decided the last leg of the series would be just a bit of fun.
“I thought I would go have a bit of fun and ride my bike,” she said.
“I went there two weeks prior to the event and just rode and rode.”
Twenty women from around the world lined up to contest the pro women’s dual slalom qualifying round, with the final eight going through to the August 17 heats, semifinals and final.
But Beecroft raised a few eyebrows when she arrived at the start gates on her downhill bike, which is heavier and takes more time to build up speed.
“I’d been riding it for two weeks prior and I felt more comfortable on it,” Beecroft explained.
“Everyone was giving me a look, but I was just there to have fun.”
The gamble paid off as she qualified first and faced multi-champion and Olympic silver BMX medallist, US rider Jill Kintner, in the final.
“Jill has won that race the last five years in a row. I have looked up to her all my life, she is my absolute idol and to be in the start gate to the final with her was awesome,” Beecroft said.
“I wasn’t even nervous, I was just smiling and wished her good luck.”
The dual slalom involves competitors racing twice, with both times added together to determine the winner. Beecroft’s first round saw her more than a second ahead of Kintner, and despite a closer second round she managed to walk away with the gold.
“When I crossed that line and saw the gold, I threw my bike and jumped in the air,” Beecroft laughed.
She will now enjoy a week at home before heading to Switzerland for the world downhill championships on September 10 to 13.
She will fly back home briefly before departing Australia again bound for the United States to take part in the pumptrack world championships.