Mountain biking isn’t usually considered either an extreme or a full-contact sport, but when you throw in charging African antelopes, I think it qualifies as both.
Proving that you can’t ever really be just an uninvolved bystander when you’re out in the wild, 17-year-old South African mountain biker Evan van der Spuy had rather too close an encounter with a red hartebeest (Alcelaphus caama) recently. He collided with the antelope while competing in the Time Freight Express MTB Race at the Albert Falls Dam Nature Reserve near Pietermaritzburg in South Africa’s KwaZulu Natal Province earlier this month.
Both teenager and buck got away without major injuries, although I reckon it’s fair to say that the antelope – standing about 1.3 metres tall at the shoulders and weighing in at around 130 kilograms – won the bout by technical knock-out. The hartebeest got up and ran off dazed, but apparently unharmed.
Van der Spuy’s helmet was smashed and he was momentarily unconscious. He suffered from a concussion, but x-rays taken at a nearby clinic confirmed that he had no broken bones or fractures.
The youngster, who races for Team Jeep South Africa and was in second place in the race at the time, can’t remember much of the accident, saying “I saw it coming from about 100 metres away … I looked at it and think I pointed at it and from there it was a blur. I just remember lying on the floor when I came to.”
Thanks to his teammate, Travis Walker, who recorded the entire incident on his bike-mounted camera, van der Spuy has become an instant YouTube hero and we can all watch what happened in bone-crunching slow-motion:
Walker said that it was all about being in the right place at the right time for him and being in the wrong place at the wrong time for his friend: “It hit him, lifted him off the ground, [and he] landed in the grass … he started making weird noises and I didn’t know what to do.”
Van der Spuy seemed rather pleased with being branded “Buck Norris” on Twitter. “It’s pretty cool,” he said.
Andreas is a book shop manager and freelance writer in Cape Town, South Africa. Follow him on Twitter: @Andreas_Spath
Photo from: Stock.Xchng