Hometown hero, Theo Erlangsen, absolutely killed it at DarkFEST this year, upping his game every time we see him ride.
We caught up with Theo to talk about his experience of DarkFEST 2019.
How would you sum up your experience of DarkFEST 2019?
It’s the best thing ever, literally the favourite time of the year for me. Nothing beats the world’s biggest jumps on your home soil. There’s no better time when all the people you’ve looked up to for years and years come to your home town and ride the jumps that you’ve kinda been a part of building, and get to ride with them. It’s a dream come true.
Give us your thoughts on this year’s course?
I was really really stoked on it, they made some really sick improvements. The 90 footer was a lot better, the twisty wizard was really technical which made it quite sick, and then the hip was probably my favourite feature this year. The last jump at the bottom was really sick because that was pretty pioneering, there’s never been a jump that insane and that big – I kinda hit it not knowing how insane it was, it was the scariest jump I’ve ever hit in my life.
What was it like riding through the course for the first time?
It is the best feeling! There’s nothing like it in the world, I cannot explain the fear that builds inside you so many times throughout the week. I sat looking at those jumps thinking, why am I involved when I could’ve just sat on the side having a beer. But, I got involved and the first hits were literally the best feeling in the world, it’s what you live for. Nothing, and I’ve tried a lot of insane things, but nothing beats the first hits!
Which riders impressed you the most?
Brendan Fairclough, he really killed it. He was the first rider top-to-bottom and was so comfortable. In terms of overall confidence, steeze, style – Brendan surprised me. Clemens (Kaudela), I always knew was a sick guy but between the two they absolutely killed it. Nico Vink also absolutely murdered it. Those three guys are the gods of this course.
What does riding an event like DarkFEST mean to you?
Hopefully getting more girls interested in Mountain Bikes. Why would I be risking my life on these jumps other than to get some girls. I don’t sit at robots balancing on my cleats – that’s not what I do. I send some pretty gnarly stuff, and I want the girls of Stellenbosch to understand that.
How much does riding an event like this take a toll on your body and bike?
Quite surprisingly, the lips are so steep, that if you are week in your quads – you are f#cked. The compression going into these lips is insane, you really have to had done your squats throughout the season. Mentally it is so tolling, you can’t really ride for more than 2 hours because it’s such an insane toll, mentally.
Your highlight of DarkFEST?
Top-to-bottom for sure. Going top-to-bottom is the most insane feeling and finding out after that some of the riders you look up to had been second guessing it because it was so gnarly was just, wow!
Photos by Ale Di Lullo, Syo van Vliet and Eric Palmer.