I will admit, I had heard and used a number of lines myself by my early 20’s, but when I got that look I didn’t expect what was coming next:
“Its not me, its you”
I half smiled, then as I replayed what she had just said over in my head to triple check I had heard it correctly, I raised an eyebrow. “Wait, do you mean, ‘Its not you, its me?” She sighed and half awkwardly looked around, hoping I would just get it and the conversation could be over as quickly as she had hoped. Is he really such a narcissist that he doesn’t get it? Do I have to draw this guy a diagram? “No, I meant it the way I said it… Well, you know… Its been fun, but lets face it, you’re a bit of a cunt, right?”
Slightly abstract and oversharing opening to the first Bali Mini Mission post? Yes and no… Sometimes authenticity can come across as Cunthenticity, even if its just an honest reflection of an experience. Never is this more true when its relating to something thats general popular or perceived to be cool.
And here’s the challenge for today’s post, as, like the Poms recently experienced, there are two ways to go:
Happy Internet Face Vs. Authenticity
What am I talking about? Well, when you go somewhere that appears to be relatively popular there’s an instant expectation that you too will also forcibly enjoy it and sing its praises as well. If it doesn’t go well, then hey man, that’s just all part of the adventure and vibe yo! Its enriching you! Its part of the magical experience of finding yourself and being rimmed by Unicorns. Or, you’re just a fucker.
Yes, if you don’t automatically jump on the Happy Bus, then chances are you get a bit of a “Cunt” sticker on your jersey to go with the mosquito patches you’ve plastered all over yourself. So with that in mind, given the cunty nature of my attitude, today’s post will henceforth be written all in the third person. Why the third person? Well, as we know, cuntheads like to refer to themselves in the third person, so let’s indulge shall we? Welcome to Bali gang!
Did we lose a star somewhere?
Arriving late at night, Dirty Nomad quickly learned that the reason it’s called the ‘Chillhouse Resort’ is because you have to be relatively chilled out to stay there. Whilst there was an expectation this definitely wasn’t going to be Europe or the plushness of Aava hotel in Whistler, its perhaps wasn’t appreciated that based on location it would have more of a ghetto vibe to it initially.
Whilst busily panic applying mosquito repellant filled with the anxiety that each buzz was bringing dengue to his finely tuned athletic veins, Dirty Nomad found the first clue that perhaps he had landed in an awkward spot:
Still, in a world of swings and roundabouts, at least DN could indulge his inner Scot and have some fun with the, er, friendly local wildlife found roaming the streets in abundance. Walk anyone?
It therefore didn’t take long for Monsieur Nomad to realise that he has selected a Bali HQ that was more ‘real’ than ‘real flash’. As he struggled to chill out at the chillhouse, nervously eyeing the rubbish bin strategically located next to the toilet, he consoled himself with the knowledge that he had to chill this bitch out, as it was all about the riding.
And this is a key point – The hook up between Bali Bike Park and the Chillhouse accommodation is tight for obvious reasons, namely they are owned by the same 6 foot plus tall vivacious Austrian shredder called Alex. With a distinctive Will Farrell side profile, there is no mistaking when Alex is rocking the room.
Doing his utmost to strangle his inner accommodation snob, the Nomad knee padded up and prepared for the first day of riding – It was time to get as #ENDUROasfuck on it with the ‘Central Bali ENDURO tour’.
Internet Vs. Reality – Part 1
The internet describes the Central Bali ENDURO tour as follows:
“The shuttle up to the enduro rides at the central bali enduro takes about two hours from Canggu. From the starting point the long trail winds up and down on the central bali enduro for about 1 – 3 hours and then drops down to the north shore for another 1 – 2 hours. Depending on the fitness and skill level of the riders, we either call it a day down at the north shore with swimming and late lunch, the more ambitious riders shuttle up again and do another ride with a shorter up and down section n the beginning and similarly long ride down to the north shore. You will not meet the van on the way once you have left until you are down at the shore. Pretty sick day.”
The Nomad learned early on that whilst kicking it Bali side, the most used term is “Yaman“, important to note this is not said as “yeah man“, but instead its essential to pronounce it as one word, preferably elongating the first syllable like “Yaaaaaman“. This pleased the Nomad immensely as it was an excellent opportunity to sound like a cheesedick ex-pat while throwing the forks and imagining you’re still mid 20’s. Locals looked on with either bemusement or out of politeness, scratching their heads as to why these pasty invaders had knee pads on.
An interesting conversation then ensued with the guiding team when discussing the 7am departure time: “So what time will we be back bru?” enquired the planning OCD afflicted Dirty Visitor. “Yaman, about 5pm” replied the local guru. “Woah, that’s later than expected… How many uplift runs does that give us bru?” the Nomad naturally asked.
“Yaman, just one trail ah, 27 kilometre yaman“. The Nomad was perplexed, raising an eyebrow at this unexpected format he replied “So… Why does it take us 10 hours to ride that? ENDURO right bru?” the high pitched finish to the sentence was lost on the guide that format panic was starting to grip the Nomad’s ball sac tightly like the Predator strangling Arnie in the jungle. “Ahhhh, Yaman, we drive for 2 hour up… Ride trail and then 3 hour drive back yaman!!”
The Nomad’s shoulder sagged at both the prospect of a day rammed into a Daihatsu with semi functional seat belts navigating Bali roads, but also that potentially there would be more grind than uplift… With Status Anxiety Nuclear bombs going off in his head, the Nomad loaded up with the Swiss Missile and headed off to explore the Bali Northern Coast.
Internet Vs. Reality – Part 2
2.5 hours later… The ‘Central Bali Enduro’ kicks off at 1,605m and over 25km’s finds its way down to 0.0m right on the coast line. The first thing that struck the Nomad as bikes were unloaded and general kit faffing began was how cool it was, temperature wise that is. Yes, there was a crispness in the air and that classic mix of ghetto rubbish and beautiful forest to appreciate and enjoy.
But, the group wasn’t there to debate the wonders of impoverished villagelyfe, it was time to click in and drop the hammer. Well, as our cHub based duo soon found out, drop the hammer as much as possible with the Honeymooning couple of riding beginners that were also on the tour. Yes, that may sound like a reasonable plot for a porn flick (ENDURO Jungle Gang Bang the sequel), but a different type of sucking was on the cards here. And so the convey of two of the worlds most premier ENDURO bikes rolled into the jungle followed cautiously by two rental machines that had clearly seen more German ass than Echo beach.
Of course, being dropped off at 1,600m, one would have a reasonable expectation around the vista’s that would be on offer and as much as the Nomad was turning his well travelled nose up at the trail, it was impossible not to enjoy the scenery on show, the views out into the Bali Sea slightly more than stunning:
Whilst gazing at the scene was lovely, it was rad single track our two hero’s craved, steep, the right amount of technical but above all, flowy please, with only the occasional pedal stroke being thrown in. One thing no one was that keen on was double track or climbing, but the tourist were getting more than their fair share.
A grumbling Nomad reminded himself that it was all still better than being rammed into a meeting room with mindless cunt zombies and their PowerPoint decks with multiple fonts and sizes on one slide, are there no standards any more in this world?
Occasionally in the opening stanza the trail perked up, or down as the case may be and the 27.5 Stans rims started rolling the way they wanted to. There was however the constant reminder that ghetto was always just around the corner, usually in the form of a scooter that was waaaay the fuck outside its normal operating window, but Yaman, zero fucks given…
Soon however, the group emerged from the semi-jungle to find themselves skirting the rim, something the Nomad considered himself to be an aficionado in. Yes, our intrepid XC adventurers were now surfing the rim of what was clearly once a giant fuck off volcano. The group stopped to exchange noises of wonderment and appreciation for mother nature, sounding like a 10 year old David Attenborough in the process.
The Nomad leant over his bars and drank in the view, balancing the creeping feeling of “Meh” about the riding with the genuine upgrade of scenery over the concrete decoration of the cHub. Was the unwinding process starting to take effect? Was the chill starting to creep in? Or would the MEH take over and win the day? More importantly, why is so much going on inside ones head when the motherfucker should just kick back and get a scenery stiffy?
Across the border, our Swiss adventurer wasn’t neutral at all, he was more than chuffed with the day thus far and with his chassis configured for climbing, he was making short work of the grunty power climbs that his hairy partner in Asian crime was wallowing up like a pregnant warthog. Throw us a Fuck Yaman fork there RJ:
As the troop continued gleaming the rim, stopping every 200m or so for yet another intersection or general regroup, they started to wander right through local backyards and industrious mountain villages. The Nomad marvelling as he watched another zombie eyed chicken with bird rabies eating dog shit while make sounds chickens aren’t supposed to make. Several times he wondered if it was time to ghetto the fuck out of here… Still, could have been worse, could have been at work like some of the locals he mused…
Like a drunk after work encounter the rim seemed to go on for longer than anticipated, which didn’t phase the Nomad, even if he did wonder aloud when the final assault and descent would commence. This was no more relevant than after the 3 levelled grind of a climb, complete with 20% gradients, up to yet another
terrible shithole ‘quaint’ village. Instead of screenshots of rad trail, the Nomad mused that the day 1 post would be more than likely filled with dramatic scenery pics that would flatter the overall riding experience.
It also weighed on the Nomad that it was day 6 on Trans Provence, which would be lavishing gorgeous Sospel trails onto the participants for their final push to the Menton beach… Narrow single track, exposure and then ending up on the coast to dive into the ocean… The parallels were all there considered the Nomad as he navigated a rare section of variety, except the 10,000% gap in GDP of course.
By now the reader will be considering the exceedingly high snobbery levels of our un-intrepid subject, but sock draw ordering aside, perhaps a better description is “slow to relax“. Fighting to shrug off those 8 year old chickenpox memories and the inherent Island prejudices that came with that experience, it was time to embrace the classic Ang Moh cliche’s and take a dick pic with local temple in the background. Boxes were being ticked quicker than you can sigh and feel embarrassed.
Like at the end of year review in a large corporate, it was clearly time to start seriously going down. With the usual enthusiasm the Nomad was keen to rip into what was surely several kilometres of single track to get down to the beckoning coast line. Early prospects looked good, with also Sospel like rocks greeting the slow moving convoy. As they say, any convoy can only move as fast as the person pushing their rental bike down the hill. Real talk.
Still quipped the Nomad, this provided plenty of opportunity to check out the local real estate market for bargains, do some rubbish cleaning up and get attacked by dogs – Not every day you can ram all those activities into your ENDURO mission is it? Not to mention hit some tarmac descents whilst the elevation flooded out of the end of the ride.
Yes, our stars found themselves navigating double digit negative percentage elevation drops at warp speed on an unnerving mixture of dusty tarmac and flat dry gravel turns, both laced with a cocktail of holes and giant ruts. Not something the Nomad considered to be either overly enjoyable or worthy of slaughtering countless innocent meters of elevation. But the decimation went on and on, sometimes sort of on dirt but 100% ghetto at all times:
The Swiss Missle however had other ideas, he was more than happy to point the Capra downhill in the same vein as Gwin and let it absolutely rip. It was 100% impressive and 98% of the time it worked flawlessly… Except for the moment it didn’t:
But like a latex sex doll he popped right back up unharmed from his torrid encounter and kept on rolling. As the Nomad plunged down the last few KM’s of useable downhill on the ROAD, his mind had time to wander to the exact same moment almost to the minute when he heard Ash say those famous words:
“See you on the beach!”
Looking at the past through his usual rose tinted glasses and blocking out the horrendous beat down of that day 12 months earlier, the Dirtiness tried to recreate that sweet Menton feeling upon arriving at the coast… How did that work out for him? Hmmmmm, mixed:
When you throw in the 3 hour trek back to the Chillhouse, much like the dumb cunt population who voted “leave” the general feeling on reflection was that perhaps a 9 hour day end to end for 1 hour and 20 minutes of actual ride time wasn’t the greatest decision ever. Scenery aside, there wasn’t a lot of high fiving that the trail was worth the mission if you’ve done more than a few years of riding.
So, yes, I’ve been spoilt over the last 3 years in particular, but this made me reflect on what it was about day 1 that missed the mark so much, aside from the Internet giving reality a golden shower. Of all the awesome riding locations I have ever been, they all generally started with one key ingredient first: Great trails.
Sure, there was then a lot of building and infrastructure that would follow, but the baseline of great zones to ride in is not negotiable. The feeling from Day 1 is that its being reverse engineered, which I can understand and appreciate. By now plenty of people will be lining up to stick a “Total cunt” badge on my forehead, but the experience is what it is.
However, I’m not going to take a massive shit all over the efforts going in, and not just because there’s nowhere to put the paper. No, I shall refrain from being an epic hater and instead lets put some trust in day 2 and 3, after all, it was time to fuel up at an appropriate place and head to the BIKE PARK…
Stay tuned to find out if the main course is Redemption or Resentment…