Day 15 dawned with one big item on the agenda: The Coronet Peak ENDURO race and event #5 on the DM2 tour… And with a week before EWS, it was an essential part of the build up plan. Today’s tale may therefore come across as slightly contradictory, especially when the scenery shots start to be digested.
Today I was supposed to go after it… Yes, a bit of a change in tactics and necessary given this was my last chance to have a real crack pre EWS. I wanted to race the fuck out of it and see how it went. Ignore a terrible sleep, everything kicked off somewhat according to plan, with some key milestones being nailed to set the scene:
- Got a banger of a coffee in x 2
- Smashed out the world champion of race turds
- The weather was a freak show:
The good news kept on rolling… We had about 6 or so proper real EWS PRO’s in attendance, which while it put a slight monopoly on the podium places, meant that it would be ON to add some scalps to the PRO Predator collection. Dan Atherton, Martin Maes, Ed Masters and Remy Absalon among the field that following the briefing Blah Blah headed out into the awesomeness of THAT big sky to peak out at the summit:
Not enough good news rammed into your face yet? It got even better! Turned out we were going to be riding down the ENDURO trail (funny that) that we were walking up, which alleviated some anxiety I had about riding stage 1 blind. Astute readers may recall this super fun trail from DNST, where I attempted to chase Mad Markus down it at warp speed… Its an awesome piece of trail:
And that’s just part one… If my old school and slightly shit editing action made you wet, then feel free to hit part 2 here, but we need to keep rolling on today and keeping the action contemporary YO. Colour me predictable and repeatable, but did I mention the scenery was more epic than a nude oily massage with an accidental finger? YES:
It had a napoleonic feel to it, trekking up the mountain in single file, towards battle… minus the Russian snow of course. It was setting the scene for a tussle in the tussock. Yes, took me ages to come up with that to fill the gap between two mega scenic photos:
It did occur to me on the way up the hill that our field of 30 ENDURO soldiers were not just regular conscripts… Oh fucking no, this was different. Why? Well, its Friday right… No, not a public holiday either. This meant that it was either PRO’s, the committed or those of us having a midlife crisis and running away from the Matrix. So pleased I’m kind of more like a PRO. Yes, it was all Special Forces Operators here today. Speaking of, here is one standing around looking at the thing that made all of our hearts sink when we saw it, the steep cunty climb linking the DH trail at the top to the ENDURO trail on stage 1:
I made a mental note to not shoot my load getting up that bitch, otherwise it would set you up in cuntville, AKA oxygen debt, for the rest of your run down the best part. The slight unknown waiting to swallow up ENDURO sacrifices was the ‘DH Track’ start, as in, the old Nationals round DH track and as seen in such movies as ‘Follow me’ being pinned to fuck by Gee Atherton and Steve Smith. I had ridden down it once, with my forks locked down and rear shock locked out, also known as Rainman style.
Whilst prepping for stage 1, my nostrils detected a familiar scent… I had remained casual up until this point, but when Dan Atherton made the mistake of getting separated from the PRO herd, I picked up the odour of PROgina and found him hiding behind the 4X4 ambulance attempting to get into the ZONE for his stage 1 run. I decided to help out:
hashtag ambush… hashtag PRO stalking and so on and so forth. Given Dan was today’s unlucky winner of the Dirty Photo Op and advice on how to rail the trail, I shall compare my times to his as we go through each stage. Spoiler alert: Dan came second overall for the day, behind his team mate Martin Maes.
And now, with the scene overly set… Into the racing action. Today I am going for a feast & famine approach to the update, based on what happened and when the drone cam was strapped to my furry chassis.
Stage 1 – CP to station
To kick things into ENDURO gear, we stood around and watched PRO people outline how we can’t ride our bikes… As you’ll see here, eventual winner Messer Maes peels it into turn 1 for the day and then proceeds to sort of float down the trail while we all stand there and go “Faaaarrk, see that?“, when clearly the person next to you had, as they were saying the same thing:
By comparison I resembled a buffalo having an epileptic fit down the same piece of trail… Yes, watching these guys is a reminder that they are PRO and we are there to download the movies and by the stuff that funds their radness. Or, in other words, minions:
With that in mind, it was time to participate in this mofo and not just stand around like little girls at a 1D (or whoever the latest fuckbags are) concert. I promptly went and fingered the DH track as my warm up, then went well off strategy by blowing my load completely up the bastard climb leading to the ENDURO trail. As hard as I tried, could I get my breathing under control? Nope… The video literally sounds like a morbidly obese orgy at altitude.
Speaking of altitude, I will try a weak attempt to use it as an excuse as to why I was feeling so puffed… Oxygen starved my skills started to shut down slowly to provide more oxygen to my brain and as it seemed, my braking fingers.
Jimmy, of 6 hour fame, was tired of winning ENDURO races, so being the good dude he is, decided to come and do some marshalling and provide feedback, seen here frowning:
My motto for today was simple and I had to keep repeating it: Bitch, be cool… It worked in the Diner, so no reason it wouldn’t work here. Smooth is fast after all and this is a trail that rewards that kind of behaviour:
Everything would be fine as long as I could maintain just a little composure and above all, not crash. Yes, stage one needed to be clean and build confidence for stage 2, the big one. So just don’t crash… Not that I was thinking about it, I thought I was pinning it. Check out my awesome bar drag… Which is actually code for eating shit:
Yeah… Well, at least the new gloves aren’t new any more… WTF?
Care to guess what this moment is?
Well, its the moment a number of things happen:
- You realise your new Fox shorts, which you didn’t really need, are so long that they get neatly tangled in your handlebar, as in, like a Ferguson PD baton parked in the rear
- You’ve collected foliage in your helmet which will alert everyone at the finish line you’re the cunt that crashed on the easiest stage
- Your shadow looks like the Predator trying to steal a Nomad, or rip the handlebars off it, who knows with Predators. Probably the raddest part of the day that.
Dirty community announcement – Always wear your knee pads kids… Always:
So, stage results?
- PRO Dan – 7.42 for 4th on the stage
- Not as PRO Dirty Nomad – 9.28 for 25th on the stage, how lucky is Dan my overpriced shorts got caught in the handlebar? Fucken get out of jail free there eh cuz…
Onward and downward then?
Stage 2 – Rude Rock & Skippers power combo
No pictures please… I didn’t the camera as I needed to feel as racey as possible. This time, plan adherence was KEY. And, the plan was simple:
Ease into it, save some composure for skippers
As I outlined yesterday, this stage is a massive contrast from rowdy to precise. Its like going from a bubble bath with Katey Perry to having a fine french meal in a 5 star Michelin restaurant with Kate Middleton, in the space of 14 minutes. Both called Kate, but both massively different.
Amazingly, I followed the plan and it seemed to work. Here’s the whack part… In spite of feeling I was going as slow as a shit team meeting on a Monday with people you think should be picking up golf balls in a driving range, in reality I was setting a PR time for Rude Rock to skippers turn off, whack.
Sure, I folded in half like a horse when you put a Mack truck on its back when I got to the little climb down skippers, resulting it me having a massive moment/save when I got crossed up in the gutter afterwards, but all in all, not a bad stage. In reality, fuck all difference for me between riding it with buddies fast and racing it… Drum roll…. stage results:
- PRO Dan – 11.31 for 1st on the stage
- Not as PRO Dirty Nomad – 14.41 for 25th on the stage, check that
Stage 3 – Loam Ranger
I was genuinely looking forward to stage 3, anything steep in amongst trees is stiffy material and this was what was on the menu here, not to mention, those damn views… Even better than the pre-ride day if that’s possible?
Stage 3 started with the dash across the grass, around into a ditch that was narrow as fuck with exposure down the side. One hairpin later and you were then into the rad loam and trees! Good action, time to get involved:
Well, I almost made it to the hairpin before the awesome forest… Almost.
As you may expect, this is the moment that 15 years of Brand loyalty for Maxxis Tires was flushed down the shitter like one of Dok’s shared bathroom depth charges. Does that sound unreasonable? Fuck no it doesn’t… Allow me to elaborate. Up until 3 weeks ago the only tires I had torn were the paper thin sidewalls on a range of Schwalbe tires, an issue I think they ultimately addressed through the snakeskin armour. By then though I had moved back to Maxxis and the reunion was sweet.
However, always be wary of a re-tread scenario, as shit can go bad, FAST. I can see the scene now – Some meeting filled with cunts at Maxxis HQ, looking to squeeze out a little more from the bicycle division, no doubt cutting some production budgets that have now compromised quality. I expect that someone with the word ‘Transformation’ in their title was involved along the way, and by the same token, someone who genuine managed the products probably said “Hey guys, lets not fuck our awesome products“, they’re now eating lunch alone BTW, in the ‘Exit Lounge’ on a ‘Special Project’.
Its either that, or Maxxis have confused the formula for making Filipino condoms with their MTB Tire production. I think the words we’re all looking for here are: Systemic Failure. Allow me to present $300 worth of evidence in 2 weeks:
All tires were brand new, the first one with less than 5km’s on it and they all failed in the top of the tread. WTF? Since when did MTB Trail tires do that?! Sidewalls yes, tops? Nup. Don’t worry, before I spewed forth my Internet hating on Maxxis, and to make sure I didn’t appear like a lone hater in a Book Depository, I did my research with the most knowledgeable user group in the country: The Locals.
The words weren’t even out of my mouth about the hat trick of cuntery I had experienced and they had already started to unpack their stories and set up a hating picnic on everyone’s ex-favorite tire brand. Turns out that the problem with Maxxis tires has been widespread and only come on in the last 6 to 9 months, so something has gone massively sideways somewhere in that matrix.
I was more than happy to sit on their quilted gingham rug and pour lighter fluid all over the company that used to bring us tires we loved. Well motherfuckers, love don’t live here any more and the word is out: Your gear is fucked as bro. Instead of feeding a small African village for almost a year, I have instead wasted that money on shit rubber. As Bubba Bush said, fool me once, shame on… Well, you know what I mean. Easier to just say, three strikes and OUT.
Perhaps my mind was clouded with Maxxis rage, but for some reason I didn’t refuel the camelbak at the bottom of Skippers… Convinced I had enough fuel to see me through. 5 minutes into a 40 minute climb I was proved horrendously wrong and that death suckle hit my lips… You know the one when you take a big drag on that sweet nipple and instead of tasty beverage all you get is air bubbles and the realisation dehydration has just got its cunty foot in the door? Yup… Did I mention it was a hot one on that dusty valley climb?
FYI – Its a long way out of Skippers thirsty and bitter, best not to try it. Stage 3 and Dan was lucky to make a break on me thanks to support from Maxxis:
- PRO Dan – 2.10 for 3rd on the stage
- Not as PRO Dirty Nomad – 31.38 for 31st on the stage, which took some real skill as this meant I was behind the course sweeper. Yes, it took me around 28 minutes to get the tire off the Enve rim and put a tube in. In my defence, I was fingered, angry and had to eat a bar to have something to patch the fucking hole. After I stuck my finger in it and took photos, after all, thats DN Policy.
Stage 4 – Zoot
I rode it slower in the race than when I pre-rode it on Wednesday: CUNT.
- PRO Dan – 1.50 for 4th on the stage
- Not as PRO Dirty Nomad – 2.22 for 27th on the stage, I’ll confess, not having a whole bunch of laughs at this stage, especially when it was clear I was going to miss my flight to Auckland.
See where the vibe is going…
Stage 5 – Deer Lane
For some odd reason I decided it would be a good idea to wipe out any final vestiges of confidence I had before EWS by riding the final stage of the day, blind. As Jimmy once said, it was one of the greatest ENDURO stages he had ridden, so I was keen to scope it. Probably should of kept in mind Jimmy is a rad shredding machine, context is always so critical.
What was waiting was a steep, fast and hairy (even more than I) old school 90’s downhill mixtape type course. As good at reminiscing as I am, I didn’t really feel in the mood for that, which was reinforced a quarter of the way down by feeling starving as fuck. From here onwards, I haemorrhaged speed and style like a plane without wings and by halfway it was more ‘I want to get the fuck out of here‘ as opposed to ‘I’m going to carve this line and then sprint that next section‘, mindset a critical component:
Hofuckinghum… Pass me the results then please?
- PRO Dan – 4.42, tied for 1st on the stage with Martin Maes
- Not as PRO Dirty Nomad – 7.06 for 27th, which seemed to be my number didn’t it? I can’t really have claimed to of raced this stage… It would be like saying that sliding down the mountain on your ass is skiing… Which it isn’t. I needed a pie.
On the 10km
cunt road ride back into town, I had time to ponder a LOT of stuff… Aside from my own self flagellation and disgust, I reflected on the fact that Mountain Biking is like any loved one in our life. We love them, but sometimes they can be frustrating to the point you want to scream or throw yourself on the ground. You come home and they kick you in the balls, don’t say sorry… Take money out of your wallet and make you feel like you don’t exist perhaps? But, in spite of these challenges and off moments, you still love them and you don’t just give up do you? No… You just spend more money:
I was loathe to go WTB tires, and Jimmy had to work quite hard in those 23 seconds to convince me to swap over. See previous comments about him shredding the house down and then link in the rest of the sentence: “If its good enough for Jimmy...” SOLD. Colour me minion, just not the Maxxis kind.
So… Cunty day really race wise, weather and scenery aside… What do you do when you’ve had your remains trampled on in the ENDURO killing fields, have had to delay your flight to Phase 3 until Saturday and started to question your ability to control a bicycle? Get a Fergburger and go to the beach of course. Life could be worse…
Massive thanks to Queenstown Bike Festival for putting on a rad course and event that was really well organised and marshalled and to Torpedo 7 for sponsoring. Huge thanks also to Jimmy at T7 for sorting out the Nomad post race so we don’t lose any time next week in Rots, legend. Chur also to Drew from Sydney and the Scottish dude, good to roll as a crew for the day boys.
Enjoy the weekend troops… I’m having a break… Er… from being on holiday. What a fucker.