Well, I lost the battle yesterday to keep the Dirty action daily, so time for some lazy Sunday coffee catch up. It wasn’t without good reason though, the Vertigo Bikes 6 hour Super D race resulted in my hands being less than enthusiastic to dance away on the keyboard in my two finger typing style. As you’ll soon see, it was a BIG day.
6 hours of racing of course means one obvious thing… Yup: MEGA POST alert. Grab the coffee and something to nibble on that isn’t a person and then get amongst the radness that qTown smeared all over me yesterday.
I have to admit it was cool to be back in some obscure parking area set up like you’re part of the Breaking Bad cast. Keeping shit real was a key theme of the day:
The plot for this one? Even simpler than last weekend – 6 hours to complete as many 7km laps as you could, gondola assisted… All in the qTown bike park, but as it turned out, not what you’d normally expect, I guess to try and stop the locals romping away and destroying everyone, teaser: It didn’t really work as they still killed it. What was the same was those good old qTown views starting to hit us:
The start was a mix of weekend warrior action, local shredders and even a couple of world class PRO’s thrown in, yup, some EWS contenders here for a bit of a tune up. One final semi nervous piss and it was time to get rolling.
The above photo doesn’t really portray it, but today was dominated by SOR’s – Shredders on Reigns. Giant Reigns that is, the weapon of choice for shredding cunts that ride the grease out of the bearings on those things and make them do stuff that have even the designers scratching their heads. 90% of the time that I was shredded by a local, it was a SOR.
I was going to do a hour by hour break down of the race, but that’s not only too hard to remember, its also a little narcissistic, even by my standards. So, instead I shall focus on the hero of the day and what made 6 hours so rad:
So, this is a similar approach to the Ballburner the other day, except its the complete opposite in terms of experience. Where there was hate, there is now only love. Where there was road, there is only gnar and where there was sarcasm there is frothing. The Bike Buller team could do themselves some favours spending some time looking at this course design, which in simple terms is known as RAD. Let that shit roll… Standby to be assaulted by another furry chest roll of onboard footage!
If you don’t like dropping into the first little bit of Hammy’s in the Bike Park chances are you also dislike sex, or fun in general. A great way to get the ball (without the burner) rolling, I shall froth more down track, but straight away it was easy to tell the Nomad 3 was going to fall deeply into an insane stalking love with the qTown bike park:
We had all been warned though, don’t charge in on auto pilot and just think you’re riding down Hammy’s… I did just that and of course got a massive ambushing when we got flicked off the track multiple times into some rad detour or direction change, the video will do this more justice, but it was fully rail time:
Another little ambush later and it was a reverse sweep into Hammy’s extension, a banger piece of trail, and so fast it wants to suck the air out of your lungs down the bottom, or perhaps that’s just what happens with Remy Absalon, PRO and top EWS rider shreds you down it like you’re a spectator as opposed to racing… Yeah. I was still loving my lines into the hairpins though…
Speaking of hairpins, fuck this place is golden… Check out the view, how can you not get pumped rocking this action? More in and out action than that office orgy you spent 6 months carefully setting up, in turn proving that MS Messenger is the best work tool EVER:
However, in keeping with the promises from race organisers, if you thought you knew the trails, wrong again. They kept cutting us off the established tracks and in all sorts of rad directions into stuff that was brand new or certainly that I had never ridden. It was loose, loamy and had gnar strewn about it like rogue chips at the bottom of a Maccas take away bag… Loving it:
And it just kept going… Did I even notice the climb that proceeded this section? NO… it was a grunt, but when the trail is this good, you take your medicine and actually enjoy it as you know the buzz to come made it worth while, this was a REAL Super D course (No, I don’t really know the difference between Super D and ENDURO either):
Every time I thought “I know this bit“, the course invariably jacked up somewhere new or different and then dropped back in HARD, and in a neat bit of course design, seemed to allow you to carry mucho speed and momentum, even when perhaps you wanted to get rid of some of that shit before dropping back in…
Just when you had finished foaming at the mouth with all the new stuff, it was back to some old classics… I have to say that Thundergoat is among one of my favourite trails in the world, let alone just NZ, especially the upper and lower parts. It has the unique ability to make you feel golden, no matter how flogged out you are, which is an important ingredient in a 6 hour race as you can imagine, you can get after it pretty easily:
If the tGoat is rippingly awesome bike park flow styles, then what came next was a surprise and not unlike going from a smooth Majito to a couple of tequila shots. An unexpected hard right off the Goat straight into some steep, loose and ball size measuring action that asked for 120% concentration and attention from your weary chassis. It was impossible to just relax and ride this section gently or slowly. This shot may look a bit odd, but it was the only photo I could get where everything wasn’t totally out of focus… Yes, GNAR:
This first blow to the central nervous system was then followed up with the chalk coloured killing fields, out of nowhere it became fuuuuucking steep, dusty and rooty… First lap down here I came mega close to eating shit, mainly due to someone crashing down it in front of me. As the day wore on, this particular piece claimed victim after victim, including an SOR believe it or not. It was maaaaad. Again, couldn’t manage a great shot of it based on its rad nature:
Your reward for surviving this? MORE… I like this photo as you can see that I have had a brain freeze and instead of opting for either the left or right line, I’ve oddly wandered into no mans territory, which is littered with mines pretending to be trees… As the day wore on, this section redefined the term ‘braking bumps’, more like caverns by the end. Still a fucking blast though:
Thought this was over? NOPE… one final change in style of terrain to some loamy and freshly cut action that even though it wasn’t as steep, felt VERY hard to slow down on, in the end I sort of gave up and just let the Nomad bulldoze down it, hoping like fuck I wouldn’t end up eating tree.
I had never thought about pushing my bike up Thundergoat, but I got to do so 13 times… I can confirm for those that may have previously commented that the mid section feels a bit flat and pedally, its anything but, especially in those massive hairpins, it didn’t take long for a bit of the dreaded pushing to be deployed here and there. Check out how good my product placement is though:
This time a week ago I bitched out climbing during a similar format race… Oddly, I didn’t bitch once today, fucked if I know why… Damnedest thing… Still can’t work it out…
I was clearly concerned that there was evidence of me wearing goggles on a climb… Either that or I’m trying to work out how the fuck I’m going to pedal around the steep berm on one of my last laps, but most likely I’m trying to do the math on how fast I needed to go to make sure my last lap counted.
I think that’s evidence enough that goggles with the half shell is still a dubious proposition, but I can assure you that was the last thing on my mind when rocking into the next section, more high speed wide open gnar, which was awesome to ride and a split decision on whether it was harder to navigate the terrain or avoid looking at the view while blasting through:
The final section of Gnar to contend with was lower Fantrail… More of that rooty, tech filled action, with the added complication of near darkness all day, but with cement fine dust that just wanted to spend the day ripping your Maxxis tires out from under you. Eventually it succeeded on lap 5, resulting in me kissing goodbye to 5 minutes with a full tool deployment and stem straightening exercise… To illustrate my point, the only photo I could lift from the drone cam was this one, the rest fingered by gnar and darkness…
What you can’t see here is that as the laps ticked on, I ultimately became so fingered that my thumb couldn’t press the Reverb button hard enough to activate it to drop the seat… Like some sort of gimp I had to resort to using the whole palm of my hand… In layman terms its a bit like using your crotch to press an elevator button. People pointed at me, but I had a solid cover story to say it was a bit fucked. And I really needed that seat post down to drop in to finish the lap:
The surprising thing about a 6 hour race? How fast it goes… Oddly, the time never seemed to drag on and whilst you’re clearly out there for a long time, I didn’t really have to watch the clock or count down the time… As lap after lap was ticked off, the time just seemed to vaporise, so much so there was a slight panic at the end that I wasn’t going to get my last lap in to make it count.
Then of course, rinse and repeat x 13… One may think that it was about sitting around in the Gondola all day, but ultimately its a 3 minute trip back up, so just enough time to ram a bar, whatsapp everyone so they hate you or post a pic on the Gram to ensure you get maximum ego coverage.
Originally I thought I was on for 14 or even 15 laps… But a couple of bad laps, the crash and having to refuel the camel at one stage meant that I banked 13 and was about 10 minutes short on being able to head out for 14… Last year it pissed down for this event apparently, so we massively lucked in today with the kind of weather than you can only fantasise about. People were so pumped up they were getting the harness out:
For those of you that like your views without it being photobombed by a geezer being hung by his balls, here it is again for double up ughhh ughhh measure:
What else is there to say? A plug for the machinery to be fair, as the Nomad 3 and all its associated equipment was simply awesome today. Aside from a front brake that a couple of times had the lever come into the bar at pant shitting moments where you just didn’t need it (suspect its sick of traveling), it was awesome. Gathering some good experiences for a decent ‘shit that I own’ review, but I will say now that the Enve’s are very stiff, which over 6 hours was awesome, but also bone jarring from time to time. Worth noting, the faster I went, the better it was… This is one insanely awesome machine:
6 hours on bananas, bars and gels wasn’t really cutting it, so I felt that the emergency Ronald rescue was in order… Not something done since that massive day in Varese, but fuck this went down well, by that I mean it was inhaled in the same style as a seal eating a penguin, with sound effects to match. I also thought it was key to have something else to help melt my intestine that was already under attack from the gels…
So… What about the results?!! Well first, for a laugh, how about some lap time info… Spot the anomaly that I still don’t really know how to explain to the Dirty coaching staff:
- 16.53 – Not really counted as we started at the top of the hill
- 31.34 – A crash which required use of the multi tool…
- 29.21 – Water stop
Well, either I have no idea about pacing, was sandbagging like the UN HQ in Kabul, am really reactive to Gels or just like getting to the end? Probably need to race the whole time like the last two laps.
So, in the end I came 9th… Which sounds awesome out of context. If I had self esteem issues I would probably just leave it there and bask in a top 10 finish, but this is about authenticity, so a few points: Aside from the fact there was only 14 of us in the solo category, I was 3 whole MF laps behind the winner Jimmy Pollard, who on average lapped 5.5 minutes faster than me. How good was Jimmy? Well, he completed the same number of laps as the two and three man teams, basically the Welsh Assassin of qTown.
Each time he lapped me I had the same thought: “Holy fuck“… As they say, next level shit in terms of the way he was shredding the park down… Its always a reflective experience to see riders on a different level roll over you like a Russian tank brigade ‘lost’ in a neighbouring country. Good news is Jimmy is going to the EWS to smash that as well, goodo… Weapon:
Yeah… So to finish up, a look at the elevation action for the day… at 6,700m for the day, that’s over 1,000m bigger than the biggest day in Shredpocalypse II last year. So, yeah, holy fuck it was a long day… No wonder my hands had trouble holding onto the knife and fork at dinner time, what you’re looking at here is straight out hand abuse, but absolute gold from a preparation perspective, so BANK it:
So, would I recommend such a race/format? Yes, but mainly based on the insanely awesome course design. A massive thanks to Vertigo bikes for sponsoring such a cool event and a high 5 to Jimmy the rad dude that designed such a demanding, fun and engrossing course. No moment to rest, just constant carving and demanding you to give up your best riding.
I think it would have been an awesome event to do with your crew, the 2 and 3 people teams appeared to be having a lot of fun, so round up the gang and shred the place down would be my recommendation. Worth also noting that the locals here are mind bending fast, so expect a spanking by people who actually live and breath this terrain and riding, its quite awesome to watch, assuming you get out of the way in time.
Right, its time for a day off, I need to eat everything and let the feeling come back in my hands… There is still lots to come this week!