Its back ON! If you’re waking up to Monday expecting some RIMing, well, you’re in luck as not only is it the ‘on tour’ variety (always better somehow), but it has a distinctly Euro flavour to it. Coming at you live from Sospel in the hotter than expected south of France, its great to be able to say that we’re back in the zone we love the most: On a mission. EuroEnduro is a GO.
Eerily though, the start of this adventure kicked off in strangely similar circumstances to the last Euro foray…
“Wait a minute” some of you will be thinking… Did you just see that? That’s strange... Déjà vu
Continuing that theme, I then kept it consistent with misjudging the first key navigation change barked at me by Google maps, again, and being sent off into the Zurich Ghetto’s, again, and losing my shit completely, again, before finally getting back on track. As an aside, its quite a long way from Zurich to Sospel just quietly, especially after a 13 hour flight that was 40 minutes delayed leaving…
Some may ask why I didn’t fly into Milan to be significantly closer to Destination #1. When I was busy getting lost and fucked up in Zurich, even with the assistance of state of the art navigation equipment, I was asking myself the same thing. But, as I finally headed out into the Swiss countryside and left the city in my diesel fumed wake, it didn’t take long for any doubts to be choked accidentally unconscious as I was wrapped up in rolling green hills, stunning blue sky and a wave of expensive German Das Auto’s all going a solid 30 to 50KPH faster than me no matter what I did.
Normally if someone said to me do a 6 hour drive in NZ say for arguments sake, it would feel like a real ball ache. But here’s where the all important savouring comes in. Fields gave way to lakes, which gave way to mountains and eventually to the third longest road tunnel in the world (17km’s) – Great if like me you have an odd dislike for tunnels, I now know how Gold Leader felt in that fateful final trench run.
I have an odd penchant for driving in Europe, I can literally cruise along all day taking it in and just relishing in the fact that I’m here! It has that new lover feel about it, where you can’t get enough and just want to keep going all day. Throw in a few cheeky refreshment stops to practice saying ‘Grazie‘ and then get back to taking in all the awesome views as you hit the coastline and check the Med for the first time. Have to say, that road is quite something along the coast, its the full bridge/tunnel/bridge/tunnel scenario the whole way, so Euro.
And finally, after a bit of a final Monte Carlo type rally stage minus the snow, the Sospel arrival was on. If this was Asia we would call the block on the left a ‘shantytown shithole’, but this is Europe so its just authentic, historic and has massive amounts of character:
So, finally arrived in the fabulous French Côte d’Azur then, time to get out, smell the mountain air, look at old stuff in French, awkwardly order Orangina in French or stroll slowly European style on the river bank taking a cigarette for a walk? Fuck all that, the World Cup Downhill was live on Red Bull TV! As weird as my little French Accom is, it strangely has NSA level kick ass internet:
And how stoked was I with the decision to shun culture and taking in more of the town, instead getting to watch Greg Minnaar take a record equalling 17th World Cup win, against the odds AND on the dream bike Santa Cruz V10. Was well worth sweating in my non-AC 5 msq room. Respect:
Don’t worry, I’m not that uncouth… Well… Line call, but there was a bike to build and test out cruising around the town and forgetting which way to look at round abouts, take a back seat Flat Stanley, it was almost flat Nomad.
Whilst I have been here before, that was prior to realising that I was full ENDURO. The significance of Sospel as a location is twofold. 1) This is where the TP race organisers are based, so essentially I’m in the middle of ENDURO HQ right now and 2) This time in 3 weeks I’ll be finishing the race in Menton on the coast, so I thought it best to get some modelling signpost fashion shots in as practice…
In more good news, I’ve confirmed that my French is up to spec and right where we thought it would be. After croakily ordering a table in a fashion that made the Maitre’d wonder if my balls had actually dropped yet, I then hit a home run by ordering the ‘seafood pizza’ that magically came out with spicy Chorizo on it – Possibly the Pizza topping I loathe the most. I didn’t know French for “Didn’t order this cunts“, so just got busy sucking the Spanish saus.
Apres dinner? A glass of Rose they’re well known for in these parts? Perhaps a game of Pétanque with some of the local gentry? A cigar by the riverside? A spot of people watching parked up in the main street cafes? Fuck all that, Wiggo was having a crack at the hour record live on the net! Ave some!
Fucken smashed it too! Nice effort… Stick that on the Palmares and shove it in a few faces. Basically a crazy day of Euro/Cycling fever overload.
Speaking of smashing it, a quick break from France to give a filthy shout out to the Dirty Perth chapter, who know how to nail the fuck out of a Dirty Sunday coffee spin. To top it all off, some giant shredding cunt got in the middle of it all, fresh from slaying either Gnar or snapping weights in half, Herr Doktor on the scene to ensure strict DNGC policy adherence:
And let’s face it, it wouldn’t be a semi RIM without some reader’s wives action – The Perth crew stepping up to unleash the dirtiest girls yet… The bar has been set high (no pun intended, but it kind of works), who will rise to this challenge? I wrote a whole fucking post on why you should love cyclists, but as they say a picture says a thousand words:
And on that note, its time to lay all my kit out OCD style (if you think the packing was bad…) as the first day of riding awaits! Whoop Whoop! Stay tuned as Enve wheels start to turn, scenery shots start to melt Instagram and the first gnar is banked on EuroEnduro.