After a summer of racing & riding that was so Endurogasmic that it almost begs to be turned into a Brian Adams song, there was only a sole endeavour left on the radar to round out the season before it was back to the Block parties in anticipation of Trans Provence 19: EWS Rotorua.

What was the one thing exceedingly noticeable by its absence in 2018? Yup, the first year since 2015 I didn’t get pounded into some foreign soil by one of the most challenging race series you can find as an amateur, or a PRO for that matter. Adding to the relatively non-existent intrigue, my last EWS ended in Le Fisting, resulting in a DSQ/DNF depending on your perspective of how I melted into the bowels of the Millau mudfest death march.

I initially thought that my biggest struggle with crafting this Race Report would be the strong odour of “Yeah, fuck, been there done that right?” emanating from the carcass of my race given this is the 3rd time an EWS Rotorua round has now come around, which also by the way signals our 6th birthday (or the 6th year of your sentence as a subscriber) is close at hand.

However, this was an EWS Jim, but fuck, not as we know it… And not just because it didn’t piss down like 2015 and 2017. Shit has changed for two zero one nine and I was amongst the first batch of slightly rotund and exceedingly hairy guinea pigs to have the future of EWS racing unleashed on us. It was eyebrow raising for everyone given this was the debut of the new EWS100:

“Holy Fuck Jim, there’s no set liaison times!”

Big question #1: What the fuck is EWS100?

And so we arrive at the first BIG questions of this Race Rant. Firstly, how the fuck do you design a race on the same day and on the same course for PRO’s and Amateurs alike? EWS is pretty much one of the only race series in the world that manages to pull this off, but in the last few years its clearly become more and more challenging to keep that balance.

So then, how to stay true to the spirit of the grass roots vibe while still being PRO and progressing the genre? EWS100 has arrived on the scene to deliver a much more relaxed vibe for amateurs, without dumbing shit down too much to the point where you miss out on that ‘Holy Fuck’ experience of a normal EWS round. Think of it like a 2W ENDURO race, but one on a Richie Rude power shake, or like a hand job on a commercial airline flight – All the excitement but without the stressful logistics of the full act.

No fucking idea what I’m punning about here? Let me gloss over the key points with varying degrees of accuracy then:

  • Same EWS course on the same day
  • Separate category and results
  • No set stage start times, liaison times or start order
  • No set gap between riders (min 5 seconds, max 20)

So basically, EWS for amateurs… While you still have to follow the same liaison course and stage order (unlike the ultra flexible 2W type format), gone are the terrors of the potential for an XC transfer weekend with one horrified eye constantly flicking between your top tube sticker and the clock.

Don’t get me wrong, there are obviously still cut off times before a stage is closed, but I spent the whole race day with at least 45 minutes to an hour up my hairy sleeve, so stress levels were essentially non-existent.

The downside of this new malarky? It’s distinctly un-PRO. Which is to say, it not only fucked my stalking protocols, but you’re erased off the map on any chance to get PRO level photos given all the squids are everywhere you’re not all weekend – Which is why you’ll be subjected to some distinctly terrible Go Pro screen grabs for the remainder of this rant. Whilst this is a shank deep into the chest of my inner narcissist, my only reflection is you definitely don’t feel quite as part of the big show as you once did. Depending on your perspective this can be great, or feel slightly weird: “Wait, that means I won’t be a pseudo-celebrity if I’m not practicing the stage at the same time as Jesse Melamed! FML with vigour“.

Speaking of weird, it took a while to get my head around how low key this all felt and that was before the course was released. Only 5 stages, two shuttle runs and a gondi uplift? What the fuck was this? ENDURO Club Med? Where was the MTB Remake of ‘Seven’ from 2017 with it’s 7 stages and 7 plus hours of death march carnage?! An internal battle between relief and confusion ensued.

A word on Practice 

If I thought the course and rego was super laid back and low key, then I clearly wasn’t ready for practice as that was a whole other dimension of chilled out. I mean fuck, to start with there wasn’t a single drop of moisture on Tihi during practice, which is about as rare as innocent people exclaiming “I’m totally fucked!” when they find out they’re about to be investigated.

With 2 days scheduled for practice and only 5 stages to hit, plus only one run on each, it was more chilled than a pussy being semi-tortured by the Rodfather. So much so we almost had to talk to one another instead of just posting Gram stories, I know right, like HOURS of fucking time to spare. At one stage I even found myself lounging around drinking milkshakes and talking about Brexit FFS.

Scott points out the various merits of the Remain vote

Naturally because we spent two days sifting around in glorious dust complaining about how we needed a bit more hero dirt, what did we awaken to on race day? 3rd time lucky not the case for Rots, but unlike 2 years ago it wasn’t the armageddon scenario that finger banged so many dreams and instead just a light sprinkling of drizzle to get the party started. It was going to be a total unknown as to what would be ok and what may be fucked up.

It was time to roll out for a day of firsts and find out.

Stage 1 – Tax Man – BYO – Debt Collector – CWX Pumptrack: 2.32kms

Fucks sake… Its never straightforward or simple at an EWS is it? In spite of this round being about as simple as I had ever experienced, there was always a catch. And that catch presented itself mostly in the form of Stage 1 and pretty much most of stage 5. Yes, I’m talking about fresh cunt, naturally the ‘n’ is silent:

Scott confirms he lost his surname in the fresh loam

Well, more accurately fresh cut with a good dose of new trail that I’d never ridden before. I mean seriously, does anyone travel from out of town to Rots and ride at Skyline? Show yourself! Do you people exist? In spite of being here in 2015 of course, I’d not really seen any of what was dished up in Stage 1.

In terms of the stage itself, given this was a day of firsts in terms of first EWS in M40 and the first EWS100, it was fitting that I also had another first of sorts – The experience of catching and passing people… A unique scenario given my EWS history to date has been more on the receiving end of the Pacman treatment as opposed to the giving. As I found out, this can be a double ended sex toy, especially when your excitement gets the better of you in the fresh AF cut loamventure that made up a big chunk of stage 1:

“Riiiiid-ugghhhh”

Semi-PRO tip here – Should you find yourself eating sweet loamy pumice dirt instead of expertly carving past the person you’ve just yelled ‘Rider’ at 3 times sounding like a total cunt, then your best tactic is to indeed just scream “CUNT” as your full face helmet fills with loam. When done in the correct manner, it will stun your prey into submission and they may just surrender peacefully. Reality – they’re just thinking “WTF, I just want this crazy muthafucka away from me“:

The silent horror from the audience indicated that I was perhaps taking the spirit of ENDURO slightly too seriously

Interestingly, EWS100 did bear some resemblance to flying Economy class (Hand job aside), you know, when people just stand in the aisle blocking it giving zero fucks as they take minutes to complete a task that didn’t need to be done at all. Or when they swing their bag and face fuck you with it without even a hint of noticing. Here is a good example of someone dragging a Trek confused it isn’t already back at the warranty department straight back on the racing line with not a single fuck being given…

I also like to close my eyes at give way signs and just hope for the best

Given this was the first stage of the first EWS100 known to ENDUROkind, many celebrities were casually on hand at the finish, but with just a slight scent of nervous anticipation, cruising about to get the low down on how it was rolling. Chief among them was naturally the Oligarch of ENDURO himself, Lord Baller, with fisting form on such fucking lock down it needed to be seen to be believed, so much so an honorary German passport is already in the mail:

Absolute radar lock here – That’s the kind of form and concentration which will see this GC being covered in warm champagne next to the Med in June

Another thing that’s taken a year off is our unrealistic results comparison, which for consistency purposes will once again be benchmarked by Mark ‘I didn’t recognise you with your helmet off‘ Scott. You can see the very moment it dawned on Mark that the impending race season meant my weird results stalking action was back in town…

“Ahhh Fook, I bet he has that weird spreadsheet all set up and ready to go…” Photo by Gary Perkin

Just to add to that flavour, I have also referred to myself in the third person, which still stands out as one of the greatest Cunt ID devices known to man:

  • Dirty Nomad – 5.44 for 13th/29
  • Mark Scott – 4.17 for 8th
  • Number of seconds per KM slower than Mark – 38 seconds
  • Fist-O-Meter – Like maybe a 3 out of 10? It ended up being a considerably more straightforward than I had hyped it up in my mind. A few fuck ups here and there, little dirt lay about included, meant that I was always going to get mildly punished results wise, but a much better stage 1 than historical EWS head explosions of past.

Notice anything suspicious about this results comparison? Anyone extremely conspicuous by their gaping hole absence? I’m glad it’s slapped you in the face as it brings us to our next excellent BIG question:

Big question #2: Where the fuck was The Creator?

Holy shit, I’m glad you asked… As so did pretty much everyone I ran into during practice and on race day. Yes, the Reigning 2W clean sweep M40 champion was so conspicuous by his absence that it triggered not only rapturous applause from the other M40 racers, but also conspiracy theories ranging from “His eBike assimilated him like the Borg and he can no longer ride a normal bike” to “He was holding on too tight, he lost the edge…” or even “He said that after tasting some Megatower he realises that 140mm 29ers are only for Dual Slalom, Keegan Wright or children apparently…“, with a 69% chance that I actively encouraged these rumours throughout the weekend given he was a ghost…

Last seen openly displaying his intentions…

Home race, great dirt, easiest course anyone can remember and JC Superstar in top form… So, what the actual fuck? Why wasn’t he there preparing to spray artisanal kombucha on himself on the podium come Sunday? I think I got an inkling when I uttered the letters ‘EWS’ and his resting placid rabbit face clenched up into a ball of PTSD anguish as his mind raced back to Austria 2018. He started to mutter “death march” and “XC style liaisons” under his constricted breath as beads of sweat formed under his exceptionally flat brimmed cap.

I had to suddenly ask him about tire inserts and suspension tunes to bring him back into the normal world, but it was clear he had developed some sort of ENDURO World Phobia. It’s an acute and under-researched phenomenon usually afflicting those who have been severely fucked over by a particularly brutal EWS reaming weekend, Millau 2017, a classic case study for researchers. Symptoms can include switching to Marathon XC, only participating in multi-day ENDURO’s where they drive you on all liaisons or irrationally refusing to do another EWS round ever again.

Unconfirmed reports indicated that The Creator was last seen on race weekend fuelled by deep FOMO punching out laps of ‘The Dipper’ on a 180mm 975 wheeled eBike, putting one of those fucking terrible kid family stickers on his top tube every time he ran over a child with his 2.6 inch rubber, naturally inflated to a mere 14.5 PSI on 50mm wide rims.

“J Rex owns this muthafucka, muthafuckas!”

The future is so fucking terrifying it’s time to get back to the racing.

Stage 2 – Tumeke: 1.4kms

If you’ve ever wanted to fuck someone with so much anticipation that the moment it starts also happens to coincide with the moment it ends, then welcome to my stage 2. I fucking love Tumeke so much that I charged into it like your weird uncle who two minutes into a family gathering openly talks about snorting viagra and what an amazing second life it’s afforded him.

Now we were out of the alien bike park, it was time to hit well known trails and start to tap into that sweet faux imported local knowledge action. It had barely been a month since I had followed JC Superstar down Tumeke at speeds that made me squeal like Rodfather on a Bidet which has overly high pressure, on my way to second place on the stage for the 2W round.

So, I was about to unleash the good shit… All those hours spent commuting over the Vegas were about to result in me hitting pumice pay dirt. But fuck, that’s not how Mountain Biking rolls is it?

One of the vagaries of the new EWS100 format is that it’s essentially a free for all come drop in time, which is to say, with no set order and like a pure communism experiment, no class order, you never know who you’ll be started behind or in front of. Ideally the best set up is someone fucking fast in front of you and slow behind you, like a tail gunner. I had John J leading shit out and he was so fast he was almost a fire hazard and Rob behind me, who pretty much matched my pace exactly.

Except, of course, outside of your little bromance echochamber, it’s much harder to control what’s up and we got our first taste of that on stage 2. Further inflaming my already negative outlook (that’s cuntspeak for ‘I hate you’) on the Philippines, you can imagine my feelings and distinct lack of calm when I came across this scenario, who had in theory done the right thing of attempting to get out of the way, but in reality was actually lying down on the racing line:

There was no time to discuss the intricacies of why the ‘L’ in salmon is silent

I don’t for a second think it occurred to him people would ride where he was sitting, but the alternative was to get cunted by going to the left… At least he gets to leave NZ with the experience of getting yelled at like you’ve accidentally wandered into a Sven Martin shot right before his riders come through.

This off line moment of navigating a unwanted human chicane led to a chain reaction of events – Stalling, trying to get back up to speed, fucking up the next section, panic, mistakes, getting passed by some pinner and just general DEFCON 1 melt down fuck up. It wasn’t until midway through lower Tumeke that any form of composure returned, but one suspects that’s got more to do with the exceptional excellence of Tumeke than my ability to function under stressful conditions… Which is to say, you have to try quite hard to cunt it up:

The real Dream Works

But naturally on a stage this short I had already shot my proverbial ENDURO load in the top section fever and was of course punished as a result come numbers time:

  • Dirty Nomad – 4.33 for 14th/29
  • Mark Scott – 3.37 for 60th
  • Number of seconds per KM slower than Mark – 40 seconds
  • Fist-O-Meter – 5 out of 10. The top section being utter flog resulted in just a terrible mashing of the good bits where in theory I should have been gliding through like it was a chilled out 2W scenario. Mind you, this was also the stage that Sam Hill ate some shit, so clearly it wasn’t a plain sailing venture.

Fuck muthafucka, why is there a weak steam of piss cascading down your leg now you’re back in the big game? I fumed away from Stage 2 starting to wondering if this was because I didn’t have a 29 front wheel on my Nomad 4 #nextfad #fingermywalletbikeindustry.

Stage 3 – Tihi O Taha – Te Mounga – Moonshine: 3.41kms

Mildly fucked if I know why this wasn’t the Queen Stage of the race, but it felt like it should have been. And what a stage it was! Aside from the radness of it’s general layout and how it unfurls itself down the hallowed hillside, it was the first stage where I finally calmed the fuck down and actually started racing without being heavily dowsed in the pungent odour of ‘Le Cunt’ deodorant.

Tihi into TeMo is both glorious mountain biking and also a solid challenge for the legs and mind. A flat, sapping opening top section on Tihi eventually gives way to turns which demand you nail them in a now oxygen overdraft state to carry speed and not lose that hard fought pedalling time. Footnote, Tihi was no longer dusty:

Not dusty, but the correct amount of tacky

Once Tihi rips you off and disposes of you like a cheap cycling condom, it’s on to the rowdier Te Mounga, an absolute Dirty favourite. Neatly split into 3 sections, they each offer their own character to your high stakes run fuelled by ENDURO panting and a sheer desperation to both carry speed and maximise on every sneaky local cut line.

The top section is a lot of fun, but the one I knew the least, so I was just trying to not cunt it up too much before getting to the well run middle and lower sections. The mid section has now been beat to absolute shit so that it’s rougher than the morning after that night out in Melbourne I once had where I inhaled 14 shots of Agavero in 20 minutes and then proceeded to pass out like a corporate cuntbag in the bar before destroying the hotel room with a power spew session that would put Team America to utter shame… So yeah, pretty fucking rough.

Come on kid, always shoot in portrait for the Gram story FFS

But all love was reserved for the lower section, and yes, the part before it gets to Moonshine and all turns a bit cunty. If you get the lower section right it’s an absolute dream of a ride. I got it about 90% right and people cheered my name, so I was finally dialling in some quality stoke that things were back on track and starting to mimic the summer of radness that had become the norm so far.

Romans start to gather hoping for a delicious pedal clipping moment on the stump ahead

Something must have worked, as it was the first time inside the top-10 stage wise:

  • Dirty Nomad – 9.53 for 9th/29
  • Mark Scott – 8.22 for 27th
  • Number of seconds per KM slower than Mark – 27 seconds (to be noted, this is about as good as it ever gets)
  • Fist-O-Meter – 2 out of 10: Physical yes, but aside from a couple of fuck ups on Tihi, it was pretty much a dream run. Strava even indicated it was my fastest ever time through the mid section of T-Mo, so something must have clicked as it didn’t feel that good. Let’s POV that fisting for good measure:

JJ has the look of a man who knows this is going to end up on line and out of context

On the way back up to stage 4 it was also fully reinforced how fucking excellent it was to not be absolutely under the pump liaison wise with the clock. Sure, we knew the cut off times when stages were going to be closed, but we had a solid hour available pretty much all day. Less grind, more grins was definitely a theme.

And now an intermission from the overly drawn out rantings about middle aged mid-pack ENDURO racing to reflect on my latest contradictory anti-consumerism message.

Big Question #3: How was I managing to race an ENDURO not on a Megatower?

Fucked if I knew really, but it did suit me perfectly to have an excellent excuse should my results go to absolute shit. Somehow I was managing to just get by on a bike that people nodded sagely at and said “Fucking great machine, but not really ENDURO is it?” But what was hanging around waving it’s starfish in my grill all weekend was this specimen of desire… Well, perhaps not the Miss Piggy coloured version, but that’s a whole other conversation:

“Nah bro, it’s actually extremely light salmon… Nah bro, the ‘L’ is silent”

If I recall correctly there were only 4 out on course, with the 2 in the EWS100 racking up stage wins and podium results, which is not fucking shabby at all given their new born state. Add to the mix however more kicking around in the Squid Squad and I was starting to get a nervous tick kicking off at not being on the bleeding edge of the arms race.

The vibe I picked up around the Crankworx village was that these things are going to be in hotter demand than an un-redacted Mueller report, so don’t fuck about if you feel that new bike tickle in the loins.

Stage 4 – Tuhoto Ariki – Katore: 2.66kms

The most concerning thing about Stage 4 wasn’t the Ménage à Tech that it dished up to you towards the end when you weren’t emotionally in the right place for such an experience, but more the hard data point that I was 0 – 3 down Katore. Yes, I’d only ever been down cutties 3 times in my life and on each occasion I had gone solidly out the front gate, most notably during the ‘Banana Cunt‘ incident which has seen me never again place said piece of fruit in an Evoc pack.

Even in practice where I was, in relative terms, flying, I still managed two over flights of my Santa Cruz bars, leaving me with a reasonable dose of stage anxiety for Sunday. Anxiety that was solidly refuelled when I realised that all the lines I had taken in practice were bone dry and it looked distinctly like some rain had made it through the canopy, so shit was going to be interesting. Oh and yes, the Romans would be out in force with some extreme intent around being entertained. After all, this was officially designated the Queen Stage, which while that meant nothing to us in Amateur land, there were an additional 50 championship points up for grabs for the big kids later in the afternoon.

It was however one of the few times all day that I managed to spot John mid stage, a scenario directly linked to a user error on his behalf as opposed to me unleashing beast mode on Tuhoto. But, much like my 2W antics, this set me up perfectly to unleash the ENDURO equivalent to taking a test sitting next to the smartest muthafucka in your class:

Follow that shredder

I think this confirms that in spite of the time and money poured into me by one particular Corporate entity on ‘Accelerated Leadership Programmes’, which is cuntspeak for “We’re sending you on this course so you feel special and don’t notice when we double your stress and expected output levels for an extremely modest increase in remuneration which you’ll ultimately end up spending on alcohol/hookers/blow/divorce as a result of said additional stress“, I am clearly a significantly better follower than a leader when on a bike.

All my best results seem to come when I’m not left to my own devices and can blindly follow a Jeff, Rod, Scott or John to access speeds my solo self refuses to tap into. And stage 4 was no exception. With my eyes glued to JJ as he impersonated a cruise missile through the native undergrowth, I did my best to ignore my comfort zone warning alarms which were furiously going off now I was riding at the pace of someone who came 4th overall as opposed to 10th.

Ultimately I ran out of talent and sight of John’s back wheel about the same time that shit started to get spicy, which of course heralded the arrival of my entrance into the Colosseum… This pleased the Romans immensely as everyone had 2015 flash backs.

“Can anyone see if this cunt has a banana on board?!”

Milk Me Mike from our 2W crew should have definitely been spending the day shredding his way onto the podium, but he kindly elected to forgo that duty to instead position himself at the most pivotal metre of cutties to scream out the names of people he knew so loudly that they either actually shit themselves, or they ate shit of the pumice variety. It worked a treat on me, with a horrific double unclipped moment of utter terror over that log:

Mike lurks on the right waiting to milk me of my momentum

In an amusing twist of events, the stage I had reserved the most anxiety for ended up being my best result of the day stage wise, a significantly more respectable position to be in given I can’t claim any pseudo-local knowledge on this stage… But credit clearly given to John’s jungle flying skills which I benefitted from like a leeching cunt:

  • Dirty Nomad – 9.16 for 8th/29
  • Mark Scott – 7.22 for 10th
  • Number of seconds per KM slower than Mark – 43 seconds
  • Fist-O-Meter – 5 out of 10. The bottom half of Cutties is never really easy, especially when you’re racing it. You tend to arrive relatively fingered and then face the combination of people screaming at your face and roots grabbing at your Maxxis rubber… Invigorating.

Back in the vans and across town for one final shake at Skyline and I have to say, the logistics of this double movement business between locations was running smoother than a fresh Brazilian, so chapeau to the organisers for nailing this aspect which could have been a real nightmare.

Stage 5 – Sort of the Crankworx DH course, but not really: 1.89kms

Our arrival back into Race HQ with a gratuitous amount of time to spare not only made me feel PRO, but it also gave rise to some bad decision making. After carting around a Gilet all day (that’s a flash cunt way of saying ‘vest‘), I decided to ditch all gear and minimalist my way up to the final stage.

This behaviour naturally then demanded that the skies unleashed their fury and absolute piss down on us with such force that it instantly nullified any Moscow or Russian hooker pee tape jokes I could possibly hope to retrofit in here. Add to that joy, for some reason the stage was late opening, so by now the entire EWS100 field was backed up like an army of Lemming flavoured popsicles desperate to throw themselves into the last stage.

Given this fucked any chance to take appropriate photos, instead here’s a shot of me making an absolute cliche cunt of myself by adding to the 14Tb of photos which were shot during practice of this start hut…

Just couldn’t help yourself could you

As one might suspect, my preparation for the final stage of the day, which involved standing around getting fucking soaked and cold, was about as effective as yelling “Get Some!” at your partner during sex, which while it may work in some niche scenarios, probably didn’t really help me out here.

I’d made a joke about going sans goggles and probably getting shit in my eye before the first corner… Which is pretty much exactly how it played out. Half blind, cold as utter fuck and with some last stage conservatism creeping in, I proceeded to ride like an absolute fuckbag on the last stage. Tentatively creeping down the wet grass sections and way too conservative in the drier than expected loam as we hit the tree line:

“Just can’t wait to get back between the tape eh boi”

I got an inkling I was going like a 6 pack of cunts about halfway when Rob passed me and disappeared into the distance, only to reappear some time later when he properly binned it in a bike park berm. As my soaked chassis squeezed out a sub par effort, I was reminded right at the end that my cuntery was unfolding in real time as yet another U21 rider dripping in new XTR skinned me alive as I cased my 12th jump of the stage and he soared past me…

Something about lawyers and shit

And so, shit ended on a bit of a low note, not just in my place for the age group on stage 5, but look at that blow out gap to Mr Scott. Fucking pumped… As in, the bad kind of pumped:

  • Dirty Nomad – 6.25 for 14th/29
  • Mark Scott – 4.47 for 15th
  • Number of seconds per KM slower than Mark – 52 seconds
  • Fist-O-Meter – 6 out of 10. I think I had already finished the race at the bottom of stage 4, so coupled with the rain which always reduces me to a pile of Alpaca shit, so a damp end to what appears to be the only EWS round of 2019.

Big question #4: Was this the easiest EWS ever?

Well, this was only my 9th EWS, but out of that lot I can categorically say fuck yes, without question. Ok, so part of that is the new 100 format obviously, but 5 stages and with only one practice run over two days meant that this wasn’t the kind of serious flogging nightmares that were last seen in 2017.

Perhaps this was an aberration or perhaps it’s because I’m not an unfit piece of shit like previous campaigns, but I recall spinning my way up to stage 5 marvelling and both how much time I had and how fresh I felt. Mind you, after doing something like the Pioneer, your expectations on what’s deemed ‘Hard’ are fully reset. Did I really just manage that sentence without innuendo? Appalling.

Regardless, the result was a lot more fun was had and the smiles post stage 5 were legit. Mission Accomplished EWS, the new format is a winner. Possibly even worthy of some cheese-dick thumbs up action:

Winning and grinning etc etc

And so with hearts filled with stoke and adorned with a light covering of pumice juice, it was time to call and end to EWS festivities for another year and mark off the first EWS100 as an amateur frothing success. A massive shout out to Rob and John for making it a #GCcrew day out there, the luxury of being able to drop in when and how one wanted definitely a boost to the social vibe. To the final scoreboard we go:

Overall results

  • Dirty Nomad – 35.52 for 10th in EWS100 M40
  • Mark Scott – 28.28 for 18th in EWS PRO
  • Number of seconds per KM slower than Mark overall – 38 seconds
  • Fist-O-Meter – I think it’s a 3/10 overall on reflection. Sure, it was bookended with relatively cunty performances, but those three stages in the Whaka forest were pretty rad and a lot more fun than I can ever recall an EWS being before.

So the big win here is the seconds per KM scenario. Of the previous 4 EWS rounds where I can compare results, I was on average a whopping 49.89 seconds slower per KM than Mr Scott. Well beam me right the fuck up if chopping 11 seconds per KM off that this time around isn’t solid evidence to convict the case that being slightly slimmer and a lot fitter is the way to go if you to #bebest at ENDURO. Not that I have a spreadsheet or anything…

Thanks Captain-Fucking-Obvious. But where would this have put you in the REAL EWS M40 category? AKA the Big Boys pants club… Well, I would have slotted into 17th place. Which would have also been known as dead fucking last. Yes, that’s correct. If the real EWS is now the Wheat, then the chaff had been sorted out in the morning. So for those pondering an EWS experience you now have a clear choice:

  • Want to have fun, stay chilled, not get heckled as much, avoid getting finger-banged results wise and ride with your mates in a train, then EWS1oo is your jam
  • Want to remain a serious & fast muthafucka and get as far away from self deprecating humour as possible, plus earn Championship Points, then you get a sleep in and EWS legit is your shit.

The greatest race series known to cycling has evolved to ensure that it can still dish out the love to PRO’s and wannabe semi-PRO’s in equal measure. If you’ve been hiding in your garage muttering under your breath about the potential torture of an EWS round, it’s time to shrug off fears of an MTB water boarding and get your mates ready to run a train on the 100.

Big question #5: What about all the other shit?

Ah yes, there was a whole other race going on out there, some random points and thoughts on Round 1 of the World Series for 2019:

  • Martin Maes clean swept the fuck out of the place, on a bike with a 29 front wheel and 27.5 rear, which of course gave bike industry Product Managers huge ‘Future revenue’ stiffies, while at the same time resulting in the fake news main stream cycling media shooting hot, sharp and strong bursts of excitement urine in their POC shorts at the prospect of; A) Some controversy to feed off B) new bikes to review and C) being able to continue to dine off the wheel size partisanship as it moved into a strange new dimension. I’ve sent Nick Anderson 4 e-mails asking for his view, but for reasons unbeknown to me the Santa Cruz fire wall keeps bouncing them back
  • Keegan Wright turned out a podium result I think every kiwi ENDURO watcher had anticipated, about the only thing that shocked me about that was the revelation that he listens to music during his race runs… Which left me wondering how one would be able to hear the screams of their self doubt?
  • Was there any doubt Isabeau Courdurier was going to take the win in the Womens field? Zilch I think… Without Cecile there blowing the whole thing to pieces it’s definitely going to be more open this year, but it won’t be much of a surprise if the crown remains French this year
  • Lucas Cole in 5th another fucking banger result, sure, some local unicorn semen dust helping things there, but still that’s a fucking impressive ride
  • Jesse Melamed’s Go PRO footage remains distinctly terrifying and mind blowing.

Big question #6: Why did it take me this long to rock low mode?

For all my Megatower musings and lusting, it needs to be said the Nomad 4 was fucking sensational all weekend. So much so, it’s currently a confusing time at Dirty HQ. Yes, we’ve entered that phase where there might be a container on a ship somewhere with my name on it, but I’m having a little bit of trouble justifying my consumer decisions:

“Mega who? Nah babe, honest eh, never heard of them… What text message?”

Locked in low mode and running like a dream, I’d have to say that there were moments across the 3 days where it felt like I was riding the best I have ever ridden on this bike. Not sure why I have been rolling around in High Mode all this time, but it was fucking excellent in the low setting.

So then, one and done for EWS in the 19, Trans Provence has taken centre stage for this year, as one might expect, so it’s off to put the finishing touches on my inconsistent build up and Mission Briefing post.

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