If you didn’t expect a Mission Briefing so soon after getting back from the huge AT40 tour, then I didn’t really expect to be bringing you one either to be fair…

The genesis of this mission originally came after an unknown number of litres of red wine in La Thuile, where I bolded outlined to the Swiss Missile that it was “untenable as fuck cunt” that he roll solo to Finale for the EWS Finals. I went on to assert that as I was basically the unelected mayor of Finale, and I knew where the best Pizza and artisanal beer place was, that I clearly HAD to go with him.

But, with no race spot available (Willy Wonka’s Golden tickets eat your fucking heart out) and after just coming off the huge AT40 tour, it was looking like this pencil booking would get reamed by the rubber of doom.

But then, thanks to the power of the GRAM, Graham popped out of a bowl of Gnar and offered me his race spot. No, he’s not a Nigerian Prince, nor a Russian ENDURO Hacker… Some may recall Graham from his epic shredding of Finale 2015, seen here riding Stage 3 like it was a bike path, I thought it best to admire his gnar taming form while little bits of poo came out…

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No, I insist sir, after you…

Unfortunately for our man in Chamonix, the dread of injury had struck and whilst he would be a significantly more worthy participant than I, when someone offers you a spot in the EWS Finals @ Finale, you smile, nod and proceed directly the fuck to Milan.

Holy shit… Back for more? And somewhat unexpectedly as well. When you look at my previous 4 EWS missions, I invariably seem to end up with dirt in the wrong places, mismatched wheels and generally smashed…

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“Dude, are you PRO?”

Yes, as much as I love it, history indicates it hasn’t been without its challenges now has it? In fact, one may surmise that I love EWS more than it loves me:

  • Rotorua – Overawed and generally shit after not quite making it back from injury, resulting in the Stage 1 of DOOM and generally just going “Holy fuck man” all day
  • Spain – Still the jewel in my EWS crown at this stage, an awesome 2 days on banger trails that I would best describe as amateur friendly while still providing ample room to get rammed out of your comfort zone. Spain always delivers.
  • Finale 15 – Arrived still sick (no, not the rad ‘sick cunt’ kind either), a bit worn out, solo and then the weather rolled in to cunt things up. The result? Just two days of woefulness and self loathing. This wasn’t the Finale we remembered…
  • La Thuile – Rocked up as a horny teenager to find out that the La Thuile stages were Adults only… Got smashed to fuck as a result, first DNF locked in.

So, when you look at that history of eSpecific beat down, it does beg the question as to why I want to keep going back for more? Insanity? Self flagellation? Redemption? FOMO mixed with cHub boredom? General Gnar horn? We could look not very deeply into my soul on this topic, but I think ultimately I just wanted an excuse to get a new Giro Switchback helmet given these things are Neck Level ENDURO man:

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Once more unto the breach! Just not head first this time perhaps

However, the plan for this trip, which may look suspiciously like the plan for all these trips, is going to be pretty straightforward. The difference this time? I am strongly motivated to see it through:

Have fun and ride your awesome bike

I know right, revolutionary shit… But this isn’t the ENDURO Local Series is it? There’s a reason we slot ‘World’ in there – Shit gets real, real fast… Much like all the weapons starting 20 seconds behind you #enduroPTSD #trainrunonmyassflashback.

However, helping to avoid last years nightmare, I feel like there is some decent fitness there after riding non-stop in Spain slash France, plus the health is on point and the Nomad has a new steerer with a bit more height to it. Oh, plus we have the biggest fuck off Minion on the front that you can buy without accidentally tipping into Plus cunt territory. All indicators point to Radness on EuroEnduro 3.1.

Format wise its the usual warm up/emergency form finder start (possibly with a twist, so watch this space), then chill, followed by two days of practice #thankfuckforuplift, capped off with two BIG days of racing in the fine hills overlooking Finale Ligura. I hear news of new trails potentially, so it should be interesting and the weather looks pretty good so far.

Stay tuned to see how it all rolls for the last EWS Round of 2016.

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