I’m not going to bullshit here… Plus, you’re busy people so nor am I going to fuck about with setting up an elaborate plot to place you on tenterhooks when this should be fairly obvious the second you see it was raining:
NZ Enduro Day 2 + Nydia Bay + Rain = DN Massacre
The good news is that we don’t need to search any further for “Melt down of the year” in the 2017 end of year round up, as all 3 arrived on the same day in the mountain bike version of being kicked in the balls, judo chopped in the throat and eye gouged all in one swift move.
To help set the scene perhaps just a little here, the first and only time I had ridden Nydia Bay, we arose to not only conditions that locals described as “Bout as fucken dry as it gets mate“, but a day that made you feel highly motivated to ride bicycles:
Even with that encouragement from Mama Nature a year prior, I still had a horrendously cunted time, possibly due to the fact it was the day after driving from Queenstown to Havelock, which itself was the day after finishing Trans NZ. AKA – Fingered.
Fast forward pretty much 12 months and the view from the very same deck (clearly the upstairs apartment at Blue moon lodge is the only way to go) set the scene for not only a mega post, but also one where I would end up being liberal on inappropriate analogy’s and the word ‘cunt’. But lets face it – This is karma for giving up my 2016 race entry, I was basically the whole reason that Rainageddon had shown up:
As we milled about in the pissing rain waiting for the shuttle uplift, I actually felt like I was at a distinct disadvantage knowing what was coming… A wet Nydia Bay is definitely something where ignorance is bliss, much like agreeing to do a TTT or 24 hour relay race with cunts who are significantly stronger riders than you: The first time you work out along the way that is a fisting is in progress, the second time you clench up as you know what’s about to happen, which can make it even more painful.
To try and distract myself from my own mental instability and catastrophizing, I resorted to EWS PRO Bike stalking, purely because the idea of watching the MTBR Hightower Forum regulars head’s exploding in a cloud of pink spray like they’re Marvin seated behind Vincent Vega holds massive appeal. LINKAGE:
The first indicator that my day was going to be “challenging“, which is a bit like saying an anally inserted police baton is “uncomfortable“, was that I missed getting my bike onto the same shuttle as my riding crew (quite possibly as I was fucking faffing about taking spy photos of PRO linkages), which meant that I ended up 40 minutes or so behind the Rodfather, Jono and the rest of my ComRADes. And as I quickly found out, today was a day when you wanted to be rolling with your Dirty Bro’s.
Let it be known that there is no warm up or fucking about here on Day 2 of NZ Enduro, especially when the rain is tumbling down. Its off load, across the road and dropping straight into the kill zone like you have 100,000 North Korean’s streaming across the DMZ with glinting bayonets… Fuck me that’s overly dramatic, but it was that kind of vibe. Contrasts from day 1 don’t come much bigger than this.
Stage 1 – Opouri Saddle
I have been known to say “Hope for the best, plan for the worst“, but somewhere along the way in Stage 1 I clearly cunted that up and mentally capitulated into “Fuck my horrified face this is a bigger nightmare than I could have ever hoped for“, an attitude that Nydia Bay as a day is absolutely stoked to hear and more than willing to oblige you by showering down the hurt.
The only saving grace from Stage 1? My terrible Go PRO session 5 fucked out again and went mental, so no video footage of me stalling out, sliding out, flipping out and calling myself a cunt or getting a train of shredders run on me that would put Brandi Love to shame (Fucks sake don’t google that at work, or, if you’re a cunt, please proceed).
I melted down like a parent who has heard “Let it go” for the 263rd time in a day, and almost ran the risk of being passed by the media guy on the eBike, which would have resulted in me having to actually drown myself in the muddy hell that was stage 1. Let me summarise:
How does a massacre look by the numbers? Behold the HORROR…
- Mark Scott – 11.48 for 2nd in PRO men
- Rodfather – 17.08 for 17th in Masters
- Dirty Nomad – 18.19 for 49th in Open men
If you think being 7 or so minutes off the PRO men winning time is scope for taking up a new sport, just you wait for what comes next…
I had expected that given we had just exited the Somme, I would find a plentiful supply of brothers to form a whinging circle with. But what was more alarming than this mud induced massacre was that my fellow competitors appeared to be genuinely stoked with not only the conditions, but the riding in general. Colour me cunt with a shade of perplexed to it, but people were actually loving it… Silent and solo I rolled on to the parts of the day that really freaked me out.
If you thought Stage 1 was a melodramatic tantrum, then hold stage 2’s beer as it ups the game significantly. But before I indulge in more overly dramatic tales of my inability to ride a bike in any form of moisture, how about a word for the amazing team that stood around all day in the pissing rain so that we could actually have a race. Big ups race organisers and volunteers, legit GC’s right here:
How to describe stage 2? Imagine the embarrassment of getting caught masterbating by your grandparents and then double it and we’re about halfway towards how it rolled. I’m talking “Why did you come here for your first MTB ride?” level shit. Motherfucker it was so bad even the Atlanta Falcons went “Daaaaamn that’s fucked up”
Let me try and elaborate… Here I am stalling and crashing as someone (I suspect Tristan Rawlence, 3rd in Open men) who know’s how to ride their Hightower floats past me as I flail around like a hairy turtle rolled over by cunty private school kids:
I got busy tripoding like a motherfucker, or stalling/freaking out on stuff that should have been obliterated. My brain was SO determined that there was NO grip that as the ridiculousness increased, everyone started to wonder what the fuck was going on… 29er pundits were deeply concerned:
I usually love wetness, and Nydia Bay is a beautiful place no question, but here’s me crashing into some beautiful native bush as I try to avoid/cheer on Cedric Garcia all at the same time. That takes some skill FYI:
Somewhere during stage 2 it occurred to me that riding my fabulous lightweight road bike on some of the most pristine asphalt that science can produce, doing my threshold intervals to specific times and power numbers may have potentially be bad preparation for a wet Nydia bay S&M exercise… Much like climbing a kids jungle gym may not prepare you for that Everest attempt.
The irony is of course the slower you go on this wet hell gnar, the harder it becomes to ride and the slower you go and so on and so forth. The negatively reinforcing cycle was spinning harder than my back wheel going sideways again on a root complex that I hadn’t really committed to pinning. You reap what you sow around here Fo Sho.
Ok, enough already! Make the mean stage stop! I was melting faster than a snow man getting a BJ in the Maldives and it’s not an exaggeration to say it felt like riding down a river at the end of the stage.
Stage 2 was when my status changed from ‘Compete’ to ‘Complete’, that ‘L’ making itself felt when you peruse the results…
- Mark Scott – 12.52 for 1st in PRO men
- Rodfather – 19.17 for 14th in Masters
- Dirty Nomad – 21.48 for 44th in Open men
Yes, yes, I was 9 minutes or so behind Mark on a 13 min stage… I know comparing oneself to PRO’s is the road to self esteem ruination, but to put it in perspective in Finale I was only 1.46 behind him on a 7 minute stage 4. By using a thing called “Maths”, we can summarise that I cunted out with reckless abandon and ruthless precision.
On my ride from the end of Stage 2 to lunch at the oasis holy grail of On the Track Lodge, which always takes a lot longer than you remember or expect, I reflected on one simple fact that occurred to me as I narcissistically marvelled at my own magnificent capitulation:
If you get out of the habit of hardship, it definitely feels a lot harder
I’d like to be less obvious and more sage like than that, but its something that I had overlooked clearly whilst those around me hadn’t. Even worse than that, it was soon obvious to everyone that I’m going more bald than initially anticipated, which means pretty soon I’m going to be rocking that terrorist vibe look… Most likely why Jono is giving me the suss eye while I cry on the inside:
The only upside of lunch was I got to reunite with my crew and savour the best venison burger that I’ve ever had in my life. Probably because I thought it was probably my last with what was to come #dramaqueen. Thank fuck it wasn’t cold is all I could muster at this point as I listened to everyone talk about how awesome their days had been. One of these kids is NOT like all the other rad ones may have been floating through my head…
Indeed that was a theme of the day – This was a real sort out of those that Mountain Bike full time and are fucking on it and those that weren’t. There was no hiding here, no faking it, just a proper sifting of the cunts from the shredders. I was reminded of this as I pushed up one of the liaison climbs and a dude in a TLD Full face wearing only a Santa Cruz singlet on his Nomad calmly and effortlessly rode an entire section that most of us could only dream to ride up in the wet. Local. As. Fuck.
I was absolutely convinced that Stage 2 had been the ‘Dirty Melt down of the year’, but this assertion was about as solid as my wet weather riding skills. Stage 3 wasn’t about to be a poor cousin to number 2 and it came armed with plenty of off camber gnar and wet roots that wanted to fuck you up. Oh seriously… Fuck this, here’s me on Stage 3:
And that was before I knew I wasn’t going to get to say “Get to da choppa!” If you’re bored of me melting down, then join the club and the good news is by this stage it was just pure fucking comedy. Like when I went full cunt head and could barely get myself and my giant wheeled heathen over the fallen tree scenario:
Or when I became obsessed with my knee pad strap going rogue and actually went OCD hard on trying to sort it out – Value add: Zero. Cunt factor: Extreme.
Stage 3 somehow felt harder than stage 2, which wasn’t expected. Even though the end was rad and swooping through pines, I had fucked out well before I got to the good shit. News flash – Suddenly my bone dry Thailand build up seemed somewhat misplaced.
Remember when I said some of my comRADes were genuinely stoked to be railing it and getting rad in these conditions? Yes, they were annoying as fuck when you’ve decided to shit the bed and sulk. Case study, meet Jono, he displays his authentic stoke by not only smiling in a jovial manner, but going for the double fisting, which just quietly was pretty much the theme of my day:
- Mark Scott – 6.09 for 1st in PRO men
- Rodfather – 10.42 for 14th in Masters
- Dirty Nomad – 11.12 for 46th in Open men
Bike for sale.
I’ll be honest – I wanted to GTFO out of there ASAP. For those that aren’t millennial or hate acronyms, yes, I wanted to get the fuck OUT. I love you South Island and I love you bike and I love you racing, but clearly everyone hated on my ass on day 2. Or perhaps I was just lying (literally on the ground) all day in wait to pounce at the end?
I actually managed to ride Stage 4 (if you can’t ride stage 4 then there is something seriously wrong with you – Like 2 broken legs), small mercies, and proving that I can only really ride in tour groups or behind a crew member, I somehow managed to catch up to the Rodfather, who acts as an excellent rabbit just quietly… Its one trail that is fairly fast and rad, even when its impersonating a water slide.
Rodfather claimed to hate these conditions even more than I did, which I didn’t quite believe until I managed to catch up, which means shit must have been baaaaaaad as he smokes me like a fat salmon 99.5% of the time.
I could taste the relief of rolling out of the kill box 6.5 hours later, along with 50 shades of dirt in my mouth and eyes as well. Even though we were all half blind (goggles or glasses both fucking right off 50m into each stage), nothing could deter Jono from his laser guided fisting precision to close the day out.
And there we go, dismissing my claims that its not about the results, this was a little more respectful, bookending my race with my best result, the same as stage 1 on day 1. the symmetry is pleasing.
- Mark Scott – 2.57 for 1st in PRO men
- Rodfather – 3.58 for 17th in Masters
- Dirty Nomad – 3.43 for 36th in Open men
Bike no longer for sale.
And FINALLY – As if I had already shrivelled up enough by the time I got to the end, I then ran into Chris Burr, general fucking legend, GC and 90’s mountain biking hero and here’s how the conversation went:
- Me: “Fucking hell that was hard….”
- CB: “Yeah, I thought it was going to be a mission so I just decided to run it”
- Me: “You mean, you ran all the climbs with your bike?”
- CB: “No, I left the bike behind and just ran it to do the course marking”
- Me: “But… But… (Stammering), its 35km’s!”
Chris’s shrug, coupled with pretty much every minute of the day 2 of racing was a stark reminder how fucking soft I have become on a diet of cHub life. Some may have expected me to bag out the day, but it was nothing to do with the course or conditions – This was self inflicted softness turning up to a gun fight against Abrams tanks with a nerf gun and hoping it’ll go well. I need to stop with the saucers of warm milk and see this horror a little more often:
Amazingly no one cunted themselves properly all day, the biggest victims being the media teams cameras and all my Mountain Biking self confidence. Yay. Big ups to Sven and Anka and the whole NZ Enduro team for keeping it smooth and making sure we had mint back up the entire time.
And massive respect to all the very talented riders who went insanely fast on fucking hard trails in epic conditions – Impressive shit everyone. Day 2 demanded skills & confidence!
Chances of a dry day 3? Zero trending to FUCK no. Stay tuned to see how the weekend rounded out.