Usual Dirty Disclaimer – We don’t regularly endorse the concept of starving yourself for 4 months, then going out on a bike that weighs less than 10kg’s and attempting to hurt yourself as much as you physically can for 1.5 hours. But in this instance, its not every day you have this guy fronting up to defend a National Title, so today settle in and soak up the Bandito action cuming direct:

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Made perfect sense to someone the defending champ got the #4 plate… Photo cred – Das Wolf

Some may remember last years escapades, on the day that the Welsh Assassin smashed the field to win his second National Champs race. This was then turned into a major motion picture, depicting how a quiet lad from the Welsh valleys, who was forced to ride an Alu bike in loafers ultimately managed to shrug off this adversity and rose up to crush fools that had a silly and misguided notion they had a chance in 2014.

But like any good Assassin knows, when you’re at the top of your game, it only swells the ranks of those that want a shot at your crown. Fast forward 12 months and you could feel the undercurrent generated by the trolls gathering at the castle gates. Clawing at the woodwork wanting in to attempt a shot at the title, rumours were bouncing around about who was in form, who wanted to win SO BAD and a series of odd predictions were being made. One thing for sure, the class of 2015 was going to be much stronger.

The major change for 2015 was the location change from Tampines Bike park, bulldozed to help make way for the severe concrete high rise shortage that we’re currently suffering here in the cHub, to the new location of Assrammer (5% chance I’m not spelling that quite right) and it also raised a lot of questions:

  • Would a gaggle of low skilled but highly fit roadies turn up given 70% of the course was basically a paved road?
  • Was the ME109 in proper form after an ‘injury’ in 2014?
  • Would the Welsh Assassin be able to defend his title after cutting back to only 400 crunch curls before breakfast each day?
  • Was it possible to do a 12 minute lap or was that just deranged rantings from Groundskeeper Willie?
  • Would we personally really upset anyone?

Whilst hands were rung and fingers darted around whatsapp keyboards for those of us that consume our suffering vicariously through the Real Prince of Wales, the Assassin himself was unconcerned, mostly due to still having a full head of dashing hair – Not a luxury afforded to all his competitors. Whilst his build up had been condensed (basically did a couple of weeks of riding), it was nevertheless rather violet…

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“Gentlemen please, I’ve done 500 laps of Kent Ridge, you need not concern yourself”

To make sure that everything was tip top, we set out the day before the race to do a Dirty recon of the course and in particular the ‘Singletrack’, AKA the random piece of jungle that ran parallel to the 4WD road. In my role as Dirty Sporting Director/Feedzone Gimp, I felt compelled to assist with line choices, as clearly giving the WA tips on climbing/fitness would be like the Goat giving me grammar lessons.

Whilst he was polite to start with, things came to a head when I misunderstood that it actually wasn’t the XC Eliminator format after all… as awkward as a jelly dildo:

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Dirty Internet Coaching service: No qualifications, but almost real time feedback

But this is a race report and not a faff around the day before wankfest, so its into the Assassin-mobile and off to the date with the title defence we go! Next stop, certain glory and crushing of ego’s for those that built the race up to epic proportions to the point of overtraining:

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Only 12 minutes to Paris apparently

Another change for 2015, the Elite race was being poured into the melting pot of cuntery with the great unwashed and we were quickly reminded that whilst this was the ‘Nationals’, the use of the word ‘Festival’ in the promotional material is the description best used when you want it to be a magnet for cunt bikes:

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Please tick as appropriate: A) I got the weather forecast wrong and thought it may snow B) I like to drown in fuckwittery C) Riding everywhere at 5kph, including downhill IS my bag. I also have a man purse. And a mangina.

Yes, this year instead of being a stand alone race, the Elites would encounter every category as well as the 6 hour endurance riders unleashed onto the race course in an orgy of weirdness. In my unhumble opinion the 2014 format of giving Masters and then Elite their own races a far more palatable proposition.

Given it was a giant free for all, my eyes were assaulted with pretty much every form of cuntraption you could imagine seeing with two wheels – Fat bikes, Fattie bikes, 26 Inch hard tails (apparently they do still exist?), there was even some guy with an antique Scalpel sporting a 27.5 front wheel and a 26 rear, yes, thats right, the same set up as a Penny Farthing:

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“You what?”

I headed out onto the gnarly course to capture all the action. Initially it looks like the scene is set with the mist of war about to be parted by a rampant gaggle of Bandits, but thats just the haze slowly climbing towards ‘unhealthy’ levels:

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The application to hold a World Cup round may have a few hurdles to overcome

Soon the hazy stillness and calm was broken by the elite herd of Bandits getting proceedings underway. Not a lot of festival spirit on the faces here, but for those that have never tried it, the opening lap, especially the first half, of an XC race is pretty much like being punched in the face by the person you hate most at work, whilst you dance barefoot on small pieces of lego, which are on fire, with that fire being fed by lighter fluid from rabid beavers which are also chewing on your balls. Fun:

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Tally Ho, the Spitfire well positioned and chased by those that want it SO bad #pighunter

Probably the most concerning element of the opening stanza was what the actual fuck is that fork on the Bandit next to the WA? Not that he was fazed by it, instead he is seen here slightly perplexed as to why an XC race seemed to have a neutralised opening section, wasn’t that just road racing?

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“Chaps, are we racing at this point? Or is this the instillation lap?”

You can say what you like, but in amateur cycling, races are won or lost on the climbs. Road or MTB, if you can climb, then chances are you’re going to be feeling the soft lips of podium girls brushing against your cheek. It would have therefore been an ominous sign for all involved to have seen the defending champ come to the head of the field on the first proper incline of the day:

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The start of the Tempo

I was ‘lucky’ enough to see this first hand the day before, when he was “just spinning in first gear to keep fresh“, which made me feel as fresh as a French Dok turd. I suspect a few competitors got the same treatment early on as that fabulously attired speck got smaller and smaller…

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Totally not ENDURO, even my own stem length was making me feel sick

Even so – I have to say I was slightly surprised to see the WA charging into the start finish area at the end of the first lap with a lead that was more comfortable than a Rapha classic jersey, that metronomic pace and spinning of the cranks a sight to behold. It was so impressive I not only forgot to turn on the Go PRO, but I almost forgot to give Clarso his bottle when he arrived in second place, pushing the Penny Farthing hard to stay in touch with an Assassin who was clearly settling into his work.

OH YEAH – It was the same awesome template as last year, in the lead early, tapping out the pace, making everyone else look as miserable as fuck whilst cutting out lap times that were all within half a second of each other. All that we had to do now was avoid calamity. I settled in for a morning of passing bottles and working out the best spot for the podium pics.

Hold the phone you gushy cunt

At the end of the second lap, there was a large disturbance in the force… My eyes were lazily scanning for the Assassin to come into view, expecting to see his lead steadily expanded on as he gradually turned the screws on the now strung out field. But then, confusing messages were sent to my brain… My gaze wasn’t met with a white helmet and some of the finest race tight kit you’re likely to find on the net, instead we had a new leader:

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Who ya gonna call?

Streaming into view and looking like a racing whippet on meth, Clarso was not only now at the head of the field, but looking strong and comfortable as well. Achtung though, he wasn’t alone up there and the ME109 was in pursuit, the shock on his face that he was still behind a different flavour of “Tim” readily apparent and perhaps some would say a delightful proposition #headfuck. For those that remember him from the Italian Job, Clarso knows a thing or two about climbing and had been in scintillating form of late, so this was looking ominous.

What… The… Fuck was going on. This was more alarming than some cunt riding 33kph in a 32kph bunch of Jelly Babies. My soul was rejecting the notion that the WA had gone from leading and looking as relaxed as a silk scarf choking the competition, to not even being in sight as the leaders went through the start/finish area. My attention deficit disorder fuelled mind was racing:

Is it a flat tire… I’m a bit thirsty… Has he crashed… I need to check Instagram… No don’t, he may appear… Gee these bottles really do look good… Fuck, how can this be happening… I hope Wolf gets some good pics for the race report… WHERE THE FUCK IS HE?!

After a period of time, (as in, fucking minutes) that registered in my mind as ‘Race Over’, he finally appeared into view and I could start to hear instructions being shouted.

I initially heard “PINK“, which was the bottle of choice if the WA was feeling fingered, a concept I felt was preposterous (I humoured him during the feed zone monkey briefing and pretended to listen), but when he came into view yelling “PINK” at me, I was crestfallen, he’s fucked? He’s blown up?! How was this even possible?! Was this the sign of the 4th horseman?! I looked skyward and couldn’t see a meteor coming in at a billion miles per hour or mushroom clouds sprouting up, so instead I impersonated a drunk fat rabbit in the headlights of a logging truck:

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“Why is that hairy idiot just standing there? So hard to find good help these days…”

But wait… What was that? I think I saw the anger in his eyes before my brain made sense of the words:

“PUMP!!! PUMP!!!!”

Oh… CUNT… Astute readers may pride themselves on knowing that this exact issue happened last year, but if we switch to the WA’s favourite channel for a moment, History shows us that its actually the third year in a row there have been major issues with air and tires. He arrived in the pits having burped the front, rolling in on about 5 PSI and the lead flushed down the racing shitter in a heartbeat.

It was time for me to do what I do best – Panic, shake uncontrollably and furiously pump up and down to the point that I overdid things a bit, which worked brilliantly given this was also the only time the track pump decided to fail and give us a pressure reading on the gauge – Cue references to battle plans never surviving first contact with the enemy. Biggest win though, didn’t rip my shorts open this year, so things are on the up:

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Gott in Himmel!! Rouse! Rouse! “Get it to 25.89 PSI exactly, there’s a good chap”

Right then – From first to fifth in an instant and half the race done. A good 4 minutes lost in total and it looked like we were going to have to suck on the big fat smelly tit of defeat. This wasn’t the script at all. As he set off on the Ride for Pride, I had bigger issues on my mind:

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May as well get a couple of laps in, for the sponsors and all

How the fuck was I going to write this post up? #selfishcunt, but I can hardly make a silk purse out of this pigs ballsack of a situation can I? From leading comfortably to being robbed by the dumbest of all issues that a modern MTB can face.

Most people I know would have pulled the pin at this point… I mean, whats the point in pushing on? Try and get on the podium? Try and pull back a couple of places? Why? Was there anything left to prove? It was pointless… It was hopeless… It was a task no normal person could overcome… and yes, I’m a total drama queen.

But of course, as I wallowed in my seething ditch of despair and defeat, I had forgotten that it wasn’t me out there riding the grease out of the bottom bracket, no, it was the Spitfire of XC Racing and he had the spirit of Dougie Bader coursing through him as he set about hunting down Messerschmitt’s with Ruthless (she was at home) power and precision:

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Doug knew what was UP

As I sulked around the pits muttering cunt and horrified at the mere thought of who may now INHERIT the race win Gee Atherton style, The Assassin was taking matters into his own hands. Forget the suitcase of courage Paul, the mere Fellating of a gel packet was enough to kick start something that none of us have seen before in amateur cycling:

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“If I just pretend to lick the end, it will make the others think I’m human and need gels” – Photo cred Das Wolf

I obviously had no idea what was going down out in that jungle on lap three, but it seemed that the main thing going down was the time gap between the lead four riders and the worlds skinniest Predator in pursuit… There’s something out there, and it ain’t no ENDURO Racer… The WA fuelled by a new rage with the realisation of what the knock on effect of the time loss really was:

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“Blasted front tire is going to make me miss the BBC Morning report!” – Photo Cred Das Wolf

I was so preoccupied with writing hate mail in my head to the Specialized Tire Division that I had missed the new leaders were now a giant Malaysian dude, with a local lad in second place. Chasing Das Cuntwagon hard was Clarso, who had dropped to fourth. Importantly, I didn’t fuck up the drink bottle hand off this time as he set off in pursuit of a podium place.

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“At least I don’t have to worry about Boy Wonder any more”

But Clarso and Co had much bigger issues than dealing with the Stazi, in the space of one lap, the WA had shoved his cock so deeply into the time gap from the flat tire that he needed to ask for directions when he came through to grab his last bottle, intensity set to HIGH:

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Marketing folk, pay attention: This is how its done… Basically a branding wet dream

Crucial, after charging through the jungle like Timosarus Rex, he was now in striking distance, a mere 30 seconds or so off the back of the riders he had loaned the top spots out to for a couple of laps. Into the final lap then and he carefully took aim, with perfectly rolled up sleeves of course:

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“One lap, four kills… Well, based on how dashing my scarf is, I would say not a problem”

One lap… 20 minutes of racing left… still in 5th place… But much like in an illegal cage fighting bout, importantly he had broken the back of his opponents advantage. Taking back fistfuls of time on lap 3, it was going to be fisting of a different kind on lap 4.

Could this really happen? Could this miraculous comeback be real? Surely 4 riders wouldn’t squander such an amazingly beautifully gift-wrapped chance to win the biggest bandit race of the year? With that kind of advantage you have to bury yourself like there is no tomorrow. Unfortunately for them, someone else decided to ride the last lap just slightly above tempo:

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Those eyes… The Assassin charges on Lap 4 – Photo cred Das Wolf

I wish I had of had a drone for that last lap to fly shotgun over what unfolded before us, mainly as its hard to comprehend, but also as I’m not sure I’m equipped to do it justice with words. If you’ve ever seen the movie ‘Shooter’ by the greatest actor of our time, Mark Wahlberg, I imagine it was like scenes from that flick. One by one the WA gunning down his 4 victims, with each one feeling the grasp on the gold medal slipping from their sweaty hands as he drew level with them and then gave them a squirt whilst they watched him disappear into the distance.

On top of that, they undoubtably marvelled as to why they weren’t able to race in such dashing and well designed kit. A double blow for each of them and no, not the good kind. Legend has it that the Spitfire of XC came from behind out of the sun again and again, drilling each straggler until he caught sight of the leader…

I paced around the finish area with the dWolf and Roberto… I hate myself for it now, but I thought it would be great if he got on the podium, or perhaps even up to second – Why didn’t I have more faith? Mainly as no one comes back from so far down halfway through a 4 lap race to be fair. By now we had worked out who was leading and we scanned the horizon with more nervous anticipation than losing my virginity at 10 years old (jokes eh… I was 9).

And then, almost in disbelief there was a white helmet… More than that, there was a white helmet moving FAST! And, he was alone. WHAT?! You can’t be serious! Like a fat penguin with a hard on I ran to the finish line to promptly fuck up my Go Pro footage with this picture:

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There are no words… But see below for some possible ideas

I think we need to run a caption competition for this pic, as I can’t work out if he’s trying to say one of the following:

  • “Is this all you have?”
  • “Please sir, can I have another lap?”
  • “Are you not entertained?!” (no bananas were hurt in the making of this post)
  • “This handicapping format is a little odd, but I guess a wins a win?”
  • “That felt a bit like a 12 minute lap, wonder what the others think”
  • “Look kids, its Moses on a mountain bike, parting a sea of cunt-bikes”

To be honest, it was all so surreal that there was much confusion as to whether or not he had actually won the race… As it will be detailed in the video to come, it was a strange combination of disbelief, stokedness, congratulations and a disjointed conversation about whether or not he had actually won:

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“You said to make it a little more exciting, that ok?”

Das Wolf then arrived on the scene and his expression was representative of what was going to dominate the post race debrief: “Cunt, how the fuck did you do that?

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“No, seriously cunt, how DID you do that?”

Attention uptight weirdos, this is what its all about here – Allow two of the DN Global Collective to illustrate how it rolls with a classic post race ‘waassssssssup muthafucka’ moment, a vast upgrade on sulking in a tent somewhere:

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“Maaaaaaate… What the fuck?!”

With the arrival of second place about 40 seconds later, who indeed confirmed he had been assassinated, general celebration broke out like the Deathstar had just exploded. This wasn’t like last year, no, this was a different and vastly more significant victory than 2014. Tougher field, harder course, bigger deficit to erase and a whole lot more cunts on Fat bikes crashing in front of him. What the Assassin was able to do started to reverberate around the race site, the remainder of the top 5 didn’t quite know what to make of it:

He went past me like a fucking train” – Clarso

Nein” – Mr Happy

Arghhhh” – Dude who came third and collapsed

Wow” – Big Malaysian dude in second

It was a scene of being slightly confused (how did you do that?), but also massively stoked – As sporting director/Feedzone gimp I definitely took care of the latter, as well as eating all the burgers by the looks of things…

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The WA perplexed that I had forgotten the post race cup of tea

Yes, almost everyone was stoked… High fives were dished and there was more fist pumping going down than a Berlin tupperware party. Well, when I say everyone was stoked, I was kind of meaning those that have a notion of the concept of good sportsmanship.

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The sneaking suspicion that someone is personally very upset about this #wantitsobadtobepro

Mind you, if I had been talked up and then obliterated to epic proportions, I would probably want to suddenly become invisible as well. Like a scene from mythbusters, the conjecture was shot down, dreams were shattered and the real king was reconfirmed. Splendid, time to nip off for tea and scones then I guess chaps? Tally Ho!

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Not everyone wanted to hang around at the end for high fives

Fuck, am I done with all this gushing? Is the volcano of wonderment and superlatives finally going to stop erupting? Well, ignoring the fact that this is likely the only time the DN Kit will be seen winning an XC Race, or any race for that matter – The sheer insanity of the effort that we got to witness to come back and win that race warrants it becoming mythical. There was decent competition to deal with, plenty of climbing  and don’t forget the heat. For those that wanted so bad to be PRO, they got to see a display from someone who could have actually been PRO… Remember it people.

To cap it all off then, its MF Podium time YO! Top step locked off for another year in a row. I also think that this pic validates calling second place the ‘giant Malaysian dude’… A case study in the physics of MTB XC Racing:

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The king didn’t really die, he just gave everyone else a head start before ending back up in his rightful place

And… I’m spent… Yes, its been a gushorama, noses have been rubbed and legend status not only reinforced, but taken up more than a few notches. Congratulations WA on an epic display of speed, strength, race craft and above all – Never giving up. Respect.

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