You’d think when you come away for a 5 day race that after finishing each fairly big day, you’d eat everything that was offered up to you and then fall blissfully into a 10 hour sleep, to arise fresh the next day, continue eating like a seagull with the bird version of rabies and then smash some more single track radness.
Well, I was reminded on the first night that the sleeping component of that fantasy is about as wishful thinking as your chances of getting to do nude combat yoga with Emily Blunt:
Gels, dehydration, generally fingered and an asian sized sleeping bag all combining to mean that the sweet sleeping relief I yearned for was replaced with a symphony of pissing, farting and even a midnight snack. #Endurolyfe definitely has its own set of champagne problems, don’t forget that – Its not all stunning vista’s and group fistings. I shan’t complain though, at least I wasn’t in a tent.
Now that I’ve alienated the female readership, again, perhaps its best I move on to get to the point of what I’m really talking about on the Day 2 Trans NZ ENDURO rantfest. Yes, a relatively singular focus today on one stage and one stage only:
You have to say it in capitals as A) Cunt is a legend B) Its important to drum up the requisite amount of doom associated with it C) If possible say it with dead eyes, with the look that you’ve seen something awesome and horrific all at the same time, so pretty much like walking in on your best friends mum naked sunbathing when you’re a teenager.
I spent quite a bit of day 2 preoccupied with the thought of not only getting UP to stage 2, but then getting down it without calamity. I shall elaborate why in further detail below. However, first I had to contend with stage 1 and, significantly cooler weather than day 1… No complaints:
I was so fixated on the EDGE that I sort of zombied my way through the first stage of the day, back to complete blind racing as I had never seen this action before. It was a slightly fiddly arrangement to be honest, even if its wide open start attempted to trick you into a different idea:
Whilst I struggled to get to grips with it, there was no denying that Stage 1 had classic Craigieburn beauty to it, with the sort of scenery that would give any LOTR geek a stiffy. Dry trails and furry trees, all with a distinct flavour of narrowness to it the further into the stage you got.
Yeah, I had about as much flow as a cryptic crossword to kick off the day, even oddly changing to an easier gear instead of down when I was trying to sprint to the finish, which yes, was as circus as it sounds. It provided much amusement to all.
Forget the jovial GC camaraderie, we had a date with the beast… Which of course was to be preceded by its fluffer – The Craigieburn Ski field access climb. Fart noise.
5.3km’s at an average of 8% on a 160mm bike which you’ve somehow dressed up as a Downhill bike is a much longer/cuntier climb than it sounds like. It pleased the court no end then that it wasn’t oven bake hot like day 1. It was hard not to smile at the masks of horror on the faces of the Singapore contingent who had come across, Yippee Kai yay motherfuckas, this ain’t Mt Faber YO:
When I mentioned to a few people with carnal knowledge of the location in question that we were racing the EDGE on Day 2, many gave a surprised look and then mused deeply as to how the fuck that would actually work… Or indeed why would you want to? The Trans NZ crew were all over that shit though, navigating us on the tranny past some of the initial cunty bits to where the real action starts… No baking soda here, just pure bad ass.
The first thought you had when queuing up for Stage 2 was “Fuck me, that’s a long way down… No fucking way I would want to drop anything down there.” I bet Luke was thinking the same thing as we all stood watching his Troy Lee D3 Carbon helmet roll end over smashing end all the way down the face into the ravine (or whatever we’re supposed to call the big ditch at the bottom).
This photo probably doesn’t do it justice, but let me assure you, its straight fucking down here… Which is where Luke went to retrieve it, in perhaps the most impressive move we saw all week, he literally pinned it on foot down the scree scope of death and then doubled down on that shit to tramp right back up with his now distinctly second hand looking D3 recovered… Squint in and you can see he’s the black dot at the bottom:
This amusement/relief it wasn’t you who had done that did a fine job of distracting me from how fucking cold it was by this stage… Especially my hands, just what you want to have as the queue in front of you slowly starts to drain itself in the usual ENDURO bladder style. Slowly we inched forward like livestock who were curious as to why we’d just had a long drive and were now being unloaded into a foreign looking pen. You know what time it is:
Its EDGE time
I didn’t know it then and there, but this stage ended up being the second longest of the entire week… EDGE into anti-Luge is a long and rather rad run to be fair, a stunning piece of trail with a lot more variety than I had remembered from 2 years ago. Speaking of, I headed into the stage with an air tight sphincter and my “Fuck that” Radar pinging off its head on the look out for this exact spot HERE:
Just a reminder, here is what happened 2 years ago during the DNST South Island Mission, in exactly the same spot… Except on a green Nomad and holy fuck, without kneepads… Disgusting:
Call me old fashioned, but its possible my tippy toeing around that section was so impressive it would have made any ballet teacher wetter than Stage 8 in Spain. And in fact, switching it into safe mode was an all too common theme all stage, with conservatism winning the nomination over straight up race pace.
The best way to sum up this run under race conditions? Its an odd mix of Madness and Radness, some say the two go hand in hand, but regardless it does mean you have to be on your muthafucken game to not only get down it clean, but to do so at pace. Allow me to elaborate via the use of Go PRO pics and some mega lazy blogging here.
Actually, a bit of both:
*I interrupt this lazy blogging to confirm one important point – The EDGE is definitely a must do trail and something in it for everyone who owns a trail bike. Its exposure in spots demands ample respect, but there’s enough in here to thrill anyone. If you then roll straight into Anti-Luge like the race stage did, then you’re rewarded with an excellent ending that’s a lot more user friendly than some of the exposed scree slope sections. The whole thing is endurogasmic.
Back to Madness:
Ah… Sweet sweet Radness:
Holy FUCK don’t look left #madness:
As a data point, I ended up getting down the EDGE & Anti Luge combo that made up Stage 2 in 11.38 as I busily lapped at a bowl of warm milk and preened my tail. Carl on the other hand, I think riding it totally blind and on a 140mm travel trail bike (more on that later) decided to “Go full YOLO on it” and fist it in 8.10, winning the stage by 10 seconds:
Its worth pointing out that I also went full YOLO on it, except my version of ‘You Only Live Once’ is that yes, I agree you do and therefore I want to keep on living, hence my brake pads spent a lot more time at boiling temperature than his would have.
I was too busy in my Jekyll & Hyde state of relief that I got through the EDGE without needing to pop smoke for a chopper and hating my own face for how slow I went to really worry about the last two stages of the day. One was fast and had some rad corners and the other was a bit awkward and cunty (translation – I rode it like a gimp) from memory. All I really remembered was getting my fucking feet wet. Cunt.
I could feel it in my loins that I had been generally slower all day… Overall I was feeling more awkward on the bike than a wet dream on an overnight plane flight. Still, you never know until you tag out, but Day 2 signalled to me that life outside the top half of the field had commenced, somehow I even managed to drop 14 spots on the overall daily result from Day 1. Cats bum mouth:
- Stage 1 – 48th
- Stage 2 – 53rd (The EDGE)
- Stage 3 – 44th
- Stage 4 – 43rd
- Overall Day 2 – 52nd in 23.48
And to the usual ‘Dirty unrealistic comparison’ to race winner and ENDURO power couple of the Carl & Katie show to provide some perspective on daily stage results:
- Carl’s overall day 2 time – 1st in 18.21
- Katie’s overall day 2 time – 22.38
Let’s move swiftly along shall we before the obvious discussion needs to take place. For those that don’t like reading shit, then get amongst the Day 2 video from the TNZ Media team here, hopefully it brings some of my EDGE rantings to life:
The so called ‘short day’ in the Craigieburn re-boot was to allow for our eagerly anticipated transfer to Queenstown for the rad climax to the week. An insider tip off suggested that we wanted to finish the day dragging our heels a bit to avoid the big bus transfer and score a van instead. Tick:
This strategy turning into a massive win when the bus took 10 hours to make the transfer trip as opposed to our 5 hour dash in the van. I won’t even go into the melt down details of such a cunted bus trip, but in summary those unlucky enough to have the life sucked out of them on it were at least rewarded with the TNZ team acting swiftly and firing the offending bus and its super weird pilot. Yes, you do the math on how it could take that long… #fingered.
A word on ‘tourist drivers’, the phenomenon I had seen on trashy pseudo news sites like ‘Stuff’ etc, I was sceptical that it had been as overhyped as Donald Trump, but fuck, its a real thing. The sheer volume of cuntery witnessed whilst navigating those epic Otago roads was both hard to digest and scary as fuck as rental car after rental car did its best to impersonate road side bombs. The winner was the cunt reversing down the highway on the open road… WTF x a billion. Still, didn’t stop me from acting like a tourist in my own country the moment the chance came up.
So then… Relocated to Queenstown and 3 days of fucken solid racing to come. Day 3 loomed with Coronet Peak on the menu and 4 out of 5 stages I had not only ridden before, but actually raced. I was rubbing my Fox clad hands together at the prospect of getting back into the top half of the field.
Yes, I still hadn’t worked out at this point that perhaps I didn’t have the right perspective on the week… Mountain biking was getting ready to dial me a wake up call as well. Watch this space.