Ah, the end of the year! 2015 is bagged and tagged and its time to join the media lemming herd and jump the fuck off the reminiscing cliff edge. Yes, anyone who is anyone has to punch out a bit of a retrospective rant about the year that has just been officially consigned to the history books.
So with that in mind and as per the Dirty Tradition, lets not faff around any longer like a group of roadies at a cafe and crank into putting a bow on 15 before 16 pops out of a bowl of sunrise.
The Dirty Stats
Laser eye surgery, return from injury, going full ENDURO, Haze, broken neck, illness… Forget the Axis of evil, this was a full blown global conglomerate of reasons why I chalked up the lowest volume of riding in the last 5 years or so… There are commuters out there that have done more this year, 2014 in brackets as a comparison:
- 9,285 km’s ridden (12,004km’s)
- 429 hours (481 hours)
- 112,132m climbed (143,807m)
- 235 rides (238)
But, as we know, numbers can be manipulated to serve any lie that the marketing team have cooked up, so its always better to look at the substance of what went down. The year was really divided into three BIG missions:
Scatter in some mini missions here and there and whilst it didn’t originally have the hallmarks of a big year, it ended up pushing through more girth than perhaps people initially gave it credit for, especially given it started with epic injury rehab and something called a ‘job’ trying to get in the way and fuck up the good times.
Rather than wank on rehashing each Act, I’ve jumped on the bandwagon and lazily ripped out the top 9 shots of 2015 from Instagram. This works well as A) Its the holidays and we’d all rather look at pictures than read words and B) Its 2015 and that means we all know the quality of an experience is based on how much love we get for it on anti-social media! Funnily enough, a few bangers in here both from a pic and experience perspective:
Its not all about eNarcissism though, so to push a little bit deeper into the moistness of 2015, its time to dish out a few awards here and there that were harvested from the DN Global Collective and the missions that have now joined the completed file. Many drum rolls please…
Best road racing result
Hawk in the Tour of Hokkaido – Fuck me if he didn’t come within a salaryman’s pubic hair of winning the whole fucking thing, but that aside coming second was an extremely impressive result and one that ranked up there Sagan winning the world road champs from a DN Global Collective perspective.
Speaking of Sagan, his Tour of California overall GC victory probably the most impressive PRO win of the year. I’m not qualified to rehash it here, but if you sit down and ignore your family to analyse it a bit you’ll come to the conclusion that how he managed to pull that off is nothing short of legendary.
Best MTB racing result
WA wins the Singapore XC Nationals – It would normally make me feel slightly queasy giving this to a bandit category, but if you recall the method in which he came back from a flat tire and an unbridgeable time deficit to not only win, but make everyone else out there ‘racing’ that day look like fat bike fun riders, then I’m sure you’ll agree its a worthy award winner. It was as confusing as it was exciting:
Just to Balance that out and keep it ENDURO legit here, Ali Quinn surviving Day 6 mega mechanical dramas to win the Trans Provence Masters grade was fucking awesome to see… One of the best high 5’s of 2015 whilst soaking up the Menton coastline.
Best Dirty Race
Spain EWS – Of the 10 main races for the year, the Spanish managed to sneak in and claim this one on account of nailing it across the board. Nervous virgins or enthusiastic beginners? Who really cares, as Zona Zero put on a banger event, made all the more golden by the Basque MTB boys laying on the platinum service.
Everything about the Zona Zero EWS round was a home run… Trails, stage selection, liaisons and times, people, food, location and general radness. Fuuuuuck it was a good time! Yes, I frothed my ass off so it was pretty easy to dish the gong Spain’s way when it came time to reflect on 2015.
Trans Provence – Ah… The reason why TP didn’t take home ‘best race’ for 2015 is because that would be short selling it. Its not only beautiful, but its also smart, funny, sexy and has high EQ. In other words, very easy to fall in love with.
You work out pretty quickly that its a whole lot more than just a race, its a legit life experience. Once you figure that out (usually on the first day, or day zero even), then it simply becomes better and better. If you want the ultimate experience with your Mountain Bike and to find some new limits, then get planning on how to get into the 2017 edition! My advice, don’t be one of the last to the coast on Day 6…
Best product you can wear
Oakley Jawbreaker glasses – The word ‘cumgoggles’ was used extensively when these things first surfaced, but once Herr Doktor got a pair (the last person on the planet to chase a fashion fad) and reported back that “Cunts, you fucken need these cunts, now“, it set the scene that they had to be special.
Whether you’re rocking the Prizm road or trail action for your selected passion, these mofucks really are Neck Level in the vision department. If you want to fuck up your friends, then let them ride with them for 5 minutes and then check the look on their face when you ask for them back… Nothing like giving people first world problems. They’re so good you’ll sodomise ENDURO fashion by wearing them with a full face helmet. Fuck I can’t wait for the google version.
Best product you can’t wear
Fox Suspension – I’ve always been a Fox fiend, but I feel that I’ve reached the pinnacle this year with the Float 36 and the DHX2 Coil combo. These two together actually make you feel like you’re living in the future where you’re getting the suspension you deserve. But the revelation for 2015 was actually meeting some of the dudes behind the scenes who make the products even cooler. Cheeky tune? Quick service? Talk some shit? Proper support for people racing in remote locations? All good. Love your work Fox dudes.
The ‘Fuck I expected more from you’ award
Enve M70 rims – We’ve all seen rad cunts doing maaaad shit on these and I even watched the Nomads rip through Trans Provence on the lighter M60’s, so you can imagine my surprise and disdain when I killed two of these things in 2015, the second ‘stronger one’ on its 2nd ever ride. Its not often getting rimmed leaves you pissed off and feeling slightly confused as to what you’re doing wrong.
To Enve’s credit we did have a conversation about this, but I never really got a lot of closure… Its not often I get to say this, but after asking around I can whisper these very rare words: “Its not me, its YOU“:
- Maxxis Tires – Ever had a loyal and loving labrador who had eyes that turned red and it attacked you and ripped your arm off? Neither, but that’s what it felt like when I had three epic and unheard of Maxxis failures in a 1 week period. Different shops, different countries, same odd melt down. Followed up with a couple of 29er melt downs later in the year and it was brand change time
- Rock Shox Reverb 150mm Stealth – Many may have thought this would scoop the award, but I pretty much always expect a Reverb to grenade itself, so when it did so three times at key moments in 2015, expectations were pretty much met.
Upgrade of the year
Lasik eye surgery – I won’t wank on about it here, been there, done that. What I will say though is that if you’re sitting on the fence, get the fuck off and get involved. Even Herr Doktor got in on the act this year and he scientifically endorses my rantings and general frothing. Science – get it up ya.
Its expensive and can be scary, but not as scary as the proposed of #tentlyfe with contact lenses. Also happens to be awesome for your riding and general logistics.
The ‘How the fuck did you do that bro?’ award
Ryan Walsch @ Trans Provence – Day 2 on TP and on the critical first stage of the day, Ryan the ripper breaks a chain and has to run/walk/coast a fuuuucking long way to the finish. Result? 77th for the stage… Gutted. I would have endorsed a sulky tantrum at that point, but he decided to give zero fucks and just have a bit of fun. Bit of fun? What came next? Stage results that looked like this:
8th, 10th, 6th.
Holy FUCK…. 6th?! That’s beating PRO’s… He had Ludo May nervously looking around camp and putting a lock on his factory Canyon. Just don’t even fucking mention he was on a 140mm travel bike… Sweet baby Hesus, in matching kit.
Stage of the year
Trust me, this one is NOT easy at all… Especially when you consider I left the start gate 57 times in 2015 on ENDURO races, not including 6 hour events or that other random race in Buller.
Stage 10 Trans Provence – I haven’t yet gotten around to making a video of this piece of trail heaven, but you can still check it out here. It took 4 hours to hike, push and sort of climb to this piece of natural perfection and as you’d expect, expectations were rather high. But Ash is the Evil Einstein of natural trail selection and what awaited us was actually so mind blowing that at times it felt like an out of body experience.
From narrow forest single track, to open rocky sections to high speed wooded parts with loamy turns… Stage 10 on Day 3 personified why Mountain Biking is so fucking awesome.
- Stage 6 Spain EWS – Slightly biased given it was my best result, but this was just laced with awesome turns, variety and gave even those of us outside the top 200 the feeling that we were super fast and somewhat rad
- Bottom of stage 7 Spain EWS – Spain again… I don’t recall anyone getting to the bottom of stage 7 and not sputter out that the section after the cunty little climb in the middle was some of the best riding ever. Unbelievably fast and with hero dirt and turns, even if you went over the bars like a total cunt you still loved it at the end
- Stage 2 Coronet Peak Enduro race – Rude Rock + Pack Track? Yes, that’s a fucking long stage and as you’ll know, massively different from how it starts to how you end it. An absolute must do as a shred and a super test if you’re racing. Just fucking excellent.
Melt down of the year
Stage 5, Finale Ligura EWS – Holy fuck this category had a LOT of front running candidates. Not dissimilar to the 2016 Republican nominees, they’re all fucking terrible and were awful to watch, but Stage 5 in Finale takes the cake, rubs its dick all over it and then eats it.
I gave this one the nod over a crowded field as there was really no plausible explanation for it. Not sick, not injured, not really that tired… Just pure unadulterated melt down. Worse than a kid on a plane or one that’s forced to leave a Macca’s birthday party early, it just got worse and worse the longer it went.
- Stage 1 of the Roubion ENDURO Massacre – “Everyone is a shredder until they get to the roots”, turned out pretty quickly I was in the non-shredder camp when trying to negotiate Mudpocalypse
- Stage 1 Rotorua EWS – A very strong contender for the win this one, as it was an epic melt down. Its still hard to describe how badly it went down Kutties, but it did spawn the near legendary squashed banana incident, so at least the Roman’s got what they wanted
- Stage 22 Trans Provence – Out of gas on all fronts… Physically, emotionally, mentally… Problem solving got flushed down the toilet and I resorted to actually walking down shit that should have been ridden. If ever there was a time that I actually ran out of talent, then this was it
- A rather simple roll over on Mt Vic – Yeah, so breaking ones neck is also quite a melt down, but I’m not going to dwell on that as I was fortunate enough to be back on a bike after 7 weeks as opposed to never, so happy to bank that.
The ‘Bro, you look like an obscure MTB celebrity’ award
Das Wolf – Popped out of a bowl of Troy Lee gear to claim this much sought after award, none of us knew he was actually related to Rob Warner. Respect it.
And last, but NOT least in any way, shape or form – The PEOPLE of 2015. Thank you for reading, riding, being rad, letting me stalk you, giving me a lift, guiding me, repairing me, tagging me out, visiting me in hospital, giving me tips, contributing to a post, making me suffer on a climb, letting me stop for lunch when you’re on sweeper detail and just want to get back to camp, letting me crash at your house or dump all my shit there, dominating a liaison with me or for just being part of the DN Global Collective. Keep it rad you GOOD cunts in 2016: