On to Day 13 then, and I wouldn’t be a cyclist if I wasn’t just a little bit suspicious… So the day was approached with a raised eyebrow. This was reinforced when the rain started coming down, the southerly cranked up and it was looking like another Coronet Peak wash out.
This would ordinarily be a downer as CP is an absolute all time DN Favourite place to roll. Yes, we’ve been here before… and before again with the Gravity Bro’s, but getting up there again this week had additional significance given its ENDURO race time this Friday.
Much is said of the ‘Spirit of ENDURO’ which includes not pre-riding the course… I sort of semi agree, but then again, I tried that in Buller and it didn’t work so well. That, combined with the fact everyone else racing it hoses the mountain down on a regular basis pretty much removed any guilt I may have had about giving the spirit a golden shower. Besides, I had someone to roll with today, so wasn’t about to miss the chance to get some Bobby H tour guide low down on some of the stages.
I was wasting my time being superstitious, as the shit weather soon fucked off and thus left another one of those CP days… Call it a hot streak, but every time I get up here its mint, happy to bank it.
Not going to bullshit it with today’s post, its rammed with more OTT scenery shots and wanking on about how cool the landscape is… Yeah yeah, I know you’ve heard it before, but with a slight twist I have tried to take shots or angles different from all the previous CP visits. Case in point, have never had to ride up the road from the bottom of Zoot before, the words “Fuck, better take a photo of that” coming in useful all day…
One thing that became reinforced slogging up to the CP Base, that my climbing ability, I won’t dignify it by using the word ‘form’, is essentially non-existent. Its a line call if this is related to poor fitness or because it was the 7th day of riding in a row… Either way, my body was slightly shocked to be riding up a piece of road that usually calls for a SHUTTLE. Laden down with more ENDURO kit than you can shake an on-line store at, we finally grunted our way up to the start of what will be stage 2 on race day.
Its an old favourite, with many laps having been run and well documented previously, so I won’t regurgitate it too much…
What’s going to be interesting tomorrow is that Rude Rock and Skippers is all one stage… For those that read that and it means nothing, in summary: That’s a fucking long stage… Bobby displays not only correct team uniform here, but the upsides of local knowledge:
The challenge of this being one stage? Aside from its length, slightly eye watering, the top is flat out and asks for a lot of not just your skills, but also your fitness… Its a rad ride. By contrast, skippers then steps in and says “enough of that smashing cunt, its time for some surgeon like precision“. Narrow x Exposure = Can’t put a wheel wrong. The trick will be having some composure after most of that trait disappears out of you while wrestling with the Rudeness. Case in point? Don’t put a wheel wrong…
Ok, so I lied a little bit as the above pic and the next two have been seen before… But how am I supposed to resist spamming out such radness? Fuck if it isn’t one of my favourite places to ride in the world… Getting to ride it once a year is a privilege, so spare a thought for poor Bobby, who has to put up with this as his afternoon ride spot…
Riding down here is all sorts of awesome, but demanding. My main problem tomorrow will be on keeping my childlike concentration for quite a long time from the top of Rude Rock to the near bottom of Skippers. To be noted it will also be the first time that I will have to ride all the way down and not stop to take photos of this kind of magic:
If you think that you know the rest of the CP story, then its time to change it up a little and introduce something new to the mix. This is where TG Bobby kicked into gear and guided us back up a zig zagging climb that just kept hammering out the views that were hard to not stop and gaze at. The freaky looking forest you can see there our ultimate destination for something all new:
Its hard not to stop up here and just look out… While you do so, you’re brushed with the combo of hot sun and a chilled breeze, which provides an almost perfect state. Whilst doing so, its hard not to ponder if this isn’t the sort of thing we’re supposed to be doing as people all the time. I respect that this sort of stuff is not for everyone, some people love couches and chups… But what I’m trying to convey is that aren’t we supposed to make more time for this kind of place and these kind of moments? Preferably with people we think are rad. Yes, coming off the beaten path up Coronet Peak does make one philosophical, but you have to feel it up here to understand it:
All this flailing around on the zig zag and philosophical musings ultimately led to the next stage to be raced tomorrow. 20 minutes up for 2 minute down seems like a fair trade, but quite a rad run… Its full Loam Ranger territory and totally different from the other trails. Its a bit more like skiing down than riding, sort of like floating rather than feeling the tires digging into the hard dirt like in the Bike Park, its a surreal set up:
Its an expensive 2 minute run though… its then on to climbing out of Skippers… Now, this IS new material, as on all previous occasions I’ve sat in a car and dished high 5’s saying “fucking rad man” a lot. No such luxury today, or on race day either… So it was time to faff around, smash a gel and almost in a ‘I don’t want to go home‘ kind of childish way, begin the grind out of the valley. Its possible that it took me 40 minutes to tank out of the valley, further proof fitness still not quite where it should be and necessitating a few emergency photo shoots:
There has been some negative press kicking around about open face helmets with goggles, I sort of agree with the fashion aspect of such a combo, so decided to run the two helmet combo all day… It may look fully ENDURO to do so, but in reality its a bit of a cunt, pack horse wise, not to mention that repeatedly awkward moment where you get to the top of the climb/bottom of the downhill and your riding buddy looks at you like “Let me guess, fucken helmet change again?“, just try and grin it out as you fuck about and add 30 minutes to the ride:
A final run down ‘Zoot’ was not only wise, as it was suddenly included in the race at last minute, but also interesting as I snagged a PR as well, yes, making it faster than the DH bike. Perhaps I’m going a little bit better, but also a pointer as to what an awesomely capable machine the Nomad 3 is. Able to take the hit lines dished out down Zoot, as well as scamper out of corners like a cat chasing a TV. Oddly able to combine poppiness with matron like stability:
1,000m of climbing in 19km’s and my body was screaming at me that it was time for a rest day if I wanted it to even consider racing on Friday. There was one final tradition item to attend to though of course, three cheers for the tour guide and local affiliate! Chur Bobby for a great arvo session.
Did someone say rest day? Fucking A… About time too, although, not that easy given the day that qTown turned on for the real day off:
So… Day 14 and its all about chilling, lets keep this brief – A quick fire Dirty guide to a mountain bikers day off in qTown when you want to do fuck all:
- Sleep in – Self explanatory really, but I mean like to 10am or so. People with kids currently hating my existence
- Refuel part 1 – Vudu cafe… yes, I know, the cliche stop, but its not without good reason. Turns out its so popular, there are now two, so scope out the new one just around the corner from the original
- Massage time – And I mean as in, too legit to quit, your body should be hammered by a week of bone dry terrain, so a sports massage is well in order. Book in advance at Queenstown Health and ask for Rosana, no BS – The best massage you’ll ever get. Didn’t realise how smashed I was until she found the BAD stuff lurking in my back
- Refuel part 2 – Drink a gallon of water post massage, preferably artisanal water and then head to Rehab juice bar to pay $10 for a smoothie, luckily its a pretty fucken good smoothie… Of course, ask for protein powder as that’s key when you’re semi PRO ENDURO, apparently
- Pro Stalking – Plenty of celebs around town, except I fucked it up and ran into them at lunch time, which is a big no no, never interrupt PRO’s while they’re lunching or in their hotel. However, their machines are fair game… Even if they watch you taking photos and say “What the fuck is he doing?“. A world champion machine in here, well, thanks to a broken foot:
- Refuel part 3 – Fuck, more eating? WTF… Well, hard not to in this place, its epic for good chow. Forget Fergburger as it will be rammed, but instead head next door to Fergbaker and nail something equally as good, but without the faff. Do you best to avoid the ‘World famous’ Boston cream donuts…
- Shopping – Chances are there are some knee pads, shorts, gloves or a new ENDURO helmet you don’t need to buy, so qTown delivers with a range of decent shops to hit, so it would be rude to not do the bike shop crawl, or get the bike sorted out. Head to see Jimmy at Torpedo 7, yes, that Jimmy that also happened to kill the 6 hour Super D until it was dead. Yes, I ended up with new shorts I didn’t need in the slightest. Result.
- Refuel the finale – By now you want to vomit up all the eating you rammed into a short space of time thanks to sleeping in, so best to ease it back and head to Kappa, the Japanese restaurant opposite Starbucks, awesome food.
Apparently there is a nice old boat you can catch across the lake, or some other fast boats that you can go up the river in etc, but once you’ve spent about $1,000 doing all of the above in the centre of a tourist town, chances are you’ll just want to look at the scenery, as you’re probably broke. Not a bad option:
Phhhhhhhhwoa… Mega post, but two days into one and tomorrow means a few things:
- Final day in qTown
- Last day on ‘Phase 2’ of DM2
- Race 5 of the trip – Coronet Peak ENDURO time
Big day coming then, not to mention a panicked afternoon finishing the race, packing and fevering to the airport! Stay tuned to see if this weeks shredding can be converted into a race result on some of the most epic settings I can think of to race in.