Today was about learning the importance of reading the memo. When I was entering the Bike Buller events, there was one that stood out to me that clearly had to be the ‘must do’ option for Sunday:
The SHAM Guide Brake Burner Enduro
Key words that jumped out and snared my rat like attention: ‘Brake Burner’, which would indicate epic downhill action and of course, ‘ENDURO’, which would indicate my preferred lifestyle choice. Take my cash, give me my lift pass and lets get it on! Day 2 on Bike Buller was going to be rad! The weapons were ready for deployment, prepped to invade a friendly neighbouring single track at a moments notice:
However, I suspect that I should have clicked on the ‘Read more here‘ link, which if I had of, I would have seen the following description about today’s festivities:
“A multi-lap enduro down a 7km XC/DH course to the base of the chairlift and back up again. Complete as many laps within your time limit as you can, before the final 12km Super-D to the Picnic in the Park festival at the base of the mountain.”
The two seemingly innocent letters in bold ultimately forming an anal probe type scenario… But lets not get ahead of the plot, I need to build some form of suspense. The main thing was that Buller had smashed us with another awesome day out there, to which there was much stokage:
The rules of engagement were pretty simple: 3 hours and 45 minutes to do as many 7km laps as possible, back up on the chairlift and repeat. After the cut off, you then had a 12km downhill to the bottom of the mountain and a giant picnic scenario. You had me at ‘chairlift’.
Should be AWESOME! Still blissfully unaware, I had in my head a 7km long single track DH shredfest, high fives and then chairlift time before a 12km DH trail to hamburgers… WRAP it! So, fully loaded with delusion, let’s go on a lap of the ‘Brake Burner Enduro’ to see wassssssup… Best to go onboard for this.
Straight into ‘Copperhead’ was a promising start, except for the dude who started with me and massively binned it in the very first berm, nice start to the day. It did occur to me when riding to the start that my legs and body felt pretty second hand after 4 hours riding from the day before and the slight issue of crashing my brains out. Not to worry, all downhill, all day. Too easy:
From here, it was straight out on to… A road. A what? No, not gravel, paved. No, not down, UP. From the very first lap it occurred to me that I may be in a spot of bother when my legs did an impression of concrete blocks woven in with the odd brick for artisanal purposes the very first time UP the paved road. For me, this actually meant first gear, unlike some of the lycra clad XC bandits that rode past me out of the saddle. It was at that point that I wondered if perhaps we had a problem? Not to worry, it was time to go back down again… Down the road that is…
Don’t worry, this must lead us to the rad single track that is so steep I won’t have to pedal for the next 5km’s or so… Or not. Well, at least we were still going down, but blowing elevation quicker than a skydiving monkey on this rather/fucking fast grass double track… Surely this leads to the single track I had in mind?
And, indeed it did! Except, it was going UP, as opposed to down… Hmmmm… And might I add to set the scene, it was going up fucking slowly in my case. I think it was the first time up here that it dawned on me that perhaps 6 weeks of real training wasn’t quite enough? As Donald Rumsfeld once said: “You go to a race on the fitness you have, not the fitness you’d like to have“. Fucking 10-4 on that Donald, my fitness resembled a pair of hairy camel balls then.
Ordinarily if I was fresh and was on the Tallboy perhaps, this wouldn’t have been an issue at all this little climb… But I wasn’t… and I wasn’t… So it was:
Funnier than me sucking shit were the dudes in full face DH helmets standing on the side of the track asking what the fuck was going on… Fun day pushing the DH bike boys. It was mildly amusing to know I wasn’t the only one who hadn’t read the fine print.
This climbing FINALLY led to some DH single track, which, not to sound uncharitable, sucked compared to yesterday. Sure, I had about as much flow as a river in the Gobi desert, but so did the trail. I did spend the whole first lap marvelling at how slow I was, before riding through someone’s backyard…
To be fair, the next DH was pretty good, the best of the lap so far… Assuming you had the juice to pedal a bit. I was running on empty, so was trying to get my wooden hips moving in an effort to carry speed and avoid pedalling, all to little avail. There were a few rad lines though, assuming you arrived at the moment that someone in garish lycra wasn’t standing on the drop off looking over the edge having a think about it. True story:
This little piece of radness went just long enough to get to the next… Er… Road section? Yeah, and not just a little one either. Big road… I’m not sure what the Police code is for ‘Armed Elevation Robbery in progress, send all available ENDURO units‘, but that’s the call that needed to go out.
I had a lot of time to think on the road section, during which it did occur to me that it was somewhat ironic this event was called the ‘brake burner’, as I suspect the only people with burning brakes would be those using Avids, made by the event sponsor of course, SHAM. After all, my Shimano Saint’s were stone fucking cold:
Fuck this I decided, and dropped back to the team car to ask the DS to send me a domestique to draft me to what I hoped was a downhill of some form, oh, with dirt on it perhaps? That would be lovely. I was obliged by the Super-Domestique arriving on the scene, Snozza caught me up on I think the second lap? Can’t ask for a better helper than this now can you…
Obviously Snozza hadn’t had enough of waiting yesterday, so I thought it best to subject him to another whole day of it today. Oh, not really joking… I couldn’t even hold my dick, let alone a wheel today, even managing to get dropped on the false flat up to the final downhill of the lap. Which just quietly is a good segway to my favourite part of the day.
Yes, every 30 minutes or so I got to the only part of the lap where for 1 minute and 27 seconds I genuinely enjoyed and felt mildly rad on. Thank you trail builders for this one! One of the coolest feelings on a DH trail is when you get the chance to jump the apex. Its not something readily available on most trails, or like in Whistler if I tried this I would probably die, so it was nice to find 4 absolutely excellent cut lines where you could make yourself feel better than you looked anywhere else on the lap. Example 1:
The Nomad 3 absolutely eats this shit up, all you really have to do is not brake, point it at the lip and it unleashes all its carbon goodness. The video will look a lot better, but this one came quickly after the 1st and was fucking fast. Example 2:
The third one was the fastest of all, blind, flat out and then spat you into two berms, which on lap 6 I was on the absolute limit of fucking up, one hospital trip narrowly avoided… Example 3:
I know I’m labouring the point here gang, but let me have my moment of glory, after all, I slogged like a total cuntbag through the previous 6km’s to get to this point, so I may as well enjoy the cut lines. Example 4:
As the laps wore on, I didn’t really get worse per se, I was actually just constantly shit. Ok, so perhaps Lap 3 was a melt down if we LOOK AT THE TIMES:
- 32.47 (smashed a gel)
Had he been solo Snozza could have probably smashed 30 min laps or so, in fact he had so much time to wait he even got into practicing some Yoga, much to my delight at seeing another convert (first Tea cakes, now Yoga):
With my 1 minute and 27 seconds of goodness coming to an end, it was time to send it towards my second favourite part of the day: The chairlift ride back up. Hey look, big viking wheels can fly:
On the way back up the main challenge for Snozza was thinking up new ways to describe what a cunt I was on account of my riding performance… Not as easy a proposition as you may think when we had 8 uplifts to contend with…
And yes, we are holding on to our bikes on the chairlift there… A new novelty and super awesome when your T Rex arms are a bit fingered.
So, thanks to me, we only managed 7 laps (thank holy fuck), when the leaders did 8 laps before the cut off. When your time ran out, it was time for the eagerly anticipated 12km downhill to hamburgers! Was I fingered to all fuck after 4 hours or riding and gels melting my stomach lining? Yes. Did I care given we had DH radness to come? No.
Ah… So, about that big long DH… I’m sorry, did you think it was hand built single track?
Steep… loose… double track. I heard the word ‘cunty’ being used a lot, as Epic Trail DH this was NOT. the top section was like riding down the side of your house, but with it covered in marbles and golf balls… Uninspiring to say the least and a bit like getting a pat on the head when perhaps you had an expectation of receiving oral sex.
Anyway, its probably best to remember 5 months ago or so I was in hospital eating spam, so I wasn’t about to complain too much, instead lets focus on what this final DH was: Fucking fast.
Yes, it was mental… Its not often you get to go absolutely flat out on an MTB, but this terrain was just plain speed. Again, the video will have to do it justice when I can get that out, but it was pretty straight, steep and dry. Suck it in… 50kph on an MTB feels just a tad quicker than on a road bike, but the Nomad 3 just ate it up and asked for more, insanely stable at HIGH speed. Stoked:
How stoked was I to finally get to the finish? Absolutely pumped… Its not often you spend the entire day feeling fingered and never really improve, but that pretty much sums up the day. I did note that I ultimately saw some numbers on the Garmin that I don’t think I have seen before on an MTB ride, especially on the Nomad:
- 4 hours 49 minutes
- 2,724m descended
Yeah… Fuck… Toast. Sure, some of those numbers include 8 chair lift rides, but lets not rain on my drama parade, I had to hold on to my bike on the lift, so basically a weights session in reality. Snozza made the right call at the end to promptly fuck off when my stomach started to lose the battle to the gel tsunami washing through me, nasty:
After feeling average all day, I promised that it was important to hit some real nutrition after the race, especially given we were at a food and wine festival after all, as luck would have it. Yup, nailed it with the Kransky and beer… Oh yeah. The most ENDURO thing all day basically:
Massive Dirty thanks to Snozza for waiting, again… and abusing me so that I didn’t stop after lap 3 (it was on the cards, for real). So, utterly drilled and with a day to go… But, hooray, tomorrow is THE pinnacle of the long weekend: A real ENDURO race. I’m off to read the fine print…