I’m a bit late to the party with the annual wrap up post, on account of being heavily implicated in some of the raddest shredding of the year over the last few days, more on that soon… But here we are now in 2017 and its time to fully close out the random turd that was 2016, by rehashing a whole lot of old material dressed up as awards and with a smidge of dodgy hindsight thrown in on a year everyone hated on, usually with good reason.
From a Dirty Mission perspective it wasn’t actually too bad, sure it wasn’t as insanely epic as 2015, but it did ok for itself… But it was a strange year considering the rather large events that were confirmed and paid for, but didn’t pan out:
- Dodzy Memorial Enduro
- NZ Enduro
- EWS Chile
- EWS Argentina
That list alone would be considered a massive year of missions, and my brain starts to melt if I had actually rolled all of the stuff that didn’t happen into the list of action that was banked in 16:
- Trans NZ
- Bali mini mission
- Aosta Valley & EWS La Thuile
- #AT40 Girona & Pyrenees tour
- EWS Finale
- Rotorua end of year radness (yet to be documented)
Of course it all started with the road to recovery again, which reminds me that for the first time in 3 years I made it through the year without getting injured! Whilst I tried to smoke myself on multiple occasions in La Thuile, thank fuck I got through the tumultuous 2016 without another cunt up. And with that win in the bank, let’s get on with dishing out some of the glorious Dirty awards for 2016 so we can get busy with making 2017 even madder/Yuuuuge.
Best ENDURO race
The Gnar Phoenix! After a cunty 2015, Finale redeemed itself massively for 2016 and put on a ripping 4 days of Italian gnar and golden trails that provided a more than worthy end to the year. Yeah, biased as fuck here given how it panned out for moi, but it certainly felt more survivable than La Thuile.
Sure, its hard to beat the scenery of the Alps, but the way Finale set up the stages this year, plus that gelato and beach action meant that from a Dirty satisfaction perspective it got the nod. I went from “Fuck this place” to “When can we come back?” faster than a swing voter listening to populist rhetoric.
Best Stage of the year
Now this is a slightly tougher pick to be honest… Logic would dictate that I’d pick stage 4 in Finale given it was my best result, or Finale stage 3 given how fucking interesting and unique it was. But size matters clearly, so I’m going to go with an absolute BEAST of a run… Stage 3 in La Thuile:
Almost 6km’s long with a 906m elevation drop, it wasn’t just the numbers that made ‘Mulino’ fucking legendary, it was the fact that it was fucking full on, whilst also being rammed with more variety than a lingerie store.
Open rocky alpine radness, full gas straight open sprints, mega steep shutes of doom, natural berms and bowls and just generally everything you could find awesome and challenging about Mountain Biking. It was hard to manage a practice run without stopping and the race run took me a full 15 minutes. If you want to experience the quintessential Alps ENDURO experience, then get to La Thuile and get on this motherfucker. Footnote – Its the kind of trail we used to ride on DH bikes and go “Fuck yeah thats full on eh cunt?“.
Worthy mentions – Trans NZ had some stunning stages of course, no more so than the day in Alexandra, hard to find, but the rocky high speed runs were an awesome change from a lot of the classics we had already ridden. Corotown stage in Queenstown also deserves a mention here, steep AF and best left for the dry days.
A slightly odd award and not something I would usually call out, but the most curious aspect of Bali Bike Park was indeed the mind blowing hero dirt that caressed our tires and pillowed an out of control SwissMissile. What it lacked in elevation, BBP made up with its fluffy Willie Wonka dirt that induced giggling and almost made me want to stop and start build trails… It was so fucking good you could almost run Ardent’s… WOAH:
Best Col of the year
Finally one for the Roadies – Unlike 2015, there were some genuine contenders putting their gradient up for this award in 2016. Thanks to the #AT40 tour, which saw a leg sapping pigging out on categorised suffering. Whilst Hautacam was stunning and pleasant and the Aubisque has the scenery award sown up, its fairly obvious here that there is only ONE winner when it comes to this award for 16… The BEAST:
Col du Tourmalet was some epic shit, both sides as well, and although I may have ground my way up there like a heavily pregnant caterpillar, at least I got to appreciate its magnificence in between biting the last drops out of a gel packet. If you consider yourself a Road Cyclist and haven’t been to this hallowed land, sort that fucking shit out immediately.
Notable mention – Rocacorba, mainly as it has a cool name, is in Spain and was the only climb I beat AT up, on account of him being massively cunted due to epic dehydration and jet lag. A win’s a win.
Best product you can wear
No surprises here I think, but for me the Giro Switchblade stood out massively as the helmet I didn’t realise that I always needed. Sure, it has some quirks and isn’t a hot headed persons best friend, but assuming it fits your head, there isn’t another helmet you want on your head when you’re about to drop into something that wants to fuck with you. Even with the open face you’ll feel as secure as a guest at Gitmo when getting into your work.
Best product you can’t wear
Road – After 15 or so years of Fizik Arione addiction, I was finally persuaded to change to the weirdest fucking saddle you can find in the Selle SMP Dynamic. Believe me, Toby from BikeFit Asia almost developed a brain aneurysm trying to convince me these were the business and turns out he was right. Yes, ugly as fuck, yes, not overly light and yes, hard to explain to others, but shit these things are excellent – Once set up right!
MTB – This was a cage of death match between the new Shimano XT gear and the Maxxis Minion DHF 2.5. In the end I think the Minion 2.5 is the greatest thing* I have enjoyed using to save my life in 2016. Important note, it HAS to be the 2.5 and if you’re heading to anything rocky, then the DoubleDown version is preferable. Sure, these things are heavier than a fictitious fat dude sitting in his basement hacking elections, but the grip is endurogasmic, especially in the 29er version – Holy FUCK its mad.
*Actually the greatest thing on the planet is really the new Santa Cruz Hightower, but that’s a whole other post that needs to be unleashed once the NZ shake down/pants explosion is complete.
Upgrade of the year
This is super simple: Coaching. Assuming you have a bike that isn’t a total piece of shit, there is nothing you can buy or upgrade that will make you a radder cunt than getting some quality coaching with the right person in the right location. Its also far more effective having someone else tell you how shit you are instead of your own self loathing, especially when you’re paying for stuff you kind of already know.
That aside, if you pick the right coach, you’ll definitely come out the other side more pinned than when you went in. Put it on the list for 2017 YO…
Melt down of the year
Usually everyone’s favourite award, but thanks to the lack of racing in 2016 there weren’t as many contenders, however this didn’t stop me from having some quality melt downs. Unfortunately none reached the lofty comedic levels of the class of 15, but I still managed to make a proper cunt of myself with excellent form on a few occasions. This years winner? Drum roll of screaming tantrums…
Stage 5 La Thuile – It wasn’t just the race ending, head ringing, massive over the bars crash that makes this one a champion, but when trying to simply get out of this stage of doom it was the second over the bars and subsequent bike throw, resulting in scratched fork stanchions, and the very vocal “Fucking CUNT!” in front of Italian kids that made this a winner. FYI, importing new Fox 36 fork stanchions from Australia is really expensive. Some other challengers that fell by the wayside in 16?
- Stage 1 Finale – So much build up, riding so well, felt awesome and was sure it was ON to dominate a stage 1 for a change. Zero chance… Looked like a drunk monkey trying to fuck a dolphin the whole way down. Just terrible… Wanted to cry and quit but I didn’t know the way back to Finale from the end of the stage
- Day 2 Trans NZ – Almost filled my shorts with shit on “The Edge” and then proceeded to ride like a beginner all day. Quality learning experience that doing a 5 day adventure ENDURO as your first thing back from a broken neck can be fraught with cuntishness.
Fisting of the year
So finally then for 2016, a massive Dirty thanks to all the GC units that made it another awesome year of missions and riding. I did initially try and do this montage in chronological order but my attention span fucked out so in the end it’s just everyone collaged into a fisting orgy of Germanic proportions.
I need to lift my game on the 2017 planning front, especially to line up more missions with the DN Global Collective of rad cunts, hit some new places and generally keep the good times rolling in 2017.
Can’t wait to see ewes all out there to faff away some days creating new stories and experiences for the 2017 awards. Thanks for reading and commenting all you rad cunts. Have an awesome year ahead and looking forward to fisting you while secretly filming it on Go PRO.