One of the challenges of writing up a Marathon XC stage race is that it’s generally relatively same same. The process each day is pretty much the same, the suffering is the same, me declaring a jihad on the Portaloo 4 times before each stage was the same, the abuse to your stomach and body is the same and smashing coke (The cola) at the end… All pretty much part of the same template used day after day. So much so I had a check list which I followed like a corporate drone in strict adherence to the policies & procedures which govern your matrix existence.

However, luckily for you and I, Part 3 of the worlds most excessive pre-season ENDURO training camp took a turn for the unexpected and definitely unplanned. The result was a new script, some angst, solid laughter, despair, rage, C-Bombs dropped like cluster munitions all over Central Otago and above all, the musky scent of team spirit mixed in with the kind of Bromance bonding you only find on a multi day event.

98% intrigued, 1% aroused and 1% mildly irritated? Good, then fucking grab a coffee, because this final download is a big, bad muthafucka rammed with more words and pics than you can shake your 7th Gel of the day at as we go bandito balls deep on the run to qTown.

The Beginning of the End

As we milled around after a Day 4 that everyone generally agreed was harder than anticipated, instinctively Bone’s Labrador DNA knew trouble was on the horizon… Whilst he had the general dull throbbing everyone had by this stage in the event, the last 5 or so kilometres of the day were nagging at him and a simple question gnawed at his nutsac like a pet ferret which you suddenly realise you have no real control over:

“Hmmmm, speak to me epic landscape, am I cunted?”

Whilst on the subject of usually being cunted, and here’s something you probably haven’t wondered – Given I was cramping up in 2-3 hour ENDURO races in the run up to Pioneer, how the fuck was I getting through these massive days without even a hint of muscle melt down? Simple Semi-PRO tip right here: Magnesium tablets. Yup, took them for 2 weeks prior and not even a hint of cramp, which was quite revolutionary given my experience at the Whaka 100, not to mention 25 years of racing in general. Sort of wish I had known that when I was getting fucking gang banged racing in Asia.

Day 5 – Stage 4: Bannockburn to Bannockburn 68km’s & 2,591m of climbing

So then, we knew that Day 5 was going to be very simple… It was Judgement Day, and it started early with the 4am rain on the tent wake up call, stoked. Yes, technically not the Queen Stage, but there’s a good argument to be had it was the Queen climbing stage, so it was going to be a decisive day one way or another.

But Bone and I had calculated we’d be able to maintain status quo, while our Rivet Racing peers had every intention of dominating the upper echelon of Masters sans lubrication – yes, it was that graphic and eye watering, not to mention ominous when you peered out of your Marmot:

“Come with me if you want to suffer”

To be noted – Some next level commitment to the application of shammy cream going on in the tent across the lane. I have to believe it’s relatively innocent, because if you had the energy to rub one out heading into Day 5, then clearly you weren’t giving it your all.

I think the problem ultimately with Judgement Day was that the bulk of that climbing was rammed Mandingo Vs Megan Rain style (Mad respect if you were baller enough to just copy and paste that reference into your work browser search engine. When HR call you, just refer them to me) into about 26km’s of riding:

A tiny bit of foreplay before “what the FUCK are you doing?!” kicks in

We got into the pen at the back of Group B in light rain and for the first time all week the start wasn’t a rabid moshpit fuck fest, a testament to how cunted people were now, wrapped up in how stupidly hard the day ahead promised to be. I was as surprised as I was delighted that at last the insanity had a leash on it somewhat.

Much like a new 737 MAX, no sooner were we clear of the runway and Bone’s master caution alarm went off… when he initially rolled up next to me and said he couldn’t really pedal, I assumed he meant “I can’t rock 375 watts for 4 hours like usual bro”, so I vaguely ignored him and pedalled on aware we were now at the very tail end of group B as it ground it’s way up the opening gravel climb. I may have even said something super generic and helpful like “Maybe it will warm up soon bro“, cheers cunt, yes, that searing agony shooting through your leg like you’re being stabbed by a T1000 is simply just looking for a warm up to ease it’s rage.

But a few kilometres later it was clear that he actually really had blown a diff like an old L300 van overloaded with stolen Persian rugs and totally meant this shit, and unlike a Corporate retreat to Hamilton Island the month before bonuses are confirmed, no really meant no. We slid out the back of Group B like a Pioneer Portaloo turd and even Kath and Peg were clearly gutted to see us depart so early and thus deprive them of their usual 3 hour hunting party which had culminated a good old gimp slaying each day.

We even had time to exchange some wry mutual looks of “Ehhhh, it’s you cunts!” with our Day 4 imaginary nemesis team rolling past us looking equally finger banged. As we had a slow motion tortoise race, they eventually exacted their revenge for the closing stages of Day 4 and limped away from us, not to be seen again. If they were the canaries, then something was definitely fucked up in this coal mine, and it wasn’t clean or beautiful.

We were now all alone after about 6km’s and instantly our strategic business plan went from “maintain 13th on GC” to “Get that Fucking finishers medal cunt” We soft pedaled up to the 10km mark, but with Bone’s pain levels hitting heights even a Labrador couldn’t sustain, we stopped to reassess just as Group C swallowed us up like a tiny cock:

“Just look away bro, look away… I think some of them may even be doing Marathon XC on 27.5 wheels”

Now, it’s important to note at this point that The T Bone is not someone who is prone to theatrics, dramatics or hyperbole, in fact he has a very scientific approach to his suffering, which is something he not only knows how to do in significant quantities, but in a manner which far exceeds my mental or physical limitations. My point being, when you see him parked up like this, you know shit has gone right and proper sideways.

We used some ENVE tape, which they make to patch up their snapped cunt rims to get you back to the car, but as we’re the only two people on the team who aren’t doctors (feels ironic), we did a super odd job of sticking random tape to his leg and just tried to box on. Box on… With 60km’s to go and not even really any of the climbing done. This is the point where if some cunt approaches you and utters the words “Character building“, you are absolutely within your rights to judo chop their throat.

We were in agreement our characters didn’t need any more construction work

In all seriousness it’s hard to describe the range of emotions that were now starting to gang up on us, well, I can’t speak for Bone, but I was busy catastrophising this scenario in my head with a smoothie blender full of the following, in no particular order of course:

  • Relief 1.0 – Thank fuck we don’t have to TT hammer all day, this is almost a ‘get out of Guantanamo Bay suffer prison for free card’ being dealt here
  • Devastation – Oh fuck, our results are going to be well cunted now… Top 15 vaporised and top 20 probably going down the shitter as well. We’re going to get beaten by teams named ‘Fat Scones’ or people in Hawaiian shirts. Fucking shoot me
  • Pity – Fuck I feel for Bone, this is total shizen and I’m gutted that he’s blown a terminator hydraulic line somewhere in there
  • Relief 2.0 – Fuck I’m glad it wasn’t me that blew a diff
  • Guilt – Fuck I feel guilty for feeling relief 2.0, what a cuuuuunt (Possibly a watered down version of survivor guilt thrown in here)
  • Rage – Muthafucka, look at some of the units coming past us… I can’t get back to ENDURO fast enough.

Soon Group D lemmings had even started to come past us and you could see the cunts licking their lips like fat hyenas that they got to devour some top 20 scalps as we limped down the undulating valley. My inner cycling snob had turned into the hulk, broken out of prison and was busy strangling people who said things like “Shared experience” or “I love the camaraderie“.

I knew shit had got really bad when people wearing non-bib shorts started to pass us… If you just had to open a new tab on your browser to search out what that meant, yes, allegedly you can still procure cycling shorts which are essentially like lycra swimming shorts. I think I recall them from my early teens when I still thought you wore underwear beneath them as well.  Naturally on a couple of occasions these alien garments were accompanied with cycling jerseys which appeared to have had their sleeves removed. Ultimately it was the sight of these participants that had Bone and I in a huddle to seriously discuss DNFing based on the aggravated sartorial assault we were having to sustain here. I strangely went into horrified squirrel mode:

Fucking nice one squirrel mouth #nutkins

Ultimately I responded in a mature fashion by undertaking these people we had never seen before into sharp downhill corners… Or as I mentioned to a squeaky young Aussie girl as we crested a small climb that had Bone in writhing pain, that as I had a scrotum full of hate, if she was going to try and pass us on a DH, she had better pin the absolute fuuuuuck out of it or deal with the consequences, especially given clearly I had some Hanger issues I was working through.

This is the part where I provide some insights into the importance of always eating on multi day races

The irony was not lost on us that we were now heading down the valley of death that we had ridden up to finish the previous day… Especially considering that this was the same zone which had triggered the injury that Bone was now desperately trying to nurse through to the medics. Given I couldn’t pop smoke, I thought through “What would Seb do?” and acted accordingly.

8 years in Asia and this is the result every time you see a camera

Our plan was to limp out of the valley via a combo of pushes, soft pedaling and agony to get to the medic. We had seen other teams pushing each other all week, hand on the back style from the stronger rider and I felt confident that I could recreate such heroic antics. First problem was overcoming the look Bone gave me, a combination of pride and “why are you touching me bro?” complicating logistics, but once we finally did get up and running it transpired that you have to be strong as fuck to sustain that action. Spoiler alert, I’m not strong as fuck.

To be alarmingly blunt, but reflective of our progress, fat cunts were now coming past us… and a little part of our souls were dying each time a middle manager named Ian, probably from Finance, rode by in the most terrible manner (#kneesout). A glass half full person might say “But what a great opportunity to meet new people!”, which assumes you like meeting people who have a penchant for cutting the sleeves off functional cycling kit.

We finally made it to the aid station which oddly wasn’t where it was supposed to be (To be noted, this is a standard Pioneer theme), instead parked at the bottom of a high speed DH road section, handy. Naturally there were no medics at the aid station, so we continued on a bit until we found them and interrupted their leaning on vehicles. It took a lot of cajoling, but they finally decided to vaguely help us after some initial reluctance, I assume they’re mostly on hand for incidents involving blood or visible wounds. However, after some initial bondage level strapping, Bone’s eyes lit up like a US Postal Domestique when they finally offered him painkillers…

Progress was slow as everyone stood around to admire the chiseled Bone chassis

Everyone was unsure if the Saudi Bone saw jokes were #toosoon or not, pun heavily intended

Initially Bone wasn’t sure if the strapping made that much of a difference, but we pushed on with our slightly weird date with destiny anyway, towards the Carricktown climb: 30km’s in, 6.5km’s in length gaining 750m in elevation. Fart noise.

The Great Carricktown Bandito Massacre 

As you may imagine, we’d spent the entire morning fucking about in one way or another, so we arrived at the first big milestone not only relatively fresh & fucked off, but also buried deep in punters. I think Bones painkillers kicked in as we started the climb, as he was back on the wheel like a Labrador eyeing up your prized toy dog at the park, with a big pink cock hanging out.

The plan was to just ride steady and see how we’d go, but ha-fucking-ha-ha, turns out that’s hard to do on a climb which averages 12% but with some 25% sections thrown in, not to mention plenty of loose rubble… in all honesty we tried to ride it as slowly as possible, but we clearly fucked that up as we ended up like that scene in every Jurassic park movie where the Velociraptors finally get out and start eating the humans. I mostly blame the Blur’s technical climbing prowess for this behaviour.

The taste of Group D Bandito leaves a taint on the palate

It did occur to me as we rode section after section that hordes of Banditos were walking that either A) we were dickheads or B) we were in the wrong paddling pool or C) everyone else knew something we didn’t. Grind, out of the seat to stretch, grind, repeat. Bandito after Bandito fell to our hungry Forecasters and actually, just to overuse the whole movie analogy thing completely, it was probably more like that scene in Commando where Arnie dispatches 382 generic South American soldiers with a single 30 round mag.

By this I mean we passed 100 riders. No, not a metaphor or an approximation, a legit data point as Bone actually counted them in his beautiful Labrador mind, all while explaining to me the gear inches calculation to prove his argument that the new XTR 51T cassettes wouldn’t have made any fucking difference (He has science to prove it, but I remain sceptical). I was mildly annoyed he hadn’t broken down the data by each riders category, but I guess he was having a cunt of a day, so a pass is due.

If you think I’ve sounded a little negative so far in part 3, I can confirm that this Kill Bill style climbing revenge massacre was actually ‘Fun’, not a word I have used a lot so far to be fair. Yes, it was a concentrated sufferfest, but I managed to extract some vestiges of the emotion they call ‘Fun’ from the experience of us being semi back to our normal racing selves. However, I didn’t realize it at the time, but perhaps being a little fresh and riding sections everyone was walking wasn’t the best plan? Especially when I looked at the data post stage:

One of these things is not like the other ones, one of these things is not quite the same

If you ignore the fact I have NO business being that close to Kento, or even within 10 mins or so of GV, you may have some clue to what happened down track… In usual fashion the top was not the top and once we worked our way haphazardly through the fingers it was more very un-Bandito like high speed DH precision flying before we hit Mt Difficulty and… Holy fuck, pass me that smoke grenade Sarge, as we’re going to need a fucking evac to get out of this alive.

I’d already piled in a shit load of food and the most powerful gels in the arsenal, (Yes, the ‘Enervit’, which is Italian for ‘We sort of think this is legal’, AKA – the Tactical Nuke of gels) but I blew to pieces in a manner you’d only usually see from a Renault Formula One engine. I’ve used a 4 year olds paint approach to trying to highlight the kill box where deep irrationality set in:

I think we had just ridden up an oddly difficult section, and when the gradient eased up we could see what lay ahead. Even though we’d halved the steepness, my cycling brain screamed enough and I inexplicably clipped out in what essentially amounted to a complete mental capitulation. Terrible walking ensued:

Bone looking about as happy as AT being made to eat gelato in Girona

About the moment we made a pact to never drink the wine from this region ever again

As you can see looking left, it’s not called Mt Difficulty by chance. I would say we were pedaling squares, but I couldn’t pedal at all and Bone was in hysterics following a heavily redacted conversation… and how insane the sting in the tail of this beast stage was.

An even funnier aspect was we were riding through some incredibly spectacular countryside all week, but yet I had hardly looked up at all to visually drink it in, unlike the wine from this region which has led to many near misses with an HR investigation. If there is one pull factor for doing this event, it’s getting to ride across all the private property sections which are in a fucking excellent part of the world:

The one time I take a scenery shot and it doesn’t deliver any justice to the reality

We were now going through the “Muthafucka there seriously can’t be another 1,000m of climbing to go right?” phase, given we were 5 hours into the day and genuinely fucked. I’m not hating on the organisers for consistently fucking up the elevation data point in our favour, but it does mess your shit up when you’re managing the dominant data point on a race like this.

It’s probably not a surprise then that when we saw a random lonely marshall and he confirmed the climb was over, we felt the most extreme relief of the week. Released from the waterboarding and cavity probing of Mt Difficulty, we were on the insane downhill back to the bottom of the valley… seriously fuck this thing was fast. With a scream of “tally ho, stick to me like glue Bone” off we went, slaying some geeks on our way down this ultra fast run, most of it spent in the 40-60kph zone on steep and super sketchy gravel. The Blur was staggeringly fast on this stuff, and it’s ability to change lines like it was reading my mind a massive selling point of this wonder of a creation.

Home and hosed? Fuck no… another weird sting in the tail with a hot valley climb on what appeared to be sand and some singletrack was nicely timed with Bones painkillers wearing off… so some utter doom and a final kick in the balls as we crawled home on the road at 13kph looking like cycle tourists.

Words can’t express the respect for Bone for fighting through the day to keep us in the game, it was really epic shit and even though I didn’t have any injuries or issues as such, I was emotionally spent at the end of the day, so fuck knows how he got through it. And I don’t mean that in a “Gee, that was a tough day” Famous Five kind of way… I mean I sat there in the shade of the Bacon Buttie food truck, unable to eat or speak and had to fight very hard to not let my inner fluffy puss puss out of the cage for a proper melt down. I was completely cooked on every single level available. I suspect in totality probably top 3 of hardest days on the bike ever. Judgement day had more than lived up to expectations. Semi-Pro tip – If you feel terminally cunted on this race, don’t go back to your tent and FaceTime your wife and baby whilst you’re absolutely hollowed out.

As for our comRADes, the Rivet Racers – holy shit the boys went next level on this day of days and the podium was now looking ON! This is a race for climbers and the boys pushed their way straight into the honey hole on a day where those that couldn’t really climb were stripped naked in front of the whole assembly. No such concerns for GV and Mr C.

Stage 4 Results

I’d been saying to Bone all week that cunts would be blowing up on Day 5 and going backwards, however as Bone pointed out, little did we know that those cunts were under our noses the whole time. The results flowed accordingly:

  • Masters Winners – 3.51 and 3rd on overall GC: What the FUCK?!!!
  • Rivet Racers – 4.11, 3rd Masters for the day, 4th on Masters GC and 13th overall GC*
  • Dirty Rivets – 5.55, 46th Masters for the day, 20th on Masters GC and 61st overall GC

*Absolutely the best part of this result is the fact that as we milled about having breakfast, GV was off hiding from Mr Cycling hurling his guts out pre-stage. He claims he was possibly ill, but this reeks to me of La Gazzetta fake news and the more likely scenario was that in his excitement of the parcours to come, the Snow Leopard more likely wanted to be as light as possible for inflicting torment on the competition. Either way, a ‘Stuff of Legends’ moment from the week.

5 Coke’s down, 1 to go… Yes, we were too fucked to take a photo at the finish, so it’s just fucking tents instead

This was now the point in the race where you have an alarming level of sympathy for any cunt who has been busted for PED’s in a Grand Tour as you lie in your gas filled tent and notice it has a convenient hook in the roof where you could run a blood bag from. You do this whilst marvelling about how the fuck you’re going to get through another day on the bike when not only does everything ache, but the day in question starts painfully early and promises to be one of the hardest all week. Repeat after me:

“Marathon XC stage racing is fucked in the head”

Day 6 – Stage 5: Bannockburn to Queenstown 85km’s & 2,382m of climbing

If it seems fucking weird to you that the last day of this mission/race/ordeal/death march was the second longest, then Welcome to the fucking party pal, and bite down hard on that Twinkie. To be noted, that Twinkie was served at the 5am breakfast, in preparation for the 7am start. If you’re suddenly thinking that all sounds like getting your face fucked in a manner you think you only 69% consented to, then you’d be right:

Wait, what? Is that the biggest climb of the week?

Day 6 was “Operation Fergburger“, and I’d never looked so forward to standing in an irrational queue in all my life. Whilst our Rivet Racer comRADes were scheming their podium assault over the 5am brekkie table, we of the Dirty Rivets had two plan options for the final push to qTown:

Plan A – Defend 20th on GC and then smother ourselves in the glory of a top 20 finish

Plan B – Get that muthafucken finishers medal at all costs, walking included…

Both plans also included an all out assault on the Ferg-Empire naturally. It would all come down to whether or not T Bone would be able to push through or if the meds and the fact he had more strapping on him than Hannibal Lector wouldn’t cut the mustard. Regardless, there was one thing more important than anything else – The Bromance:

6 days of regretting the mismatched helmet colours

If you think my continuous bitching about Group B was bad, then strap in tight as based on what transpired during Judgement Day, it was our first day starting in Group C, which I have to say felt a bit depressing… A bit like when you go to board a plan and the over zealous bitch faced person says “Ohhhh, I’m sorry sweetie, we’re only boarding Gold Elite right now, you can fuck off over there next to the people with babies

Ignoring the fact that one mofo had a bell on his bars, it was the rag tag assortment of people who still didn’t know what bib shorts were or who thought that 27.5 XC bikes were actually a thing that took a golden shower on my mojo. The stench of being downgraded stung my nostrils and bruised my inflated & mildly delusional ego. But the physical risk was real and we found that out pretty quick from the go…

It took about 200m before some Colombian mule jammed his brakes on randomly in a peloton of 70 people and whilst disaster was avoided, a woman came up to me after and in a particularly thick kiwi accent said “yeah, you need to watch him eh, Fucking random and doesn’t speak English!” Noted.

We didn’t have to wait long for the next proof point that the ‘C’ in Group C stood firmly for Cunt either. The race organisers had spent the whole morning telling us 200 times to NOT cross the centerline on the Bannockburn bridge before the singletrack entrance… so… yeah.. what did cunts do? Uh huh… it was a Group C fuckpig moshpit or suicidal line crossing lemmings. This wasn’t adding any value to my ‘Shared Experience’ vibe to be fair.

Bone and I finally carved out a little bit of breathing room into the sTrack because we know how to ride our bikes slightly better than drunk gerbals, it proved extremely valuable from a sanity and photography perspective:

The sweet beauty of finally getting some clear air

Feeling some Bannockburn love with a spot of formation flying

As we navigated the opening singletrack I was on egg shells waiting for the verdict from Bone as to how he had pulled up after the work put into his chassis overnight. 8km’s in and at the foot of the imposing Mt Michael, T Bone called that he was indeed T Bung and the pin was immediately pulled on plan A, switching to Plan B. The slightly complicating factor was Michael was a total cuntbag: 13.17km’s gaining 1,127m at an average of 8%. Or in other words, bigger than anything we’d faced so far in the race…. Hoo-fucking-ray.

Much like Day 5, it was walking & soft pedalling on the agenda and as such we now had the procession of punters filing past like beaten British paratroopers fleeing Arnhem (that will only make sense if you’ve seen ‘A Bridge Too Far’). I may not be a great climber, but sweet baby Hesus some of these people made waterboarding look more favourable than this race… we marvelled at how some appeared to be grinding so hard it defied physics that balance wasn’t an issue.

The paradox of throwing the horns in potentially the most inappropriate circumstances and your mouth is saying “Fuck this”

About halfway up a cuddly South African chap who appeared to be on the cusp of a medical episode and most likely had the word ‘procurement’ in his job title, rode up next to me as I was soft pedalling with my mouth closed and as Niagara falls level sweat cascaded off his pink face he stammered between breaths that sounded like a hippo wanking “this… is… so… hard”, all with the terror in his eyes of a man being cuckolded by his wife’s tennis coach.

I calmly looked at my Garmin and back and him and quietly said “well, the good news is you only have about 600m of vert still to climb, which at this rate is about an hour” as his soul imploded like the Kursk and he unclipped, I painted another silhouette of a Group D/E rider on the side of my Blur’s top tube.

Bone then asked “dude, how can you gun down Group D and E riders like that?” To which I easily quipped “It’s easy, you just don’t lead them as much” (Again, if you haven’t seen Full Metal jacket that will be irrelevant). I wouldn’t say it was enjoyable, but I was clearly stoked that I wasn’t in TT mode up here in the box hating life.

Getting onto approximately zero Christmas card lists up Mt Michael

Mt Michael essentially went forever, which met expectations, but given our change in mission parameters it didn’t really matter. On the parts we did ride, there was a significant amount of Kama Sutra love making with the nose of the saddle to keep things rolling.

The most impressive thing was, aside from seeing him wear POC and Fox gear, was getting to witness Andy Hagan riding up the hill, parking his bike, running back down and pushing Mrs Hagan up while running… an awesome advertisement to ensure you never get your partner into cycling EVER. It made Bone wonder why the fuck I wasn’t showing that level of commitment…

“You need to show your commitment to Team Dirty Rivet Gary…”

Ultimately it took us 2 hours and 14 minutes to negotiate Mt Michael, or as Herr Doktor would say “Jesus cunt, are you for real?!” The top of the climb was horror movie slow and soft, not to mention cold and barren, whilst the scenery here reeks of LOTR making love to your face, this section wasn’t winning any friends and even when it was supposed to be DH time, it sort of had a knack of either going back up or being super muddy. It was essentially one of those climbs that went forever… Then went forever again. The Death March was ON:

To be noted, not the top

But the Roaring Meg DH didn’t disappoint, with an incredible rocky alpine upper section where Bone and I ate up punters like fat whale sharks on a plankton gang bang, before getting on to some crazy gravel road which was either Alpe D’huez switchback like or just super high speed.

What did bother us however as we negotiated the cunty last 2 climbs was the data point in front of us: 4 hours in and we’d only reached the halfway point of 44kms… we exchanged looks as the maths dawned on our munted minds. Bone was doing an amazing job of soft pedaling or trying to grind in ways not usually seen outside of an Elton John concert to get power through a leg he was mulling amputating at this point.

On the final DH to the jet boat, we played a game of catch and release with two Mexican chaps, Bad Hombre’s if you will, as one of them slammed on the brakes at the top of something 200% rideable and blocked the racing line as we approached like a couple of meteors targeted to hit Ferg Baker… Strangely the Mexicans were non-committal on whether or not they were going to pay for our Fergburgers.

We had expected a big rest at the crossing, but the whole thing was over in about 90 seconds, which wasn’t as heart breaking as the climb out of the river or the grass section in the wind after. It was all worth it however to see some genuine and involuntary Labrador stoke in response to some V8 jet boat action and the smell of Avgas in the morning.

Translation: I really fucking like this

No, the actual real heartbreak was hitting the cycle path and realizing that 4 hours and 40 minutes into this death march that we had 40kms to ride to the finish…




Proving I don’t ever learn, I looked up from my Garmin and said “At this rate Bone we’ll be back in 2 hours”, so within 30 seconds we got turned into some slow speed gravel shit and pinch climbs. Cunt. The mouth now said it all:

Shot – I really want to go home now

Chaser – I really can’t be fucked actually pedalling home

Add to that, this was a fucking horrible bike path (Ok, so that river ain’t bad I guess), loose, badly cambered and not what you wanted to see at this stage in the day or week. It was probably a contributing factor in me losing my shit and having a mini tantrum, which composed of me referring to myself as a cunt or screaming at myself like I was a CrossFit person who had ODed on Ryno Powder again.

I rammed as much food as I had left in my pockets as Bone tried to talk me off the ledge and we collectively watched the KM clock tick down so slowly it felt like the Russians had hacked our GPS. Given that I now took the weakest link baton from Bone and suffered through a hyper bad patch, the question did form in my mind: What would have happened if Bone had been fully operational and frothing these last 2 days? A terrifying prospect to be honest given I was now in more pain than a Rodfather Hammer-oid.

I can almost taste Coke #6

Given I was out of water and every part of me hurt like fuck, seeing that last aid station of the week was both weird and pure relief. Those last 27kms from the final aid station in particular were soul destroying… chain was screaming, body was in agony and little rises felt like HC climbs. I also had to contend with my Garmin telling me it was going flat and the fear of not uploading the day drove me to the front to commit a final act of Seppuku to get us home back into qTown.

Permanent pain mask giving zero fucks about the artistry of the Remarks as a back drop

In most multi day events I’ve done, I’ve sort of wanted to get to the end, but then oddly wanted it to keep going. Take Trans Provence for example; When you see Menton and the coast and you’re making your way down to plunge into the Med, you feel incredible emotions about the sense of achievement, but you also don’t want the party to end. Yeah, fuck that – None of that shit was happening here, I had the Blur on full lock out and was ragefully extracting the last vestiges of effort from my munted chassis because fuck it, there really was no tomorrow:

Bone can taste those last few pedal strokes before the pain can stop… I’m trying to remember the name of that burger with Chicken and bacon in it

And then, like that… It was over. No more tents, no more 5am starts, no more togs pretending to be cycling shorts, no more gels, no more pep talks, no more suffering, no more being hunted like slightly drugged foxes by Kath & Peg, no more crazy peloton starts, no more being witness to innocent singletrack being butchered… Just a sense of satisfaction that we had got it done even though the cycling gods had thrown us a curveball covered in what appeared to be Flloyd Landis’ turds. This was a good moment:

We never did find out who the smart cunt was at the finish peeling all the onions

I would have folded on Day 5 with the injury Bone had, so massive respect that he not only rode around, over and through it, but did so without any drama or complaining – A Fucking legend GC. There was only one thing left to do at Race HQ… Get those fucking medals and cliche the fuck out of it with that sign:

The only shared experience that counted

Stage 5 Results

  • Masters Winners – 4.36 and 5th on overall GC
  • Rivet Racers – 5.13, 8th Masters for the day, 4th on Masters GC and 17th overall GC*
  • Dirty Rivets – 6.28, 42nd Masters for the day, 23rd on Masters GC and 89th overall GC

*Big shout out to the Rivet Racers for burning the boats on the final day in true ‘Nibbles last week at the Giro’ fashion, they laid it all down instead of going defensive and while it didn’t pan out in the bid for the podium, that’s quite an awesome way to close out the race. A huge week for the boys and their results have been world class, chapeau chaps.

In the end we dropped from 13th to 23rd on Masters GC in Part 3 on the last two days, finishing up with a total GC time of 29 hours and 58 minutes. I could give some GC projections about where we may have ended up if we had held our usual trajectory, but you know what? Who gives a fuck, as ultimately only one GC mattered and seeing the joy on his face when he tasted that Ferg Baker Steak pie was sweeter than a Top 15 placing:

6 cokes down and a fucking epic chocolate milkshake chaser thrown in as well

With pedal based hostilities finally over, it was time to make good on a commitment that was forged almost a week earlier and referred to almost every single day as the primary motivation for making it through day after day of fixed bayonetting Marathon XC combat. Colour me cliche if this wasn’t what half the field was doing, there’s no question the Ferg-Empire had a massive bump in sales that Friday afternoon. Even skinny finely tuned athletes surrendered to its gluttony…

The Rivets humour me while I give them the Blur sales pitch “Seriously cunts, get on it”

For those that talk about now getting on the piss… Ha, sure thing. You ride your MTB for 5 hours a day for 6 days as hard as you can and then see how you feel about getting dieseled to fuck and tazered on the qTown lakefront. Plus, this was an XC race man, wasn’t there a rice based dish on somewhere? I had whole parts of my body that were no longer sending messages back to my central nervous system, so it only took one of these to feel like the final cunted nail had been rammed home for the week.

Definitely the most important GC result

So I’ve already blown out on this Part 3 download, so will save the usual wrap up thoughts, Dirty tips & tricks and the usual gear rant for the coming weeks. Stay tuned for the post mortem.

Merry Christmas muthafuckas! 

3 Responses

  1. Fraser Wilkinson

    Hugely entertaining write-up! Somehow, even when I don’t give a rat’s arse about a topic, you manage to make me want to keep reading.
    Proper respect to both of you. That was huge.
    Somewhere in the back of my mind, I might have contemplated doing a marathon event… fuck that!

  2. John

    Honestly, this is amazing! Great writing as always, you had me laughing for ages with some of those descriptions.

    Incredible effort for both of you to complete this race!


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