‘If my gloves get wet, I don’t ride.’ Possibly R-Dog’s famous last words as the New Zealand sun beamed down onto Whites Bay and the South Pacific. There was barely a cloud in the sky or a chill in the air—hard to believe that the last two-thirds of the NZ Enduro were going to be a total contrast to the hot, dry and well-dusted conditions of day one. As far as Enduro races go, this was the perfect induction for the man who’s more acclimatized to time in the air than time sat on the saddle. And in fact, as races go this was a day away from being just perfect.
The NZ Enduro isn’t a new addition to the race calendar. 2017 has been the third edition and the first year to have Sven and Anka Martin, no strangers to all kinds of bike racing, behind the reigns of the event. As R-Dog put’s it, ‘I’ve been living in Queenstown for a month and I heard that Sven Martin was going to be putting on a pretty wicked Enduro, so I thought I’d give it a go.’
Flocking in from all corners of the world, 140 like minded riders turned up to turn their wheels across a slither of the South Island’s finest trails. When people ask ‘where ya’ headed?’ and the reply is ‘Nelson, to ride bikes’, the general response is a highly raised brow, a large smile and an envy tinged ‘Ahh, Nelson. You’ll not want to leave’. They’re not wrong.
Given the choice, we'd all ride without a pack on our backs. Especially when you're fully loaded for a big day on the bike and everything that comes with that. R-Dog's definitely on that train of thought:
There's a winning formula that never gets old at events like these. Ride great trails, all day, with great friends old and new, and finish the day at some kind of water with a beer in your hand. Day one made for big smiles amongst all the riders and crew.
There must be something in the NZ water. The locals are always stoked, even at 7:00am when serving flat whites to the bike mob.
There was a lot of talk about the weather and predictions about the trail conditions at Nydia Bay. In the dry, the trails there are some of the most technical and demanding trails you can ride on a bike. Add some water into the mix and you'd think you'd be setting up for a disaster. Despite the constant onslaught of rain and wind, riders were still grinning from cheek to cheek.
Until next years' NZ Enduro, and remember it's;