Santa Cruz NZ Enduro: Shared Sufferings
Shared sufferings make for good memories! No one remembers one out of a hundred perfect days when its dry and but from here forth everyone will remember day two of the 2017 NZ Enduro. The stats don’t tell the full story. 35 KM with 1125m climbing and 1600m descending might not sound like much but this is South Island, 100% natural walking trails so the going is tough and slow. Its generally a two sandwich ride kind of day. (Although this time the riders were treated to a hearty KIWI BBQ of tuna, venison and veg burgers at a midpoint eco lodge)
A shuttle drop off into stage one set the scene for what to expect in the days riding. Densely vegetated old bridal track, vines, palms, ferns and pungas galore grabbing at riders bars given half a chance. Exposure, off camber and wet roots and rocks pretty much summed up the day.
Nydia with all its wild and natural obstacles and technicalities is already one of the toughest tracks to master at speed in the bone dry. In the wet its simply treacherous. As a race organiser you dream of perfect blue skies and smooth sailing, waking up to this morning had me on my nerves and somewhat disappointed that the visiting racers wouldn’t be able to experience Nydia in all its glory but my worries were quickly put at ease when i witnessed racers crossing the line after stage one and four. Not one unhappy or upset rider after over five hours in the extreme elements soaked to the bone and covered in mud. It was high fives and stories from the trenches. A day forever etched in memories and sometimes skin.
Sadly today in the pro mens Justin Leov had to pull out after injuring his hand during a high speed crash in yesterdays stage two. With a podium spot up for grabs a few riders stepped up to the plate. Today it was Mark Scott. Wining three of the four stages and a second in the other. Enough to bump him up to second on the overall after two days of racing. Damien Oton still holds onto the lead with consistent days riding and Kiwi rider Joe Nation riding blind has eeked in front of Jerome Clemetz by one second into third.
In the womens, Ines Thoma takes two stage wins and Claire and Bex a stage a piece. There is less than two seconds seperating Thoma and Hassenfratz making for an exciting finish tomorrow. Mel Blomfield leads the open womens, Jonny Waghorn the Masters men and Byron Scott the Open men.
Tomorrow sees the racers take on the legendary fern clad Wakamarina trail, although it less treacherous and intimidating than todays stages it does have hundreds of wet slippery rooty turns anything can happen.
GC link after two days and six stages.