Finish line fails at the NZ Enduro
Embracing the wetness at the first big enduro of the year.
Photos: Duncan Philpott, Boris Beyer, Digby Shaw
New Zealand has been suffering with some of the worst droughts in recent memory. But forget rain dances – all you need to do to guarantee some precipitation is to organise a mountain bike race. Even after two days of downpours and lethally slick trails, the organisers of the NZ Enduro felt that the riders weren't wet or muddy enough, so they routed the finishing straight of the final stage through a 15ft-wide, 2ft-deep flooded stream. Carnage ensued, as riders came in blind and had to make a split-second decision whether to attempt to surf across the top, pull up and pray, or just grit their teeth and plough through. As you can see, the various techniques weren't all successful. We reckon more races should end with a finish line spectacle like this! 'Ard Rock 2019, anyone?
Comedy trail features aside, the NZ Enduro is a great early season proving ground to see who's on form, and a good place to spot ex-world champs, with the likes of Peaty and Fabien Barel in attendance.
In the end it was Canyon's Dimitri Tordo who tamed the conditions – finishing just ahead of British/Norwegian privateer Guy Gibbs.
Ines Thoma secured the women's victory, making it a Canyon double win. In second was up-and-coming Brit Ella Conolly. The first major enduro race of the season is the opening round of the EWS at Crankworx Rotorua this coming weekend.
Former Mountain Biking UK features editor Ed Thomsett is a downhiller at heart but has been riding bikes of all types since a young age. He's raced both nationally and internationally in downhill and enduro, and has spent several summers living in the Alps and Canada, riding, roadtripping and living the dirtbag lifestyle. Now Ed calls upon his years of experience riding bikes to the limit as a writer and reviewer for MBUK and BikeRadar. He's also an avid trail builder and has scraped out numerous steep and technical lines in the woodlands of his native North Yorkshire. These days Ed will happily turn his hand to any discipline and believes the sign of a good week is when every bike in his shed ends up muddy by the end of it.