Jamesy Boy’s NZ Adventure : Part 2

February 15 2013

Our man on the ground, James Shirley has penned his latest NZ Blog and seems to be getting plenty of time on the bike. The sun has been consistent. What a lucky so and so!

“An enduro race with uplift and immaculate trails you say? I’m there!”


After returning back to Queenstown HQ from my road trip with Mat and Tom, I borrowed a friend’s car and set off again for the Dodzy Memorial Enduro in Nelson. For those that don’t know, Dodzy was a bit of a legend in the mountain bike scene. He worked as a trail builder and gave back a lot to the sport. Sadly, he lost his life at an early age whilst out hunting with a friend. One of the places he worked was Wairoa Gorge –the venue for the race. From what I‘ve gathered, there is some big chief who has a lot of money and a passion for mountain cycling. He owns bits of land in various locations across the world: Jamaica, Chile, Mexico, Portugal, Australia, New Zealand and probably a few other places too. His land here in NZ apparently encompasses five mountains but so far only one valley has been developed. A crew of up to 50 people have been employed to create his trails and in 3 years they have hand built over 40 amazing tracks. All of which are beautifully crafted with excellent sign posting. There are even little stations along the way with track pumps, multi tools and water for anyone to stop and use as they wish. The infrastructure is incredible: fancy log cabins have been constructed to house guests/trail crew and there is a good quality access road for the shiny new pickups to do uplift on. Normally this is a private facility but the race was the first time it was open to the public.


Practise was held on Saturday and the race was on Sunday. The three trails used for the race were fast and flowing. They were a bit on the easy side but still loads of fun to ride. I lost a lot of time in traffic and with a small mechanical however I still managed to finish 12th overall and get my photo in the paper. 

James makes the local paper's report on the Dodzy Memorial Enduro. Solid results in a very strong field for James!

The Monday after the race I went out on the bike and had possibly the gnarliest crash ever. It is hard to explain without a physical demonstration but basically I was doing a track stand whilst lining myself up for a huck off a fallen tree, over a gap onto an off camber landing and then... I fell over. From an initial speed of 0mph, I landed on my ankle and twisted it pretty bad. Damn. I blame it on the long grass...

I spent the next couple days sitting down and editing some old footage I had on the laptop. Everyone I met had been telling me about how great ‘Peaking Ridge’ was so before I left Nelson I had to do it. I strapped up my ankle and met a couple friends (Lucy and Meg) for the guided tour. Despite hobbling about like a wee crip I had a great time. The trail starts on a ridge and is quite flat and trialsy to begin with. It eventually points downhill and gets pretty steep in places with plenty of roots to watch out for.
 

James couldn't leave Nelson without riding the trails at Peaking Ridge!

Epic ride done, it was time to move on. I came up the west coast so decided to travel back down the east to complete the loop and visit some friends in Cheviot, Christchurch, Ashburton and Dunedin along the way. 

James' gammy ankle after the slowest crash ever recorded in human history.

The road bike came in pretty handy whilst I was away. By the time I got to Dunedin things were getting better and I did a sweet mountain bike ride down the Rongami track with Tom Lamb. I’m now back at base in Queenstown and ripping it again. The current regime is to do some training in the morning, smash some turns in the afternoon and demolish copious amounts of food in the evening. Good times!

Jamesy Boy getting LOOSE high up on Queenstown Hill!

That's all for part 2. Stay tuned for part 3!

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