Lactic acid scorches my leg muscles. This must be how those Xenomorphs in the Alien movies feel like all the time. No wonder they’re always grumpy and up to mischief. My lungs feel empty of oxygen, as if all the air has drained from them. No matter how hard I suck air in, it seeps out just as quickly.
Up ahead I can see the shapes of Matt and Adam, waiting by the last responder, cheering me on. Their shouts of encouragement make up for the lack of muscle power I have left. A few more pedal strokes and I’m finished, managing to fulfil my modest goal of completing the Port Hills Enduro mountain bike race without a mechanical failure or crash. I clock in for the final time that day, and relief floods over me.
Enduro racing is a simple concept; you’re only timed on the down stages. The transition to each stage isn’t timed. This amounts to either pushing or cycling up to the stage, and going full throttle for a few minutes downhill. As I mentioned earlier, last time I rode the Port Hills Enduro, it didn’t go well, so this time I was happy just finish the course.
I won’t go into the biking details of each track, as it can get a little alienating (cleaver nod to the opening reference intended). I doubt many people care about how the link track between Pedal Fine and Radi Garden was a nice, loamy edition. Or how deceptively long the Bowenvale Bonus was.
However, what is worth mentioning is how gnarly the Gnarly Nun was. Just to be clear, I’m referring to a bike track that was the second stage, not a hard as nails woman of the cloth. Although I can’t help think that The Gnarly Nun would make an excellent B-Movie horror movie.
Anyway, when all but one of the marshals, an ambulance and the largest crowd is gathered around the track, you know it’s going to be an interesting stage. Similar to the aftermath of a car crash, crowds like to preempt the carnage and congregate where there is most likely to be an incident, which inevitably is the most technical section. In this case, a horrible collection of rocks and awfulness that we were expected to find a route through.
It’s amazing how a bit of cheering and ‘Yeah Boi,’ can boost your confidence levels going into a section. You suddenly switch from apprehension to whatever the emotional equivalent of ‘Yeah!’ is. You can bring all the dark chocolate and cranberry snack bars you want (and believe me, I did), but nothing will boost your energy levels more than a well-placed ‘Yeah Boi!’
So just bare that in mind when you see someone struggling through the 3pm slump at work. A well-meaning shout of ‘YEAH BOI!’ across the office will no doubt be received with appreciation. I just tried it then, and I have to say, it worked much better than intended. Everyone seemed to be jolted into paying attention.