So, the Craigieburn Enduro. What a barrel of laughs that was. First off, if you don’t know what an Enduro is, click here.
Craigieburn is an area just over an hour from Christchurch. It’s where the mountains and adventures live. If New Zealand had to be condensed down to a specific area, then it would look like Craigieburn, but with a few rugby pitches, orcs and several other out-of-date stereotypes thrown in for good measure.
Of the many activities that are on offer, mountain biking features prominently due to the many excellent trails litter the area. There is an interesting quirk when riding at Craigieburn, which is its ability to completely drain you of energy at the end of a day’s riding. I don’t know if it’s numerous, short, sharp ascents, or the monotonous, endless ski field access road climbs, or the relentless, technical descents, or the early start, or the altitude you ride at. Could be anything, but it all adds up to an exhausting, but satisfying day’s riding. Similar to how it’s always sunny in Philadelphia, it’s always a good day riding at Craigieburn… unless you’re doing the Enduro.
The race consisted of five stages, and I’ll briefly break each one down:
Stage 1 – Cuckoo Creek
A trail everyone seems to love, except me. I find it bumpy, fiddly, awkward, devoid of any flow, and frankly the only time I enjoy it is when it’s over. I should point out that I’m very much the anomaly with this. When everyone else was high-fiving at the finish line, I was trying to replace a snapped gear cable, which may have slightly tainted my enjoyment of the trail. Oh, and I crashed.
Stage 2 – Dickson’s Downhill
I love this track. It’s in the open. It’s in the trees. It isn’t overly technical. It has some cool features. It has ‘The Jump’. I didn’t crash. Things were good. I enjoyed it. Thankfully there was a climb immediately afterwards up a steep trail called the ‘Anti-Luge’ which nicely deleted that unwanted sense of happiness and joy.
Stage 3 – The Luge
Fast, flowy and loamy, this trail is a favourite on the Craigieburn scene. It was probably the fastest I’d ever ridden it, which doesn’t mean a great deal in the overall standings, especially when you factor in yet another crash.
Stage 4 – Dracophyllum Flat
Stage 5 – Cheeseman Downhill
With the few words I have left, I’ll sum this up as best I can. Putting aside the fact that you had to climb several hundred meters in the blazing sunshine just to get to the start of it, it’s an excellent track, ruined by fatigue. I crashed three times, was totally over mountain biking a third of the way into the run but I did manage to overtake someone, before being overtaken myself.
It was a day of mixed emotions to say the least. Bring on next year.