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A fool's errand

 

091014WPhead

Last week’s newsletter was about events, and why we keep doing them. For example:

Last Saturday’s 2W Enduro in Rotorua was intended to be a gentle start to the enduro season, and the courses selected were all fairly mellow. They went down hill, but not as precariously as a lot of other trails.

Then it rained. There was pretty consistent rain for most of last week, but there was also wind. A fool could talk himself into believing the wind may have kept things dry under the trees.

On the startline, in the pleasant surrounds of the Holiday Inn, there was a cropped view of the sky, a rectangle described by the buildings and foliage around the poolside garden where 300 entrants assembled. The same fool could look at the clear patch of blue above and surmise that the day could turn out to be almost summery.

Then it rained. During race briefing a cold and steady downpour brought jackets out. A fool who only minutes before had been saying a jacket was a waste of effort, too hot, too sweaty, fumbled in the backpack for a raincoat.

One of the good things about the enduro format as 2W reads it is that stages can be done in any order. We chose to start with the one that turned out to be the worst in terms of mud. It would not have got any better during the day, but it did pack our bikes, shoes and in one case teeth with an undesirable vegetation-reinforced slurry that would be with us for the rest of the day.

We had ridden our bikes up to that first mud plug, but we made our way to the next stage by riding across the forest to a bus stop where a shuttle awaited.

Imagine intensively farming pigs in a turkish bath-house on wheels. Now imagine the pigs are all talking excitedly at once. That was the vibe in the shuttle, full of steaming people coated with mud. The windows fogged up, which made it much harder to see that it was snowing.

But only until it turned to sleet, then rain again. Familiar trails were made foreign by a slimy coating, and speed added a wind chill factor to the zero degrees at the top of the hill. Comments were heard about how weird braking is when you can’t feel your fingers.

The sun came out, and a fool could imagine the triumphant refreshments among fellow competitors, recounting the heroic events of the day. At about the same time as we arrived back at the race HQ the rain kicked in again, icy cold and falling for the most part sideways. Fair play to theWideOpen posse for providing beer and pizza to finishers, but such ambiance as there was melted pretty quickly.

A fool could be forgiven for thinking that this type of outing should be avoided, but by the time his bike was back to its usual colour and running as it should, he was starting to look forward to the next one.