With a long day ahead, day two of the NZ Enduro started bright and early at the Duncan Bay end of the Nydia Bay track. While day one was a chance for people to get their eye in, blow the cobwebs out and to establish seeding for the rest of the weekend, day two was a full day of tough racing including four race stages, over 30km of riding (including transitions), and roughly 1400 metres of descending.
After a quick briefing in a local farmer’s paddock we loaded up for the short but welcome shuttle to the start of Stage 1. The Bridle track down into Duncan Bay was fast, rough, very tight in places, and although peppered with surprises was only a taster of what was to be served up in stages two and three. The transition from the end of stage one to the beginning of stage two was part pleasant meander around Duncan Bay and part steady, slightly techy climb up to the start of stage two, all the while surrounded by beautiful beech forest.
There had been plenty of discussion, both officially at race briefing and casually during the transition stages, of some of the more challenging rock and root obstacles on stage two. Many riders had this on their minds as they timed in and pedalled out from the start line. Straight out of the gate riders were confronted with sections that demanded a split decision to either hit the gas and hang on, or dismount and navigate by foot. Most seemed to make the right respective decisions as, bar a few scrapes and bruises, everyone arrived at the lunch stop smiling and stoked on the morning’s riding.
Lunch at the On the Track Lodge was an opportunity for riders to chow down on barbecued venison and tuna burgers, dry out in the sun, and prepare for the remaining two stages.After another steady climb we gathered at Kaiuma saddle for the beginning of stage three. This stage was as challenging as the previous and proved the undoing of a number of riders who suffered some more serious injuries, of which a few required evacuation by helicopter and others some pharmaceutical assistance to get them through the remainder of the race.
By the beginning of stage four many riders were feeling pretty rattled and tired, and were pleased that this, the shortest of the stages, was to also be the least technical. A fast flowy blast down from the saddle to the finish line at Kaiuma Bay was a welcome end to a pretty epic day.The results from day two see some key shifts in placings throughout the field, but the times are still very tight and this should make for an exciting final day. Tomorrow starts with everyone being choppered up to Foster’s Hut on the Wakamarina track, followed by another three epic stages of loamy, rooty, and rocky singletrack.