Ultimate Queenstown

Vertigo Bikes Super D Enduro 2014

Vertigo Bikes Super D Enduro 2014

Posted by Dave Fahey: 13th Apr 2014 @ 09:04:02

At 8am cars loaded with bike start rolling into the Queenstown camp ground in order to secure prime pit position for the 2014 Vertigo Bikes Super D Enduro. Tents are up, coffees in hand and not even the brisk southerly wind whipping through, nor the early morning drizzle can dampen the spirits of these riders.

As more than 150 riders sift on in an energy begins to generate as the anticipation of what lies ahead begins to build. What will the track look like? How punishing will the climbs be? How has last night’s rain effected the track? What funky little surprises have track master minds Jarna MacKenzie and event organizer Jimmie Carling got in store for us this year.

The Super D for those who don’t know is the opening event for the 2014 Queenstown Bike Festival and New Zealand’s only gondola assisted Super D event. Competitors battle it out solo or in teams of up to three over 6 gruelling hours. Beginning in the Queenstown camp ground, competitors sprint along the return track to the Gondola base building providing a chance to rest weary legs on the lift up. From here it’s a mixture of downhill and short pinchy climbs, bike park classics and original hand cut links, gravity inspired smiles and lung burning pain while searching for the constant balance between speed and control. It’s all about getting in as many full laps as you can with the six hour time frame.

After early morning rain the first of the riders skidded into pit lane splatted in porridgy thick mud as stories of freshly cut links, off camber root sections and a course unanimously described as ‘epic’ quickly filtered amongst riders. As the day wore on the track wore in, dried out and lines evolved requiring constant re-evaluation of the fastest lines.

In my opinion the greatest thing about this event are the people. Every year it strikes the balance between fiercely fought battles, and an amazingly laid back vibe. Everyone in the Gondola is there to have a yarn, compare lines, share battle stories and make plans on where to ride tomorrow. While on the track there is a common courtesy shared by all as riders, allow passing at the first available spot always with mutual words of encouragement shared.

As someone who has ridden the event for the last few years, I have to take my hat off to this year’s event crew. Track builders Jarna and Jimmy outdid themselves with the best track to date, with some amazingly varied terrain and riding styles, cheeky new links and not too many lung busting climbs. MC James Clarke kept the crowd entertained with his constant ‘chat’ and questionable music choice. Cheers to the team at Vertigo Bikes for shelling out the coin needed to bring an event like this together, and keeping everyone geared up with some great prizes at the Surreal after party. And great to see Bike Fest sorting out the timing woes of the past with a flawless system for 2014.

If the 2014 Queenstown Mountain Bike Festival maintains the high standard laid down by the opening event we are in for one hell of an amazing week, and after skiving off work for the week I’ll be out there riding bikes, sampling ales and hanging out with some mighty fine folk in paradise.

Off to prepare for the 16 inch Pub World champs @ The Find – see ya there.

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