Behind the scenes: DODZY MEMORIAL ENDURO

I'm sure most of you are sick of hearing about The Dodzy Memorial Enduro. And sick to the back teeth of images of said event assaulting your senses every time you open a browser.....those of you that didn't go that is. You lucky folk who managed to get an entry just lap up everything you can get your hands on don't you 'cause you want to be reminded how awesome your life was for two glorious days.

Those who have attended in the past may have heard smatterings of urban rumour about the day before the event when a lucky group of people get in early and thrash the place, practice race runs and scope out cheat lines. And what about Pizza night? And who are these people that get to stay in the three luxurious huts in the park? Where there's smoke there are mirrors. It's not a big deal really....No really...!

I have learnt over the years that no one reads anything so I'm concentrating on a photo essay here.

Day minus one: Just trying to get to Wairoa Gorge.

See you Wellington. So pleased it's going to be a calm sailing.Onboard my personal luxury liner with The Bluebridge Bike Club.

Heading into the Malborough Sounds. Oh shit, looks like rain. Top deck with Bluebridge

I've got all day so I take the scenic route along Queen charlotte Drive. Yes, it is indeed rain.

Residents in the Sounds mainly consist of locals who grew up here and retirees from Auckland. I'm guessing this lot aren't from Auckland.

They breed 'em a little different in the South. Friday night fun with a car full of flagons and a shotgun. I counted 15 road signs in a row used as a gun range. Warning: DO NOT HITCHHIKE AT NIGHT!

Serenity central. Check out the ships hull beached on the front lawn.

By the time I got to Nelson it was definitely raining and raining good.

Day Zero (this is the day you're all wondering about).

The original trail crews get together to ride and talk about a life well lived when life was simple....Wake, eat, dig, talk shite, play pranks, ride, eat ,drink, sleep and nothing else to think about but tomorrow.

Then add in a photo and video crew from Spoke Magazine and chaos ensues.

Fast forward to waking up on Day Zero (that's a coveted day earlier than the race entrants day one) in the mighty Wairoa Gorge.

Gibbs hut at the top of the bike park where Jeff Carter, Pete Fyffe, Scottish Dave and myself call home for the next three days.

Pete, Jeff and I nearing the bottom of our early morning 25 minute run to basecamp to meet the Spoke video and photo edit team who are staying at Barry's hut at basecamp and the group of trail builders who made this place what it is today. Jeff about to round the ridgeline heading into Quattro.

The first shuttle up the hill.This is always a weird time for me as everyone here has worked together at some stage, and may have not seen each other for a few years. Stories of mayhem unfold and the boys memories of Dodzy come flooding back in waves of nostagia. As I wasn't a part of the Gorge's history and only knew Dodzy well enough to say a quick gidday, I find myself slipping into my favourite quiet place of trail riding fantasy in one of the best riding places on this earth.

There's always a lot of faffing about as the edit team people try and visualise their final product and get enough riding and interview pieces shot. but midday is a total relax for everyone as the Gorges favourite culinary wizard Scottish Dave whips up a goat curry or pulled pork sandwich that he shot a few days back. This year it was BBQ butterfly chicken and Lamb and rosemary burgers on the deck at Irvines hut three quarters of the way up the hill.

Jason Meachem of 208 Media in his groove before he got attcked by killer bees.

The first few runs are always manic as the photographers get in as many shots as they can before the wild Gorge Crew get all razzed and chaos ensues. Here Mark Bridgwater  lines the boys up for some hip action while Jeff Carter steals his angles and camera settings.

When Scottish Dave isn't whipping up a malaysian goat curry with pumpkin and saffron rice, he's often seen hucking his BigHit down the trails. Jeff Carter going for the money shot. Half the guys who worked here have shitty 26" wheeled bikes from over 5 years ago but they will still smash your face off when it comes to dominating rowdy steep trails. Respect.

The gorge Crew are larakins and always seem to know where the wasp nests are. This time they point Jason Beachem to the "best photo spot" where he stood on a nest and got chased down the trail getting stung about 15 times. Hilarious.

Pete Fyffe manages all of the RHL bike properties, and when he's not smashing everyone on the trails (still on his 26" Nomad) he fools about in the kitchen as another culinary wizard and built a pizza oven at Gibbs hut. We all get together on Friday night and whip up a storm. I always seem to end up doing most of the cooking. photo: Jeff Carter

  One of the perks of me cooking is I can subtly poison any potential enemies in the way of a podium finish for therodfather. Here an unsuspecting Hendi tastes the fruit of my labours.

One of the perks of me cooking is I can subtly poison any potential enemies in the way of a podium finish for therodfather. Here an unsuspecting Hendi tastes the fruit of my labours.

NOTE: I haven't got any pics of the video edit going on...I wasn't allowed to hang out with the A-team. What the hell ???

Day One: Practice day (you all know it from here on in). Some people practice, others ride random trails. All done with old friends and new. There is an orderly system of riding, queuing, shuttling and riding again. If you aren't riding with your buddies you may never see them again until tomorrow.

 Practice Day. Bored bored bored...wish I was back at work. Oh hang on...this is work.

Wally the Weka loves the morning after Pizza Night. He scuttles around eating up a storm.

8am and Jeff and I are tired of descending all morning already so make our way back along the Gorge road to meet all the race entrants who got up at some god forsaken hour to make the one hour drive in. (yes, I'm rubbing it in...wouldn't you?)

After our daily 25 minute commute down to basecamp we load up with the common folk for the first run.

"Practice day" is a chance to catch up with old mates and make some new ones. Jeff, Hendi, Ash, Mandy, Rowan and Adam. Some people practice the race stages and most just ride as many trails as fast as they can trying to get in four or maybe even 5 runs by the end of the day.

Just when I thought I was going to get an early night, the Spoke Magazine edit team arrive with their editing suite and beer. Neil Kerr, Digby Shaw, Mark Bridgwater and Jason Beacham. The job tonight is to get day one up on Spoke asap. 

The man in charge. Nick Crocker has been working hard for weeks to get this event in place. My job is to keep him fed and hydrated without annoying him with my inane banter.

Race Day. Bored bored bored. The sunrise at Gibbs hut is getting a little tedious don't you think?

Day Two: Broken after a glorious day of trail riding and banter you all drag your sorry asses back to the gorge to pit yourselves against friend and foe for bragging rights in the following weeks to come.

Race breifings and infamous photographers. Sven Martin is a multi tasking guru. 

Digby Shaw getting in some crowd shots.

Jason Beacham searching for bald spots.

Nick Crocker always gets us to do silly things. Silly things that bring everyone together as one big family. Here we all intrduce ourselves to each other with hugs, fist bumps and high fives. Brilliant.

Legends of a bygone era. Ex 90's top DH'er Hadley Boyce on the left who rides about once a month yet still kicks ass (bastard) and my nemesis Hendi on the right who was a pro moto rider then NZ's first pro mountainbiker (who never let me win a race) then V8 and GT3 racer, and now back into motocross where he recently came #2 in his classification at the World Motocross Champs.

Rad!

This dude must be super cool.

This dude must be a hippy.

There are some really good people working hard to make your day the best day ever.

I just love visiting the Port-a-loo on a hot day. Especially when it's parked right where the shuttle drops of the riders. After race nerves jettisoned my lower intestine, I emerged to a queue of five girls about to be seriously nasally assaulted. Sorry girls.

Not what I really wanted. Luckily I had a tyre plug handy. I had a blistering first two race stages but while scrubbing a blind drop off, I suffered a rear blow out and then...

BOOM!...with a now flat tyre I smashed my rim on a jagged rock. Bugger. Luckily my FliteWheels come with a crash replacement cost of $0.00 .    I love a good warranty.

100 metres from the finish line there was a sausage party going down. Crystal clear icy cold water...perfect.

The home stretch is getting overgrown. Last year you could see the whole track zig zagging down the hillside. Now only about 60%. Next year could be tricky.

The crowd got bigger by the minute cheering loudly as each racer came into view.

There were many pissed mutants cheering passers-by.

Yeah, I'd like to thank mum and dad....Blenki #1, Keegan #2 and Wyn #3.

I neglected to take my camera to the after party but who wants to see grown men vomiting? Day Three. A solo ride through Codgers MTB Park, to find it's newest trail...Tracky McTrackface

Homeward bound, stopping at Pelorus bridge for an amazing swim in deep clear water.

We spent the last night at Pete Fyffe's place. There was a hell of a racket at 5am and I woke in alarm. It was only Nick Crocker arriving home from the party. Exhausted he was the poor lamb.

There was another mayday on the bridge as we were heading into Wellington harbour. The Interislander was hot on our heels....we're not gonna let that fecker pull any moves on us.

Don't you worry about a thing Cap'n.... Just put therodfather on the bow thrusters.

So there you have it. As you can see I was flat out making sure everything went to plan. A great weekend of mates, bikes, food, beer and riding as fast as possible on amazing trails. It's not hard to see why race entries sell out in a couple of minutes.

See you all in 2018. Can't wait! (gee I hope I get invited again).

 Pop over to SPOKE MAGAZINE to check out all the hard work the team put in to make this cool clip