Cable Bay Enduro Race Report - Louise Kelly

Louise Kelly | Wed 12th May 2021 10:10

After success at the Aorere Enduro (Nelson), the next race on Louise Kelly’s hit list was the Cable Bay Enduro. With clear skies and dry trails it was a far cry from Aorere, read on for Lou’s take on the race.

Cable Bay Adventure Park is a hidden gem, full of incredible people doing amazing things

This race kind of crept up on me a little and before I knew it we were going into the last enduro race of the NZ season. But arguably the best was saved for last because this was one of my favourite races of the season. After racing all over the South Island this year it’s hard to beat the hand-built native rawness at Cable Bay Adventure Park. Hours of work have gone into the trails here. All hand-built by an army of volunteers who chip away and have produced some epic stuff.

With a little bit of rain during the week, I knew the trails would have dried out and would be in prime condition.

Images thanks to: Jude Wedding Photographer


Practice day was awesome. Cruising around in the native bush with mates, just having a laugh. I practiced stages 1 - 3 which was 3 of the 5 stages just to get my eye in a little. Even though Cable bay is local and has epic riding, I definitely don’t get out there as much as I’d like. I feel like I rode the stages pretty reserved and didn’t try to push as I just wanted to get a feel for the different style of trail that cable bay has to offer. Then to round off practice day we stopped at the cafe for some hot chips which was the perfect way to end the day.


Race day was a stunning autumn day and started with a shuttle halfway up the first climb so that was a great way to start as the climb is brutal. We cruised up the second half of the hill to stage 1, Gamble. As I got to the top I decided to walk through the bushes a little bit out into the open to catch a crystal clear view of Cable Bay in all its beauty, hopefully, this would help settle the pre-race nerves.

Stage 1

Stage 1 took us about halfway down the hill. The first 100 meters of this trail really puts you in your place, it’s awkward and always makes you feel like you don’t know how to ride a bike. Then after that, you can let loose a little bit more and really find your flow through some gnarly rough amazing trail. There are a few wee climbs in this stage so being ready to attack them is pretty key to having a smooth stage.

Stage 2

Stage 2 continued down the last part of Gamble into a track Marty’s Daycare. A short off-camber track. It’s more of the same but turned up to 11! It’s steeper and you really have to be on it as the trail just disappears under you if you get offline. Marty’s Daycare is named after a local legend, Marty, he’s one of the main guys driving track building at Cable Bay. He’s out there every week with his crew, building away and creating epic tracks. So it was cool to get to race it.

Stage 3

Missing link into Jurassic. This was one of the longer, more technical stages of the race. The first section of the trail had some awesome features like a log ride and some sketchy corners. Jurassic drops right into the valley, what starts off as nice and flowy, quickly turns into tech and huge off-camber, rocky traverses. This was definitely the most challenging stage for me and took me deep into struggle street as I tried to stay on my bike and the track.

Images thanks to: Jude Wedding Photographer

Stage 4

The Queen stage, Cookie Crumble ridge into Stinger. Descending all the way to the bottom of the valley for the last time. It was fast and flowy, grade 4 into a grade 3. Keeping off the brakes and linking all the twists and turns together was the goal for this stage. This was my favourite stage, I felt like I finally knew how to ride a bike and I just kept it smooth.

Stage 5

This track (Pipeline) drops down the other side of the hill to the rest of the tracks and is all in the pines, unlike the other stages. This track is full of steep dropping corners that keep you on your toes. It’s so easy to overcook it and before you know it, you’re on the ground! I loved this stage but by the end of the day mistakes and fatigue started to kick in so it was a mission just to hold on to the bike let alone point it at the right line while racing the steepest stage of the day.

Wrap Up

When the dust settled, we’d all eaten our delicious wraps and drank our beverages it was time for prize giving.

I was so stoked to end up 1st in senior women! There was some good competition in my grade but I was really excited to see how I measured up against my friend and bike riding mentor Rae Morrison as she is the benchmark for NZ riding. There was also $100 cash on the line for stage wins and $500 for the queen stage! My goal for the day was to win 1 stage so I was excited to find out how I’d done! It turned out I went fastest down stages 3 and 5. I’d also won the queen stage!!! I was absolutely Stoked! The 3 stage wins also led to 2nd overall. There were so many women out racing which is rad to see, and with more chicks getting involved, it’s getting more competitive which makes everyone step it up. It also means you always have to bring your A-game.

This race was so much fun, I felt relaxed and had an awesome day on my bike hanging out with mates. That’s a wrap on summer racing, the Enduro bikes go away for winter and the big rigs come out for some winter downhill.

A huge thank you has to go out to Loui and Jess Harvey for putting it all on and running an awesome event, definitely looking forward to next year. And thanks to Cable Bay Adventure park and the Volunteers who build all the cool tracks, such legends!!

Thanks to EVO cycles and Troy Lee Designs nz.

Cable Bay Adventure Park on