So it’s that time again, when I have to pack up the van and make the journey down to North Wales for the second round of the Enduro series.
Following on from the first round at Inners which was so much fun; amazing weather and dry, dusty trails (my favourite) I was pretty excited to get stuck into round 2. I had my fingers crossed that by some miracle we might avoid the bad weather that was battering the UK and not have to ride and race in the rain! (And every time I go to Wales it rains, I promise you!)
I arrived Thursday evening and it was quite damp, but that was to be expected, as I was in Wales after all! (Can you tell how much I like the Welsh weather?)
After a good sleep I went to ride the course on the Friday, it was around 30km the route so not too far and the climbs were not as challenging as the first round. Steve Parr had planned a varied route; some stages were 5 minutes long and others being 8minutes or longer. This round was definitely a test of fitness and power, as the stages were pretty easy to learn but you had to pedal like a machine! There were quite a few climbs and flat sections but it all made for great racing.
I am now all about Tubeless after my disappointing round at Inners, getting a flat in seeding AND the race… So I was now enjoying smashing through the rocks on my Scott LT 10 and not having to worry about getting any pinch flats.
It was another great turn out for the women’s category, my good friend and legend Tracy Moseley was racing again, so it was going to be a challenge with her about! We did seeding on Saturday afternoon on stage 5 (like normal) it was dry and everyone was having fun!
Tracy seeded 1st, I was 2nd and Sarah Newman took 3rd spot, so it was a good start for race day.
Sunday morning came and I awoke to the sound of rain and wind – the forecast was correct – so I was already mentally prepared for a wet day!
I got all my kit out; Gortex jacket, 3 pairs of gloves, thermals, the lot! We started racing at 10am so had to leave about 9.30am to get to stage 1, all the girls were ready and a bit quiet because we knew we had a tough day ahead…
Stage 1 went as well as it could. It was the shortest stage but probably had the most pedalling and short climbs – it was good to get that one done! Stage 2 was more for sure, quite tech and tricky for the first 40 seconds, I made a silly mistake in the first corner and crashed (think I was too excited having Tracy following me!) I carried on but had lost a lot of time.
Stage 3 was the longest, the end was great fun but none of us could feel our hands at this point because it was so cold and wet! I was looking forward to Stage 4, it was one of my favourites. I got to the finish with a solid run and Tracy was nowhere to be seen, she had hit a corner on the jump section, crashed and blown her tyre off the rim! She fixed it pretty quick but losing minutes like that is no good for your overall time.
The final stage was here and we were all excited to get it done so we could get dry and have a cup of tea! Tracy was playing catch up now so she put in an awesome run with a time of 2m 48secs, which would have placed her 4th in Elite men on that stage!
So results came through and I had taken the win, I guess I’d got lucky because Tracy had a flat in stage 4, but that’s what can happen in Enduro racing! Huge respect to T-MO, she is riding like a machine this season and it’s great to see, my money is on her for Fort William Downhill World Cup! Sarah Newman came in 2nd, with a great consistent ride and Anja Rees Jones in 3rd. Carrie Poole got 4th and Tracyended up with 5th spot.
The next round, Round 3 is at Hamsterly Forest which is my local trail, so I’m very excited about this! It’s the last weekend in May so everyone should get entered! It’s going to be great fun; hopefully it will be nice and sunny too – because it’s always sunny and warm in the North
See you all at the next round………Helen