Have you ever fancied racing an Enduro race? Ever wondered what to expect? Then watch the video above and read on…
Tracy Evans took her first step into the world of Enduro racing back in February of this year and here is the first of 5 blogs about her experiences at the Welsh Gravity Enduro Mash Up Series:
Tracy Evans getting grips with Stage 4 at Afan Rd1 “The Rock”
Well its race day, round 1 of the Welsh Gravity Enduro series is upon us and I’m absolutely terrified! There are lots of bikers walking around looking very hard-core (including our own club guys) and the only thing I’ve got going for me is the weather, the conditions are horrible (very wet and windy) and one of my dark secrets is that ‘I do love biking in the rain’! Although unfortunately it is going to make the stage runs muddy, slippery and a bit sketchy unfortunately.
I wave the guys off as I’m riding with a lovely bunch of girls, which is nice as it’s my first event and we’re all keen to support each other. We decide to do stage 4 (Happy Life) first as it’s a hard stage and it will deteriorate as the day goes on. I love my first run and I’m clearing features I failed to do before, but unfortunately one of the girls riding ahead of me crashes half way down and, as we find out later, fractures a bone in her leg. I stop to help along with another girl until the marshals and first aid arrive to help.
It’s then a push/ cycle up to the top of the mountain to do all the stages in order. While waiting to do Stage 1 (the black run) I’m worried about the rocky drop towards the end of the section (It’s been giving me nightmares all week!), and which line I should try. I decide to jump off the bike, run round the drop and then jump back on to save faffing about when I get there. I’m really annoyed with myself for this, because as I come up to the section and stop I can actually see the line and wished I’d just kept going. Also, jumping off and on wasn’t as easy as I’d imagined and I struggled to clip back in, which made navigating the next rocky bit a nightmare. I also messed up the last berm – in front of everyone, so I probably looked a right numpty, but I didn’t care as I was having fun!
Stage 2 (Helter Skelter) super short, super fun bermy trail centre, one that could be repeated lots.
Stage 3 (Happy Life) was a nice rolling berm section, my favourite stage, and apart from a nearly over the bars moment on the last but one turn it was fairly uneventful, but super fun.
Stage 4 (the Rock) was next and at this point I realised I had no brake pads left (and I’m kicking myself for making Keith swap the sintered pads for resin pads – just because the sintered ones squeaked a bit). The start goes well and I’m hopping the bike over and off some of the little rocks like I know what I’m doing (whoop, whoop). I jumped off the bike to run up the little uphill rocky bit (as I’d worked out this was faster), unfortunately in my enthusiasm to jump back on I miss the pedals and fall over the bike ending up on the floor – with two lovely marshals looking at me with sheer amusement!
Never mind, I jump up and before I know it I’m back on the bike clearing the next drop like superwoman. Unfortunately, while heading to the next drop feeling totally awesome and invincible I clip something and WHAM – I’m on the floor (luckily landing on my well padded behind!). I’m gutted as I’ve lost my speed so have grab the bike and run over the next drop before jumping back on, and this was a drop I was really looking forward to riding. Unfortunately I have to jump off the bike twice more during this stage to let other riders past. This meant I missed another feature I’d only just learnt to ride and was looking forward to clearing, as stopping to let them go past meant I’d lost my speed to clear it. It was my own fault for wasting time lying down early on in the stage!
I had an amazing ride down stage 4 (Happy Life), clearing all the features that brought fear to me only a week before. The run was super muddy and some of the drops a bit sketchy, but I loved it. My fear had gone, replaced by adrenaline and a feeling of being Superwoman crossed with Mrs Incredible!!! (I was on Fire!)
My current skill level came back to slap me in the face towards the end though, as I couldn’t clear the two hairpin turns at the bottom, so continued my biking shame by completely messing these up and nearly falling off on the 2nd one (again with a crowd to entertain), but I didn’t care as I’d ridden the drops even with all the mud, so I was on a real high at the end of the stage.
My aim in entering these events was to push myself to improve, so I would ride harder features and also ride them faster, and it worked. It’s amazing what you can do when you’re being timed and a photographer is looking at you through his lens! I thought I’d come last (which I didn’t mind as just turning up was an achievement!), but I was super pleased to find I’d come 3rd. A podium place – Awesome 😉
So come on ladies and gents, if you want to improve your mountain bike skills and have fun at the same time, give these a go. Everyone was super friendly and I found if you ask the person behind to leave a big gap, they generally did. I’m looking forward to doing some more, hopefully with a bit of sunshine so the photographers can get a better shot of me!
If you fancy having a go at Enduro then you can still enter the Summer/Autumn series of the WGES Mash Up which kicks off in a months time at Eastridge Woods on the 4th September
Entry link is HERE
Round 2 coming soon….