A better title for this weekend’s race, the first round of the Southern Enduro series on the 11th June, would have been Downduro. A name cleverly thought up by a guy (who I’m trying to track down to give credit too) we were chatting to on the push up. Okeford Hill, it would seem, is certainly more of a natural, steep and sketchy downhill kind of venue than you would normally expect from a bike park hosting an Enduro competition. Think of how many rocks there are at Bike Park Wales, Okeford has that many roots with a nice bit of slippy clay in between, then imagine this with a good bit of rain overnight. It’s safe to say staying upright was a tad challenging!
The weekend of the 20-21st May saw my team mate Laura Griffiths and I trucking the 6 hours up to the village of Machynlleth, Mid Wales, for the Welsh Open run by Welsh Gravity enduro. This was to be a race unlike any other I had taken part in with 45km of pedalling and 1800 metres of climbing on both practice and race day. As an EWS qualifier we knew this race was going to be a big leap up from our usual local races. Excitement levels were high! (heightened by a healthy dose of fear!) Continue reading
This weekend has been the greatest reminder for me of why I want to have a go at this enduro racing malarkey. It was so much fun that each day ended with me just wanting to head back out and ride more, despite aching legs. First a little explanation of what had me smiling so much…..
Over the winter I decided it would be fun to have a little go at Downhill racing. I get so nervous before race runs I thought, the more I do the better. Taking part in a grass roots, off season series that weren’t in the discipline I normally do would hopefully mean I would put less pressure on myself. Frankly, I’m just not into beasting myself uphills enough for Cross Country, so Downhill was the only option.
It is here already! My first attempt at a full season of Enduro racing began this Saturday 4th March with the Haibike Mini Enduro at Bike Park Wales. The day started with glorious sunshine and clear blue skies like I feel I haven’t seen in forever! Then the weather Gods remembered this was Wales so it started raining…..
As my last post briefly mentioned I have a swanky new ride. An Orbea Rallon x30 which I quite simply LOVE! Now I will allow you to admire his beauty for a while before we continue….
Butterflies having a party in your stomach, feeling nauseous, an inability to eat or even sit still. Frustratingly can’t sleep, can’t think straight and that ever present frown on your face. Doesn’t sound like fun does it? Yet racing is meant to be fun, that’s the whole point isn’t it? That’s the focal point of your hobby!
Nerves can put a real dampener on race day. I know this from my own struggle with them, one I am still battling now. Whilst some people seem to be immune from this issue, most of us will at least feel a little nervous, especially as we come to line up at the start line. This is an inevitable result of all the hard work and preparation that’s gone into being ready for that moment, it’s also a sign of a desire to do well. It is only when these nerves get to such a level that they detract from your performance and enjoyment of the day that they become a problem.
Lately I have found myself spending increasing amounts of time trawling through endless fitness websites. With a half marathon next weekend and the big aim – my first marathon, looming ever more present on the horizon I have been searching for advice on the right way to increase my training programme. I had been hoping more knowledge would work to stem the panic but infact the more I read the more confused I became and the more inadequate my own training efforts felt. It was all aerobic/anaerobic/lactate thresholds, VO2max intervals, protein shakes, measuring your heart rate, counting your steps and having a target pace for every mile you ever run.
It was all so far from everything I enjoy about exercising.Continue reading
Recently, I had my first mountain bike lesson with Katy Curd at the Forest of Dean. Katy is multiple British 4X champion and one of the top 5 female downhill mountain bikers in the world right now. She is also a very highly rated coach and I for one had heard nothing but good things from those who had benefited from sessions with her already. With an attempt at a 2 day enduro race looming on the calendar for next weekend I thought I had better get involved myself.
“You looked like a startled rabbit caught in the headlights” – this is how my newfound buddies for the day later described my facial expression as I kitted up at the car on arrival. It is also how I felt! Though the UK enduro series events are also still new to the scene it felt like there were much bigger crowds at this race and with the fantastic setting in the grounds of an old private boarding school I was feeling a little overwhelmed. Luckily I didn’t realise until afterwards that the likes of Katy Winton, Greg Callaghan and Kye Forte were also racing or I probably never would have got out the car!