Sketchy times at Okeford Hill Bike Park – Southern Enduro round 1

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!

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Dyfi Welsh Open = Challenge Completed

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

Dust + Loam + Switchbacks + Exmoor views = Total Success for the Southern Enduro champs

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…..

Here I am sporting the new Red Brick cycles team Jersey and proudly clutching the Orbea Rallon aka ‘The Beast’ which kindly looked after me once again!

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Winter training – Having a go at Downhill

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.

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The Season begins – Bike Park Wales mini Enduro

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…..

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South West Outdoor Festival – Half Marathon

The South West Outdoor Festival, organised by the National Trust, took place in the Heddon Valley of Exmoor from the 23rd to the 25th September. The aim of the event was to provide an action packed weekend of camping and outdoor activities for people of all ages. Through doing this it would promote the area and the fun to be had being active and enjoying the great outdoors. Continue reading

My first Marathon – The Dartmoor Highground

I’ve done it, total success! I can now proudly call myself a marathon runner! It still doesn’t seem real. It was less than a year ago I lined up for my first 10km race and the thought of me running a marathon seemed like such a distant dream, something only ‘real’ runners could do and an almost impossible distance for me to achieve. Now, with a little bit of determination and a lot of hard work training I have done it. Best of all I even enjoyed the experience!

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Hill hiking, river splashing, bog hopping, Volcano climbing …….. standard Sunday!

Sunday 21st August saw me tackle the notoriously hilly original race organised by Pure Trail …… The Dartmoor Volcano. This was a 10.25 mile route starting and finishing in the village of Scorriton that included the highest point of southern Dartmoor, Ryders hill as well as Snowden and Pupers hill before hitting the ‘Volcano’. This is in fact just a spoil heap, the remains of Red Lake china clay works abandoned in 1933. It does however make an impressive target on the horizon to aim for and some great pictures! With almost 500 metres of ascent in not a huge distance you sure do notice that you’ve done some climbing.

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‘The Great Escape’ – I nearly didn’t make!

On Saturday 23rd July I took part in my second Half Marathon ‘The Great Escape’ which was organised by Pure Trail. This was to be a linear route on Dartmoor starting from Princetown heading off across open moorland to South Brent on the edge of the National Park. This was one part of Pure Trails first ‘Big Day Out’ as they were also running an Ultramarathon of 34 miles called ‘The Crossing’ which had runners traversing the entire moor from north to south – Belstone to South Brent. The Half marathon was definitely a big enough challenge for me at this stage!

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Racing at Triscombe

“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!

 

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