Words by Phil Allum
So the first enduro race of the year (26th March 2014) for the Gravity Team; round 1 of the X-Fusion/Enduro1 series. This first round being held at the Forest of Dean.
For those not in the know, the gravity enduro format is normally one loop of around 20-30km, with 5 or 6 timed stages. With riders setting off 30 seconds apart. These stages can range from 1 to 6 minutes long, and can consist of pretty much anything. Although the stages are predominately downhill, there are regular flat or even uphill sprints mixed in. Finally, you only have a certain amount of time to make the transitions between the stages, so you have to stay on the gas at all times or you can easily incur a time penalty for being late!
The MBSwindon Gravity Team of 2013 did a grand job of winning the competitive team class of the X-Fusion/Enduro1 series last year. So no pressure then.
Arriving at the Pedalabikeaway centre nice and early, the weather looking promising. Mike & myself, joined by Leon decided to have a pop at a downhill run to warm up. Halfway down I somehow got lost. Not a great start.
The race stages were nearly all off piste stuff, so damp mud was the order of the day, pretty much perfect conditions. Tight switchbacks, plenty of roots, rocks, mounds, drops and more roots. Some sloppy parts added to the mix as well. Stage 2 was to be the team chase, where all 4 of us start at the same time, and the last man to finish will be the teams time for that stage. This is always my favourite, not only because it encourages silly overtaking moves but I also get to follow someone and copy their lines!
Stage 3 had a big drop just after the start. There was a chicken run around it which was well advertised, but it caught some people out. One chap being dealt with by the first aiders when we went past.
Stage 5 was the corkscrew downhill run, with a flat pedally section to begin with. I lost a lot of time on this stage due to being too careful. A few months ago i got caught out by a root and went face first into a tree here. Now whenever I go down there, I can’t seem to put that incident out of my mind and end up tip-toeing my way down.
So that was it. A slog of a day but well worth the effort as we won the competitive team class. The competition was tough, 2nd place being 18 seconds behind, 3rd only 2 minutes or so after that.
The organisers have done their own write up, with official finishing times, which can be found here: http://www.enduro1.co.uk/
Round 2 is being held at Haldon Forest, Exeter on 18th May 2014, see you there!