Words by Captain James Scott
As expected after Antonio’s feedback from the race earlier in the year, it was definitely steep in places but really good fun – almost a two track DH race rather than a gravity enduro race. A new frame that excelled in this kind of terrain really helped, and a few mods to raise the handlebar height meant the steep stuff was much more rideable. The loop of 10km (520m climbing) was pretty interesting, including a steep fireroad climb which 90% of racers walked up due to very long transition times to allow marshals to swap between stage starts and allow riders plenty of rest in the heatwave we were “enjoying”.
Stages 1&3 shared the same middle and bottom with only the first 200m different, flattish and flowing or flattish and jumpy into some steeper corners. They met and went into a straight section of staying off the brakes, a few steep corners, a tabletop into an uphill corner and a few 35mph flat out grassy fields to finish. Stage 2 had a flattish pedal descent, a hairpin into a pedal ascent, a 30mph descent down the side of the hill ending with a couple of “bus stops”, a multi line corner that I spent far too long checking out during practice, another 75m flat sprint to a fireroad hairpin, then a series of chutes and jumps to bring you out into a traverse across a grassy field to really deplete your energy and leg strength.
I spent all Saturday just having fun on the hill, possibly wasting lots of energy but the tracks were far too much fun to play on rather than chilling down in the finish arena field.
Maybe the having fun paid off, though, as I collected 6th/24 in masters which gave me the top ¼ result I’ve been wanting all year. I could possibly have squeezed 4th but a rider crashing a little way ahead of me meant I lost time waiting for them to recover. A great weekend with a result I’d been waiting for.