Sunday, 13 April 2014

Redemption...... From Fort William to Innerleithen on the Scottish Enduro Series

Fort William:
When we first heard the news that there was going to be a Scottish Enduro Series that was it, our minds were made up and our Michelin tyres would be full of proper Scottish mud. Neither of us could wait, Scotland is renown for having natural technical and sweet trails with little in the way of that uphill malarkey, the way trails should be! :)
Fort William is one of my favourite places in the world, I’m not sure why, is it the journey up there going through Glencoe?  Is it the excitement of seeing the railway running alongside the West Highland Way that I walked when I was just a wee sprout?  Or probably more the fact that it’s so close to Skye and all the happy memories I have of these places both on two wheels and on foot.
Anyway let’s get to racing!  This was a No Fuss Events organised race and those bad asses know how to put on a bloody good party!  The format was simple; rock up, sign in, grab the bikes and get some practice in, decide what time you want to set off in the morning for your race run with all of your friends (and aiming to beat them, ahem!), take the climbs as they come and smash the hell out of the descents. Booyah! 
(Photo copyright of Dan Gibson)

There were four stages and they were all different, and no word of a lie, they were all amazing; rocks, roots, and ruts, ‘ruts’ you say? Did I mention the ruts? Flipping heck, talk about moto lines, these were insane.  Steve and I finished practice and our grins said it all, we had just ridden some of the sickest tracks ever in UK Enduro racing!

(Photo copyright of Colin Olden)

Fort William is pretty notorious for its rain however I’d say we have been pretty lucky in the past with ‘blue bird’ days here so when it chucked it down all weekend with no let up I wasn’t about to complain, it’s all about keeping the equilibrium you see.  Needless to say the tracks became pretty cut up and you just had to laugh the schadenfreude way with seeing mud covered people upside down in front of you! It was real nice to see Frazer, the organiser, lurking in the undergrowth watching people crash - great spectator spot Frazer!

(Photo copyright of Colin Olden)

(Photo copyright of Colin Olden)

I couldn’t have cared about my result here if I am honest, I know that sounds awful but a weekend of riding those tracks was enough for me, it was fantastic.  I took home a 5thplace and Steve was knocked down to 34th after snapping his chain 10 seconds into his first race run and having to run pretty much the rest of the track, gutted, he was feeling fitter granted but gutted nonetheless!
A brilliant weekend overall, even getting 3 points on my driving license and a £100 speeding fine on the way home couldn’t spoil this one!  Next up is Inners and we’re aiming to get it pinned!
'Innerleithen', a name synonymous in the bike community with steep, rock strewn, rooty and dark tight twisty trails, it sure didn't disappoint for round two of the POC Scottish Enduro Series.
Steve and I rocked up the Peebles way at 9am, grabbed a couple of coffees, got our entries and dibbers sorted followed by a quick catch up with our friends, our start times were from 12-noon.  It’s such a nice relaxed format at these races, ride along with your mates in between whilst aiming to kick their arses as you smash through the stages, yes I like that! :)
This time around we had five stages to contend with and yes, it was raining again; track one was a slog to get to and a slog to get down, lots of pedalling from the top of Minch Moor.  Stages two, three and four were all pretty much made up of Innerleithen’s various infamous downhill tracks.  There were some new and incredibly steep root infested sections of the stages that were sick to ride and left you still stuttering after finishing the courses but nothing that my Michelin Wild Rock R2 tyres couldn’t handle, they’re bloody awesome things!
(Photo copyright of Malcolm Porter)

Oh yes, after lowering the front end of my Orange Diva Five I have noticed a massive and positive difference, it’s so much better on steep turns, to the point where people were coming up to me afterwards saying I had the course nailed down!  So to all the ladies out there on Orange Fives, lower the front end a bit if you haven’t already then get out back out there and rail!

(Photo copyright of Ian Linton)

Stage five was a really tough start; in our race runs I held Steve up here because I hadn’t managed to get out of the way in time. He caught me and I rammed him off the track making him crash, whoopsadaisy, sorry Steve! He probably would have made top five if it wasn’t for me, I felt so guilty and was very apologetic to him afterwards.
The casual race format of this series is spot on, you get to choose what time you set off on Sunday. We both chose 11am and had a nice lie in. The later start meant that although the tracks were more chewed up it also meant they were more worn in, taking the riding conditions into account (wet!) this proved to be a bit of a boon, also made the conscious note not to get in Steve’s way this time around!
(Photo copyright of Ian Linton)

Race runs for me went okay apart from stages three and four where my chain kept jamming with the mud being packed into it and where I had to get off and push.  

(Scottish mud? You got it!)

That definitely cost me a whack of time on the flipside though I got joint third place (where there were also two ladies on joint second) so can’t complain too much about that, just didn’t make the podium, damnit!

(Photo copyright of Ian Linton)

Overall another amazing weekend, track’s were out of this world, nothing else comes close, it was a good redemption for my place at Fort William, just sad that that I didn’t get on the podium steps.
Wondering how the others have been getting on with their downhill races now, just popping a ND(H)uro report together for you all, gimme a few.
Angie xx

The Development Racing Team can also be followed on Facebook:

No comments:

Post a Comment