Photo copyright of Trevor Worsey
The Seagull has landed, had the small issue of a pesky wedding getting in the way of this race report! Only kidding, for those not in the know I have just tied the knot with the love of my life and fellow Development team rider Angie Foster (nee Coates) and I am typing this up on a road trip through the French Alps which is part of our three-week bike fuelled honeymoon around Europe but more of this on another blog further down the line.
Now let me take you back to Laggan.....
Laggan is nestled inside the Cairngorms National Park, a hidden away but no less picturesque mountainous area of the Scottish Highlands. Having said that, don't let the beautiful panoramic landscapes here deceive you, the No Fuss Events team had pulled it out of the bag with a great technical series of enduro stages combining the trail centre and various black graded routes which contained some of the most gnarly off-camber I've ridden this season, nothing that my Orange Five can't handle mind you. It was quite simply awesome, no two ways about it, every round of the Scottish Enduro has been challenging with their spot-on mix of tracks. The format for this weekend was a day of practise on the Saturday with full-bore racing across five stages on the Sunday.
Stage 1 was a wickedly, and dare I say evil, well thought through course of pure pedal power which separated the men from the boys, it was being ridden blind and it soon became apparent as to why! I took about 11 minutes along this section, despite it initially railing across technical rock gardens, it moved into technical climbs with deep loam, it was eleven minutes of pure sweat and lactic acid build up! I was swearing at myself, swearing at the course, swearing at my legs but still loved it, it was bloody hard going but I just clicked and got the pedalling down. I've praised my tyres in previous blog reports but honestly they ripped the trail up along here, I'm running Michelin's awesome Wild Rock R2's and really can't fault them, that loam was no match for my 27.5 wheeled beast!
Stage 2 was awesome, the Laggan Black Route, it was a fast and flowing granite city strewn with big rocks to catch out the unwary, my suspension got a full work out down here and I was laughing all the way, this is my kind of riding, absolutely LOVED IT! My Orange Five handled this section with aplomb, it completely came into its own, can we have more of this type of trail please?
Stages 3 and 4 leaned more towards root fests, the best way through was to keep your flow and bounce along taking care on the off-camber sections. I overtook a fair few riders who had over cooked things on the steep sections here, Laggan claimed many victims over the weekend including myself.
Finally Stage 5 was full-on trail centre gravity lead rumble, big berms and jumps in contrast to the previous stages it was now time to just get on it and rail hard. I'd say Stages 3 and 4 were my favourites of the day, both were really steep and very dusty! I crashed near the end of Stage 3 and missed a few of my lines on Stage 4 which pushed me down the standings. Once everything was tallied up I was in 13th place though which I was happy with considering, it was a great weekend and I tip my hat to No Fuss guys, this is part of racing at its best.
After getting back from our Euro jaunt the next race will be the Tour de Ben, a highlight event of our year and I'm looking forward racing that monster. As you may have noticed Angie was sadly absent from this round of the Scottish Enduro as she was away on a work trip in Europe at the time.
See you all on the next mountainside,