After first hearing about the 'Ard Rock Enduro via the modern wonder that is social media a load of my mates sent over texts urging me to enter... that's peer pressure in action right there!
I had ridden bits of the North Yorkshire Dales before but had never come away too impressed, seemingly it was always a fire road central with little fun to be had on the way back down. And while I'm on this subject let me just quickly stand on a soapbox... let's understand the difference between the North Yorkshire Dales and the North Yorkshire Moors, there's a BIG difference but the amount of people who think it's the same place just grinds at me... Grrrrr!!!
Now back to the race report; Saturday was pretty relaxed really, got there about 10.30am and met up with Helen and Sarah, the sun was shining and the weather was sweet! Got hold of a route map and off we went for practice. Hill climb numero uno took us up onto the top of Fremington Edge and along to stage one. We didn't really know what to expect as none of us had ever ridden these tracks before, all we had been told was don't give it full licks as it's loose with a couple of drops. The track was pretty rad with some loose flat corners and some steep chutes, it really reminded me a bit of the Megavalanche in places. Pretty crazy lines though as the taping up of the track was a bit hit 'n miss.
Oh my days, the next climb was epic and then it all came flooding back to me, this was the start of the Swaledale Marathon Fell Race a couple of weeks before. Steep, steep and loose and on and on and on, unrelenting with sweat pouring down from my forehead and into my eyeballs! Next up was Stage 2, a similar kind of track but with some added uphill pedally bits in for good measure, my thighs!
Back to the bottom of the valley yet again with quick spin by the river to Langthwaite where we thankfully fuelled up in the pub in between stages. Slurp slurp! Soon wished that I had a cyclocross bike for the next 1.5hr climb that just went on forever! Stage 3 was darned long, it was still all pretty loose and as fast as you like through the quarries.
(Photo copyright of Digital Swaledale)
There was a road climb up the other side of the valley and on to a fire road back toward the last Stage 4. This was totally mint, fast, grassy and just drifting from field to field, ripping over dry stone walls! It was a blinder of a track and I never got to do a so-called 'old school' back in the day so this was my chance. Absolutely LOVED it!
That was the practice over!
Race day came and the weather was how shall I say it? Blowin' a frickin' hoolie! The top of Stage 3 was just insane, on the climb up you could look out and see people pedalling up the hill but moving backwards, the head wind was just bonkers! As I picked up my bike for the start line the wind just took it out my hands! Honestly mental!
All my stages were pretty average really. Had a good Stage 4 I would say but made silly little mistakes on the other ones. Because of the relaxed start, as in that there was no seeding of riders, it did mean that you ended catching people up and some sections had no space to over take which was really frustrating. I know that Sarah had her Stage 1 time pretty much ruined by some riders who wouldn't move, common courtesy costs nothing. So frustrating.
Anyway not to be negative, it was a damn good and indeed hard event with the killer climbs and rad downhills! Great atmosphere, well done to Pro Ride Guides for organising it with the Dales Bike Centre.
It'll be a race I won't be forgetting in a while and neither will my buns of steel!
See y'all on the next one!
Angie x xTweet