After a two week long touring bike fest under the gorgeous Spanish sunshine I was excited to be railing my Orange Five through the Forest of Dean's relentless twisting and turning trails with the One Industries Mini Enduro Series.
The race stages were looking full on and challenging in practice, the dry conditions suiting my riding style perfectly. On top of that I had two good friends racing alongside me this weekend as well, Gemma Ingall and Hazel Townsend, we all a great day practising the stages.
Stage one was my favourite, it involved a steep start straight over a fallen tree followed by tight twists and then a steep root-strewn section which lead into a drop at the bottom. I nailed the start but on a sneaky fast line dropped my chain, I’ve become pretty rapid at putting it back so thankfully didn't lose much time. You need to keep a level head as you can't let these things make an impact on the rest of your runs. I’m also excited to be race-testing a prototype Rideworks Enduro chainguide soon too, watch this space, good times!
Stage two felt like the longest with a mixture of fast stretched out pedal-as-hard-as-you-can sections at the top with some rocky berms keeping you in check and a twisty woodland section at the bottom.
Stage three was amazing, I felt like I was flying as my Manitou equipped Orange just soaked up the terrain. We started off on a slight descent where keeping a good cadence up was key, the hardest part was further on where a fresh line had been cut through what I can only describe as a ploughed field! Despite all of my hard training over winter I really had to keep psyched up for this section, it was hard. The second half of the trail was sensational though, I really felt like I was flying and my line choice was perfect, well it was until I took a sharp right hand turn too late resulting in me taking the corner on the floor! It wasn't pretty and the stage is never over until you’ve crossed the finish line, everything in equal measure, ahem!
I was feeling apprehensive on stage four, it was with regards to a long traverse through the forest which went on for a fair while and by this point I was feeling a little fatigued. Over-psyching myself on the start line resulted in me pushing too hard through the first couple of turns, I took a wrong line and came off the bike. This lost time was made back up with a gutsy push down the straight section towards the end though, move over boys!
Once the times were tallied up I was relieved to take second place in a closely finishing field but also felt frustrated that I didn’t get a run in where I felt a 100%. With Enduro racing it all needs to come together on the day and I was a little out of the zone for this race. All of that aside it was great to see so many friendly faces from last season too, I've missed you guys!
Thanks to the organisers, all of the marshals and competitors for making it a top event. See you all at the next one!