I've spent the weekend up north!
Friday afternoon i headed over to my team mate Dave's house to hitch a ride up to the Maxi Avalanche Enduro DH race at Kielder in Northumbria. We spend all afternoon travelling up to Morpeth (via the centre of Newcastle thanks to the rubbish satnav!) to spend the night at my team mate Rich's house. Once we arrived we ordered a curry from 'the best indian takeaway in the whole world', according to Rich. Thankfully Rich proved correct so we settled down for the night full of curry.
The next day we headed up to Kielder for the practice day. The Enduro Avalanche race concept involves being timed over a number of down hill stages where the total time is added up at the end of the day to determine the winner. The riders then have to ride to the top of the next stage to begin at a set time.
Dave and I were racing so we practiced the prolouge course a few times before riding the rest of the stages. Kileder is a trail centre so the stages mainly followed the manmade trails, however there were a few fresh natural sections added to make things interesting.
The prologe acted as a seeding run for the next days race and was about a 4 minute flat out effort... harder than it sounds! Me and Dave qualified in 52nd and 53rd place only a second apart...GAME ON!!
We headed back to Rich's house and hour away via a very interesting road... blind summets, corners or a combination of both seemed to be the most common features. Once we arrived back at Rich's we raided the Indian take away again (the curry was really that good).
The next day we began the race at around 9 o'clock. The start is not your usual start though. Its more of a ceramony where each rider is set off individually at 30 seocnd intervals. Its was still another 30minutes untill the first stage so we crusied up the hill saving energy.
The first few stages took were a bit shakey. Normally enduro riders try to reduce risk taking, here we had to take risks! After a few stages I settled into the rhythme and began to become smoother and faster. The day was going really well untill the finals stage. I set off hard and flew down the first section of the course. However after a minute or so my bike began to feel a little funny... puncture. Damn, I was so close but it was game over. I cruised down the rest of the course on the rim and lost 3minutes and any hope of a decent finish. O well
It was still a great weekend away with great company. I think Dave finished somewhere in the 70's and i was near the back due to my flat tyre. Not a bad effort for a couple of enduro racers on xc bike though!