The season is quickly coming to a close, however we are still clinging on to the last flickers of summer. With the British Enduro Series and the Scottish Enduro Series both happening on the same weekend I had a decision to make. I had to decide if I wanted to stay in Scotland and race some awesome tracks at Laggan or do I travel south for 5 hours towards the unknown trails of Eastridge for the British Enduro?
After some thinking I decided that variety is the spice of life and I loaded up the van and hit the road. We arrived at Eastridge at midnight after a long drive from home. Me and my girlfriend, Niamh set up cassa-del-van. We blew up our little blow up bed and put up some ferry lights to make things feel a little more homely.
The race format was new to me. It consisted of two days of racing but you would practice and race half the stages on each day. So day 1 we practiced stages 1-3 in the morning and raced them in the evening, then we did it all again for stages 4-6 on day 2.
Eastridge, as it turns out is awesome. The trails are short but very fast and pretty rough too. I brought my Process 111 and it was loving the high speed nature of the stages. It was dry to and I mean really dry. There was even dust! I got stages 1-3 practiced pretty quick and really liked the nature of the tracks and couldn't wait for racing. I cruised back to the van to grab some vital beans on toast before racing began.
I started the race well, stage 1 was fast but in control. It was really easy to overdo things in the dry conditions. Stage 2 was considerably shorter and I missed a vital line which cost me some time but stage 3 was quick and I was riding aggressively, perhaps too aggressively. I ended up 15th after day 1 but only 32 seconds off the leader so times were tight. I decided that I wanted to push harder for day 2 and try and crack the top 10.
The stages for day 2 were pretty similar to day 1. They were a bit longer and had more pedalling sections so there was a chance to make up some more time if I played things well. I stared good, a solid stage 4 apart from getting caught in the face by a rather large bush on the side on the track. It was hot and all of the elite field were feeling the heat. Stage 5 is where things went south, It was a tight and awkward stage with steep corners and I came into one of the early turns too fast. I blew my feet off and did everything I could to keep from crashing. I managed to avoid hitting the deck but I lost all momentum and with it all chances of getting into the top 10. I rode smart for the rest of the race and finished strong.
I ended up the weekend in 15th which I was a little disappointed with. Eastridge might have been new to me but I still felt capable of a top 10 result. Things just haven't clicked for me this year but I am learning every time I race and striving to improve all the time.
Massive thanks to CrankBrothers for giving all my pedals a refresh and to Cliff Bar for keeping me well fed throughout the race. My bike was faultless all weekend thanks to Fall Line Cycles and I didn't get so much as a puncture.
Next race is TweedLove Scottish Champs this weekend.
Till next time,