Last weekend I raced my final race of the 2014 season and what a race it was. The Scottish Enduro Series and the Dudes of Hazzard would be the hosts at their 3rd Annual 'This is Enduro Now' race in Kinlochleven. This was my first time riding at Kinloch and after riding the stages on Saturday during practice I must admit I felt a bit out of my comfort zone. The trails were high speed, rocky, loose and exposed. This is almost the complete opposite to my local riding.
Stage 1, grey mare's tail, was a fast and flowing trail with rocky gullies and some super awkward rock drops to negotiate towards the bottom. Stage 2, The kennels were more to my liking. Really exposed and really, really fast! the trail was so long your arms would hurt so much towards the bottom that you were holding on with just your pinkies! Stage 3, Sooks pipe, was my favourite. A mess of deep bogs and deep mud this trail was seriously difficult to ride. However it was the closest thing to the riding at home and I managed to take 6th on the stage during the race.
Stages 2 and 1 didn't go quite so well. On stage 2 I misjudged a line and ended up ploughing into a 6ft gully, one foot unclipped holding on for dear life as my bike smashed through rocks that were bigger than me. Despite this I still managed get 12th on the stage. However stage 1 was were I lost all my time during the weekend.
Due to the numbers at this race stage 1 was the last stage I rode (having ridden stage 2 first and 3 second). At this point I had injured my knee and I knew pedalling would be difficult. I decided to girt my teeth and give it my all on the last stage of the year. I dropped in and was hitting my lines faster than I had before and was really enjoying myself until disaster struck. I moved the bike too far to the right of a gully and the front wheel caught a large rock, catapulting me over the bars, smashing me into the rocks. Head first. I jumped up as quick as I could but I couldn't feel anything in my right leg as it was dead from the impact of the crash. I cracked on and had another, smaller crash trying to make up time. I ended the stage in 19th, bike broken, body broken and ready to go home.
It was a disappointing way to end the year with such a poor stage finish, but this year has taught me many valuable lessons about riding, racing and life itself. Overall I finished 12th in seniors. I know I could have gone faster, but at this level could've, should've, would've just doesn't cut it.
Thanks to Kona Bikes for all the support this year and some awesome race jerseys, Hart's cyclery for getting the bike race ready and Sweet Protection for keeping me warm, dry and protected this year. I couldn't do this without you.