My crash at the pro sprint eliminator turned out to be a nasty knock to the head and I had a headache for nearly a week and just didn’t feel quite right! Helmets really are a must when riding a bike; I can’t imagine how my head would have felt for a week if I hadn’t been wearing one.
So my preparation for round three of the Fetish Gravity Enduro Series was not quite what I had planned, I had to have a really steady week with a couple of short road rides. It did however give me the opportunity to catch up on some much needed paperwork, the dreaded receipts and tax return.
It was also the most beautiful week of weather which fortunately lasted for the enduro race weekend. It was in total contrast to the previous round at Coed-y-Brenin when people were so wet and cold there were stories of people sitting in their cars with the heating on for over an hour thawing out before they drove home.
At Hamsterley the concerns were not those of hypothermia but instead those of people passing out from heatstroke! It was the perfect weekend for camping and riding around a beautiful forest, riding some lovely natural and man made trails. The circuit was not long; you could get around all five stages in 2 hours.
The stages ranged from 2 mins to 4 mins, pretty short but they were all very different and had their own different challenges. I was going to have some serious competition this weekend as both Helen Gaskell and Sarah Newman are locals and knew all the trails really well. Fortunately with it being a short loop I had chance to ride them all 3 times before Sunday so I felt a little more familiar than I normally would at an enduro.
I had an incident free lap this time, no mechanicals or punctures and made no major mistakes but I did feel like it took me a few stages to get into the swing of things. The lap was over and done with so quickly I almost felt as though we could have done it again, but it was actually pretty nice just to sit out in the sun and wait for the results to be posted.
I had done enough to take the win ahead of Helen by around 40secs and finished up 19th overall out of the 300 entrants so I was pretty happy with how I had been riding. It was also good to have some time on some off-road downhill terrain as it will all help in my preparation for the World Cup Downhill at Fort William.
To further gain some time on my downhill bike I organised an uplift evening at the Forest of Dean. Thanks to Flyup uplift service I joined up with around 15 of my local club Malvern Cyclesport and did 9 runs at the forest from 5-8pm one night.
I also went along to a Pearce Cycles race weekend at Bringewood and did a day of uplift on the race track. The Pearce Cycles crew really have done so much for downhill in my local area and they have developed an uplift system with home made trailers and Landrovers which means you never have to queue long for a lift and I got 10 runs in and still had time for lunch and was home by 5pm ! Great fun and again some good time spent on my DH bike.
Even though I have ridden more than ever over the last few months it still doesn’t make up for time riding downhill. It’s just a different demand and stress on the body and I was pretty tired after a few days back on the bike. However I did start to feel more at home on my big bike again and hopefully by the time race day comes around at Fort William I will be ready to go.