Mel in action (Pic: Joolze Dymond)
The Wiggle Enduro 6 took place last weekend at the usual location of Catton Park, a destination the event has settled into very comfortably over the past few years. I have ridden the course on many occasions, twice for the Sleepless In The Saddle 24-hour race (once solo and once as a pairs) but this would be my third Enduro 6.
I knew it was going to be a tough one racing against endurance specialist Sally Bigham. There had been threats of rain all week but Sunday came with sunshine and once we had prepared the Parc Ferme with all required – and extra – spare parts, tyres and my Element hardtail in case of any teething problems with the Triton 100 the race was on.
This was to be my second ride on my brand new limited edition red Element full suspension Triton 100. It had only arrived two days prior to the race and I was so looking forward to riding it. Having ridden 24 hours solo on a hardtail at Catton Park I knew how much the trail could beat you up so was really looking forward to the extra comfort.
The Wiggle Enduro 6 start is hard and painful, with a mile long run to your bikes which were waiting for us at the start. I placed myself near the front knowing I needed to have a good start to avoid a standstill at the first section of singletrack. I wasn’t far behind Sally [Bigham] for the first couple of minutes of the run and I was telling myself to hang on to her but as my heart was racing furiously Sally, with a background as a runner, was gliding further away from me. By the time I was on my bike Sally was no where in sight.
My aim then was not to get lapped by her so I pushed hard on every open section for the first couple of laps. The trail felt fast and the laps were flying by. The course is not particularly technical although there are some twisty sections great for working on cornering and of course the bluebell woods section is always great to ride through.
Anyway, my hopes of not being lapped by Sally were not to be and after only four hours Sally rode past me looking amazingly powerful and extremely focused. At this point I was having to keep Helen Jackson off my wheel, who was catching me very quickly. Each lap I came in I was being informed of her progress, and when the gap dropped to 3min 10sec I made myself push on harder and eventually built the gap to 7min entering my last lap, although I was convinced I had seen her and that she was only 2min behind.
Helen just missed out on getting a 12th lap in, I had time for my 12th Lap and Sally finished with 13 laps and placed third soloist over all. It was fun to ride at Catton Park again, although I didn’t feel like my legs were firing all cylinders as they still seemed to be in rest week mode it has left me looking forward to building on my speed and the Welsh XC this coming weekend. I still feel like I have got more to offer, I guess that’s why I keep entering races and trying to close the gap on the fast ladies.
Full results at www.provelosupportuk.co.uk