On Sunday I was up in Duncan and rode in the first ever Tzouhalem enduro. One thing I learned is that I am terrible with trail names. I’ve ridden at Tzouhalem a number of times before but really only knew a couple trail names. The Island Cup Series team posted the Trail Forks listing of the stages but I couldn’t tell if I had been on the trails before or not.
The event itself was a lot of fun. It turned out I had ridden pretty much all of the trails before, but I still felt like I was racing some of the stages ‘blind’. Some of the trails I had only been on once before so didn’t really know what was around each corner. Other trails I was familiar enough with but didn’t know where the end of the stage was.
Overall I was pretty happy with how the race went. No crashes, one close call with the front starting to wash out. I knew I was pushing on some corners. I think I could have pushed harder through some of the earlier stages, but I was having some wrist issues during the week and wanted to last all five stages.
According to Strava I set quite a few PRs on the trails. I really felt like I was flying down Double D, which is always a fun trail to blast down. Add in a closed course and it is easy to say that Double D was my favourite stage. I think I also did great with the chip sensors this race. I actually got a comment from the volunteers at the end of stage 2 on how well I was able to tap and get the beep.
After the last stage it was back to the parking lot for some recovery food and drink.
Results were posted later and I placed 29/61 in Intermediate Male.
This has left me in 18/72 for the series.
One of the things I really liked about this race was that the intermediates raced the exact same course as the experts. I’ve always been curious about how well I stack up against the experts but have never been able to really compare times. Well, my total time was 14:58.0. The last placed expert had a time of 14:41 😂 I would have been DFL in expert. Maybe I am in the corret category after all.
A couple weekends ago I rode in the Gnarnaimo Enduro. It was part of an all mountain championship where racers did the enduro on a Saturday, then an XC race the following day using the exact same equipment. Logistics only really allowed me to do the enduro race, so I signed up for that. All the other enduro races I’ve done this year I’ve had the opportunity to preride the course. This was not the case with this race though; I rode it completely blind, never having ridden in the area.
The race went pretty well. The trails were very dry and loose. During the pre-race briefing we were warned about how loose they were. The first stage was a blast. Long downhill, very flowy, good jumps. I wish I could get a second run down those trails they were so fun. I skipped a couple jumps not knowing what was behind them.
I headed up for stage 2 and got set. Dropping in was pretty steep and I started in on the switchbacks pretty quickly. They were pretty loose. Coming up to one right hander I could see the trail dropped away pretty steeply. That was when disaster struck. My front tire washed out, the bike dropped away and I was launched down the trail. It felt like I flew quite a distance and all I could see were all the rocks in the dust. Amazingly I managed to land on my hands and slide, absorbing the worst of the impact. I had to run back up the hill to retrieve my bike. A quick lookover to ensure there was no damage, a quick check up the hill for the next rider, then I was off again. A couple turns down the trail I went to slow down and the lever for my rear brake went to the bar. I almost panicked thinking I was in big trouble. A couple pumps though and the brake came back. At the end of the stage I tapped the receiver and took a seat to recover a bit.
I headed up for stage three. I could feel some scrapes and some possible bruises forming. I was covered in dust too.
Stage three felt like it was a long way up the hill. I was starting to feel tire so I walked more and rode slowly. At the top I took my time recovering and drinking some water. I got myself settled, went to the start tent and got set. I headed off for my final stage. I sure got beat up on this one. It was really long and very bumpy. Lots of roots, dips, and a few drops. I had no idea where the finish was so I had to keep pushing. My arms were getting fatigued though and I couldn’t hold on to the bars very well. I had to either slow down, or death grip the bars (death grip being all fingers on the bar and none on brakes). I tried a little of each until I couldn’t take it any longer. I grabbed the brakes and slowed down. Crossing the line I was grateful I had completed the race.
I’m happy to say that I placed 27th out of 46 racers. Pretty decent. This also leaves me in 16th overall having done 3 of the 4 races so far.
I am still not sure how many races I am going to be able to do this year, but these three have been a blast.