Conditions Weaving

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Clean bike before race day.

Hammerfest Enduro was today and couldn’t have been under better conditions. Clear blue sky, tacky trails, lots of racers. I pre-rode the stages yesterday and did my best to recover fully for the race today. Seemed to have worked.

I got my chip and started getting race ready before the briefing when I discovered a very loose spoke. None of my tools fit it, so I swung by Scott’s Trek Bike Shop van to see if he had the necessary spoke wrench. He didn’t, but we managed to use a leatherman and a set of vice grips to get it (and one other) tighter.

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Racers briefing. This is what 185 strong looks like.

Racers briefing was the normal stuff, and soon we were off. We were requested to hurry to our first stage, then we could take our time after that (the goal being to spread people out). I got up to stage 2 in fairly good time, rested a bit, got set up for my stage and got in line.

Soon it was go time and I took off. This stage was pretty long and I managed to remember all the little bits I thought were important. I bobbled a couple corners, and was pretty slow on one sharp corner, but overall I felt pretty good. At the end I tapped my chip, didn’t hear the beep, tried again before realizing it had fallen to under my wrist. I lost a few seconds there.

Then came the second climb to the top. I got to stage 3 and there was no line up at all. I sat for a bit to recover before I got setup for the descent. Again I punched it as best I could. Bobbing and weaving through the trees, pumping the dips, prejumping rises and logs. The end of this stage had a bit of pedalling so I tried to save some reserve energy for that. I ended up passing one other racer on the stage before getting to the end and tapping the chip.

Once again, the climb up was in order. Even slower this time I walked more than I had the other ascents. At the top I sat for a bit, drank some water, had some food and let my legs come back before stage 4. The longest, with the most pedalling.

Lining up I felt ready for the final stage. I knew it was long and the bottom half had lots of twists, turns and pedalling. I tapped my chip to start my time and I was off. I felt pretty good on Pumpinator railing the switchbacks and turns. I nearly washed out on the same one I nearly washed out on yeaterday, but managed to keep upright and moving.

After lots of pedalling I got to the end tapped my chip and I was done. Wow, lots of fun.

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Back at the car I got into some other clothes, returned my chip, ate some food, and waited for the results.

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Post race loam coating.

After a bit I went and got my chip times. Woot! Pretty happy with them.

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Chip times. Look at the second column of numbers, on rows 2, 4, and 6.

After quite a bit of waiting I ended up having to go before results were announced. I later learned that one of the guys I was chatting with came in first place! As for my results, I had to wait until I got home, but I’m more than happy. I tied for 16th out of 60 racers.

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Another great race done. I am not sure how many more (if any) I will get to do this season. Big bonus that was just pointed out to me was that I am currently 9th in the series after the first two races.

Enduro Chip

A couple weekends ago I took part in my first enduro race. The premise is there are a few timed sections, then some non-timed liason sections. Each racer rides to each timed section under their own power, then races as fast as they can down the trail. Most of the timed sections are downhill(ish) trails.

The Bear Mountain Enduro was close to home and seemed like a decent race. There was a new trail that was built, so I wanted to make sure that I knew it well enough to race, so I headed up to practice a few times. The new trail was pretty fresh, but well built. Unfortunately it was also pretty rocky and had a long flat secton on blast rock; making stage 1 a very energy draining one.

First Practice

Second Practice

Third Practice

Overall practice was fine. I felt like I knew the sections well enough to race and not die. The things I didn’t know were the exact start and end points of each stage. THe other downside for me was the Chainsaw trail had some huge jumps, and I am not a jumper. Still, I figured a way around most of them so I could hopefully keep my time down and still not have to make the jumps.

Come race day I got out to Bear Mountain and got my timing chip. The racers briefing was all pretty normal stuff, and soon we were off. Sue and the kids arrived just as I was heading up to stage 1, so I stopped to talk to them. Most of the intermediate field then got ahead of me, so when I did get to the stage start, there was a long line, and plenty of waiting.

The weather was deent enough, but super, super windy. Stages 2 and 3 weren’t really affected, but the first stage was getting hit pretty hard. This cooled everyone down that was waiting. Soon enough it was time for me to drop in. I tapped my chip and I was off. A couple corners in there was the first little jump (maybe a couple feet high). As soon as my front tire left the ground a huge gust of wind took the bike out from under me. Landing awkwardly I felt something hit my right leg, but somehow I managed to stay on the trail, and on my bike.

I gathered myself and kept going hitting the rest of the trail the best I could. At the end I tapped my chip and stage 1 was in the bank. My calf was killing me though and when I finally looked, it wasn’t pretty.

Yeowch

I headed down to stage 2 where I knew Sue and the kids would be watching. I lined up, and sent an estimate to Sue of when I would be taking off. When it was my turn I got set up, tapped my chip and I was off. I mostly remembered the trail and did my best to keep light on the bike and to roll as smoothly as possible. Then I flubbed a corner. Then I really flubbed the next. Deep breath to calm down and re-focus. I could hear Sue and the kids cheering up ahead, but all I could think about was my race run. I got it together and managed to hit the rest of my lines on the stage.


Looking like I know what I am doing.

Sue and the kids said goodbye as they passed me on my way to stage 3. I lined up and waited my turn, dreading the first section of this stage. Off I went, dropping into the big rock roll, skipping over the first couple gap jumps. Up ahead I could see the big ones, but I could also see somme newly created ride arounds. These threw me with some indecision. I managed to mostly hit them, but messed up one slowing me down on a smal uphill. At the end of stage 3 I tapped my chip and I was done. My first enduro race was over.

I waited around a bit for results, but it was taking too long so I headed home. Later I found out I placed 13 of 42. Pretty decent I would say. Later that got bumped down to 14th but I’m still happy with that. The shower when I got home did not feel very good, but I did manage to clean up the injury pretty good.

Next up is the Parksville enduro next weekend. Looking forward to it.