Monday, April 23, 2012

Team Stoned Fish's big day out

After the nightmare result for me at the Brechfa Frostbite 40 in January, I was determined to do better this time out. The event was the first in the 2012 Enduro1/X-Fusion Gravity Enduro Series and was held in the Forest of Dean at the Pedalabikeaway trail centre.
Fellow team mates were the usual suspects of Jay, JT, and Aidan. The decision had been made to have team jerseys made up, one as the event encouraged it, and two as actually the price for them wasn't too bad at all, actually cheaper than buying generic branded ones!
Here we all are post race (after handing our numbers back in)-
So how did the race itself go?
In a style similar to a motorcycle long distance trial there were 6 timed stages, but as each rider was sent off on the minute, and had a preset time to be at the start of each stage. This meant that there was little time for chat and tomfoolery on each transit section. I found that I was reaching the start of each stage around 3-8 minutes before my start time. This meant there was just enough time to be taking food on, or having a pee.
In my usual style I managed two crashes on the first stage, first one was over the bars and into the mud with no damage done. Second was riding into a tree and managing to squish my left ring finger with enough force that it is now (not quite 24hrs later) swollen, sore and turning black. Suffice to say it hurt.
After that no more unplanned visits to the scenery occurred thankfully, and the race was well underway. The marshalls at each stage were friendly, and whilst we weren't allowed to pre-ride the course we were allowed to have a walk around if desired.
Some of the transit stages were absolute monsters and necessitated pushing the bike up the steep muddy hillsides, others were a mix of fire roads and singletrack. By the time we got to stage 6, the final one which made use of the Corkscrew section of the DH track we were feeling the burn.
My first ever incursion on a DH track and I've got to say some of it was properly 'oh sh1t!' scary, especially on a light steel framed hardtail. That said, once I accepted that I was simply long for the ride and it would be easier to go quicker it was actually quite fun, especially the hip kicker just near the end.
With a final sprint to the finish line that was it, race over. 3 hours and some minutes and it was all done.
A good day out, and I'm definitely feeling the aches today!
A couple more pics.
Me and my mate Jay (note humourous Tee shirt slogan...)
 and the good old Quickspaz with pushbike alongside, pre-race.

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