I've finally managed to hook up to wi-fi and after my first week in France there's lots to report on! I spent a few days in Morzine/Les Gets before heading to Valloire, to compete in Round 3 of the Enduro World Series. Here's how it went....
This was a really tough test of riders mental and physical abilities so for me, with just two years mountain biking experience, it was a true test of my stamina, strength, skill and pain management! There were six stages in total with over 12,000m of descending. Two stages each day, the first was raced once and the second stage raced twice. We were given a practice run on each stage giving a total of five runs each day, so all in all ten runs. Considering they ranged from 10 to 20 minutes, the altitude and blazing heat, it was a killer race! These stages were long, gnarly, and at breakneck speed, just trying to hold onto the brakes was tough enough.
DAY 1.....didn't start great for me as I got a flat halfway through stage 1 but with a swift tyre change for a new Maxxis High Roller back at the race village I was back in the game. It was the only mechanical for me that day so I guess I was lucky and I rode stage 2 & 3 fairly well, overtaking a few riders but a few crashes and steep climbs set me back. However, I was happy to survive Day 1 and was loving it.
DAY 2.... was awesome! Starting high up in the mountain peaks, you knew you were high when an airplane is flying below you! After a fast descending transition it was time to relax at the top of the mountain and soak up the suns rays and the stunning scenery before Stage 3 which started with some technical rock gardens and descended fast down the mountain into the woods. I was flying it on the Kona Process and was having great craic while trying to control my speed and ride it clean. I was going great and overtook two riders when BAAM! A high speed crash sent me flying, getting a whopper of a bang to my knee and somehow twisted it.....I'm icing it as I type this.....I was shook and lost a lot of time here but rode the rest of it clean.
By the time Stage 5 came around I was feeling really tired and fatigued. I felt a bit sluggish on this stage. Again having a crash just as I was heading up a short but steep climb I hit my derailleur off a rock and dropped my chain. Disaster! I rode out the stage giving it everything to make up for lost time. With my derailleur fecked, I went straight to the SRAM tent who put a brand new X9 on for me just in time for me to head off to the uplifts for the final round. Absolute legends!
Finally, Stage 6, the last one. The sun had gone in and I was surprisingly feeling really good! I rode this stage strong, caught the girl in front but unfortunately she crashed and I went straight into her bike. After getting back on the saddle I knew I had to give it everything. I managed to do this stage over a minute and a half quicker then the last one which was badly needed!
It was an awesome race and such a great experience for me. Such a cool vibe and friendly atmosphere all weekend. Thanks to all my sponsors for their support: MBW bike shop, KONA Bikes, GrRANA Energy Europe and HEDcamz.
My next race is the Superenduro in Madesimo, Italy next weekend.