🏆 Cube Munster Enduro Series - Round 1 - Killaloe - 13th April 2016
Talk about starting the race season with a bang! I have just raced five out of the past six weekends, with the last three weekends being in a row. Lets just say, its been a busy two months!
It started off with Round 1 of the Cube Munster Enduro Series by Limerick Mountain Bike Club. This was held in Killaloe, Co.Clare and was a real treat of a race with three really fun, technical and fast stages to tackle. I came away with 2nd place, with a win on two of the three stages. You can check out my race report here on my blog!
You can check out a video of the race here https://youtu.be/1Ku67vAVwVA
🏆 Welsh Enduro Series - Round 2 - Cwmcarn - 20th April 2016
Arriving at around 10am, we had the whole day ahead of us to get acquainted with the stages that we would be racing the following day. They were fast and pedally, nothing that we couldn't handle and it was a perfect opportunity to go wild and fast on the bike, with little risk of crashing! With little to no rain all week, the tracks were as dry as a bone and FAST!! We met Irish pinner and one boy to watch, Killian Callaghan and the Swansea boys who I had met last summer in Morzine. This is typical of racing, no matter where you race, you always meet someone you know no matter where in the world you are. This is one of the best things about racing, the community!
🏆 Vitus First Tracks Enduro Cup - Round 1 - Castlewellan - 3 April 2016
Third race in a row, and it was up to Northern Ireland for the first round of the Vitus Cup, organised by First Tracks Glyn and Catherine O'Brien.
Saturday was practice day and all about getting acquainted with the race stages and having fun. The trails were so dry and dusty, that it was hard not to go flat out! Race day was a different story althogether. After a night of rain, the tracks were completely churned up and I stuggled to keep my flow and speed on Stage 4 and 5.
After a full days practice, it was back to the campsite where I was parked up for the night. A hot shower, a good dinner courtesy of my camping cooker and a quick spin into town to meet the rest of the crew was the order of the day. That night I went to bed feeling confident with how the day went and relaxed about the race ahead. I went to sleep to the sound of the rain on the van....which always sounds much more torrential in a campervan!
The next morning I was up early and had plenty of time to get myself ready as I wasn't off until 10.20am. My start time was 20 minutes after all my friends so I was off on my own for the day, which was a bummer. But, I guess the great thing about Enduro racing , is that you are rarely riding solo, as there are always people to ride with and friendly faces to chat to on the transitions so I was happy out.
Stage 1, 2 and 3 went well for me and I was feeling strong and fast. However, by the time I got to Stage 4 and 5, they were so muddy and schlompy that I just had an awful time keeping momentum. I remember at one point on Stage 5, barely rolling down a descent as my tyres were so clogged with mud! I lost a lot of time on these stages and lost my rhythm.
Stage 6 was a complete pedally single track stage that just required serious power and endurance in the legs. No skill, just power! I pedalled well but was feeling tired at this point and finished the stage feeling that I really could have done a lot better. That really was the feeling of the whole day in general.
So, timing chip handed in, I was in second place. I had come first in Stage 1, 3 and 6 but with a poor Stage 4 & 5, I was put in my place. I couldn't help feeling really disappointed with my performance but fair play to Rose Griffin who thoroughly deserved the win.
Hanging around afterwards for the presentations, I caught up with loads of people and had a quick chat with Jim Buchanan from ENDURO Mountain Bike Magazine who was testing out the Carbon Vitus SommetPRO. A sweet looking bike, I was very jealous as the red frame looked damn fine : ) This guy seriously has the best job in the world!!
Finishing off with the Presentations, I was ready to hit the road back to Dublin after such a great weekend of racing, vanlifing again and having the craic with my fellow racers!
A massive thank you to Glyn and Catherine and the crew at Vitus First Tracks for putting on a great event and for the very cool medals and generous prize money! Looking forward to Round 2 in Bigwood in a few weeks time!
After three weekends of racing in a row, it was time to have a wee break and spend some time with the family down in Killarney, Co.Kerry. The following week was to be a seriously busy one with the first round of the Irish Gravity Enduro Series and two trips to Galway for two separate exams. I used this weekend to just completely relax and 'ground' myself!
Biking.ie Gravity Enduro Series - Round 1 Ticknock 10 April 2016
Now this was a race I was REALLY looking forward to! After moving back to Dublin from Galway a few months ago, Ticknock was a place I had been a regular to over the winter months and I definitely had a soft spot for it : )
After a very hectic week at work, a trip to Galway on the Thursday for an exam in NUIG, as well as another trip down the Friday evening for another exam Saturday morning, I managed to get back up to Dublin and on the trails for practice by 2.30pm.
Heading out in the gorgeous sun, I hit all of the trails apart from Stage 1, as I was familiar with this being the new Coillte singletrack trail which had nothing on it that I would need to prepare for. I had a successful days practice and headed home at around 7pm, had my pre-made dinner, washed the bike and had an early night.
Good preparation leads to success! As I was super organised on the day of the race, I felt so relaxed and was just excited to get going. Up at the race village at 8am on my bike, raring to go, I was one of the first off. I was lucky enough to go at the same time as Ian Coates, Paul Caldwell and a few other pinners. I stayed with these guys for most of the day and was the fastest women around the course that day.
All six stages were just the business, technical, fast and a whole lot of fun. I felt great on most of the stages with a few mistakes on Stage 4 and Stage 5. However, I managed to win five out of the six stages and take the overall win. My first ever win of the Gravity Enduro Series since I raced in the 'Sport' category in 2013! I was so unbelievable happy, the training over the winter definitely was paying off and I was really seeing results now.
As always, this was a top class event run by Niall Davis and his crew Biking.ie. It always attracts a big crowd and we were so lucky this year to have awesome weather which always makes it that bit more enjoyable!
Irish Female Enduro Racer Flow MTB Team Rider