I've realized in the last couple of months that I actually quite like enduro. It's different. It's not downhilling. It's got some downhill in it, but it's long. There's no memorizing 50 minutes of trail. It's not XC either. It's got some uphill and it's got some pedalling, but being the guy with shaved legs in full spandex is only going to win you maybe one or two stages out of 5 or 6. Each stage is a different length, maybe it will be 2 minutes of hairpin turns and gap jumps, or maybe it will be a 10 minute traverse across an exposed cutblock, you never know. It often seems that every stage requires a slightly different game plan, and lends itself to the particular skill set of a different type of rider.
I think one of the things that really appeals to me about enduro is that one or two mistakes in 40-50 minutes of riding isn't going to lose you the race, since everyone is bound to make a couple in that amount of time. But by shaving a millisecond off every corner, or putting in an extra pedal stroke whenever you can, those all add up. When I think about ways that I can start to improve my results at enduro races it seems simple, just keep becoming a better rider. In many ways enduro races are a true showcase of a rider's abilities, and the all-around best rider will almost always come out on top.
|Practice laps, so fun.|
|D'Arcy hanging a leg, getting loose.|
D'Arcy and I had an interesting debate over the weekend on what was the fastest/best way to corner, hang a leg? keep your feet on the pedals? get loose? brake, then pedal hard out? We asked around to a few of our pro rider friends, turns out they all gave us different answers. Hmph. I tried a little bit of everything this weekend and the jury is still out for me, but I did learn that cornering at a speed where you are still in control is always the best option.
|Shuttles in Hood River: sitting in the back of a flat bed truck with your bike between your legs. Thrilling, especially during the freak thunderstorm Saturday morning.|
|Post race lake bath at Kingsley Resivoir.|
|D'Arcy begged me to let him buy this sandwich. It was actually pretty yummy, but definitely excessive.|
So I ended up finishing 5th in Pro women, and D'Arcy came 15th in Cat 1 men's with a crash in stage 5. A few other BC riders have been attending the series and it was great to see Chris Johnston and Dylan Wolsky of the Nomads racing team finish 3rd and 7th respectively in a stacked pro mens field.
I have truly enjoyed meeting so many rad american rider ladies, and they have been a blast to hang out with at every race so far. Congrats to all the ladies on the podium and thanks for the motivation to keep getting faster!
|Pro Women at Hood River|