Friday, April 20, 2007

The first enduro of the season

Last weekend was the first enduro of the season. It certainly feels like summer is just around the corner when the Big Night Out comes around. This year we had a bigger group of people heading up to Builth although I was the sole participant in the ELBNO. The rest of the team were busy completing the Sunday daytime enduros.

This year, just to make it even more challenging, Richard decided to go via Afan on Saturday afternoon to ride the Whyte Trail. I was a little unsure about it it, given that I was due to ride in the evening but went along with it. We met Henri at the Drop Off and got our kit ready. Given last year's gearing issues I decided to take the Mather for the night ride. It certainly isn't as well suited to the trails at Afan as the Rocky but it is good for the enduros.

The weather on Saturday was stunning, bright sunshine and mid-twenties. It really did feel like July or August straining up the singletrack climb. As usual the Mather ate up the climb, however, this time I was outgunned on the descent with everyone else on their full bouncers. I was amazed by how quickly Henri climbed on his Kona Stinky (it weighs a ton). What was more impressive was how fast he descended...his weeks in the Alps have certainly paid dividends.

The ELBNO was a struggle to be honest. The first climb was an absolute beast with the majority of the field walking the final section. And then the punctures started. In total I flatted three times (with only one spare inner). Having repaired the inner twice with separate thorns (not easy in the dark) I was offered a spare inner by what seemed to be the only other person on a 29er. I was pretty happy to get back within 2.45 given the number of flats.

This week has been a bit of a struggle. I seem to have pulled a muscle in my lower back which makes walking painful, nevermind cycling. I hope to be back on the bike next week or the though. I guess I will need to be with the Dyfi enduro on the 6th and Penrith Merida the weekend after.

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