Design and weather has prevented the Enduro 6 from being the best of courses over the last couple of years. I had sworn not to go again but as the only accessible 6 hour event I’d be undertaking for the year it seemed a waste not to go. An additional appeal this time was the change of format from racer-only pits to open track side support.
Arriving and pitching the tent in great weather was a good sign, and it remained fine the next day. Pat Adams, the organiser, announced that the course was changing this year so there was much speculation as to how it would be.
As it turned out it was a great course, lots of fun. It flowed well, still took in enough of the tight bending through trees, the swoopy path through Bluebell Woods, but these were just short enough that when a faster rider hurtled through they did not get stuck behind a slower rider for too long, so I heard very little of the exasperated shouts of the lead guys. The extremely short sharp lung busting climbs had also been pruned so that there were not the usual clash of riders pushing bikes against those trying to grind it up the slopes. I had more than one rider recognise the Team JMC shirt and so had a few banter exchanges with fellow riders who were enjoying the course as much as I was.
The dry dusty fast tracks which for the first 5 laps seemed bliss slowly turned into rock hard bumps which shook through my bones. By the time I got to six laps my back and neck muscles were locking with the pain. This had been the first time I had ridden continuously for this period of time, and on such a hard surface, and at that speed. After 8 laps, but still only 3 minutes behind 3rd I had to stop. This was at 5 hrs and 50mins. Although I was disappointed at not finishing over the 6 hours I was actually pleased as it was the best performance I had put into a solo race. I will actively look to enter again next year!