Words by Sam M
Sitting stationary on the M6 for several hours gives you plenty of time to explore your full emotional range; the excitement of getting out on fresh trails, nerves around it being your first race, fear of crashing, worry you haven't packed the right gear...then to irrational anger at anything whilst being stuck in a warm car with no sight of movement ahead.
Although arriving well after dark, not even the constant drizzle could dampen my spirits come morning. I checked in, strapped my number board on (lucky number 2235) and gently span my way to the top. Forgetting Scotland has proper hills this took a bit more effort than expected, a reoccurring theme for the weekend...
Practise highlighted the mix of riding on course; from flowing trail centre runs to bar deep ruts and steep rooty descents. Needless to say, the damp conditions made the already intimidating roots just that little bit more spicy, my somehow contaminated brakes pads were not helping the cause either.
Feeling tired and more than a little anxious, I headed to the pub for nourishment then turned in for an early night.
With fresh pads somewhat bedded in and the Scottish weather still throwing all 4 seasons into the mix, Race day was looking promising.
I could try to recount all stages in details but it went something along the lines of pedal up, then cling on for dear life while pointing downhill trying my best to not crash, either into trees or faster riders, whichever approached quickest. This repeated over the 4 Stages.
I finished up my first Enduro experience at the Glentress Cafe, cup of tea in one hand and a big slab of cake in the other. Feeling rather content with myself, not only had I stayed mostly on the bike, I avoided all but one tree and didn't finish last (just). All round a successful weekend.
EWS here I come!