Colin, Steve, Si and I drove up on Saturday to Coed Llandegla near Wrexham to do the red run as a warm up to the main event. If this was good enough for Neil Donoghue it's good enough for us! Poor Colin did well seeing how the poor the old boy had been suffering from the dreaded Man Flu all week!! It was so bad he had been in bed the week before at 9pm trying to shake it off (he told me to put this in).
(Editors note- Neil Donoghue is Colin and Jasons current man crush- http://www.pinkbike.com/news/Neil-Donoghue-Bronson-Play-2013.html)
The red route sends you on a series of technical challenges and steep flowing sections cutting through the more remote areas of the forest, a good selection of switchbacks, whoops, water crossings, table tops, and north shore boardwalks which kept us all on our toes!
After a great ride we gathered by my van for a beer!! We were ready!
We loaded the van up and made for Coed-y-brenin to register for the race, as we set off a pigeon flew out of the bushes and flew straight into Steve’s and Si bikes on the roof to his car "or was that a crow, seagull or Dodo? who cares, poor thing was like something out of a Paul Daniels magic show,”POOF” it was all over the place and with a gust of wind, it was gone! They checked the bikes where ok pulling feathers from the rear derailleur’s and then we were off again, Thanks to Orville we missed the registration by minutes, so we headed for the B and B to settle in and meet up with Matt and Gilly who had chosen the more luxurious accommodation of a field! Well if it’s good for the sheep!
We met up with Matt and Gilly in the Ship and soon got settled and chatted about (I can’t remember, think I drank too much) over one or two pints! Hehehic.
The Morning of the Enduro, I can remember thinking while having breakfast, “I wonder if this will be anything like the 100k Colin and myself took part in?"
Oh how wrong could I be! I don't think anyone cleared their plates that morning, we were all thinking the same thing.
We left the b and b and made our way to Coed-y-Brenin. The weather couldn't have been any better- this was mine, Steve, Si and Colin’s first time doing this enduro and we were all excited and a little nervous as we turned into the car park. It soon became apparent how big this enduro was, the place was packed! People all over the place, this was huge, 650 Riders all looking for the start line.
After registration we gathered and waited for the off, Mat choosing to make his way to the front for the start line while the rest of us chose a cosy spot in the middle of the pack, suddenly there was the starter gun and we were off!
The first part of the ride was all climbing taking us up 1200 ft in 3.5 miles with some 12% climbs that were impossible to ride. Once over the top we were on our way back down Lil downhill and then a queue of riders into the single track and very technical descent of Able, with its overall -12%, large drops and big roots this is a section not for the faint hearted and needs to be taken at speed so not a good point to be held up in traffic!
Once at the bottom we were on our way back up to 1340ft with 16% climbs which again were impossible to ride.
The next descent was Gomez n Morticia, -10%, 2 mile single track but in no way a resting point.
Our next big decent was Pink Heifer, -16% of rocks, this had a lot of riders dismounting but not one Redhill Worrier (or warrior? you decide- Ed) put a foot on the ground
At the bottom of Pink Heifer Colin and I took the 46k option while the others continued with the extra 8.5 mile route.
The back end of the ride was the most enjoyable for me even though the last climb just felt it would never end! Just as you thought you were at the top you would drop down a small descent and you were climbing back up again! I think the climb lasted 6 miles in total before enjoying the descents such as Rocky Horror.
Crossing the finish line was a good feeling….because it was over!
We were greeted on the line by Mat who had finished the course in great time and looked like he had just finished a club ride!
This was the toughest ride that Colin and I have ridden, it had nowhere to hide, the only rest you had was at the end but after a couple of pints you only remember the good bits!
It was a great weekend with great company, thanks to Colin for keeping me company all the way round and well done, I know you were suffering with man flu!!!!!! Well done to Mat for a fast time of 4hrs 28mins, Gilly .. Wow this girl’s got balls!, Steve… well done 60k for an old boy and made us laugh all weekend, Si… just a walk in the park!
See you all next year…..ummm maybe not!!!!
Colin got some video footage, see it here- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-WJwYdT5OMU
Jason was wearing a camera, keep an eye for anything else popping up here.