Racing Welsh Gravity Enduro Round 4
It seems like three is my magic number this year – I took this third spot on the podium at Round 4 of the Welsh Gravity Enduro series last Sunday meaning I’ve grabbed third places in the last three races I’ve done and in three different disciplines to boot – Downhill, Fixed Gear and Enduro.
The event took an unusual format for a Gravity Enduro – rather than having one chance to set your fastest time on a variety of tracks and in a set order, the ‘Mash-Up’ format meant that you could try as many times as you liked to record your fastest time and that you could ride all the tracks in whatever order you felt like.
On the morning of the race I randomly chose to begin on Track 3, partly because it looked further away from the race HQ than the other tracks and so I thought there might be a bit less of a queue. I’d decided that I’d ride each track once to recce it then go straight back up to try a fast run whilst I vaguely remembered the course. I’d then move onto the next track and do the same until I’d recced and raced each track. After that, I could go back and try some of them again if I needed/wanted to.
In the end, it didn’t work out like that at all..
It all began easily enough – I slowly climbed up to Track 3 in order to give my legs time to warm up – I’d ridden for four hours at Newport Velodrome the day before so they were feeling a little stiff. The track was very pedaly and tiring but an awful lot of fun, so after my recce I headed straight back to the top to do my race run. Unfortunately I caught up another rider half way down and they didn’t move to one side and let me past despite asking repeatedly, so I was really held up. I decided to go straight back up again and give it another go.
Once I’d set a reasonable time on Track 3 (the fastest time on that track) I grabbed some lunch and chatted to some of the other riders. It was then that I found out that Track 2 was actually the longest of all and became a bit worried that I’d spent so much time and most of my energy riding Track 3. I decided to check out Track 2/aka Zig Zags but went the wrong way and ended up at Track 1, which was a Bike Park track.
As I was over there, I rolled down it to check it out that I headed over to Track 2 as I’d originally planned – I wanted to have a recce then a race run on it before I got way too tired. I had a run down Traxk 2/Zig Zags to scope it out then headed back up to HQ to check out all the times and do my fast runs on Tracks 1 and 2.
As it turned out, I had to stick with the times I’d recorded on my practice laps – by trying WAY too hard on my Track 2 race run I crashed really badly. It’s never nice to crash, and naturally, it’s always unexpected but boy, did I hit the ground fast. One minute I was riding along, the next minute – splat. I drilled my face into the floor and smashed my hand pretty nastily. I was in a fair bit of pain but rolled down the rest of the Track then pushed back up to HQ. A medic had a cursory look at my hand and told me the paw wasn’t broken, so that was that.
In the end, the combined time of the practice runs on Tracks 1 and 2 and my race run on Track 3 were enough to get me third place, so I was happy with that!
What I wasn’t so happy about was discovering two days later that in fact I have broken my thumb in multiple places and that the bones fragments are not aligned. I’m back at the fracture clinic next week for more info, but it looks like the next six weeks will be spent in plaster. Doh.
Photos: Dave Noakes