The 2016 ‘Ard Rock Enduro Festival

by
August 9, 2016

Heard about the Ard Rock Enduro over the weekend? Our main-man, James Love, was in the thick of it, and has sent in a lovely race report on how it all went down…

The sun shone brightly across the Yorkshire Dales National Park, whilst the wind blew with annoying vigour straight into our faces. But then again, you can’t have it all right? Driving down into the Swaledale Valley on Friday evening, we could make out the bustling event village next to the Dales Bike Centre and the neighbouring field full of colourful tents and campervans.

DSC00446
Some of the descending stages during the Ard Rock Enduro were just flat-out fast! You could muster some massive speeds on the open sections.

Situated just outside of Reeth, the Ard Rock Enduro has only been running for four years now, but has quickly grown to become one of the most sought-after events on the British mountain biking calendar. The Ard Rock is a busy event with a contagious festival atmosphere. In the event village there’s a choice of great food and brews (both the caffeinated and beer-ish kind), and there are plenty of places to relax after a hard stage’s riding.

The provided shelter also came in handy, but thankfully this year it was from the sun’s UV and not pouring rain. There was technical support on hand from Shimano, SRAM and Mavic, and competitors could try out a range of demo bikes from Cotic. With numerous bike industry stands to peruse and live music to enjoy, the campvibes and good times are strong at the Ard Rock Enduro.

kitfortheday
Getting prepped for the day’s riding. Shoes, helmet, pads and spare rubber in hand.

Numbers attending have grown year on year, which made for a packed-out event with plenty of excitement out on the trails. But while it was busy out on the hills, waiting in line for stage starts was never an issue, and especially with a warming sun beaming down on us.

On more than a few occasions during race stages, we did run into a bit of traffic with fellow competitors. Whether it was the wind making it hard for riders to hear the incoming shouts of “RIDER!”, or whether some riders simply required a lesson in race etiquette, either way it certainly made for some exciting moments on the fast wide-open descents.

ard rock enduro race
Look at those views! Riding rare singletrack through some of the most stunning scenery in the Yorkshire Dales.

We represented on both days of racing at the Ard Rock, with Tom and James attending on Saturday to take part in the Enduro event, while Mark and Chipps saddled up on Sunday for the Enduro Sport event. The trails are the same, and the distance is the same, but the pace is a little more relaxed on the Sunday with no cutoff time enforced.

pointingatthemap2
People pointing at maps.

The riding itself is absolutely superb. The trails are rocky, fast and flowing, and it’s all set within a breathtaking landscape. The 45km long course takes in 1500 meters of climbing, so you definitely earn your turns. Wonderful views and long transitions take you right out into the Yorkshire Dales to some fantastic high thrill, loose and rocky tracks, most of which are only rideable during the event.

In addition to the main two events, there was a slightly shorter 30km  Enduro Sprint category on Saturday, which was also open to younger riders. Whichever event competitors picked, there was something for everyone who wanted to enjoy the excellent Swaledale singletrack.

Want to get a feel for what it was all about? Then enjoy our photo gallery here of the weekend’s festivities at the Ard Rock Enduro!

oldbike
Clearly this rider was the most Enduro of them all – check the slack head angle on that bad-boy!
ard rock enduro race
Pre-race morning ritual.
ard rock enduro race
Let’s take this outside. And then we shall ride our bikes, and all will be right in the world.
ard rock enduro race
Shimano technicians on hand to help prep racers bikes throughout the weekend’s racing.
sramtweaks
Likewise, the big SRAM Van setup shop to help folks dial in their suspension, brakes and gears for the gnarly and rocky singletrack.
ard rock enduro race
You can never be too prepared. Events like the Ard Rock Enduro seem to have a habit of throwing up the most bizarre mechanical issues.
mavictweaks
Wheel truing and tyre repairs were a common sight throughout the weekend. Misjudge your tyre pressure, and the rocky trails would spit you and your bike out the other side.
ard rock enduro race
Cotic Bikes had sponsored riders out on course battling it out for glory, while the extensive demo fleet saw plenty of competitors taking up the offer to try out their new DropLink full suspension bikes.
ard rock enduro race
Some riders brought their own workshops with them. And kitchens. And bathrooms. And bedrooms.
tubetotoptube
Correct display of colour-matching for an endoooro event.
ard rock enduro race
A little souvenir to take home from the Yorkshire Dales singletrack.
ard rock enduro race geometron
Now that’s what you call a control centre! Can you guess what each lever and switch does?
geometron belt drive ard rock enduro race
The back-end of the Geometron, with its belt-drive setup and impressive welding.
geometron valves ard rock enduro race
Any guesses as to what’s going on here with the wheels on the Geometron?
ard rock enduro race hope hb 211 carbon bike
The very rare Hope HB 211 carbon fibre machine. Note the Ohlins suspension front and rear on these stealthy matte-black beauties.
hope ard rock enduro race hb 211 carbon concept bike
Decked out head-to-toe with Hope bling, the HB 211 concept bike is an absolute work of art.
ard rock enduro race beer
This guy had two prototypes we could spot in the race pits – a unique downtube bottle cage paired with SPD flip flops. A winning combination?
ard rock enduro race
Misfit.
ard rock enduro race
Lucky charms abound at the Ard Rock Enduro. Kittens never cease to provide inspiration mid-race.
ard rock enduro race
If in doubt, slather it with stickers.
ard rock enduro race
Temperatures and anticipation levels were rising on the morning of race day, as riders basked in the warm glow of the summer sun.
ard rock enduro race
Unusually, the provided shelter was from the sun, not rain.
ard rock enduro race
Keeping cool before lining up on the start line.
ard rock enduro race
Over 1000 riders turned up for the Ard Rock Enduro, with racing held over two days and multiple categories to choose from.
ard rock enduro race
The long climb up to the beginning of the next descending stage.
ard rock enduro race mark alker
Apparently Mark doesn’t know any other way.
ard rock enduro race
Want to see who took out the glory? Then you know where to go. For 99% of competitors at the Ard Rock Enduro though, this weekend was all about the good times.
ard rock enduro race blood injury
Battle scars following a tough weekend of racing.
ard rock enduro race broken arm injury
Some injuries were a little worse than others. Hope you’re not right-handed mate!
ard rock enduro race
Live music throughout the weekend kept the festival vibes rolling through the event village.
ard rock enduro race
Sunshine, mountain biking, beers, music and mates. If this isn’t what life is all about it, then we don’t know what is!
ard rock enduro race
Quality trails, with a quality reward at the end of the day. We can almost smell that woodfired pizza from here!
ard rock enduro race beer
That is one thirsty rider!

 

 

ard rock enduro race pub beer mountain bike
Mid-race rehydration. Yes, these riders are actually in the middle of the Ard Rock Enduro!
ard rock enduro race
Yes the riding is damn good, but the Ard Rock Enduro is all about the festival vibes. Put in in your diary for next year – this one is an absolute winner!

DSC00433

And that wraps up this year’s Ard Rock Enduro. If you like what you see, then make sure you pencil in the event on your 2017 calendar. For further details, you can head to the Ard Rock Enduro website and Facebook page.

Categorised as:

Events News