Guest Blog: Ally at the 661 Gravity Enduro at Ae Forest

We’ve got Ally from Campbell Coaching to give us her thoughts and impressions as she races her first full season of the 661 Gravity Enduro. She’s no stranger to enduro racing tough, having taken part in the Mega Avalanche in years past:

Enduro style racing has it’s home in the Alps with some classic and epic events like the Mega Avalanche and the Mountain of Hell races however there are lots of other events out there too. Gravity enduro racing is a mix of cross country and downhill style riding and can be run on anything from full on Alpine descents that take over an hour to get to the bottom or here in the UK it’s more likely to be an existing Red grade trail route loop. The event is run just like a motor-sport stage rally event where each rider has to complete a set amount of stages with a bogy time to get from stage to stage, be late for your stage start and the clock is ticking!

Race day was muddy...

Most of the timed stages will be downhill but some will also have quite a few flat or uphill sections too to liven it up so its definitely not a race for a downhill bike, 4″, 5″ and 6″ bikes are the norm with a few hardtails about. Not many 29ers . . . .yet!? The races normally last from around 4 to 6 hours so you get lots of time on your bike for the money and you will be pretty tired too!

With the popularity of this style of event with UK riders obvious a new series of Enduro style events has sprung up this year and with over 250 riders including 12 women at the first event it looks like the 5 event series will be a real success. Sponsored by 661 & Singletrack Mag the UK Gravity Enduro Series is here.

There is a real need for all round good riding ability and both endurance and technical ability are key to doing well, however lots of people do these events just for ‘fun’ and and it’s always a great atmosphere because after your seeding run you get to ride the race with a bunch of people you have never met before but who ride at the same skill level, fast or slow!

..it was actually lovely and dry on Friday...

The first race of the series in Ae forest Scotland was ran over 7th & 8th May. A dry week before the race gave series organiser Steve Parr and the crew time to set out the five timed stages and get things in order however the weather soon changes to torrential rain over the weekend which made for some challenging racing in the wet and sometimes muddy conditions. However the riders put everything in to it and from the post race comments everyone had a great weekend despite the weather!

You really don’t need to be a full on XC racer or DH rider to compete as long as you can handle a Red grate trail and a few more technical natural sections you will be fine. So why not come and have a go at the next round in Keilder Forest over the 11th 12th June. Check out the series website HERE.

Big thanks to our supporters for the series: CTC and Cotswold Outdoors.

Ally Campbell
Campbell Coaching