British Enduro Series: Dyfi, Mid Wales

by Mark Alker 0

Traharn Chidley Reports – Pics by Dan Wyre Photography

Everyone, I think, had similar feelings about yesterday’s British Enduro race at Dyfi mid Wales.

The weather really put a dampener on round one at Ae forest, Scotland, leaving people chilled to the bone and pretty negative about the entire weekend. However, things really turned around for round two.

But there’s no denying that it was a brutal weekend, with Saturday’s and Sunday’s stats totalling up to:

12 hours in the saddle, 10,000 feet of climbing, over 100km of riding, 5 challenging tracks, 3 rad stages, 3 heart wrenching stages, 2 loads of washing, 3 hours cleaning bikes and kit, 2 trips to SRAM, one pedal change, one tyre change, 6 Clifbar Gels, 3 Clifbar chews, 3 peanut-butter & jam sarnies, 6 litres of water, 5 hours 20 minutes (200miles) of driving, lots of hugs and 6 hours sleep (and a partridge in a pear tree – Ed).

With Enduro unfortunately not being UCI affiliated, it’s left to the organisers to create their own event. At the end of last year, the UK Gravity Enduro Series came to an end, leaving room for another “National” series. However, two new series were announced within the same week, both claiming to be Britain’s New Enduro National Series – but which one to enter? They’re not cheap (with good reason; there’s a lot of work that goes in to them).

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Well, Si Paton, British Enduro and British Downhill Series organiser, definitely made a statement with yesterday’s race. It was a tough course, with top riders, and kudos to anyone who even completed the course.

After practice on Saturday there was a lot of conversation about certain stages being too hard, in particular at the top of stage 3 – so reluctantly Si changed the course taking out the top section. I must say I was a little deflated with this decision. I’d practiced clipped in, but soon decided to switch to my trusty flats. I’m working on my pedalling power, but I tend to do well on tech, steep, muddy stuff. So for me it was a nice surprise returning on Sunday morning to the news that stage 3 is staying as planned: Si’s argument was, “It should be hard; it’s the National series.”

My brother Joel had a huge crash in seeding landing flat on his back; one of the worst crashes he’d had in a long time. He managed to get down, but he was in a lot of pain and didn’t know if he would complete Sunday. But he pulled through and managed to pull himself from 33rd up to 11th in the vast international elite men’s field.

After Saturday’s seeding I went in to second place, just 1 second back from current Enduro World Champion, Tracy Moseley. I couldn’t believe it! They hadn’t called my time out and I didn’t bother checking until 2 hours later. Tracy had crashed… but so did I. Everyone was crashing, it was a really fun, tech, fresh, new built track with a super slick top section. It was a matter of letting out a questionable amount of tyre pressure, staying off the brakes and hoping for the best.

This meant all day on the Sunday I set off second, 20 secs behind Tracy. There had been a lot of rain over night, so actually it was quite nice being one of the first riders down before it got churned in to peanut butter.

Some of the transitions were tight, really tight. I managed to put on my goggles as my 5 second beeps counted down on stage 5, I had literally zero time to spare.

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The transition to stage 3 was beautiful; regulating my breathing gave me the energy to look around and appreciate the landscape surrounding us. We were in the middle of nowhere. All you could see for miles were mountains, hills, fields and forests. Everyone was pretty apprehensive for stage 3, but I was fired up. I let out my tyre pressure, slammed my seat down and charged off in my flats. It was such a mess, I think I managed a solid 50% riding and 50% sliding. You had to navigate your way through tight trees on a steep track with roots and holes EVERYWHERE, all while it’s covered in about a foot of slick sloppy mud. Fun, right? 😉

By the time I got to the bottom section, my legs were so tired I had nothing in me for the mammoth sprint; I just jacked up my seat and trucked on.

I chatted with Helen Gaskell on most of the transitions, we’d take it easy with our bad backs and tried to understand why we were doing this… we couldn’t for a while, which reminded me of a quote I love: “It doesn’t have to be fun, to be fun”. We seem to put ourselves through the pain pain, and couldn’t get our heads round it at the time, but as soon as we crossed that finish line, the pain instantly disappeared and we were overwhelmed with triumph and relief. And by the next day, we were ready to do it all over again. Gaskell said “If it were easy, everyone would do it.” And remembered the quote “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got, and always feel what you’ve always felt”. It made us chuckle and spurred us on for the final stage of the epic day.

I somehow managed to hold my position finishing in Second; It was my first race on my new Bird Aeris and let’s hope it’s set the tone for the rest of the reason.

Si Paton has also set a tone, though – and although there were a lot of tired, complaining riders, everyone was smiling as they crossed that finish line. There is a definite level to this series.

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Traharn’s bottle is much further away than Tracy’s

Results:

Elite Men:

  • 1st – Jerome Clementz – 22.22.922
  • 2nd – Matt Stuttard – 22.27.630
  • 3rd – Joesph Nation – 22.48.190
  • 4th – Marco Osborne – 22.55.989
  • 5th – Sam Shucksmith – 23.07.833

Elite Women:

  • 1st – Tracy Moseley – 26.02.688
  • 2nd – Traharn Chidley – 28.41.235
  • 3rd – Helen Gaskell – 29.21.263
  • 4th – Meggie Bichard – 30.25.029
  • 5th – Martha Gill – 30.46.341

Check out roots and rain for more results.