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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.