Implausibly for some there was an era of mountain biking that existed before Enduro racing. Let’s call this time BE, Before Enduro. In these times gone by, not only did we ride rigid bikes (or maybe if we were lucky had an elastomer suspension fork), XC was the discipline of choice. And anyone who was anyone raced at the Boltby Bash, an event held above the village of Boltby on Sutton Bank at the edge of the North York Moors.
But like all good things, these days had to end and with them so did the Bash. What followed included disc brakes, carbon frames, suspension platforms and grown men (and women) dressing in fluorescent colour coordinated outfits that resemble a Run DMC dance troop. Let us call these days, AG, anno gnarr.
One of the good things to come in this modern age is the resurrection of the Bolby Bash in an Enduro format. This weekend saw the third birthday of the event which has grown from 250 competitors in the first year to over 800 this. The skinny tyres and eye-bleeding XC speed may have gone but the relaxed vibe of the event and headline sponsors from brands like Pace Cycles still remain. If this weekend was anything to go by, this rebirth appears to be associated with amazing weather too as factor 30 suncream and a burnt face seemed to be the kit of choice.
The event consisted of a 35km loop with five timed stages not accessible outside the races as they’re all on private land. Four out of the five stages were open for practice on Saturday before evening beers and entertainment, and then racing on Sunday.
The loop started from the village of Boltby at the bottom of a 200 vertical metre climb up to the edge of the moors. The transition stages snake on and off the way-marked natural trails and drover roads from the Sutton Bank Visitor Centre.
The stages were a mix of full out grassy speed trails and newly cut singletrack through the woods with an occasional man-made ramp for those who wanted to get a bit wild. The open grassy sections had loads of swoops and whoops and enough surprising kickers and drops to keep you on your toes. The wooded trails had off-camber rocky sections, loads of steep chutes and multiple switchbacks through deep loam and bluebells on newly cut trails. Dry loam in the UK. Mmmmmm.
It’s difficult to know what else you’d want in this modern era of mountain biking – dry fun trails, epic scenery and good times with your mates – so keep an eye out for when entries open for next year’s event in the autumn. Great trails and excellent atmosphere are guaranteed. Amazing weather is not.
Race results are available over at SiEntries.
And a big thanks to the race support guys from Wheelbase in Darlington who stepped in to sort my squishy brakes with 30 minutes to spare until my race time.