An Enduro, in February, in Scotland? I wondered about this, especially when standing in a rainy carpark knowing that my B&B roommate had decided to spend another few weeks in Spain. Apparently it was warmer there.
The Scottish Enduro Series is a new endevour brought by No Fuss Events and Innerleithen MTB Racing. Six rounds, some classic Scottish riding locations, and as on-trend as you like! I entered the whole series as soon as I could, sure that I could progress towards the upper echelons of mediocrity by the end of the season.
So back to the first round, in Fort William, where it was raining on practice day. Stage one used the top part of the XC World Championships course, twisting down with lots of pedalling and speed to be carried through tight hairpin bends. The straightforwardness made me slightly worried about the rest of the stages.
Not to worry, stage two went down Blue Crane, with some small detours, then into the Stump Alley descent as previously used on World Cups and Scottish Cross Country racing. Steep and with big holes, a few years of fallen trees meant that only the main line was rideable, leading to a luge-like trench appearing. After this there was some mixed rooty sections and a few steep faces, great fun.
Stage 3 was down the final sections before Nessie, including a bus stop and a line over the top of a rock, then a sprint from the foot of Nessie to the far reaches of the 10 Under the Ben course.
Stage 4 took in part of the World Cup Downhill track, then down the XC World Championships climb with some rough sections pedally sections in new growth trees.
On race day things went about as expected for me. Stage 1 was lots of sprinting, stage two rode easier than it did on race day, despite the mud. Due to a late start the top of stage 3 was barely recognisable, with a few fallen bodies to be negotiated. Stage 4 was cut short due to rainfall swelling a burn crossing to waist-deep. In the end I was 40th of 83 seniors, within my target of top-half for the first round, so I was reasonably happy, but I know I have work to do.
Next up, Innerleithen for some steeper stuff, and hopefully some more banter with a fantastic group of competitors and organisers!