QECP Day & Night Race Report: Robertsbridge Rough Riders
Thanks Robertsbridge Rough Riders for the race report we will be sending you out a pack of Vectiox.com chainring bolts as a thank you.
Having really enjoyed the excellent QECP Gravity Enduro last July, a couple of us from Robertsbridge Rough Riders decided to enter the first ever Day and Night Enduro. As we left our far-flung corner of East Sussex and headed over towards the A3, the only concern was how this new event could possibly live up to last year’s one. Would the course be as well laid out? Would the weather and trail conditions be as good? Would we crash as much? The answer was a resounding Yes to all 3 of these, and now we have a new best-ever MTB experience to remember.
Arriving at the Registration tent the usual pre-race nerves kicked in. However, the excellent organisation, friendly marshals and great camaraderie between riders soon put us back at ease. Before long we were heading up the first transition stage to sample the course in daylight before the race itself.
After a brief pause at the top of the climb to catch our breath, we went straight into Stage One, where within a few minutes the first steep descent claimed both Dan and me as its victims. Remembering to adjust our riding technique for the race proper, we continued on around the course. All went well until the end of the fourth stage, when Dan’s tubeless tyre burst on a flinty piece of trail. We managed to limp back to the race village, and get replacement tyres fitted just in time for the race proper to begin. So without time to rest it was straight back into the first transition stage to ride it all again.
Compared to last year’s daytime event, the timings of this night race were a bit tighter, with less time between the practice session and the race, less time between riders starting, and less time allowed for the transitions. This meant the race felt much faster, and was a much more intense experience. Indeed, as we took advantage of the free camping field, it could also be described as an In Tents experience.
The trails themselves were well designed and marked out, with a huge amount of variety packed in. Fast flowing singletrack, tight twisty trails, off-camber corners, jumps, drop offs, steep rooty descents and an excellent bermy finish. The transition stages were fairly long and the last one in particular provided a challenge to ride up in time to begin the final stage. This race really did have it all, requiring fitness as well as skill.
Best of all though was being handed an ice cold beer as each rider crossed the finish line. Pure genius. Post-race, the beers continued to flow almost as well as the singletrack, and for rather longer. Indeed, the first signs of daylight could be seen on the horizon before they had finally stopped flowing.
And how did the two Rough Riders do? Well, let’s just say it’s the taking part that counts, not the winning.
A big thanks to everyone at the QECP trail collective for all the hard work that obviously went into organising this event. Thanks also to everyone who came along an helped make it such a big success. It’s what mountain biking is all about.