QECP Enduro Race Report: Chris Scullard – Rider 162
QECP Enduro – First but by no means the last!! ByChris Scullard, Rider 162
Waking up on a cold, dreary July morning – I had the perfect excuses not to compete. Having had the worst crash of my mountain biking carer 5 days prior which included writing off my brand new helmet (less than a month old!), losing my child care for the day with my wife valiantly stating “I will look after her, we can play in the trees – it will be fine!” and least of all the rain – all the signs were pointing not to race. Giving myself a mental slap I was lucky to have a place as the event sold out in an hour. I thought I’ll make the effort, go up, register and just do one practice stage, I can walk away with my head held high saying “at least I tried”.
On the first transition, climbing the hill the rain started to come down in droves– desperately wondering what will the first stage hold I realised I had the biggest smile on my face. Riding down stage 1 furiously wiping the mud out my eyes with gloves already caked in mud, I was merely making the situation worse – my tyres griping to the muddy track with conviction, the thought came to me – this is the best day ever, I was determined to race!
Lining up at the start– waiting for 12:52:20 to roll around so I could start the climb with enthusiasm to warm up and stop the shivering – excitement started to creep in, I was coiled ready to give it everything I had!
Stage 2 was by far my favourite, the off camber sections, roots and jumps made it immense – I couldn’t believe how fast it was even in the wet! The conditions of the day only made it more technical and challenging which only added to the fun. Narrowly avoiding a crashed rider on stage 4, I was aware that it could be me next and nursing an injured leg – I should have backed off but my instinct as a mountain biker was to push harder. My instinct wasn’t wrong, I had all the faith I needed in my bike and my tyres, I was resolute, I will finish this race.
The relief of being at the end of stage 5 I realised, I had finished the race, I was the muddiest I have ever been but one of the happiest. I wasn’t even recognised by my wife when I returned to the car and her response was to laugh in my face – all that did was give me a bigger grin – I did it, my first Enduro and I was hooked!
Handing my timer in and having the shock that I was currently running in first – I was amazed. I quickly realised that some tokens hadn’t been handed in and I moved down to third with the usual excuses of “Well, I was injured” and “It was raining really hard on that last stage”. Needless to say, I was extremely pleased with my performance and the tracks, they were expertly built with the enjoyment of the rider at the forefront of their design and they held on to the end with hundreds of tyres rolling down them throughout the day. With the clear taping – I was never lost or confused on the stages (which has been known to happen!!) and the marshals were cheering us on with passion that only someone who loves this life could do, it really made the day. No amount of rain could drown people’s spirits – but it certainly gave it a very good go!
After getting home, rinsing off my bike and giving it a good lubing, placing it gently in the shed uttering “You done well today” – I decided that it was my turn for a shower. Lying in bed that night, legs burning from the race and feeling truly warm for the first time that day I was drifting off into a well-deserved sleep, I heard this tiny tired voice of my wife next to me say “You look like you had so much fun today – I want to have a go next year”…. What have I started?