Innerduro - Innerleithen MTB Race Report
Event: Innerduro - Round 1
Date: 2nd & 3rd February 2013
Place: Innerleithen - Scottish Borders
Riding: Empire Cycles MX-6
Result: 14th out of 97
Saturday - Practice.
Innerleithen never fails to disappoint with its well-built trails that offer a tonne of variety to any kind of rider. Training was going well, and better stil, I had just taken a delivery of the new Empire MX-6 All Mountain Bike. Heading to Innerleithen we would meet up as a new team which included myself, Chris Williams (founder) and a new team mate from Scotland called Tom Anderson.
Saturday practice was very easy going - signing on at 11.00am and a quick briefing of the map showed we would be burning some calories to say the least. We met up in the main car park at the bottom of the track and 30 minutes later we set off to climb to the stages, which all began at the top of the hill. This was the only the second time I had properly been on the new MX-6 and was eager to put it through its paces. Setting off, I set the dropper post into the up position and the climbing began. Locking the suspension out the climbs melted away and the bike felt great. The first stage was my chance to have a go on some proper downhill, unlocked, seat down and dropped in, through the flat turns the bike gave you full confidence in grip, and the turns could be railed, hitting the rougher part the MX-6 soared through, handling like its bigger brother the AP-1, all you wanted was more speed. To summarise, I was very pleased with how the bike went. It feelst great on the downhills and sprints up the climbs!
I'm now looking forward to many more races with it.
Sunday Ė Race day.
Race day was a bit more serious. Riders were keen to set off early to get to the first stage. We set off middle of the pack and began our climb.
Stage 1 was my kind of riding, with a small sprint off the start then into flowing switchbacks. The track then cut off into more of a downhill kind of track, soaking roots and rocks with tight turns whilst being able to link the whoops into gaps - out of the woods and into a 200m climb which had a fair gradient, sprint to the top and a steep drop in, which lead into a faster section similar to the first part, then finally a fast rough straight into a left turn saw you complete the first stage.
Stage 2 was a killer! A boggy long flat straight had you sprinting for a good 2 minutes. This was made up by the fast flowing man-made single track and the steep technical downhill style woods. This second stage was hard on the lungs and legs - with 11 minutes of nonstop attacking, it was one you were glad to finish! You would be forgiven for thinking I didnít enjoy this one as much but this stage was one of the best, it's my kind of riding and it had everything, with all kinds of variety, jumps, sprints, technicality and flow, finishing the second stage you dropped onto the fire road and sprinted uphill to clock your finish.
Stage 3 was the final stage. After riding the long route back from Stage 2, many were glad to have a quick breather and to sample the refreshments supplied. Stage 3 started were the iXS Cup started from last year - a flat sprint off the start had your legs burning for a good minute! - you then climbed for about 5 metres and dropped into the man-made trail, with its flowing switchbacks that gave you a quick break before you dropped into the new wooded section they had built for this event.
This part was the type of riding I usually ride, with fresh loam and roots, the track soon got beaten up over the weekend. Big ruts ran down long steep chutes and the was little choice but to ride it out. Dirty sly roots were covered by wet mud which kept you on your toes and the bottom part ran into steep tight switchbacks which were a little tricky to get round. Towards the end the track ran onto a fire road and a long sprint to the final part of the last stage. The last part used the most man-made features of the stage, hard packed berms and ground, this final sprint to finish saw your lungs gasping and the legs burning, round a few sweeping switchbacks, off a small jump and into a long landing.
At the bottom of the landing was the final dibber to sign you off, full speed and then a sudden slam of the brakes to scan your dibber to gain those vital seconds! :-)
Now I have completed my first Enduro, and finished a pretty respectable 14th (only 24 seconds off a top 10 position!), I can comfortably say I cannot wait until the next round, these types of races offer full days riding of the bike and almost every sort of riding you can ask for, first one down and many more to go!
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