The Rocky Mountain enduro isn’t in the “Rocky Mountains” but in Alton NH. It is named that because it is …. well… rocky! I had ridden there a little in the past and never really thought the trails were all that difficult. I now know that those were some of the easier trails.
OK, to be fair, even with the enduro none of the trails were that difficult. There was nothing that I wasn’t able to get through. I did manage to have a few wipeouts but honestly those were mostly on easier trail bits where I simply wasn’t paying enough attention and the front slid out on me. What made this enduro difficult was the fact that it was 100% off road so there were no easy road sections to rest on.
They had the course divided up into 4 loops, with each loop returning back to the start area. If you were on the target time you would have 15-20 minutes at the end of each loop to refuel and rest. The problem is I am not quite to that speed. Since I know my bike has more than enough range and I needed to make up time to get back on schedule I just rode straight through the pit area and headed out for the next loop.
Near the end of the 2nd loop I was really starting to feel it. This was a brutal section of rocks and mud where I just could not get any sort of flow. It was really beating me up and I was loosing tons of time. I could see that if I didn’t get moving I was in danger of being more than 60 minutes down, known as “houring out” and my race would be over. I needed to make at least the last check at the end of the loop.
I managed to finish the loop 54 minutes down and pretty well decided I was done. Just so that I would be scored for one more check I rode over to the start of the next loop and checked in with the plan of just bailing after checking in. The guys working the check gave me a big pep talk and somehow managed to get me motivated to ride on.
OK, I will ride on and make one more check.
This section started out as a repeat of loop 1 which I hadn’t remembered being too bad. Funny thing is I kept having trouble with sections that I didn’t even remember on the first loop. Amazing how much more difficult things get when your legs give out and you have to ride over rocks sitting down. Still I managed to keep making forward progress.
The next few miles were honestly the farthest I have ever pushed my body in my life. I still don’t know how I managed to continue on. My legs started to cramp up, then after a couple of steep downhill bits my arms started to go. I was nearing the point where they had put the first check on lap #1 assuming that would be where it would be again but nothing. I had to keep going. My head felt like it was going to explode but I kept moving forward. I got to where the second check had been previously and still…. nothing there. My clock was starting to run out. If I houred out before the next check this entire loop would count for nothing so I kept pushing.
I had been riding non stop for about 4 1/2. hours at this point. It felt like forever but I finally hit the next check, 56 minutes down so I had lost 26 minutes since the start of the lap but still within my hour. The check workers gave me easy directions to get back to the start on the road. Once I got back I just collapsed in the van and didn’t move for probably 30 minutes. I finally managed to recover to the point where I could take some ibuprofen and get my gear off.
Later on I wandered down to the scoring area and was surprised to see that there were only 4 bikes in my class. Turns out this event scares a few people off (I now know why) so turnout was disappointingly low. Out of the 4 in my class one guy had missed an arrow and accidentally skipped a checkpoint so he was DQ’ed and the guy who one the C-senior class had the best score of the entire C-class. So, since he got the C overall trophy that bumped me up to 2nd!
OK, I don’t honestly feel like I earned a 2nd place trophy. I am still pretty slow and if most of the guys who usually ride the C-senior class were there I would have been way down. But I am still happy with my ride. I am happy I was able to push myself so far. Now, it is just a matter of really getting myself into shape so I can keep the same pace through the whole race. I am still not that fast at the beginning but if I can manage to ride a whole race at that speed I think I will be doing well.