Last weekend saw the 2012 UK Gravity Enduro season kick off and the Madison Saracen team all packed their Ariel trail bikes and headed up to sunny Scotland in the truck to see what it was all about.
Innerleithen in Peebleshire is well known by all UK downhill riders and it was clear right away that there would be some tough riding ahead, used to getting a truck up to the top of the steep sided hill, the realisation hit home when they figured out they would have to climb up the infamous hill five times on race day, to earn that adrenaline buzz off racing all the way back down again.
The idea of Gravity Enduro is, you’re given start times for 5 individual timed stages and you have to get yourself to the starting point of each stage for your timed efforts, finishing with the last timed stage of the day, crossing the line back in the tech area and the welcoming sight of the catering truck. At Innerleithen this meant a 4.30hr ride and a total of 1300 meters of hill climbing on the loop round to each stage. So a tough challenge for the team who all train to be fit for a 5 minute sprint on DH bikes…
So race day dawned and with the girls off first, Manon headed out with her Ogio backpack stuffed full of food and water, while the rivalry began in the pits with Will, Josh and Phil all up next in the U18’s class. Finally Harry headed out with the Elite men and the whole team was somewhere on the Innerleithen hillside, breathing heavily in the granny ring or ripping it up in the big ring on the descents before shifting the weight from their backpacks to their belly’s and doing it all over again!
Some five hours later they were all back in the pits, working their way through the contents of the fridge before heading for a cool off in the river Tweed and awaiting the results of the day. It looks like Josh, Will and Phil took to Gravity Enduro pretty quickly, white washing the podium with a first, second and third in the U18’s class. Not a bad start to their Enduro racing careers!
Manon took a fine 4th place in a toughly contested Elite Women’s class, just 1 second off the podium, which was topped by Tracy Moseley. Harry made it just outside the top 10 in a competition that looked like the who’s, who, of Enduro racing and after a little head scratching and tapping of calculators it was decided Enduro specialist from France, Jerome Clements was the winner.
So a full on weekend of riding and racing for the team and some great training as we now look to round one of the British Downhill Series in Combe Sydenham in two weeks time, when the team will be back together on their Saracen Myst DH bikes looking to hit up the podium once again.