Dyfi Enduro 2011 – Race Report
The Dyfi Enduro 2011 came around quicker than expected but the day dawned cool, windy but most importantly dry as a bone and it had been that way for weeks. The trails were set to be fast, dry and dusty and all looked set for an amazing day.
I gave Jon a lift to Machynlleth and we were the first to arrive in the car park – Do we win a prize for that? My hamstrings and inner thigh was playing up before we even started though so I was feeling a little apprehensive about the pain and cramp that was likely to ensue. We signed up, tied our numbers to our bikes, had a coffee and sat around waiting for others to arrive. John Draper was soon on the scene, only to find he had his tyres on the wrong way around so he quickly changed them. We also found Martyn and Shem and before we knew it, it was time to line up and set off on our merry way. The 2011 Dyfi Enduro was on.
Jon shot off towards the front, never to bee seen again whilst John D and I took it easy along the road to the Dyfi Forest. My leg was feeling sore but I took it steady up the first climb, leaving John D. behind me but getting passed by Martyn who was flying on his fully rigid, singlespeed 29er. As usual there was a band at the top of the first climb, and then it was into the usual Dyfi Enduro fare of steep loose descents and grueling climbs. I was feeling good on the descents and overtaking people here and there and soon settled into a rhythm. Smooth, fairly fast, but safe on the way down and then steady on the climbs. The sun was beating down on us and the wind was viscous, sending up little dust devils all over the place. The trails were however as good as they get.
The new steep descent instead of the Bailey Bridge descent went well, the other new section now called ‘The Big Dipper’ was fun and the World Cup Descent was excellent – fast and furious despite the crosswinds.
The next climb was where it began to hurt though, as I started on the climb my right thigh cramped up. I managed to push through the pain and just about keep going , but that was it, I was halfway around and anything too strenuous was going to hurt. I kept spinning the best I could and was soon looking forward to a banana and flapjack at the feed staion before heading off for some more climbing and descending.
Things started to get a little quiet around here and I seemed to be on my own on the trails in my own private little hell trying to stave off the cramps and keep going as best I could. I had been told that I was in 100th position at the bottom of the World Cup descent and would like to stay in the top 100 if possible so I just had to keep pushing on despite the suffering.
My bike was struggling now as well. It had been creaking and crunching since the start but now was beginning to sound as though it had a bag of nails in the rear hub where nice small round bearings should be. What with the constant pain and cramping in my thighs and the incessant noises from my bike it was beginning to become less than enjoyable. I had to keep going though.
I actually felt quite good on the steep rocky climb, overtaking quite a few people who were off and pushing and then the long slow climb back towards ClimachX was slow but steady and controlled. Dicko’s descent was nice but I didn’t stop for a beer in the bar at the bottom, instead, it was the punishment loop for me. Another gruelling 4 miles. The climb seemed to last a lot longer than usual but I was soon onto the final descent and glad to see the finish line.
I crossed the line in 3 hours 50 minutes according to my watch and was just inside the top 100. Better than my last attempt where I was just inside the top 200 and around 4:15 so I was pleased with that. I wasn’t however pleased with the prospect of having to now ride back to Machynlleth. I made it though and found Jon and Martyn who had both done really well. Jon finished in 18th place and Martyn was 77th… Well done guys. Everyone else then gradually rolled in over the course of the afternoon. All had done well, had loved the course and were all suffering in their own ways.