Today was the Glen Park Enduro. I was interested in making an attempt at this race if the stars align and as of Thursday I was in for the race. I went out Friday to preride the course and get acquainted with the trails but there is only so much you can learn with one ride of the trails. Today I went out to see what the whole enduro scene was all about. I had no idea how this whole thing ran and I had to learn on the go. First off I can't say how more chill these events are than the whole xc scene. It's partly because you are racing for a much shorter portion, but it's designed to be like a group ride with your buddies. Chat on the climbs and then rip the downhills and repeat. I knew only a couple people there and of course wasn't racing anywhere near them so I just chatted it up with people as I could. It was a pretty cool experience. I know I can ride down most of the downhills we have on the xc trails but some of these trails were a bit over my head. I just wanted to ride them smart and not make any big mistakes.
They called my age group and we easily pedaled to the top of the hill only to sit in line for what had to be 30+ minutes. It was a bit annoying as I wanted to ride right away but I was there for the experience. So I sat in line and chatted and just enjoyed my time out there. I saw the riders ahead were policing their own gaps and giving 30 sec - 1 min gaps in order to not chase up on the back of someone. I generally gave a minute and I'm sure the guys behind me gave me more as I was one of the only hosers out there wearing a full spandex kit. I wasn't going to hide my colors and hopefully represent the xc riders well. I chipped in for the first segment and went out hot. It was good for a few turns until I came unclipped and had a bit of a battle getting it clipped back in. I stayed on the gas and rode smart. I went around the double jumps and took safe lines on the drops and rode hard to the finish and chipped out. 1 run done.
A bunch of the riders stopped at the bottom to regroup and I just started pedaling back to the top for run #2. This run was good and a bit loose and had a couple of large rocks to roll over which I didn't. Again I took the safe lines and rode pretty quickly. I even got a lot more comfortable with my dropper post. I'm fully convinced that it is not needed for 99% of cross country riding, but for trails like the Glen has it was a nice benefit. So with #2 done I again pedaled straight to the top to start run 3.
For run 3 I chipped in and took off. It has a few tricky sections that I rode well and the rock garden which I got through cleanly although I would have like to have ridden it faster. I hit the bottom and chipped out and rolled to the transition to start pedaling back up. As I rode over I saw 3 guys miss the chip exit and have to run/pedal back up to stop the timing of the run. At least this made me feel better that I haven't made that mistake. At least not yet... I was happy with finishing each run and getting right back up for the next one. I could see riding with a social group that there could be more stopping and chatting but I just wanted to keep riding. Up I went.
For run 4 I was getting more confident so I let loose a little more and tried to brake less. It had a few steep chutes that I rode ok but towards the bottom there was a double jump that was fairly safe(if you came up short it wasn't a bad landing) and I hit it and of course came up short but kept on cranking downhill. I was looking forward to stage 5. That one I knew was fast and you could keep the speed more wide open.
For stage 5 I knew I was close to the end and wanted to hit it pretty hard. I enjoyed it Friday when I was there and was hoping to rip it a bit better today. I did just that. Up top there are a couple of jumps and I was flying. One of them almost send me into the woods but somehow I saved it and kept going. Next up was a series of rocks and ledges and I was hitting them pretty hot. One of them I launched off of and almost landed into a rather large rock and somehow the bike stayed straight and kept ripping. After that I toned it back a little wanting to preserve my body. I hit the last few turns and flatter section at the bottom pretty hard and was satisfied with a solid consistent effort.
For my first enduro I was pleasantly surprised. It was fun, not too sketchy, and really fun trails. I definitely surprised myself on some sections and am totally impressed with how well a trail bike can handle those trails. My xc bike would have been shredded but the stumpjumper handled it all very well and was super comfortable on that terrain. It was probably only the 7th ride on the bike and I felt right at home on it. I finished 15th of 29 in my age group and hoped to be mid pack. I nailed it and I'm happy knowing I did this well with riders coming from all over the area for this one. I'll be back for more of these.
It's now July 11th and I've been doing the 31 days of July Challenge and it's been good so far. The best part is that I get bored early so I'm forced to go to other parks than I'm used to. So far the new parks are Chimney and Sterling, and on the list is to get back to Six Mile/Sourlands and Lippman Park. I'll be putting a bunch of other miles in Mooch but that's a normal park for me. I have a plan coming up that may get me to Kingdom, Millstone, and a few of the Boston area trails, but we'll have to see what comes of that.
So far this month, here's the stats:
Hours - 20:41
Miles - 242.9
Vert - 17,134 ft