The Enduro 6

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Updated 13 May 2004
The Enduro 6, Trentham Gardens, 1st-2nd May 2004


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Ross and I joined forces once again for the 2004 Enduro 6 mountain bike race held at Trentham Gardens in Staffordshire. We had both been studying the weather forecasts for several days beforehand with a mutual sense of foreboding but it was a relief to arrive at the venue on Saturday afternoon to find warm sunshine and dry-ish trails. The format for the weekend was to have a regular Cross-Country mountain bike race on the Saturday followed by a one-lap individual off road time trial with a difference…it was held at night. The main 6-hour endurance event was held on the Sunday.

Ross had entered the Nocturne Time Trial and lined up at 8.45pm with his helmet-mounted light blazing. He had a good lap, catching his minute-man within a short space of time and finishing with a time of 35.55 for the 7.5-mile lap. For a while this put him in podium position but by the time the other riders had all finished, he was narrowly edged out into 4th spot. The 7.5mile loop in and around Trentham Gardens is tweaked slightly for each different event but you tend to get the same elements each time, just in a different order. The two monster climbs were there as was loads of excellent swoopy singletrack and some technical rooty downhills through the woods. It was a tough loop with few opportunities for recovery - Trentham is a deceptive course and on the first two or three laps it’s easy to blast round in a high-ish gear. After that, every lap becomes a trial of stamina as riders use progressively lower gears to get up the slopes. Sunday dawned grey and misty but by the time the race started at 10am it was a lovely sunny day, almost too warm for racing. The Enduro6 is run under ‘parc-ferme’ rules meaning that each team of 2 riders is allocated a corral area within a central ‘pit zone’. Once the race has started no one is allowed out of the pit zone unless they’re on the course racing. Each team must therefore have all spares, tools, food and drink within their corral area.

The race began with a Le Mans style run of about 800m, which Ross had already told me that he had no intention of doing. I got a good start on the run, coming through into the pit area up in the top 30 or so riders, collecting my bike from Ross and heading out onto the course. From then on, we alternated laps, each of us averaging roughly 40mins per 7.5-mile lap. The course had almost completely dried out, with just the occasional patch of sticky mud to slow things down.

The event is sponsored by Specialized who were delighted to see a De Laune team, especially as we were both riding our new team bikes, Ross on his hardtail, me on my new full suspension frame. By the end of the 6 hours, we had done 9 laps, a total distance of 67.5 miles in a time of 6.13.42. This put us into 24th place out of 113 teams. Not bad going considering that the first 8 places were taken by teams of some of the top elite riders in the country. The winning team had managed an astonishing 11 laps (82.5 miles) in 6.12.26.

A good result from De Laune and a great event, which we both enjoyed immensely. Ross and I will be teaming up again for the 2004 Dusk til Dawn Race later in the year.

James Lyon


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