One day into being 40 injury strikes (again) with a sharp hot poker going through my hand, or that’s what it felt like when I woke at 3am thinking my hand was melting. Not good full stop but not good when you’ve got your first enduro race in two days time.
In the morning the burning had subsided but an alterered sensation progressed to pins and needs in both arms/hands and has remained ever since (now at 2.5 months). I cycled to work one handed to try and preserve the ‘worst’ limb. That’s a logical thought process, right?
So, back to the race. I decided to give it a bash, expecting to bail after Stage 1, but didn’t want to miss out on the banter. The climb to the top of the first stage was a long one hour, one handed mission.
The first stage was a blinder – straight into a crazy rock garden and it wasn’t long before I was over the bars after a bad line choice. Why on earth did I not see the freshly cut nice smooth berm? Lesson 1: look ahead more!
I had another tumble further down on a flat bit a grassy traverse and managed to fly through the tape. Jeez, not sure what I can learn from that?!
Stage 2 was much better and I felt pumped at the bottom.
Near the start of stage 3 my chain came off and I must have had my race head on as didn’t want to stop and lose time. I rode pretty much the whole stage with no chain…….eat your heart out Aaron Gwin! Lesson 2: was my free hub still wonky? Need to upskill on the mechanical side of things.
Stage 4 and 5 were awesome. Pretty steep, gnarly and I was definitely riding faster than I should have been. Lesson 3: full face helmets = more risky riding.
The adrenaline of the staged sections obliterated any thoughts of my arm/hand issue. I’d survived an enduro, was pretty pleased with my result and had good banter with my chums on the way round the course.
I reckon the key to climbing the ladder is avoiding mechanicals (so many punctures around, thankfully not me) and riding slightly slower/more in control to avoid crashing! Not sure the latter is possible if you’ve got a wee racing demon that rears its head?!
I’m not 100% sold on racing. I ride my bike to discover new and remote places but guess it’s good to mix things up every now and again!