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Race Report Southern Enduro Round 2 Tidworth.

Tidworth my local... so I should have an advantage. No! After walking all of the stages on Saturday a lot of the tracks I knew had been modified in such a way to catch the "locals" aka me well and truly out. Sunday morning practice I decided a run down each was needed to gauge the ground and speed you could carry. Now this weekend I also decided to make it even harder. I love racing hardtails so I decided to enter that category. Now my hardtails are typically 4X / DH or dirt jump orientated. I needed an Enduro (exciting cross country) hardtail. Now mitchell cycles sort me out with anything and everything I ever need. Dave the magician mechanic stupidly/kindly offered his hardtail up. A nukeproof scout. What a bike. I urge you all to get in there and buy a hard tail capable of anything. My only issue was... well I'm the height of a smurf and require climbing gear to get to the top step of a podium... daves hard tail is a medium. I only ever ride a small really. Again team mates to the rescue where they can Sarah Crellin offered her super short renthal stem up to borrow. I jumped at that too! Thank you Sarah! And again readers Mitchell Cycles have renthal products in stock... so get in there and check them out. Now back to this gnarly XC or Enduro as they call it now.

Racing... 4 Stages two ran twice to create a 6 stage format. All on tracks never rideable outside of this event. (Some tracks cleverly linked together by new sections never rode before). After a decent but very greasey practice racing came around. Hardtails set off later at this event so I started racing just before 13.00. Stage 1 did not go to plan. A third of the way in I crashed hard into a sniper stump (the kind of stump that rather unforgivingly comes from no where to bite you in the ahem bottom). This stump destroyed my...oops Daves front wheel. I ended up twisting the bars too. I got to my feet twisted the bars back a bit and got the bike to the bottom. Not a good start. About to give up entirely I thought let's just treat this as training. The front wheel was rubbing on the fork and ready to pitch me over any time. I needed to fix this somehow. I took it out... beated it to a "better" shape and cracked on. The wheel still rubbing the fork lowers but far clearer. Stages 2 and 3 I attacked and made countless mistakes pushing to hard and not concentrating on nursing the bike home. Small break later I was on my way to stage 4 where Scott the organiser of Southern Enduro advised me I could change my wheel. Typical I didn't have a spare. This is mountain bikers for you.... Dan Sibbick of Sussed Out Suspension offered me his front wheel so I could finish the race. I snapped it up and thanked him greatly. What a top bloke and team he/they are. Stage 4. My favourite. I rode it conservative but let the bike go where it wanted. Not surprising it was far better with a straight wheel up front! Stage 5 and 6 I learnt a lot. They were only two of the stages previous but repeated. But I'm a DH rider I was exhausted having to ride this much in one hit. To some it's nothing... but to me with the issues I had and on a hard tail it was effort. Still... I pushed on and finished. Some how after losing probably 20 seconds plus on the 1st stage and getting the bike through stages 2 and 3 I won the hardtail category. I won it by over 19 seconds. Thank you everyone. "Enduro" is not for me but what a laugh/challenge. I'm disappointed with my overall time but I won a few stages in category and schooled a few full suspension/enduro riders. A monumental thanks too TMC teammitchellcycles. Smith Optics, Reborn Clothing, RideGuad, Schwalbe Tyres, B1ke, Tidworth Freeride, Southern Enduro. Again of course thanks too Dan Sibbick/ Sussed out suspension you life saver.

Next stop.... Downhill and the BDS. Let's do better this time...

Matt Collins | Team Mitchell Cycles
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