Scottish Enduro Series Round 2 as seen by Wideopenmag’s Mark Scott. Cheers to Ian Linton for the photo!
After a long winter and what felt like too much time on the road bike the season is finally here! There felt like no better a way to kick it off than to get involved with my most local race series, the newly formed Scottish Enduro Series at Innerleithen. I missed the first round as I was living it up somewhere on a Spanish hillside but was more than excited to get amongst this one. Being the time of year and it being a Scottish series I expected nothing less than rain, wind and mud. It did not disappoint!
Here’s Mark training for his first race of the year…
I arrived on Saturday morning and got signed on and ready for a lap. It was cool seeing some faces that I hadn’t seen all winter and catching up over a practice lap of all 5 stages. The course was definitely up there with some of the most technical and physical riding the hill had to offer. Stage 1 was just pure trail centre with small jumps, fly offs and sweeping berms, this would open the lungs up for the day! Stage 2 couldn’t get more opposite, off a flat muddy start into some tight and twisty woods with a few little lines here and there then dropping onto the fire road for about a minutes flat to uphill slog into the bottom section which was tight again and had a few awkward turn into uphill to keep you on your toes. Stage 3 was basically all classic Innerleithen downhill with a trail centre middle section, all good fun! Stage 4, another almost all downhill track with a steep and twisty finish and fire road peddle in the middle, reminded me of Llangollen a little and rode amazingly. Stage 5 was the king stage, full on epic, steep and muddy as shite start basically trying to glue yourself into a rut and avoiding the polished roots as much as possible.If you made it to the fire road you’d have a massive grin on your face but also a 2 minute fire road sprint. I call it sprint but was more of a sit down spin and with your bike and kit weighing and extra 10kg with mud it was delightful! Then into some tight wooded downhill and you’d still be recovering only to rejoin the final descent of the trail centre caddon bank. It ended up being around 7 and half minutes!
Here’s Mark recovering from his first race of the year!
Race day came round and it was no surprise it was raining! It was going to be a tough day and you couldn’t stop moving or else you’d go cold. Stage 1 went ok for me, I’m always it bit slower on the first stage of the day, which is annoying but it went solid, even if after every 180 right there was a giant headwind. Stage 2 was going great, got the pedal out the way but was pushing a bit to much on the bottom half and clipped a tree and high sided off into the bushes, after unhooking my short from my saddle I was back on the bike, time lost but hoping not to majorly. Stage 3 went smoothly, I was getting back into the rhythm after my crash. Stage 4 was also mint, another solid one and grabbed my best result on this one with a 2nd. Stage 5, the epic one. Started off railing ruts then just a got a little to involved in one turn and went down and my instinctive reaction is to put your hands out, not good when its into the wet mud! Anyway back on the bike again managing to get onto the fire road sprint and regrouping myself and getting the legs going. A quick lock out and boshed it up. Then finally descending the last section without to many problems just some pain in the legs! My stage results ended up quite consistent with an 8th, 3rd, 3rd, 2nd, 3rd for 3rd overall on the day just behind Greg Callaghan and Gary Forrest. A hotlines 1,2,3!
I had a top time riding, stages had a real mix of everything and the Nofuss/InnerleithenMTB racing guys did a great job and the weather, well i didn’t expect anything less from Scotland! I’m looking forward to doing more in the future for sure!
Huge thanks to everyone at No Fuss – especially Fiona, Helen and Frazer – for putting on an excellent season premier!
And even huger thanks to FoxMTB, Nukeproof, Conti Tyres, Camelbak, Fenwicks Bike, Five Ten, RoostDH and MRP for making our team happen. And to Hope Tech who give direct support Mark. You guys rule!