Ollie Reports from The Welsh Gravity Enduro Finale.

Our intrepid enduro racer Ollie Hooper took on the less-than-ideal conditions at the final round of the Welsh Gravity Enduro at Coed y Brenin.

High winds and some classic liquid sunshine made the final round of the Welsh Gravity Enduro series a test. Our enduro man Ollie brought us this round up from the finale of Welsh enduro racing. Take it away Ollie!

2015 Welsh Gravity Enduro Series Finale, Coed y Brenin

It seems like the other day I was sat here in the same place, after another awesome weekends racing dry dusty trails in the Forest of Dean for the Mini Enduro, not having to wash any kit, bike was cleaner than before the race and was still finding loam in my shoes! Well… over a month later this weekend didn’t disappoint. A wash out weekend with gusts threatening to cancel the weekend throughout and throwing riders off the track into the undergrowth. But us hardcore mountain bikers as we do battled on and had a blast riding one of the best trail centres in the UK!

Although I prefer riding muddy off-piste trails, this weekend has changed my perception of trail centre riding. Some very tricky trails consisting of awkward flat rocky sections to flat out single track! The one man team…Charlie Williams put a great mix of stages in to test all aspects of riders to find the Welsh Champ 2015.

2015 Welsh Gravity Enduro Series Finale, Coed y Brenin

Stage 1: One of the most brutal stages I have ever ridden. A very flat rocky section made to almost impossible to carry any speed meaning that you had to stay out the saddle and keep cranking. Although this top section was physically demanding you had to make sure that you weren’t pushing too much as the hardest part was still to come! After the top section the trail then dropped into some awesome flowy single track to spit you back onto the fire road ready for a 1 minute climb into the next section. I heard lots of people talking about this climb all weekend. How hard are you going to push on the climb? Are you gonna try and stand up the whole way? No matter what people said it was bloody hard work! The bottom section was a long rocky section consisting of several drops after each other but at the speed we were going almost doubling them up!

2015 Welsh Gravity Enduro Series Finale, Coed y Brenin

Stage 2: My favourite stage of the weekend and also one of the best stages I have ever raced! A long, almost 8 minute stage, flowed really well from top to bottom. Flowy corners and flat out section made it really fast, but with a few tricky fire road sprints included made it very hard work to get a decent time.

Stage 3: The shortest stage of the weekend but with the 60MPH winds on race day made it the hardest. Flowy single track made it very easy to go all out but an open section half way through the stage with drainage ditches and an awful head wind made you think that you had your brakes on! The bottom section of the trail was flat out single track with corners and jumps to the finish.

“Stage 1 and 3 didn’t really suit my type of riding. I didn’t expect to come second on the day as I much prefer steeper and technical tracks. It was a really good weekend and winning the overall for U18 topped off my first season racing mountain bikes. Looking forward to 2016!” Cai Grocott (Bike Park Wales) 2nd Place U18.

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2015 Welsh Gravity Enduro Series Finale, Coed y Brenin

Shortly after the finish we made our way to the very nice trail centre cafe to grab a coffee and talk to some riders and find out how their days racing went. All in all it felt like I had a great days racing with some old and new faces! I know that I definitely need to work on my fitness after the weekend but for the last enduro race of the season I felt that I coped well!

After a short wait Chris Robert presented the results to us and the normal routine of laughing with your mates of how well or how bad you done took place! I found out that I came 3rd which was a decent result for me considering how pedally the stages were.

“Coming from a cross-country back ground the stages suited me really well. I didn’t expect the result I managed, especially winning the first stage, unfortunately I had a lie down on stage 3. Luckily the rain held off but the wind didn’t! All in all it was a great weekend and second in senior added to it!” James Dickens (Pedalabikeaway) 2nd Place Senior Men.

2015 Welsh Gravity Enduro Series Finale, Coed y Brenin

As it was the last round of the season the overall titles were presented to people who spent the whole season battling it out to try and become the 2015 Welsh Enduro Champ.

“Such an awesome event using the best trails Coed y Brenin has to offer. A real mix of technical rock slab descents, flat out trails and brutal climbs! It was one of the hardest races I have done but one of the most rewarding. Also made it even better riding with my friends all weekend.” Harry Sowden (BadAss Bikes/Intense) U18 Winner.

The weather may have affected the days racing for some people but talking to people at the finish everyone seemed to have enjoyed them self racing with their mates and having a laugh! Isn’t that what mountain biking is all about?

Full Results: Roots and Rain.

Photos: Dan Wyre Photography.


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