The final Hope WMN Enduro of the year took to Gisburn this weekend and our roving reporter Rosie was on hand to capture the action.
Always a late season highlight, the Hope WMN Enduro hosted at Gisburn Forest by PMBA was back in full force over the weekend.
Photos by Sadie Aldridge.
With over 160 women competing across 8 different categories there was, as usual, a wonderful atmosphere on course and at the event village for the whole weekend.
Racers had the option of 3 or 4 stages of classic Gisburn descents with plenty to keep first time racers and seasoned enduro enthusiasts on their toes. The weather in the preceding weeks ensured that despite the sunshine on race day, you were guaranteed a good soaking, with puddles and greasy roots a-plenty.
Stage 1 was a tight, rooty affair with a cheeky rocky chute thrown in at the end for good measure. Stage 2 was the long way down following a long way up, with plenty of pedalling and pumping through corners to get the legs burning just in case you had anything left in the tank from the climb.
Riders had the option of racing on the Black “Hully Gully” section for more swoops berms, or heading straight to the Hope Line for plenty of pedalling, flat corners and cheeky jumps and drops before spinning back to HQ for a well deserved beer.
Riding parts of the course to intercept riders and soak up the atmosphere; the whoops, smiles and fist bumps at the end of the stages were totally infectious. The support and enthusiasm which has become a staple of women only races was palpable.
Chatting to riders on course, I was struck by the varying levels of experience people had; from first time racers who’d only been riding a few months right through to EWS and Downhill World Cup winners. Although there were some seriously fast riders, it felt like egos had been firmly left outside the forest, and everyone was focussed on having a lovely day out on the bike.
Race laps completed, it was time for probably the jolliest podiums I’ve ever seen. One chap next to me commented towards the end of the podiums that “everyone’s being so nice to each other!”. I had to agree with him; there does seem to be something about women only events which really brings the warmth out of people and fosters an incredibly supportive and friendly atmosphere.
The lovely atmosphere continued into the evening, with beers flowing and live music and a fire pit to keep the cheery spirits up. The hangover social ride on Sunday morning did wonders to blow the cobwebs away with plenty of riders and their support teams joining the party lap.
As usual, Hope WMN did a fantastic job of a hosting a brilliantly supportive race and the additional stands from bike brands, shops and magazines really helped the race feel like a great event to wrap up the summer season.
Plans are afoot for another Hope WMN race at a new venue next year and if this year’s excellent balance of close racing and wonderful atmosphere is anything to go by, I’m sure it’ll be an event not to be missed.
Full results can be found over on the Sportident website here.