RACE REPORT – HOPE TECH WOMEN ENDURO – BY CARRIE POOLE
In October Bike Rehab supported rider, Carrie Poole, competed in the Hope Tech Women Enduro.
Heres the low down.
‘It had been just over 2 years since my last enduro race in Sept 2015 and I was really keen to get a race in before the end of my maternity leave, so I thought what better race to choose than the Hope Tech Women’s Enduro. I hadn’t done an all women’s race before but I was confident that Hope and PMBA would put on a great event and that I would have a really fun day out. I hadn’t done many big days out on the bike since getting pregnant, more squeezing time in when I can, so a single day event suited me well. The only drawback for me I knew was going to be less technical but more physical trail centre stages as my fitness was not as high as it used to be. But importantly this allowed the race to get as many women out to ride as possible, as the trails were suitable for novices too.
I arrived at the event and already the forest was packed full of women getting ready to ride their bikes. 230 women had signed up to the race and the atmosphere was buzzing. I bumped into a lass I knew and after signing on we headed out to practice. Being an all-weather trail at Gisburn forest, there was not much gloopy mud that I usually race on but a hard pack surface that held a lot of surface water. The rain that hammered down throughout the previous night left a lot of deep puddles and surface spray and there were even rumours that an ebike nearly got washed away by one of the stream crossings!
Practice was really sociable; groups of women chatting and laughing up the fire road climbs and waiting their turn to drop into the stages for practice. I had met up with old biking friends and I barely noticed it had started to rain, again.
The race was a shortish lap (about 10 miles) with 3 special stages that are timed (2 red descents and an orange downhill descent). Every trail had B-lines around hard features so that it was rideable for all. I chose a later time to set off so I had plenty of time to practice in the morning, feed myself and my baby son lunch, change kit and head out again for the race. Just as I was wondering who to ride with in the afternoon, 3x World Enduro champ Tracey Mosely, encouraged me to tag along with her and the other elite world class riders, Annie Last, Bex Baraona and Martha Gill. I saw many more familiar faces on my way round and luckily there were no timings in between the stages so there was plenty of time of chat.
Stage 1 was a short section winding through tight trees. It was dark, twisty and rooty with several rocky sections. Stage 2 was longer and the start was rather exposed. The jackets came out as we waited for our turn to drop in. Lots of pedalling was required on this undulating trail over open rock faces, through the forest and along the hillside. Less than halfway in, a huge pool of water disguised as a puddle stood between 2 rock elevations. My speed halted as my legs were half submerged in the water. Stage 3 was a fast fun stage with berms, rollers and table tops. Lots of spectators were lining the track, cheering loudly at the technical sections and making noise at the finish line.
Current world XC champ Annie Last took the win and I managed a 5th place in Elite. But every competitor took home a goodie bag and a medal. It was an awesome day out, chatting with old friends and meeting new ones, a buzzing atmosphere and smiles all round. Would I do this event again? Hell yeh!’