For some reason I was captivated by this race, and it has become my "must do" event. This year will be my 10th entry in this classic event, only a racing injury and poorly planned holiday having kept me away in 12 years. The enduro challenge is run annually on May bank holiday Sunday. The course has moved from its original venue in Swinley Forest to Windmill Hill at Deepcut, but the principle remains the same. Set yourself a personal challenge and complete as many laps as you can up to the maximum 100km distance.
My best result came in 2011 when I finished 14th out of the 86 riders who took on the maximum 7 laps. The weather plays a huge part, my best time of 6 hours 22 minutes on a dry, warm Spring day, knocking over 3 hours off that first muddy experience in 2004.
|Racing to 14th in 2011 on a dry and sunny May bank holiday.|
Staying hydrated and fuelled is key to a comfortable day in the saddle. I start taking on energy bars and gels after 30 minutes, and religiously every half an hour from then on, occasionally supplimenting this diet with a banana. I pick up a fresh bottle every lap or two depending on the temperature, all of which means there is a pretty large bag of supplies needed in the pit. Cramp is the killer and once it strikes it is almost impossible to shift. Despite some pretty torrid and painful experiences I relish the challenge, finishing the race every year I have entered. As demonstrated by a hoard of finishers medals in the draw at home.
In recent years I have actually been confident enough in my abilities to race this event, targeting a top 20 place. However, this Sunday my hope will be just to cross the finish line before the commentator has actually gone home!