Last Sunday (22rd Sept) saw the 8th Forest of Dean Enduro, hosted by the Lions Club with support from the RDFCC.
Entries had been pretty slow to come through the summer, but a surge of entries in the last week saw 333 pre-entered for the biggest annual mountain bike race in the Forest of Dean which totalled 350 with the “on-the-day” entrants.
Weather predictions always play havoc with riders. What tyre choice? Mud guards or no guards? Cycling shorts or wet suits? The decisions and options are endless. Luckily a few weeks of changeable weather ended with a dry spell to provide the ultimate race conditions, not too dry and dusty but also very little mud to ruin everyone’s day, although some of us like the mud. On the day temperatures rose to 20+ degrees C causing riders to strip down to their summer attire for a hot few hours on the bike.
The heat was certainly high in the 4 lap event which started at 10:30am. This saw top riders from around the Forest along with talented endurance riders from further afield do battle in what is seen as one of the toughest mtb courses around. The Royal Dean Forest Cycling Club (RDFCC) had several riders at this distance in a variety of categories. Previous Junior winner Jared Linden picked up the lead early on and was soon joined by seasoned veteran Ant White (Cannondale/MT Zoom). Ant’s pace was too high for Jared but the battle was not over, Jared was soon joined by Ed Moseley (Malvern Cycle Sport) a previous second place finisher. Jared managed to hold off Ed to the end finishing an impressive 2nd (2hrs:55mins) and first in the expert class, the highest position ever for a RDFCC rider. Fellow RDFCC riders Adam Taylor finished just over 5 minutes later in 6th position (3hrs:1min), 2nd in the masters. Jon Batts was the fastest RDFCC rider home from Whitecroft finishing 6th Masters (3hrs:26mins), closely followed by event course designer and race advisor John Linden 9th Vets (3hrs:32mins). Rob Newth made up the RDFCC 4 lap crew with a determined effort (4hr:34mins) 20th masters.
Jared – 1st Expert 4 Lapper
The 2 lap event had the largest number of participants including Andrew Freeman of Mitcheldean riding for the RDFCC. Forest rider Ashley Hutchison (VC St Raphiel) won the Youth 2 lap category showing the future is bright with local talent. This event also saw the welcome return of Ben Oliver who originally thought up and managed the Enduro event when it first began in 2006. Ben a former Elite level mountain biker showed his class and skill with a 2nd place finish in the Sport category despite little training.
Yorkley father and son duo Alan and Carl Crowley took part in the 2 lap event. Alan rode in a very fetching cycling skin suit which replicated a “Near Naked Man”. Alan recently completed the Balls Out Challenge of cycling 600 miles in 6 days from the east coast of England to the west coast of Ireland to earn his Near Naked Man status, raising money along the way for the Male Cancer Awareness Campaign. Carl (Abergavenny RC) finished 6th in the Youth category just 5 minutes behind his Dad after 2 hours of riding backing up the local prospects.
Big thanks to the Lions Club for hosting the event for a third year, the event ran smoothly with nothing but praise from the competing riders. Also to Dr John, Jared, Alan, Jon and Adam who spent several hours marking out the course on Friday and Saturday.
Photos thanks to Joanne Oliver