The weekend before last saw the first round of the new SLO Enduro race series. It consists of the first 3 rounds just across the border in Italy and the last 3 here in Slovenia. Rachael Walker and Sam Sharpe from the Hope Race Team joined us from the UK for the season opener.
The race took place just a few miles from Slovenia, in Trieste. There is a really good network of natural single track trails here, tucked away on the hills above the maritime city. The race had 5 timed stages and with the transition between stage, this made the total distance 30km. We turned up saturday to find the trails quite muddy, but still great fun to ride. Practice day was good, but pretty tiring for me as I had hardly been on the bike since end of last season.
Sunday brought race day and different conditions to the previous day, the sun appeared and the trails dried up nicely. It was mixed fortunes for all of us, Rachael who has trained hard coming into this season, was in first place after stage 1. But another competitor crashed in front of her on the second stage, causing her to crash and resulting in her tearing her rear brake hose. Left with only one brake she was forced to pull out. Sam was riding good all weekend and finished 45th. I snapped my chain on the first stage and had to run back to the van to get another, leaving me 5 minutes late for the second stage, not really sure how I did overall. I was put in other riders slots for the rest of the race and am pretty sure my result is a bit messed up, only my first stage time seems correct. My fault really, should have checked with the timing people as it all got a bit confusing.
So first enduro race under the belt and it was a really good experience. The Italian organisers did a great job and the race had a nice relaxed vibe. I certainly enjoyed this form of racing, and will do more of the Slovenian rounds if I can. But the best thing… I discovered more new trails that I never new existed for us to ride.