Last weekend saw the inaugural Revel Outdoors Shouldham Enduro hosted by King’s Lynn Mountain Bike Club. Norfolk is perhaps not known for its mountains but the forests just south of King’s Lynn are packed with miles of trails which the King’s Lynn Mountain Bike Club have worked really hard to develop. As well as lots of brilliant twisty, loamy singletrack there were plenty of little sharp kickers before you were launched back down the other side at warp speed!
It was a fairly long trek from Southampton, not helped by the seemingly permanent motorway roadworks. When they’re finally completed I’m expecting the SMART Motorways to exhibit Einstein levels of intelligence! I was greeted by bright sunshine though, which certainly helped wake me up.
I’d opted for the six hour solo category to maximise my fun time but there were also pairs and teams of three categories. The gridding started with teams then pairs with us solos at the back. As the gun went off there was the inevitable scramble to get into the singletrack whilst trying to keep an eye on number boards to make sure no other solo riders snuck away!
One of the many little climbs. After six hours they were beginning to hurt! Many thanks to Dale Batchelor for the great pictures.
A group of three soon formed at the head of the six hour race comprising me, Andrew Cockburn and Lee Woodcock. Lee was setting a blistering pace on the climbs and fireroad sections. I felt pretty comfortable but was hoping he’d slow down soon! After two laps I stopped for a bottle – a drawback of such a fast course is you lose way more time digging around in the grass when all your carefully arranged bottles have fallen over! Andrew and Lee pressed on and we were locked at 20 seconds for what seemed like forever, never mind though plenty of time to catch up…just then my innertube came unstuck from my seatpost and then somehow came entangled in the rear wheel. Awesome!
Wheeeee! Reward for grinding up the climbs was flying down the other side!
I pushed on and a lap or so later caught back up with Lee who looked like he was paying for his aggressive start. Andy was out of sight though. Still there was plenty of fun to be had swooping through the singletrack. My favourite bit was the steep drop with two great natural jumps, even I got some air!
Around the midway point I started to feel pretty empty. I’m usually pretty consistent in long races but despite keeping the fuel going in I had nothing - the next day I had a raging sore throat and ached all over so quite possibly this might have had something to do with it!
Going up, hammer time through the trees.
The last half of the race was pretty hard work, but I was determined to get round. Fortunately, it was a “short” six hours and the really fun course kept me grinning. I was glad it wasn’t too hilly though! In the end Andy took a well-earned win with me in second and Lee riding strong for third. We’d all had a great time and really grateful to Revel Outdoors and King’s Lynn Mountain Bike Club for putting on such a great event. Hopefully I’ll be back next year at full strength!