An enduro race is a mountain bike event where you transition around designated ‘race stages’ over the day/weekend. You are only timed for the specific race stages, but for some events you have an allocated time to complete all race stages in. Its a fun and friendly format where you can ride around with a group and no one really knows whose won until all riders have clocked back in.
Preparing for a Giant 2W Gravity Enduro, is a massive mental challenge for me. The stages are drip fed to you throughout the week leading up and you need to be constantly checking back to their Facebook page to make sure you haven’t missed any vital information. In amongst all this is the usual race nerves, prepping the bike, kit, nutrition and sorting transport and accommodation. But somehow it all comes together in a excited mess of nerves and stoke and I can’t wait to get up to Rotorua and shred some hero dirt.
The first stage is released on Sunday before the race, Te Mounga. I have done this trail before and last time we raced it, I declared it my new favourite track. But yet, this time I am feeling super nervous. Last time I rode it, conditions were pretty wet and I managed to have a bit of a crash. I panicked heading into a technical section, skidded over the bars and landed tangled in my bike, before sliding down the trail head first. The weather this weekend is looking much drier so hopefully there will be less crashing. I just need to not focus on the specific sections of trail and think of it as a whole. The less I think about what I’m doing, the better I ride.
The next few stages announced are old favourites from my days living in Rotorua. Tokorangi and Paddy’s run were regular after work runs for me and it will be good to go and race tracks confidently. Once we have few practise runs in I’ll get used to the feel of the tracks in Rotorua and hopefully find my flow.
So much can happen over an Enduro weekend, you need to be prepared for anything. Pack clothes for any weather and enough tools and spares to fix any mechanicals. You also need to have enough food and hydration to get you through practise day and race day. Following the principle of ‘nothing new on race day’, I have been training with the food/fuel/gels I would be planning to take. A combination of Clif Bars, PURE Sports nutrition gels, Clif Shot Blocks and Nuun hydration should see me though the big days, after a hearty breakfast of oats then peanut butter banana toast. You need some slow release energy, as you are out for 4-6 hours, but you also need bit of a caffeine and sugar boost to keep you sharp for the race stages. There is a feed station, which has always been well stocked in the past, but you shouldn’t rely on other food sources to get you round, especially as some foods may not agree with you on race day!
All this planning and preparation can take its toll mentally and I tend to get quite stressed out the week before a race. Enduro is not my focus this year, I am trying not to put any pressure on myself and just go out and have fun and enjoy riding in Rotorua for a change. I’d still like to do well and feel like I’ve ridden the best I can, but the only way I can do that is to not think about it too much and just ride. Easier said than done.
I’m currently on a mini bus heading to Rotorua with the New Plymouth Mountain Bikers and some of the First Gas Rocket squad. The plan is to practise a few stages today, race hard tomorrow, and do some party laps on Sunday before driving home.
Follow me @endurolaura on Instagram to catch up on all the action over the weekend. Full race report to follow on Monday, along with last weeks training blog.