The first round of the Enduro World Series seemed quite far away when I flew to Dublin two weeks ago. Effectively, it's been two months between the first race in New Zealand and the two rounds across the channel (Ireland and Scotland). I thus couldn't wait more!
After a few hard weeks of preparation, I was feeling quite good on the bike and hoped for some good legs.
The Irish round took place on a single hill. The seven stages (raced in one day) were thus quite short and pretty flat. I enjoyed riding some of the technical passages but struggled to find the good rhythm and my legs hurt from the beginning. I did my best to finish the day in the best conditions possible and to keep the focus. At the end, thanks to better stages at the end of the day, I finish in 11th. I am bit disappointed with that result, but will remember the passion and the motivation of the thousand of spectators present on each stages. The noise and the atmosphere were simply crazy!! I smile each time I think of all those kids who talked "Enduro" at school the day after the race :)
After the tough race day in Ireland, my body was asking for some rest. But no time for that, as we travelled to Scotland. Luckily, I am in love with the Tweed Valley and its natural and steep tracks. I had thus three good days of practice (for two days of racing), also thanks to my team mate Flo who took some time to ride with me, share his lines and improve my confidence. With better legs, it would have been perfect!
The first race day was great with steep and technical stages, awesome spectators cheering us on each track and a surprising Scottish sun. I finish 4th and 5th in two stages, to end up with a good 6th place at the end of the day. However, I knew that day 2 would be harder with flatter tracks, even if it was shorten of two stages due to storm forecast. At the end, I effectively loose quite a bit of time, to finish the weekend in 9th.
After these two races (11th and 9th), I am a bit disappointed to be out of the Top 8 in the overall ranking and to miss a better result in Scotland. But I know I wasn't in a very good shape and thus I couldn't ask for much more in these conditions. The ranking is still tight and I hope for better results in Samoëns (France) in 6 weeks. Until then, my next two weekends are a bit easier, with a downhill Swiss cup - where my main goal will be to have fun and find some speed on the big bike - and an Enduro race, organized by ma team mate François. See you soon :D