Tracy Moseley should need no introduction – when it comes to racing she has done it all… National Champ, World Cup Champ, World Champ (all in downhill) and lets not forget that she is the current Enduro World Champ too. Here she kicks off her monthly Pro Diary for Dirt.
After a six week break from the Enduro World Series it was back to race action the past two weekends with Round 2 taking place in Ireland and Round 3 the following weekend in Peebles, Scotland (Tweedlove). This was the first time we have had back to back EWS races and it was going to be a big test for everyone to see how we would all cope with eight days on our bikes in just ten days!
Packing up the camper to go to races is always so much easier and less stressful than trying to pack everything you need into a bike bag and a 20kg kit bag for an overseas trip. We still had to catch a ferry across the Irish Sea and had a day of travel, so it still felt like an adventure.
Round 2 of the EWS took place in the Carrick Mountains about one hour south of Dublin. This was only my second visit to Ireland, but I knew we would be in for a treat as Niall the organiser knows how to put on a good race. In the build up to the event the info was clear, the courses were closed two weeks before and no one was allowed to ride, only walking the courses until the official practice begun on Friday. I arrived a few days before and whilst many people were walking the stages I had a couple of nice road rides and a MTB ride at a trail centre about 20min away just to keep the legs turning and help prepare for the weekend.
The first day of practice we could only practice stages 1-4. I rode with my team mates Justin Leov and Rene Wildhaber and made a plan to practice each stage twice, to try and get maximum time to learn them and get a good feeling for the terrain. It did mean that we rode 100km with close to 4000m of climbing over the two days of practice, but we were fortunate to be renting a house less than 1km from the forest so we were able to split each day up and do three hours in the morning, have a break for lunch and then go back out in the afternoon to do the rest of the stages. Our system worked well as I felt great on my bike from the start of practice, I was loving the stages and enjoyed trying to hold the wheel of Justin or Rene to pull me up to speed quickly.
The atmosphere was already starting to build, the weather was getting better and better, the marshals were all so enthusiastic and excited to see us riding their local hill and every little detail had been taken care of with maps and signs for spectators to get around the hill to watch at the best spots.
Race day was just amazing, we still had great weather and the crowds came out in force. It was an amazing atmosphere and took me back to my DH days of racing in front of the Fort William crowd. This was even better as we raced seven stages in one day and on every stage the crowd just spurred me on more and more to push that extra bit and I loved every minute of the day. It really fired me up inside and made me so excited to race my bike, which I have not felt for a while. I managed to keep it together, and take the win from Anne Caro (Chausson) by 28 secs on what was a pretty special day for Enduro racing as local boy Greg Callaghan took his first win and made the weekend for all the fans that came out to watch. That is a day that will not be forgotten for a long time… thanks Ireland, that was special.
Sadly there was little time for celebrations as we were packing till late in the evening ready to leave at 6am to drive up to Belfast for our ferry across to Scotland. We arrived in Peebles just in time for a spin on the rollers, dinner and bed. Then with only one day off before practice started, it was time to get the bike dialled again, a spin on the road to try and help the legs recover and then back at it again on Wednesday for the first of three days of practice.
I felt pretty good after the weekend but when I went to ride on Wednesday morning I just felt a bit flat, my legs were OK, but I just wanted to sleep and just didn’t have a good feeling on my bike. I decided to call it a day at lunchtime, we had still done over two hours of riding and another 1300m of climbing but I took the afternoon off and left practice of stages 3 and 4 until Friday when I hoped I would feel better and they would have had chance to bed–in and change a bit after all the practice on them.
Thursday and Friday I still felt pretty tired, but I knew that everyone was going to be feeling the same so I just needed to crack on and get the job done. We had all sorts of weather conditions too, with sunshine, hail and high winds throughout each day! Over the three days of practice we clocked up 80km, nearly eight hours on the bike and 4000m of climbing. This time we had two days of racing too, so it was going to be a tough one.
Fortunately the weather was on our side and on Saturday we had a beautiful day for racing and with really easy transition times there was no rush and it turned into a pretty social day out on the bike. I didn’t have such a good feeling on my bike, and felt as though I was making lots of little mistakes, but this weekend the trails had so much more room for error, and so many places to make mistakes that I think it was the same for everyone. I was however pretty surprised to find myself with a healthy lead of 48 secs going into day two. Things were looking good, but Sunday’s weather was not so good! Sadly the organisers had to shorten the second day due to a weather warning for high winds, so we only raced two stages. With so much overnight rain the conditions could not have been more different to day one, with some serious mud to contend with on stage five. Thankfully I made it through the mud and safely to the finish to extend my lead and take the win ahead of Anne Caro and Cecile Ravanel.
Two races back to back were certainly a test for all of us, so to come out on top with two wins was just amazing. The weekend was topped off with my team mate Justin Leov taking the win and giving us the team win as well. A great day for the Trek Remedy 29er bike and for the Trek Factory Enduro team… Who says that ‘29ers cant get around tight corners’… you wont get trails much tighter than these in the Tweed Valley!