PMBA – Lee Quarry Enduro
Words by Velo Bikes Grizedale
on 20/05/2016 13:25:40
2 Days, 1000s pedal strokes, 7 hours and 42 minutes riding, 7844 feet of ascent, 3111 calories, 27 degrees Celsius temperature, 10 litres of water, gallons of sweat, 190bpm heart rate and 2 crashes.
This was my weekend in numbers.
What this doesn’t tell you about is the fun, fatigue and satisfaction of completing one of the hardest weekends I have had on a bike. The Lee Quarry PMBA is a different prospect from the usual one day affair. A big loop across the moors involving Lee Quarry and the newly named Havok Bike Park in Todmorden requiring a practice day on Saturday and race day on Sunday.
Saturday practice was a social affair in fine weather. Stage 1 was in Lee Quarry and featured berms, flat turns and the odd rock garden and steep chute with a nice sprint to finish. Stage 2 was out on the moors and had steep, rutted parts, a technical stream crossing and some punishing short sharp up hills before it came to an end. Stage 3 was my favourite and had fine steep corners and jumps and drops all the way down the hill side. This was followed by a long transition to stages 4 and 5 in Havok Bike Park. The two stages were fairly similar and much more what I’m used to with rooty corners and rock a plenty. Stage 5 also featured some big jumps, not my favourite feature. The last corners on both steep and loamy and were the scenes of much carnage and were the locations of both of my low speed crashes!
Race day Sunday was where my race started to unravel. A nice relaxed start was ruined by the discovery that my rear hub was absolutely destroyed. A panicky hour and half phoning bike shops led me to Blazing Saddles in Hebden Bridge that saved me by fitting a new freehub body. A quick dash back to Lee Quarry led to a rushed start just in front of the Elites! At least I made it back!
Ian who was also racing today and doing it blind without any practice, and I duly set off. Stage 1 went average for both of us...lack of practice and the rushed start meaning our heads just weren’t in it. We steadily improved through the day stage 5 being the best of my day. Stage 5 was also where disaster struck for Ian, with a flying superman over the bars landing painfully on to a rock with his shoulder. The resulting dead arm meant a slow trundle back to Lee Quarry and the decision not to finish Stage 6. I finished absolutely shattered after two long days on the bike in above average temperatures. The long transition from stage 3 to 4 was an absolute killer with no shade out on the moors and a speed sapping headwind for most of the time.
As always, the event was well organised, except for the loss of marker poles out on the moors sometime before practice began leading to a minor detour on my practice lap. The stages were all great fun, despite being out of my comfort zone with the big jumps. The weather was great, I just can’t complain about the sun shining and the warm weather. It was a tough couple of days but I feel good having completed it. The result weren’t quite what we hoped for, but in the end, things happen during racing and we will learn a lot from this experience.