Monday, October 4, 2010

3-Hours Enduro Race

This weekend I packed my gear, loaded the bike and took an hour and a half drive down to Norrköping south of Stockholm to participate in the 3-hour Enduro race. The race is a yearly event held by the local club SMK Kolmården. The race is simple enough: you race for 3-hours straight and the rider with most laps and shortest time wins. Last year was my first time at this event and I teamed up with Carl Hagenblad and our two-man team finished 13 out of 39 teams. This year they've added a one-man team class. Of course I couldn't let that training opportunity let me pass by so this year we decided to race by ourselves. Each man on his own. That means three hours of constant riding except for stopping for fuel or eating.

Ronnie Bodinger, whom together with me and Carl Hagenblad raced in the Tuareg Rally 2010, showed up with his brand new Husaberg. Ronnie is preparing for the Dakar Rally 2011 so he is trying to get some mileage on his two Husabergs. One of them will be his racing bike and the other one is brought for spares. I wish him the best of luck in his preparations and I'm sure we'll hear more of him as we get closer to the rally.

The start went fairly smooth and most of the riders were keeping a quite moderate pace except for the top riders, of whom most are competing in nationals so they are at a whole other level than the rest of us enduro wannabes, so I guess I was not the only one trying to find a pace that I would be able to sustain for three hours. After a couple of minutes I pass Ronnie whos bike had stopped. Later it turns out he spent an hour trying to get it running again so it wasn't much of a race for him.

Turn left for shifts and the pit. Right if you're a loner.
Half way through the first lap I passed another friend of mine, David Åkerskog. David beat me by one place in the 4-days Enduro event this summer and he's been letting me hear it every time we've met ever since so I sure wasn't going to let him beat me this time. This is, by the way, another great thing that I really like about this sport. Most of the people I've gotten to know through riding are all very relaxed and friendly people. Sure, when the race is on we all get competitive and race as hard as we can, and of course we'll psych and rant each other before and after the race. But it's all done in a friendly tone and at the end of the day we'll all have a good laugh and a brew. And thats the beauty of it. True sportsmanship.

My initial plan was to only make one pit stop to refuel so I wouldn't waste to much time standing still but an hour into the race I started to feel the fact that my cardio isn't at its peak right now. (Which is according to plan since I'm planning on peaking in March when the Tuareg Rally will take place) So I decided that I would make two stops so I could fuel my body as well as the bike. At this point I was holding a pace that allowed me to do three laps in an hour.

The second hour went on pretty well but I started to get really tired at the end of my sixth lap when I went in for my second refuel. At least I was still keeping the pace of three laps an hour. I refueled, washed down a piece of a FlapJack with some water, told myself I could rest some other day, and rolled out for my third hour. By now my grip was suffering and it felt like I was riding at a painfully slow pace. Barely able to stay on the track sometimes.

I managed to get 9 laps in three hours and finished at ninth place out of 18 riders in the solo class and looking at the lap times it seems I was able to hold a steady pace throughout the race. Despite how slow it felt that I was riding and the end of the race. The day after I felt at least 10 years older when I woke up with pretty much every muscle in my body being sore. Luckily it wore off pretty quickly.

Lap times:

Lap 1: 0:19:27 (9)
Lap 2: 0:20:20 (8)
Lap 3: 0:21:20 (9)
Lap 4: 0:23:54 (9)
Lap 5: 0:22:42 (8)
Lap 6: 0:23:19 (8)
Lap 7: 0:27:25 (9)
Lap 8: 0:23:00 (9)
Lap 9: 0:23:10 (9)
Total:  3:24:37 (9)

All in all it was a good race and very well organized, and a perfect opportunity to get a lot of riding time and a good workout. Getting a lot of riding time is probably one of the best thing you can do in preparation for a rally. Feeling comfortable in the saddle and being able to drive fast and intuitively while still being relaxed will save you a lot of energy. When you're racing for one or two weeks you have to household with your strength and riding safe, smart, and effortless will get you a long way in a rally raid event.

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