In enduro the riders must have reach the top of the mountain on their own.
The total time of the race is given by the measured downhill sections.
I. day Track check
It might tell a lot about the popularity of enduro racing in Hungary that I lived two years in the area without being aware of the existence of these tracks.
The accomodation has been booked by a female colleague in one of the closest town, Pécsvárad. I tought I can cycle to the start without moving the car. I didn’t set an alarm for the morning (’cause we are on holiday, or something like this), so I was already late when I woke up. After I received my starting package it was being said that riders must wear a back/chin protection. I cycled back, changed clothes, and finally I was able to legally check out the course. It was “only” 16 km with 150 m altidude change…
Firstly I checked the S1 stage, because this would the first stage next day. I could ride to the top of Követető in 30 mins easily. My heart rate was unusually high (165+), I was pretty excited before the race.
The S1 Caramel course was a really good one to start with. A lot of curves, some off chamber sections without difficulties. I made my life a little bit more complicated. I forget to decrease the pressure in my tubes. 3 bar was definitely not the optimal tire pressure for the track. The transfer route was curvy and it was rideable in half wet conditions.
The S3 track (without any taste) had a few tricky sections. One of them was just after the start. A couple of angry rocks were waiting for the unaware riders. At some places the riders could choose a straight line and a longer “around the rock” line. The rocky surface doesn’t have much traction in the wet, therefore I could easily make the decision. Throughout the rocky section the suspension was working hard (thanks bike for not letting me down). The track had a couple of tilted bends too, which was great, because they could prevent you leaving the track. The sections in the end were enough tricky in the dry…
The S4 tuttifrutti track offered multiple jumps and a bad-looking-rock. I did not have the courage to ride it even in the dry. Sometimes walking is quicker than riding and risking an injury. After that the riders met with a (for me at least) pretty big jump. Fortunately it was rollable.
The S2-5 stages were identical. The stage started from the top of Hármashegy. The uphill contained some parts with 20% grade. I think most rider pushed it, I managed to be in the saddle. I really need a “grannier 26T gear” next year. My cadence was too low, my heart rate was way too high. This was the longest track. It snakes down nicely to the valley. (I really like this kind of tracks) It has a couple of small drops, but nothing crazy and dangerous. For the first try I almost ate dirt on a fallen tree drop. I could see that the last part will be not rideable on sunday.
I didn’t get to the S6, because I was tired and a lasagne has waited for me in the cafe. After some recovery I went to the city and I looked for some rain clothes. Arm warmer, rain jacket, and extra gloves were on the bill. The weather forecasting was miserable.
II. day Raceday:
I slept really bad. I don’t know… I would have started the race at 8 pm, when the track was not destroyed by the rain and/or other riders.
After “waking up” I cleaned the apartement, ate some breakfast and drived to Hosszúhetény. I did here a crit race with racebike and a XC marathon with MTB. Now my list is more complete with an enduro race. The 6er main street looked like a river. The rain was not quiet, it was pouring down heavily. The mountains were barely visible because of the mist. They weren’t calling for a ride. I changed clothes in the parking lot, but my feet were already soaked in water even before the race has begun. The sommer spd shoes combined with neoprene overshoes helped my during the Salzkammergut Trophy C-distance. I really hoped that they will save me again. The ceremonial start was not really pleasant today. 2 out of 4 racer were out. I think they made the right decision and they were much smarter than us. The limit times were much spicier today. On the top I ate some chokolate and fruit puree to have energy for the big S2 uphill.
The S1 stage was rideable, it even had some enjoyable sections. Of course there were a couple of “mission impossible in the wet” features, but you can always push your bike. The transfer were not rideable today. Even the pushing was challenging. I reached the top for S2 in time.
I could not believe my eyes, but the upper section was in a good shape. In the middle I lost all of the traction and slipped out in a right hander. The bottom part of the course catched a lot of riders. I didn’t risk anything, instead of that I was on a hike-a-bike journey. Some people used tricks from motocross. They threw the bike to the top and slipped back in the mud.
After finishing the stage I could not begin the next climb, because they had to read out the times in the start area. Out of honor I hurried/sprinted to the top and I catched my start time.
“My half leg almost always unclipped” tactic worked well on S3 too. It was not always easy. the left/right-handers were following each other close I didn’t have the time to switch legs. But it was much more secure than clipped in. I even made the rockgarden without main issues. After that I was trying to hold on to my brakes and survive this terrible muddy course.
I had more time before the start of S4. I washed down my suspension and grips and I changed gloves. Sometimes I had to walk around bad looking obstacles. I even rolled the palette jump, but it gave me too much speed and I could not slow down in the mud. I crashed again, this time on my left thigh. My gopro flew away too. Thankfully one spectator found it and gave it back. Too bad it wasn’t working (SD card was full). I could have cathed my failure. After this crash I could not really find much traction on the track. The rain heavily affected the bottom.
On the climb to S5 I made a quick analysis. The chain is covered in mud, but the shifting performance is excellent. Brakes were OK, suspension was OK. My body got some bruises. I have a right thigh injury from S2 and a left one from S4. So basically every pedal stroke hurt me two times. With such legs the riding on 20% grade was not possible. I got hungry while pushing my bike. Next problem: I could barely reach my eatables in my back pocket. I had some back pain too. I was not really in hurry anymore.
Before I started S5, my instincts told me that this time this course will be a bike-a-bike course. And I was right. Other guys tried to ride it, but they always had to stop and clean the bike. I think my push tactic was quicker. A couple of guys didn’t care much about physics and went down the track pretty fast.
After S5 all I had to do is to go back to start/finish area, because S6 was closed down. I waited 30 min for the bikewash and gathered all of my stuff together and I drove away.
There was a nastly car accident on the 6er main street. The front of the car literally disappeared. It is no wonder… The street looked like a water stream. One little bad movement could lead for fatal error. The road was closed down. The accident happened in the opposite lane, so I could continue my journey relatively quick. On the motorway I eat some calories (pizza, hotdog, energy drink). Usually I don’t drink energy drinks. They are unhealthy. But it kept me awake. I met with a really unfriendly policeman at the border… I was pretty late at home. I managed to prewash my clothes and I fell in my bed. Next evening I had to wash my clothes two times.
I reached the 44. place. This is 46 min drawback after the first rider. S2-5 stages were not really rideable for me.
One gopro adapter, my new rain jacket got extra breathable, but after sewing, it might be good again. I lost my self-confidence and self-esteem. My legs, shoulders, waist, neck, hands are hurting. I think the bike will be alright after cleaning.
I needed ~300 km till I got used to the new bike. I did ~600 km with my bike before the race. I trained myself on local trails, and enduro courses 1 or 2 times a week. Wexl, Hohe Wand Wiese and Anninger were really good for practice. I can’t really jump yet, but my techniques were sufficient for the Mecsek Enduro. A lot of riders had hardtail, a couple of rider started with an XC bike. For sure you can do this on a small bike too, but it does not give you much joy. Saturday was super, Sunday was terrible. This was not my first muddy race and not the last one. Those races are always more difficult. I didn’t rode in the mud with this bike, so I think the time has come.
Accomodation for 2 nights 18k Ft, gasoline (916 km) approx. 25k Ft, clothes 17k, Pécsi Sör (beer) 6k Ft, thus some food 5k Ft, application fee 12k. The sum: approx. 80k Ft, so 260 USD. I didn’t count the washwater.
I would not recommend the race in muddy conditions. If you are stubborn, looking for mtb challenges, have a trail bike, you can go for it. In the dry everyone can be happy on these courses, but don’t forget your 4 piston brakes at home.
Video: A movie will be available.