For the 7th stop of the Enduro World Series I traveled to a small town called Ainsa in Spain. I have never been to Ainsa nor have I ever traveled to Spain however, I was quite pleased by the views, culture, as well as the riding.
On Thursday and Friday we got to practice all 7 stages. 4 on Thursday and 3 on Friday. Both days were pretty difficult due to the high temperatures and long days out. That being said I found myself really enjoying the tracks. They seemed a lot like home in some aspects but also a bit different in others.
The first event we took part in was a untimed prologue through the streets of Ainsa. It was really nice not to have the pressure of the clock! Here I really enjoyed myself and tried my best to give the locals some entertainment.
Saturday came quite quickly. That was the first of the big 2 days. We had 4 stages. The day consisted of about 30 miles and 5500Ft of climbing. Not a huge task in itself however when you add the layer of racing into it. It quickly became a very hard day.
Stage one was the biggest descent of the weekend. It started on top of a giant mountain, the trail was pretty fast, loose, and pedally in section.
Stage 2 was started on the same mountain a bit lower down. This trails was much shorter. It consisted of really loose tight corners with flat out rock gardens! The speeds were very high.
Stage 3 was my favorite of the weekend. It was really fast and pedally at the top but then you got into the best high speed corners ever! The trail flowed so well and I just felt like was on rails!
Stage 4 was the shortest of the weekend. With it being under 1:30 there was no time to spare. It was flat out with blind crests you needed to know where you were going. At race pace the speed was a little scary!
After stage 4 I went back to the pits, rested up, and tried to gather myself for another tough day of racing. After day one I was sitting in 36th place. Not bad for a European race!
Day 2 was on my mind all night. I was sitting in 36th position. My best European standing to date. I really wanted to improve my overall position however I didn’t want to make any huge mistakes and go backwards. I thought about it a lot and planned to just race as I would if I wasn’t in that position. Take chances but overall ride smart.
Stage 5 was the longest of day 2 it was really rocky all the way down which meant flat tires could be a problem. I tried my best to be smooth and fast. I made it down with air in my tires and dirt on the ground.
stage 6 was the most pedally of the 2 days. While it was only 4 minutes long it had lots of flat sections as well as tight and technical climbs. I thought this stage would be really good for me but it actually ended up being the worst stage of the weekend. That being said I made it through clean and fast enough.
stage 7 was the final stage. I was quite nervous since we had a lot of time at the top. This particular stage had a neutral zone in it. Something I have never seen before. What that means is there is a section of trail where your timing stops and up the trail it starts again. In this case it was a big climb. There gave us 2 minutes to get to the top which in the race was really hard. I made it to the neutral zone pretty clean but was just riding a bit out of control. After the neutral zone I smoothly made it to the bottom. This was actually my fasted stage result of the weekend.
After all said and done I managed to grab my best European result in 34th. My goal this year was to place anything in the top 30. I was really close just 7 seconds off my goal. I have one more race to hopefully achieve this. Although goals are made to achieve sometimes it just doesn’t happen. I will give it my best go this weekend in Finale and hopefully in the season successfully!