The Muckmedden Forfar Funduro has been on my race callander since day one. In 2014 it was one of my first ever race events, and the fun varied trails combined with short climbs and a great atmosphere is probably one of the reasons I got hooked on racing in the first place. It has been blessed with fantastic weather every year I have been and this year was no exception, bright and sunny with perfectly dry trails ment it was going to result in some fast runs. The Forfar Funduro is a fun take on the Enduro, designed to be ridden at a relaxed pace in one day. The race was to take place over 10 stages. There were four marked stages making use of the natural trails in the forest and quarry behind Reid Park in Forfar. Each of these four stages were to be ridden once blind, and then a second time once you had figured out where you were going. The final two stages were set up as a duel slalom through the park to the finish line at the band stand.
I started the day helping out on car parking duties, trying to find space for 300 riders in and around the park. Which although this meant spending the night sleeping in the van and a 6:45 wake up, it did mean I got to see everyone as they arrive and a lot of smiling faces. I was ready to start the race by 10:30. There was a short steep climb up to the war memorial tower on the top of Balmashanner Hill which marked the start of stage one. It had been a year since riding these trails and with no practice day these races are ridden blind, which makes the first hit very interesting, as I try and guess what might be round the corner. It started with a fast blast through the trees along side the footpath before turning in to the forest and dropping in to the bottom section of the quarry. The loose shale is the least of the worries as riders have to navigate a gap jump, small drop and an fast run in to a step-up. Careful not to overcook the step-up as it was likely to send you in to a tree rather than the immediate left that the trail took. Then came a small speed sapping climb in to the trees, once you had navigated over the roots there was a final steep root chute to the finish of stage one.
There is a short push around the edge of the quarry and back towards the tower to the start of stage two. This stage was the longest of all the stages. For a rider like me who relies on gravity to fuel their speed this stage was a slog. The first stretch had more gear changes than any other stage which I found very difficult to hold speed through. However as the trail started to descend the ups and downs become closer together and more like a very fast pump track which fired riders back in to the trees and cutting back across to the quarry towards the final jump in to the bomb hole and the chance for a fast finish.
Stage three was the stage I regret not wearing shin guards or long socks. It made the most of the quarry trails. It was fast skipping over all the lose shale, and you could hear the rocks pinging off the rims, frame, and on one occasion my leg. Carrying the speed over a couple of humps the course took some tight berms between the trees, which made for some entertinaing riding for the spectators and photographers. A couple more bumps in the trail and the stage finished just along side stages one and two.
Stage four started in the opposit direction to stage two and is a fantastic test of skill and nerve at speed as riders had to skip over tree roots whilst avoiding hitting the trees with the handlebars. Around half way along the course takes a sharp left down a steep chute, which would normaly be fine, only coming from bright sunlight in to the trees makes the drop in almost entierly blind. It’s not long before riders are back playing dodge the trees though, whilst trying not to slide on the off camber roots.
Once we had finished all four stages it was back up the tower to repeat them all over again making eight in total.
The final two stages consisted of a dual slalom down the grassy slope in Reid Park. You were timed, the same as any other stage, so it didn’t acctually make a difference if you beat the person in the lane next to you or not. Despite this knowing there was someone starting at the same time of you, the racing instinct kicks in and it becomes a rush twisting between the tape on flat corners, over a couple over the ramp jump, for the finish line with a lot of laughs.
Whilst we were waiting for the results to come in I went and found a new toy to play with as the Air Bag was set up in the race village. I have never had so much fun falling off my bike. A solid ramp fires you and the bike in to the air, free to try all those stupid stunts you’ve dreamed of without getting hurt as you land on a giant air bag.
The hold up on the results meant that unfortunaly it took a couple of days to find out I had managed to come 2nd place in the female senior catagory and 2nd fastest female overall. Very happy with that result. Unfortunatly I can’t make the next Muckmedden race in Perth, but I am really looking forward to the day and night enduro at Falkirk in November.