With the ever changing landscape of Covid restrictions and events being put under ever increasing pressure, now is not a time any normal person would think of putting together an Enduro race in just 14 days. To top that off, this race had a slightly different format to other enduro races just to add a bit more complexity (more on that later) but it's fair to say Si Paton is not any normal person. Like we mentioned, as soon as there was a green light to go racing in Wales, Si was off planning this event at One Giant Leap, Llangollen. With only 14 days to make it all happen, it's no surprise that Si was up burning the midnight oil making sure number-boards, medals and the one million other little things that add up to making an event like this a success.
One Giant Leap, Llangollen is a stunning venue for any race and was due to hold a round of the UK National Downhill Series this year if Covid hadn't stopped this from happening. That shows you just how tough the trails are here. This is a full on downhill uplift venue making this Enduro not one for the faint hearted. The racing would take place for the most part over 3 stages, with a 4th stage hosting a downhill style Top 100 Shoot-out for the fastest 100 riders across all categories of the day. This lead to some interesting racing during the mash up style blind morning session with riders checking where they stood in regards to the afternoon showpiece, with more than one rider heading out at 14:30 trying to squeeze their way into the Shoot-out.
This is an interesting concept as it mixes Blind Enduro racing over 3 tough stages with the excitement of one run, Do or Die DH racing, and it seemed to go over really well with the riders.
Like I said this race was pulled together in no time at all, not that you would have noticed with everything running so smoothly all day, which is no surprise as the man at the helm also runs the UK's biggest mountain bike festival the Malverns Classic. However, I think the success of this event was not just down to Si and his event management skills, it was down to the atmosphere that was created. This was an event put on by riders for riders with the principle sponsor Graham Upton, along with Si himself, and 2 of the team for Action Sports Timing who provided the live timing for the day and all actually racing on the day themselves. This kind of atmosphere is not something you can fake, it's either there or it's not.
To that note it's also worth mentioning how amazing the riders were who competed at the Cannondale Enduro, not just with their antics on the track but off it too. There was no litter left at all come pack up time, not even one bag nothing which is amazing to say and the way it should be. Also, when it came time to pack up for the day everyone mucked in, the Men's Elite winner included with Ad Brayton carrying safety barriers from the finish arena still wearing his medal at the end of the day.
Credit has to go to Si and his team for all their hard work. Si did mention there is something else big in the works which we will just have to see what that is!