The School of Ard Rock - Video

Aug 9, 2016 at 13:46
by Tom Grice  
Views: 2,901    Faves: 0    Comments: 0

The 2016 Ard Rock Enduro was epic! Last year was the first time me and Tom Makin of the Steve Peat Syndicate enduro competed in this race, with high expectations of another amazing race we weren't disappointed. With five timed stages over a 45km route, this was a big day on the bike, with plenty of banter with the other riders it wasn't long before we were on the transition to the final stage. Unlike other races this one is much more relaxed and feels like a festival with some bike racing thrown in!

 Ard Rock Enduro 2016

Been allowed to set off with your mates makes these blind stages even more fun, chasing each other down the trails as you pick your lines with the sound of heckling marshals is what it's all about. Photo @jwdtphotography

 Ard Rock Enduro 2016
7:50 am start allowed for the morning sunrise to guide us down stage one. Photo @samtaylorphotography

Ard Rock 2016
Tom Makin grinning at the thought of a pint all the way down stage 5. Photo @docward

 Ard Rock Enduro 2016
Good times all round!

 Ard Rock Enduro 2016
We're already excited for next year, cheers to all the people involved in this event it truly is how racing bikes should be! Photo @docward



  • 12 0
 It was my first ever race and first ardrock.I entered the Sunday not knowing what to expect.I can confirm the wind was biblical! I'm pretty glad I'd just done a week in the alps which set me up nicely for some steep sections on the course.In hindsight I wish I'd entered Saturday as I couldn't help but get annoyed when I was held up on virtually every stage by folk who clearly bitten off more than they could chew.That said it was a cracking day out and glad I go pro'd it because the stages were fantastic and I'll be deffo coming back next year.Well organised, lots of marshals and the course was easy to follow.Towards the end of the last transition it was a proper community spirit with everybody willing each other on up the hill. Well done mtb community, we really are a good bunch!
  • 2 0
 Agreed on the queues. Admittedly I didn't get held up too bad till stage 3 but twice in stage three there were queues. I will probably do the Sunday again though next year but hopefully get into one of the first groups as opposed to second to last group this year
  • 2 0
 First time here on the Sunday also wind was of the scale up top, killed your speed in some bits and made some of the already sketchy steep exposed bits on stage 2 even more sketchy! Awesome fun though

Agree a lot of people probably didn't expect it to be quite as technical and steep as it was and to be honest I was probably one of them! But there's something to be said about riding with a massive group and people watching/hecklin Spurs you on and you just go for it haha but there was a lot of people walking parts of it which were actually easier to ride down than walk but guess it's a mental thing

Awesome fun though can't wait for next year!
  • 3 1
 @tufty: I was In the 2nd to last group aswell dude
Transition patrol with a push 11-6 shock.Probably overtook ya ????
  • 1 0
 @Ziph: black Nukeproof mega tr and I was wearing an obscene amount of orange! If you beat me to the top you would have been long gone but if you passed me going down a stage then you will be in my YouTube video
  • 1 0
 @tufty: I remember you bud, we were chatting in line on stage 1. I was with my fact we were pretty much together the whole way round.i did stop off for a pint half way mind lol
  • 1 0
 @Ziph: When you said Transition I thought it would be you. I was tempted by the pint but I don't think I would have made it to the end
  • 1 0
 @Ziph: I was on the same start. Riding the Cannondale Jekyll with an orange TLD lid. Awesome race but that wind was Bananas.

Heres a quick edit from the day Smile
  • 6 0
 best thing ive done on a bike in ages, roll on next year less the gales force winds please !
  • 1 0
 You did the Sunday then Razz
  • 1 0
 @tufty: great video dude! Haha you overtake my Mrs then I come steaming past and overtake you all at 6:53
  • 2 0
 It was my first ever race on the Saturday and I have to say it was more technical than I expected but was very enjoyable. Definitely want to go next year and push for a better placing, the winning time was unbelievable. I was lucky to hardly get held up, the people I did catch very courteously pulled over. I didn't see any crashes but did see plenty of mechanicals. My rear wheel was definitely looking worse for wear at the end.
  • 3 0
 Great vid Tommy G! Smashing beautiful private trails with a great bunch of people. Whats not to like? Smile
  • 2 0
 They also put on another event called the "Ard Moors" which locals say have even better tracks to chuck yourselves down. Definitely worth a peak.
  • 1 1
 I absolutely loved all the stages and have done the Sport (3-stages) last year. This years change to 5-stage to the sport was good as you got to ride all the stages. I finished 83rd from 466 riders in the U40 category. Black BMC Trailfox 03 - say hello!

The good stuff:

- AWESOME stages
- Amazing scenery
- Nice festival atmosphere
- Riders super friendly

Now the bad stuff:

- We got put into the second last group (start 11:45am)
- 40 min wait at stage 1 due to rider accident - but we didn't get this time extended for the 5.30pm race cut off
- SLOW riders - many people clearly not fit/technical enough to race the downhills. Had to overtake a lot and people also did not move to the side.
- Finally made it back at 6pm (due to wind, cramps, rider accidents etc) and the beer van and all but the pizza van have left!?
- Got some grub then headed to the showers, which were just about to close (at 7pm)!? Managed to get a shower but the staff were not too happy.
- Overflow camping is miles away from the only 10 showers (for 1000 riders?)
- Not enough toilets in the further away camping fields

I think the event got too big too fast. I will have to think hard if I would go back up again (5 hour trip for me).
  • 1 0
 We started in the same group! You might be interested in my write up of the event (
I had similar feeling about the finish. Riding solo it was very depressing rolling back into the shell of the event village.
I think the media has a lot to answer for about the riders. MBUK were pushing it as The event everyone should do once in there life. It really needed to play up a couple of things though.
The technicality of some of the sections. If it wasn't for a youth spent riding in an abandoned quarry I don't think my current riding (Peak district trails and trail centers) would have prepared me at all for some parts.
The climbing. It was tough going and despite spending hours riding you never really covered any forward distance, only vertical.
Add those two together and you find people who would struggle on the technical sections, now exhausted, slowing sections of the trail that you really needed to be carrying speed through.
Looking back though all I remember is the fun and despite being lonely I am going back next year. Only a 2 hour drive for me though
  • 3 0
 The stages look incredible to ride!
  • 3 0
 if you get the chance I suggest doing it. The camera really robs the trail of it's steepness though. It is extremely steep in parts. Loads of traffic on the Sunday when people finally realised how steep it was
  • 2 0
 @tufty: I stacked hard on the big chute on stage 1 on Sunday...much ouch, day done after 2 minutes!
  • 1 0
 @alexhyland: I will be honest in not knowing what to expect. There had been so much hype in the media for this to be the event that every mountain biker should do I thought it would be more endurance than technical skill.
But as I sat alone in my van I overheard the stories coming back from Saturdays riders. The crashes, people getting off and pushing and people dropping out on the third stage. It did not fill me with confidence because,as far as I was concerned, if you were doing the Saturday then you knew what you were doing.
Sunday rolled around and there I was, top of stage one, facing 60mph winds and relatively no idea how steep it was going to be. Turns out it was very steep. Those first rocky bits were not hugely technical but the wind? f*ck the Wind man. Turned my wheels into sails that wanted to steer me into every nasty looking rock pile it could.
Then when you had done that there was the drop in the woods! I enjoyed it but that was several levels above what I expected to find.
End of the day I cleaned the whole course although not very fast. Total time of 25:01.70 placing me 204th and an odd desire to do it all again next year
  • 2 0
 @tufty: Which stage was the drop in the woods mate? Trying to spot it in the video! Definitely planning to do some races like this next year (broke my foot and buggered up my entire summer of riding this year) but I'm in the same boat of not really knowing what I'm getting myself into?
  • 1 0
 @Nahguavkire: Drop in the woods was stage one. There was some sweet rocky chutes at the top then some flat pedaling along taking you to the woods. Problem being, on a gopro you cannot really tell its a drop.
There are a lot of people in this section, I assume, waiting for a crash. I don't know what it looked like on day one but by the time I went down it had taken a beating. It's very steep, the left line (that they wanted me to go down, had some nasty rooty steps but the right wasn't much easier. Pretty sure plenty of people hit it faster and better than my slow roll down
  • 2 0
 @Nahguavkire: 1 was the only stage with woods, not a drop, more you drop into the woods so a different style of trail to the rest of the stage - 1.45 in the video
  • 2 0
 @alexhyland: 2 years ago I got through that cute just fine, then stacked it good and proper between the bracken after it, scarred for life by the 'easy' bit!
  • 2 0
 @tufty: Got out fairly early for practice Friday, and that steep wood section looked like roots covered with deep dusty loam. By the time we came back through about 2 1/2hrs later it was clear that it was another rock garden. Had'nt changed much by race day, probably on account of it being rocks, rocks and more rocks. Some of the chutes on stage one had completely changed with all the gravel moving into a giant heap at the bottom. One of the first corners on stage five caught me out too. Went from off camber gravel patch Friday, to huge hole with gravel sprayed down the hill by Saturday. How the fastest guys went that quick, blind stages and all is beyond me. Awesome two days though. Gonna try again next year.
  • 2 0
 @Fix-the-Spade: cameraman got me in full "o shit" moment about half a second before I hit the deck:
Looks like the guy behind me on the turquoise nomad (number 3446?) had a gopro, would like to see that vid!
  • 2 0
 @alexhyland: Yup, that looks painful. Maybe start a Pinkbike appeal for Nomad Guy's video?
  • 1 0
 Hey Nomad guy!
  • 2 0
 Well now I know how impossibly slow I was going
  • 1 0
 Well done Tom lad, was hoping to join you this year but it wasn't to be. Looked awesome pal - cool vid Smile
  • 2 0
 Can't wait for next year's race but hopefully with less wind!
  • 1 0
 Can't wait to do it again! Awesome.
  • 1 0
 Worth attempting on a hard tail?
  • 3 0
 yeah mon, the stages are pretty steady, nothing mental. good day out in the saddle Smile

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