Kona Super Grassroots rider Ryan Gardner had a great weekend out on his bike at the second round of the Enduro World Series in County Wicklow, Ireland, landing himself in 64th place out of 215th finishers. Check out his full report below.
The second stop of the Enduro World Series has wrapped up here in County Wicklow and it was a memorable one. Seven physical stages, fairly tight transfer times, and six hours in the saddle, proved to be a worthy test of even the world’s best riders physical and mental fitness. They say that patience is a virtue, and the adage definitely held true for the technical and compression strewn trails of Carrick Mountain.
Stage one was fairly straight forward but that didn’t stop me from riding a bit nervous and over breaking through the first few corners! About halfway down the track I finally started to pick up speed and let my Process 153 do what she loves, getting up in the air and finding all those time saving doubles and triples that let you gain speed from the awkward terrain rather than fight through it. Having only practiced each stage once, it was a real exercise in trail reading and patience as pushing too hard only resulted in fighting the trail and blowing corners.
I had a small crash in stage two but it was luckily in a slow section and I was able to put in some time down the stage and still passed four riders ahead of me. Stages three and four felt like such a struggle for me with the tight, twisty, greasy, whoop filled trails requiring a light and delicate touch that my 6’3” frame and physical riding style just did not match up with. I thought my overall must be looking poor at this point, but I was excited to see that I was sitting 2nd of the 54 riders that had come before me. I relaxed a bit after lunch and was able to really have some fun on the final three stages that got much steeper and had wide tape allowing for all kinds of creative lines. The crowds that formed on these stages were incredible! Every run felt like a downhill race with throngs of exited fans brandishing horns, chainsaws, bells, and costumes lining every bit of gnarly track. It was such a rush to hit my lines and huck just a bit further through each section and to hear the cheers follow you down the track.
In the end I wound up 64th of 214 or so finishers. I made it through the day without and mechanicals and my Process 153 worked brilliantly, carrying speed through the roughest sections, putting up with the many hucks to flat, and still allowing me to be light (as light as I can be) in the super techy bits. I’m feeling a bit more confident knowing that a mediocre performance netted me a respectable finish, but now I’m hungry to make my way up into the top 50 next week in Scotland. I can’t say enough about how great everything ran all weekend, my Process frame, Fox suspension, Ethirteen drivetrain, and Smith protection all worked flawlessly despite my many attempts to break them and my Dharco clothing kept me looking fresh. A huge thanks also goes out to MBW for being the radest Kona dealer in Ireland and dishing out top notch support all weekend. You guys sure know how to make a guy feel at home!
Ryan is heading to round three in Scotland next, where hopefully they have some bigger hills!
Action Photos: Duncan Philpott