The Forestry products enterprise of York Timbers presented the second York Enduro Mountain Bike Rally in and around the gorgeous little Lowveld town of Sabie, from the 4-7 September 2014.
The event introduces a completely new concept, as it offers a dual eliminator race, a cross country race, two Enduro stages and a half marathon event. More distinctively, it also creates a platform for professional riders and cycling enthusiast to interact more closely. 24 Corporate teams participated, each of them consisting of 4 corporate riders and one professional rider to act as an escort during the event.
On day one the pro’s got to race each other on a 3.4km downhill course. With the exception of two big ‘drops’, the course was very rideable and a lot of fun. Amy McDougall (Valencia Cycles) set the fastest ladies time to take first place ahead of me with Theresa Ralph in 3rd.
While we were having fun on the downhill course, the corporate team’s got to race each other on a newly built cross country course at Engelhard Park in Sabie. Their times would be used to seed them for the start of the Enduro stages.
All participants stayed at the luxurious Floreat lodge, which was a welcome change from the tented accommodation we’re used to at MTB stage events. In addition to warm beds we had exceptional entertainment every night in the form of Jackie Louw, the Blues Brothers and John Delinger.
On the morning of day two it was time for us to join our corporate teams for the 40km Enduro event. As an Enduro, only certain sections are timed and count towards the team’s result. I got assigned to team TF Design and their company made the time spent on the bike very entertaining.
That afternoon there was an optional 10km event for those that still had energy left to race. To make the event more attractive, riders got to compete in 5 different weight categories giving everyone a fair chance to win a pair of Rudy Project sunglasses.
On day three we began with a 35km Enduro event in the morning, followed by a dual eliminator race in the afternoon for those that chose to do it. The 350 meter long eliminator track consisted of one very intimidating gap jump and a couple of neat berms. Amy MacDougall showed off her bike handling skills to take 1st place while former Olympian Erica Green had an impressive run finishing in 2nd place just ahead of me.
The final day started with a 40km half marathon event in the morning. The race was also open to the public, giving them an opportunity to experience some of scenic routes we’d been fortunate to ride during the York event. Shortly after the half marathon the weekend concluded with a thrilling cross country (XC) race for the pro’s. The XC route was very exciting as it consisted of a log garden, tight uphill turns, wooden steps, fun berms and a gap jump to name just a few obstacles we had to navigate.
The taste of blood in my throat after completing the race was well worth it as I crossed the line in first place. Theresa Ralph finished in 2nd place while Amy MacDougall rounded out the podium in 3rd.
The event isn’t all about racing hard or just having fun, but also about uplifting the town and community of Sabie. York is involved with several community projects and money raised through the event is used to partly finance these programs.
I am proud to be part of this event and would love to be back next year.