Mickey's First Race: What It's Like To Take On Ard Moors
Our Workshop Mechanic Mickey Nilsen took on his first enduro race recently at Ard Moors on the northern edge of the North Yorkshire Moors. Mickey took on the six stage enduro over 35km with 2500m of combined climbing and descending. We talked to him about how he felt about his competitive debut.
What made you decide to enter a race now?
The main reason I started a race now rather than a year or two ago is because I felt ready and a lot fitter. I’ve been riding a lot recently. I didn’t have any particular training but I was feeling fit and ready for something of this calibre. I decided to do the full enduro, rather than the shorter sprint enduro, mainly because I wanted to give the full thing a go.
What did you ride?
Mine’s a Trek Remedy 9.8 with 160mm travel fork and 150mm rear suspension. I knew the track was natural and rocky so the suspension needed to be right. Thankfully it felt great going into the weekend. The tyres I have on are 2.6-inch Bontrager SE4 and SE5. It just gives you that extra bit of grip and softness. They made the trails a little bit more rideable compared to when I was on a hardtail.
Did you make any pre-race changes to your bike or take along spares?
The main thing I did before the race was to put some tyre inserts in. In my tyres I now have foam strips, so if you smash a wheel off a rock or whatever you have some protection and are less likely to wreck your rims. I took an inner tube, pump and a multi tool around with me, but there’s only so much you can carry so I took some stuff and left it in the car, such as a spare tyre, so I could get to it if I needed it.
How was it?
I really enjoyed it. It was great fun. We did a practice on the Saturday where we did a couple of stages to see what to expect. Come race day, I felt I kind of knew what it was going to be like. It was probably the most fun I’ve had on a bike in quite a while.
The six stages were mainly downhill with untimed transitions between to link it all together. I think I climbed over 1km of vertical distance on the hills overall.
I was talking to one of the other lads who was doing quite a lot of races and he said that if you go to the top races you only have so long before you need to be at the start of the next stage. This race was more relaxed. We weren’t timed on the transitions and could take our time getting to the next stage.
I set off at 10am and by 4-4.30pm they were sending out the sweepers to see if there was anyone left out finishing their race.
In the end I came 38th
in the under 30s category and 140th overall out of 538 who finished.
What would you say to anyone who’s thinking about entering a race?
It’s very different to riding local trails. You have to be fit and willing to ride some features you may not be comfortable with. If you go in with the right mindset you can come out a much better rider. People ride to beat their times from previous years, some go with groups of friends and will be interested in beating mates, some want to see how they do compared to the best riders around, and some ride to push themselves and just want to ride. Whatever the reason you want to race is, you will enjoy it.
The race atmosphere was something I wasn’t fully expecting but when you have people cheering from the side-line, photographers sat along the trails and the beep you get on the start line, its hard not to give it your all and go for first. At least I did.