For weeks during September and the beginning of October most of the UK had been treated to dry and reasonably warm weather. The long-term weather forecast for the 14th October even looked good. But during the week leading up to the 2018 Hopetech Women Enduro lots of blue drops started appearing on the BBC weather app, particularly for Sunday 14th October.... 

On the Saturday before the event the Hope team headed to Gisburn Forest to prepare for the enduro the next day. Driving up to the forest our vans had to wade through lake like puddles, the type where you really aren't sure if its a good idea to go through or not. Flashbacks from the 2017 Hopetech Women Enduro appeared, where roads were flooded and riders had to braced lashing rain. Please not again we thought....

The event had been sold out for months with 330 women signed up to ride. As Sunday morning came the Hope team began setting up at 6am in the dark and drizzle. That sinking feeling arose, "would anyone show up?", "will the weather put everyone off?", "will everyone enjoy it as much as last year?"

Rider registration wasn't due to open until 8.30am. As a line of ladies eagerly started to form ready to register at 8am, all those doubts disappeared and the event began.

The 2018 Enduro followed the same format and used the same stages as in 2017. Three stages in total using sections of the Gisburn Forest trail centre. Practice in the morning followed by racing from lunchtime onwards.

As practice got underway, a constant steam of ladies headed out onto and back from the trails with a smile on their face. Many heading out in pre-arranged groups, some meeting new people to ride with on the day and some just happy to go with the flow.

The weather played kinda of ball with us, but just in case, we had a roaring fire pit with marshmallows to toast and free crepes on the go to keep everyone toasty and warm. 

As the day drew to a close, riders appeared to be super chuffed with their finishers medals. Some eager to check out their final position, some just content that they'd had a great day on the bike in a fun and supportive environment.

For Hope it's a privilege to host this event in conjunction with the team at the PMBA series. This year we saw an equal number of riders who had never raced before to those who were seasoned racers. Lets hope that we'll see more first-timers again next year and help our sport flourish.

For all the pictures from the day see the following links:

Images by Duncan Philpot see here and here.

Images by Roo Fowler see here.