Shimano Epic Enduro 2015
Dear mountain bike world, would everyone who has ever taken the word ‘epic’ and bandied it about like it meant nothing please get in touch with Théo Galy and pals and apologise
It turns out the 2015 Shimano Epic Enduro pretty much owns the rights to the word by sheer dint of being a total, beautiful, bastard of an event.
4800m of climbing, at least 1000m of which was hike-a-bike. 105km of riding. 9 specials which were so stupidly rocky and savage that your feet ached at the end of them from the battering you’d taken. Over 700 of us set off in the black pre-dawn and only 217 made it all the way back again.
To put it into a BV perspective, that’s like riding two-scoops up to the chapel above Bourg three times before 9am. Except one time you have to hike up. Then after brekkie you ride from Peisey-Vallandry up to the top of Sketchy Dismount. Twice. Then come the afternoon you do the top, long fireroad climb and hike to Magic Carpet. Twice. And having mentioned Sketchy Dismount, the hardest bits on that are easier than three-quarters of the Epic’s rocky, steep and utterly awesome descending. As a friend said, its like the toughest, best 100m stretch of the Peak District. Except it goes on for 105km.
How did we do? Well, from a group of 8 that included French and British locals, ex-BV guide Huw over from Aviemore and two friends from Verbier, 7 of us finished the full clover-leaf pattern of three loops out from the main race HQ. It took about 14 hours total riding to rack up somewhere around 1hr45 of timed enduro specials in one day. Huw bagged a very respectable 23rd spot, I (Sam) was content with a more sedate 55th and a big mention has to go to Tim who brutalised his way into 73rd on a hardtail carrying a suspected broken hand, rib and a banjaxed shoulder (epaulius-banjaxius in medical terms) picked up on special 2. Who knew Ibuprofen had started sponsoring enduro events?
Overall? We pretty much packed a fortnight of riding, banter and food into 72hrs of exhausting but exhilarating push bicycle savagery in a sunny (and windy) corner of France. We all came within a cat’s whisker of not finishing and we all dug in to tough it out. As Huw put it, horrendous Type 2 suffering but genuine Type 1 fun. So much respect goes out to the organisers – Epic Enduro, we’ll see you next year.