I’ve kind of fallen for the Gravel/Adventure/Dropbar-lunacy scene. The promise of long distance events in stunning countryside has become much more appealing than toiling around a short course on a country estate somewhere. But that’s a blog in its own right and I’ll write about that another day… This is Gravel Enduro.
So, the Aggregate 100… It’s a 100km spin around the beautiful North Yorkshire Moors, taking in some hefty moorland climbs of 20% in some places, over the heather and then back down into the forests of Cropton before snaking its way back to HQ. Special mention goes to the venue for this event as it’s held at the Cropton Brewery and it would be sacrilege to come all this way and not sample at least a few of their mighty fine beers!
All pretty standard in that sense then, but where this event differs from the rest is that it’s taken inspiration from the Enduro format and you are timed over 4 stages. Fastest wins. Simples.
In practice then, you ride merrily along the route between stages, reach the checkpoint, get your start time stamped and then pull yourself inside out as you attempt to ride as fast as you can. Get to the finish gate, hand over your card, collapse and then repeat.
The stages were a variety of moorland trail, forest fireroad and bridleways stretching through the forests of Cropton and Keldy, just a few miles outside of Pickering. Most of the course chose trails which tended to point up, but with a few descents thrown in for good measure – some of which would be a real hoot on a mountain bike, but more than doable on a crosser/adventure bike – I took along my lovely Mason Bokeh and found it perfect for the job of tootling along between stages and then tearing my legs off during.
Oh, some stages also have a few obstacles thrown in for good measure; fallen trees and various other pieces of foliage were entwined within some of the tech sections so you had to do a spot of cyclocross shouldering of the bike and climb over or under the obstacles!
Overall, a great event. Very low key and a little scruffy around edges, but that’s exactly how Mountain Biking started out, right? Personally, I think that’s exactly how the organisers wanted it to be. My first taste of Gravel Enduro and certainly not my last!
Last modified: 3rd October 2017