Now in it’s 3rd year the Kerio Valley Enduro continues to be a regional highlight and for 2019 we were treated to some new world-class trails, a bigger field of racers bringing the standard of racing higher and some great prizes and support from – among others – bikeshop.ke!
Simon Blake (the man the myth the legend) is the brains behind this event which is based out of his home town Iten – an hour from Eldoret – a small town more famous for it’s fast runners (You should all know the name Eliud Kipchoge by now…), than it’s Mountain Biking, but sitting on a ridge-line 1000m above the plains below with incredible terrain is a mountain bike mecca in East Africa. This year Simon had gone all out and cut fresh trail to link some of last years sections together and opened up an entire new trail that descends all the way to the valley floor.
We had two bigs days of riding and racing and we spent the night camping alongside the river in the national park below – unfortunately (or fortunately, depending how you look at it) all the big animals had run away but it was a great end to day one, riding into the park through the wild landscape and with birdsong all around and wondering whether we’d find a giraffe or elephant around each corner…
After 2 days of racing there were some close positions throughout the field – the most amazing ride in my opinion was from Simon Hupperitz. Whilst his pro level XC racing background, UCI coaching status and generaly jedi like bike skills and fitness may have suggested it should have never been in doubt, the bike he managed to do it on told a whole different story. He was on a very old, super lightweight 26” carbon XC hardtail race bike, with 2.1 tyres pumped up to about 40psi. It’s what he managed to find in the Team Rwanda compound where he’s coaching. Whilst it was no surprise that he took over a minute and a half on me on a very uphill stage, he was also right with me on pretty much every other stage, absolutely extraordinary riding! Someone get that man an Enduro Bike!!
I was stoked with a third place finish, and I had an absolute blast as always!!
Asante Sana Kenya!