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Meet Rich Parkes

I've been riding bikes of many descriptions for a long time now, the majority of my teenage years I mainly rode BMX, I always had a mountain bike but rarely had anyone to ride with so they weren't always around for long, I've bought and sold more mountain bikes than I'd care to count let alone admit to the girlfriend... 

My allegiance changed around the start of 2012 when a good friend who rode MTB's persuaded me to buy one again and come for rides with him. I was hooked! The BMX was sold within months and my focus was solely MTB! The best bit being how many different types of MTB there are, you've obviously got to have one for each discipline, right?! N+ 1 is a legitimate rule for sure! I loved the feeling of going as fast as possible with trees whizzing by and still do, twisty fast singletrack will always be a favourite for me. 

I'd never really known much about the racing scene so when I heard about the Mini Downhill races at the Forest of Dean in 2013 I figured I'd give it a go and see how well I could do. I loved it. I came 26th but knew I wanted to do better! I raced a few more of the Mini Downhill's and some of the Racers Guild races at Stile Cop over the next two years and slowly crept up the rankings. My first podium came when I raced my first Enduro raced the Sport Class at the 'Ard Rock Enduro in Yorkshire in 2015 where I came 3rd. Next stop, Nation level!

This year I've decided to focus on Enduro and have signed up to race the whole UK Enduro Series. Enduro gets a lot of stick on the internet from keyboard warriors who most likely have never raced one, but it really is the best race format! You spend the whole day or weekend riding with your mates and even if you've gone alone, everyone is always friendly and up for a chat on the transition stages. Why would anyone not like it? The tracks are always fun too so what better way to explore the country with old friends and make new ones?! If you haven't done it yet, get off the sofa and sign up for an Enduro race, there are so many different series' to choose from and the majority cater for a wide range of rider levels, get on it!!

I'm really looking forward to racing the UKE with support from SealSkinz and Slam69 this year, the first round, at Crychan Forest, was great but a real eye opener to how much fitter I need to be! The weekend went well with a few crashes in practice and a few during racing on Saturday but I managed to pull some time back on Sunday and finished in 13th in senior. If I can finish just outside the top 10 with this level of fitness then surely I can break into it with a bit more training? Right, off out on the bike! Bring on Round 2!!!

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