Gloucestershire College (GC) played host to a fast-paced MTB Enduro race earlier this month, which saw students from colleges across the South West take on an 8km route against the clock in the Cannop Valley in the Forest of Dean.

Out of the ten GC students that entered, two dominated the female race and won podium places: 17-year-old Pixirose Blakely from Lydney, who studies Sport in Gloucester, won first place, while 16-year-old Holly Davies from Monmouth, who studies Outdoor Education at RFD, came second.

A total of 30 students entered the race, including students from Coleg Gwent, Hartpury College and Exeter College; tackling mud, rocks and roots across in timed stages across the inspiring and extensive network of singletrack in the Cannop Valley.

The MTB Enduro event has grown from strength to strength over the past three years the College has hosted it; developing from two teams in its inaugural year to five teams this year, for both male and female categories.

As always, this year’s prizes of Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) Bristol lessons for two (1st place), £20 vouchers for Dean Forest Cycles and cycling gloves (2nd place) and water bottles and stickers (3rd place) were donated from local businesses, including Pedal a Bike Away, Dean Forest Cycles and Napstock Promo.

Holly said: “I entered the race because I enjoy a challenge and wanted to represent the girls on a male dominated course. I found some parts quite challenging but on the whole it was great fun. By entering a mountain biking race it helps us on our course because it puts us under pressure to ride faster, harder, yet still controlled and safe. If another opportunity like this came up again I would definitely put myself forward.”

Emrys Cook, Outdoor Education Course Leader, said: “Small scale MTB Enduro events have been run in the Forest of Dean for many year. It’s a great style of event as it allows a great mix and ability of riders to take part. I was inspired to start these college based MTB Enduro events after running my own friendly mates races. They have inspired past and present students to take mountain biking seriously and compete at similar events outside of college. The events also brings like-minded sport and outdoor students together from different colleges – it’s a really fun atmosphere.” 

The next GC MTB Enduro race is scheduled for spring 2017.

Gloucestershire College’s Sport and Outdoor Education students have plenty of opportunities to develop skills and take part in adventurous activities including mountain biking, canoeing, orienteering, drills and more alongside their studies at college, as well as compete in local and national events.

Find out more about the courses, opportunities and careers they can lead to at the GC Open Evenings taking place at Gloucester Campus on Monday, May 9th, Royal Forest of Dean Campus on Wednesday, May 11th and Cheltenham Campus on Monday, May 16th.

Pre-register in advance to skip the queues on the night at