The Scottish Border’s, the place to be for mountain biking, FACT. This was probably my fifth trip to the area and was definitely the best yet! Early ferries were name of the game in order to save a few pound, sleeping in the car isn’t too bad once in a while, Andrew might disagree. We brought the tent and spent the week in a small car park getting to know the locals! The plan was roughly just to head up to Peebles and hit up Glentress and Innerleithen, depending on how it went we would maybe nip north and find some more stuff around Dunkeld, but we just couldn’t get enough of the Tweed Valley so we didn’t stray too far. We had planned on meeting up with a friend from home, but apparently the Tweed Valley wasn’t steep enough for him!
First day we arrived early enough to Glentress, Andrew hadn’t ridden good trail centre trails before, so a bit of messing around on the red loop to stretch out the legs after the journey. Once again Spooky Wood did not disappoint, such a fun piece of trail, something our trail centres severely lack- good jumps and good berms. Bit of sessioning in the Freeride Park and we were beat.
The next day we hoked out the EWS map. We had read great things about the natural stuff in the area so off we went to see what we could find. The first trail down from the mast we did was a disaster, axle deep ruts of mud. I hated it, couldn’t find any flow or rhythm at all, but the bottom section was amazing such a flowy piece of trail and a real eye opener to the trails that lay ahead. We ended the day with the last section of black trail centre. Bloody hell it was good, steep, rocky and rooty and hardly any gravel about! Proving that you don’t need tonnes of stone to make a good sustainable trail!
Day 3 we took us to Innerleithen. We took a short cut to the top of Minch Moor, up an old drover’s path. I much prefer this route, steeper in places, but definitely shorter. This descent is what trail centre is all about. High speed, off the brakes, jumps galore and just enough of a berm to keep you on track. Having chatted to the guys in I Cycles we heard tell of a track “Too Hard for the EWS” this we had to find. The entrance was slightly hidden but I managed to spot it. Now we were told it would be a challenge and it didn’t disappoint. Technical from top to bottom with some of the most difficult rocky corners I’ve ever ridden. I was happy to come away with just one over the bars. This trail was a real test, I’ve raced DH tracks that were easier! After this we took ourselves to the top of Make or Brake and finished the day on this and Caddon Bank.
Day 4 was an adventure. We had heard of an area known as The Golfie so we took our EWS map to I Cycles for some inspiration. On the ride up it lashed down leaving the trails seriously greasy but serious fun. This place has some of the best riding I’ve ever experienced. It’s like Rostrevor on steroids. Long technical descents and plenty of them. Nae Spleens was the highlight. A steep, bermed trail that pushed you to the edge. Had it been dry the trails would be seriously quick, but still the wet brings its own fun! A hell of a lot of climbing left my legs in tatters, the last few days would be interesting.
Day 5 and 6 were spent in Innerleithen and Glentress riding our favourite bits of trail from the previous day. By the stage we were noticeably busted, but carried on regardless. The uplift in Innerleithen passing us multiple times didn’t help, would certainly be worth investing in next time if the funds weren’t so tight.
So all in all a great trip and certainly my riding’s improved tenfold.
Steep technical trails that make you push yourself and your bikes limit, that’s what it’s about for me. Hopefully won’t be too long til I’m back!