I woke up on Saturday with serious withdrawal symptoms. I knew that it would be a while until I was riding extremely steep, perfectly built natural trails in the Tweed Valley again. This trip wasn’t like others, accompanied by Ian, a world class fell runner, there wasn’t going to be time for slacking on the ups.
5 days, 121.2km, 5,109m of climbing, 3 (extremely slow and stupid) crashes, 2 barbecues, 2 No1 Peebles Road Bagels and 1 birthday cake were the stats from probably the best weeks biking I’ve ever been a part of. It started with the 7:30 ferry on Monday accompanied by Andrew, Ian and Brian. Davy was to meet us over there considering he’s now a sort of local. We arrived around lunch time and got the van unpacked into the Kailze bunkhouse. Not a bad spot, even better as we had the place to ourselves!
So day 1 took us up the Gypsy Glen route. According to a drunken local chef its 6 miles up and 6 miles back down. This was a great route to get us into the swing of things. Amazing views and such a good descent back down to Peebles. Starting at Cardrona Forest it took around 2 hours. We crossed the Tweed and headed over to Glentress. No trip to the Tweed Valley is complete without a run down Spooky Wood! We ended our run with The Bitch and Ponduro, two amazing trails, fast steep and lots of line choice!
Day 2 was dedicated to the Golfie. This has to be my favourite place to ride a bike. Endless trails all starting at various heights on the forest roads. Starting with Nae Spleens, the lads who hadn’t ridden here were pleasantly surprised by the steep technical turns. A lot drier than my previous outing to the Tweed Valley resulted in a clean run. Great start to the day. 3g was probably my favourite trail of the day, but to be brutally honest I could have picked any of the trails! Forsyth’s Butcher in Peebles was hit up for supplies for dinner, followed by an amazing barbecue.
Day 3 was Innerleithen. Straight up to Minch Moor to show the boys what we are seriously lacking on the trail centre front at home! That descent is just amazing fun. Next up some dh fun. Make or Brake is guaranteed to make you smile. Numerous other natural trails were hit up including Too Hard for the EWS. A clean run down this left me absolutely buzzing. No better feeling. The hardest track I’ve ridden, hands down. The lads loved it too. For future reference Forsyth’s the Butchers closes early on Wednesdays, Tesco’s would have to do. Another bbq followed by some birthday cake, cheers lads!
Day 4 was an adventure for all of us. The plan was Yair and Thornielee forest. Davy knew Yair and the first trail was a classic. Long fast descent into some technical woods. The second was a bit pedally to start, but near the bottom we ended up in some of the most beautiful corners I’ve ever ridden. Thornielee was next. No one had been here before but we had all heard great things. Trailforks loaded and off we went. A bit of a climb to the top, but nothing too severe. We found ourselves on a tight bit of trail to begin. I personally found this quite awkward to ride. Lots of tight trees and couldn’t get her going. Nonetheless it was still brilliant fun. Towards the bottom it started to drop away. Steep, loose corners with just enough to catch you. Endless fun. To the top again!
Day 5 our last assault on the Golfie. The legs were well done by this stage! An early start was needed to ensure we got the most out of the day. The favourites were hit, 3g, Flat White and Community Service. What a friggin week!
The bike performed like an absolute dream once again. This was the first time I really felt like the Hope brakes were working for me. On the long sustained, steep trails I felt they always had something more to give and was never at their limit. A Maxxis Shorty on the front really made a difference in the steep damp stuff, but the Minion would have been nice for the drier rooty stuff. Once again no punctures for myself. Tubeless really is a revelation for me, even if it took me an age to get the rim bed sealed. Hopefully have it sorted now with one wrap of electric tape and one wrap of joe’s tape.
So there you have it, a brief rundown of probably the best mtb trip around. I’ve ridden a hell of a lot of the trails now in the Tweed Valley, but it still leaves you wanting more. Can’t wait to get back.
Next stop might just be Finale Ligure though!
Thanks to Orange Bikes, Urge Bike Products and Gamut for keeping me on the trails.