Tweed Love

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.

The Crew (minus Davy)
The Crew (minus Davy)
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!

Two Oranges
Made for the Tweed!
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!

Gypsy Glen Peebles
Top of the Gypsy Glen
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.

Too many cooks?
Too many cooks?
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!

Happy Chappy!
Happy Chappy!
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!

No Comment
No Comment

How many MBL's does it take to fix a puncture?
How many MBL’s does it take to fix a puncture?
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!

Wheel Wash
Wheel Wash
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.

Haste Ye Back!

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.

Spooky Wood, Glentress
Best Trail Centre Trail ever?
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!

Glentress Black Route
Lunch Stop, Glentress Black
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!

tubeless fail
Even tubeless couldn’t handle the trails