Bonnie, Bonnie Scotland - Enduro World Series, Round 2 - Tweedlove

May 29, 2014
by Matt Wragg  
 
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For the second round of the 2014 EWS, the series once more heads for pastures new. Round two is in the green, rolling fields and endless pine forests of the Tweed Valley. It also marks a shift from one extreme of enduro racing to the other. Where Chile was a stunning example of big mountain racing, with 1,000m descents and endless gradient to play with, here in Scotland we see enduro as a sport that can be adapted to almost anywhere with hills. There are no ski lifts, there aren't even roads to the start of many of the stages, instead the transfers are done the old-fashioned way, powered by porridge and strong coffee. The peaks are barely 600m above sea level, but there is one of the strongest riding communities anywhere in the world here, and that community has been busy building tracks that form this weekend's race course. The hillsides are criss-crossed with trails and the two trail centres here, Innerleithen and Glentress, are the second biggest tourist draws in Scotland, after the Edinburgh festival. As one local proudly told me today, "We only hold these events as an excuse to make more tracks to enjoy after you've left..." Oh, and the Scots don't f*ck around with these things. Just because there aren't too many vertical metres to work with, what they do with those metres they have is steep, technical and grin- (or grimace-) inducing the whole way down.

This weekends playground. While it may not be as majestic as the Chilean Andes you d have to be pretty bitter to suggest that it s not equally beautiful in its own way.
  This weekend's playground. While it may not be as majestic as the Chilean Andes, you'd have to be pretty bitter to suggest that it's not equally beautiful in its own way.

Don t let the green fields fool you the hills on either side of the valley are properly steep.
  Don't let the green fields fool you, the hills on either side of the valley are properly steep.

The unsuspecting town of Peebles. Right now the teams are busy putting the final touches to the pit on the far banks of the river Tweed. It s not going to look quite so tranquil when we get into town tomorrow morning...
  The unsuspecting town of Peebles. Right now the teams are busy putting the final touches to the pit on the far banks of the river Tweed. It's not going to look quite so tranquil when we get into town tomorrow morning...

There were some signs of what was to come...
  There were some signs of what was to come...

SRAMs Tim Flooks came up to Scotland for a national enduro race last weekend and rather than take the long haul down south to his home this week he decided to stay here in Innerleithen and enjoy the simple things. Like a comfortable chair and a beer as the sun goes down.
  SRAM's Tim Flooks came up to Scotland for a national enduro race last weekend and rather than take the long haul down south to his home this week, he decided to stay here in Innerleithen and enjoy the simple things. Like a comfortable chair and a beer as the sun goes down.

Alex and Denny Lupato got here on Tuesday and took a stroll round town to try and work out what was what. In Italy there isn t much on offer in the way of sweet baked food so they bought a a bagful and worked their way through it work out what was what...
  Alex and Denny Lupato got here on Tuesday and took a stroll round town to try and work out what was what. In Italy there isn't much on offer in the way of sweet, baked food, so they bought a a bagful and worked their way through it work out what was what...

The Hutchinson bus was the first to arrive in town and blended seamlessly into the surroundings.
  The Hutchinson bus was the first to arrive in town, and blended seamlessly into the surroundings.

This is now the fifth year of the Tweedlove festival but with the Enduro World Series it s a big step up for them in terms of organisation.
  This is now the fifth year of the Tweedlove festival, but with the Enduro World Series it's a big step up for them in terms of organisation.

A final meeting for the race organisers. Going clockwise from the left Paul is in charge of the tracks this weekend Chris Ball is the EWS main man Tom is in charge of marshalls and Neil is the festival organiser.
  A final meeting for the race organisers. Going clockwise from the left, Paul is in charge of the tracks this weekend, Chris Ball is the EWS main man, Tom is in charge of marshalls and Neil is the festival organiser.

To give you a perspective on how big the volunteer effort is for this race Tom was carting away 40 radios to get the charged ready for the small army of volunteer marshalls that make racing possible.
  To give you a perspective on how big the volunteer effort is for this race, Tom was carting away 40 radios to get them charged and ready for the small army of volunteer marshalls that make racing possible.

One of the best things about this kind of racing for the fans is that may of the top riders are just out riding their bikes so it s easy to stop and have a chat. And in this case probably try and unhear whatever horrors CG has been retelling.
  One of the best things about this kind of racing for the fans is that may of the top riders are just out riding their bikes, so it's easy to stop and have a chat. And in this case, probably try and unhear whatever horrors CG has been retelling.

As I said before different to Chile but surely equally stunning in its own way
  As I said before, different to Chile, but surely equally stunning in its own way?

Adam Craig was offering some tips to some of the older kids on racing.
  Adam Craig was offering some tips to some of the older kids on racing.

It was great seeing children of all ages and abilities coming out to ride despite the rain.
  It was great seeing children of all ages and abilities coming out to ride, despite the rain.

Nukeproofs Greg Callaghan was getting in some sprint practice racing between cones against 8 year old.
  Nukeproof's Greg Callaghan was getting in some sprint practice, racing between cones against 8 year olds.

Tracy Moseley is a pretty big deal in these parts - it was plain to see the power of the words world champion in the childrens faces. She made time for what looked like every child there signing autographs and taking selifes with some of the older kids.
  Tracy Moseley is a pretty big deal in these parts - it was plain to see the power of the words "world champion" in the children's faces. She made time for what looked like every child there, signing autographs and taking selifes with some of the older kids.

At the end of the evening everyone gathered by the EZ-ups for a Q amp A session with the pro riders. It was good fun watched paid pros wriggle out of a child asking them what the best bike they have ever ridden is. Adam Craig won the prize for the most deft answer there may yet be a career in politics for him once riding is done. What was most striking is the sheer number of kids riding bikes here. According to the organisers only half of the registered kids arrived because of the rain and that is only from one of the three cycling clubs here in Peebles. They originally only had one but have had to set up more as they ended up with endless waiting lists just for kids to get a place in a club.
  At the end of the evening everyone gathered by the EZ-ups for a Q and A session with the pro riders. It was good fun watched paid pros wriggle out of a child asking them what the best bike they have ever ridden is. (Adam Craig won the prize for the most deft answer, there may yet be a career in politics for him once riding is done.) What was most striking is the sheer number of kids riding bikes here. According to the organisers only half of the registered kids arrived because of the rain, and that is only from one of the three cycling clubs here in Peebles. They originally only had one, but have had to set up more as they ended up with endless waiting lists just for kids to get a place in a club.

That faint yellow line on the hillside to the right is the transfer for the Innerleithen stages on day one.
  That faint yellow line on the hillside to the right is the transfer for the Innerleithen stages on day one.

As head marshall Tom had the unenviable task of riding the race course and marking out the points. It didn t look like he was enjoying his work at all of course.
  As head marshall, Tom had the unenviable task of riding the race course and marking out the points. It didn't look like he was enjoying his work at all, of course.

Tom had list of the marshall points mapped out with map co-ordinates so double checked his location against the list to make sure they were in the right places.
  Tom had list of the marshall points mapped out with map co-ordinates, so double checked his location against the list to make sure they were in the right places.

SRAMs Jon Chancellier and Paul enjoy a relaxed beer and a good fire on the night before the preparations kick into full speed and practice begins.
  SRAM's Jon Chancellier and Paul enjoy a relaxed beer and a good fire on the night before the preparations kick into full speed and practice begins.

A full map of the weekends course is online on the Tweedlove website.

www.enduroworldseries.com
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39 Comments

  • + 69
 Looks to me like Scotland and similar countries are going to own MTB in the future. Why? Because of the level of involvement and participation they have afforded their children. That's where it's at. The peewee and little league level. F'ing hell I can only imagine how great the riding would have been, and would be Now, if while I was growing up there were multiple Kids cycling clubs. With kid involvement comes a Ton of parental involvement and advocacy.
Cities and states across the US and the rest of the world should take note.
  • + 4
 Couldn't agree more. There are junior programs and high school leagues popping up out here, wish those would have been around when I was that age! Mtb looks to have a bright future here with more involvement.
  • + 6
 Metacomet... Scotland has owned MTB for a long time in its own right in my opinion, but like a lot of things Scotland does, it is sometimes a bit slow when it comes to promoting it....
  • + 4
 Yeah I think your probably right about that, but of course there will be people that will disagree and will probably have good arguments to back them up. Either way, Scotland sure sets a good example for MTB and the general cycling community! It seems that many cities around the US have more anti-cycling advocacy than pro. Sad and unfortunate really.
  • + 4
 You're right, why would they be against cycling ?.... Guess they'd rather drive 10L gas-guzzlers around stinking the place out and getting fatter at the same time !
  • + 28
 The reason Scotland has some of the best Mountain Biking in the works is the Access laws which mean you can ride your bike literally wherever you want.
  • + 5
 True, Scotland doesn't have a trespass law unlike the rest of the UK
  • + 7
 I think it's complicated. A lot of factors all working together that make fostering healthy cycling communities difficult here in the US. Access is right up there probably at #1, with lack of knowledge due to low participation at #2. Land ownership and land usage problems are a huge hurdle here in the states. A lot of people that would otherwise be happy to allow recreational trails to be built on their land are afraid of the lawsuits that would surely follow if someone got hurt on their land. Very few areas have laws in place to protect private land owners from such legal action. It only takes a few sue happy nut jobs. Even in areas where biking is allowed. They can get shut down fast if such lawsuits are threatened or actually pursued.
  • + 1
 Well said !!
  • + 2
 Really have to point out that Scotland has very similar numbers to the US when it comes to obesity. SUV ownership is ridiculously high too. So please stay humble Fedz Smile
  • + 2
 Wow all good comments,i lived in the UK for a year and travelled and rode in Ireland,Scotland,Wales and England and I must say the outlook on cycling is very positive.
  • + 5
 Yeah some of us are pretty fat. Salad isn't really a thing here.
  • + 16
 They have tonnes of big mountains, 3-4000'+ all over Scotland. There is world class riding on a much bigger scale than the borders if you travel further north but the area they are having the EWS can support a big event much better in a much smaller area and is much easier to get to so that's why it is being held there. I just hope people don't go away thinking that's what MTB in Scotland is all about because as good as the trails are in the borders there is miles better stuff in the remote mountains.
  • + 10
 so many beautiful places yet to ride. i shoulda started decades ago
  • + 4
 Great write up, looks like it is going to be a great event, inners and glentress are my "local" trails, and i can assure you that once your off the beaten path there is some world class runs to be had, I'm sure the trail fairies will have worked their magic for this event, however going back to cycling exposure in Scotland and the uk, you can bet that come the news on Sunday there will be little to no mention of this world class event, and a good ten pages of 2nd and 3rd devision football. Cycling in Scotland. Is massive within the cycling community, but Joe public, and unfortunately the uk press only seem to care about track cycling if at all... Anyway, if they invested a fraction of the money they do in football and rugby into cycling the UK would be a force in mountain biking.
Anyway... Kind of went off on one there, but, great article, great sport, glad the EWS is here and... Its Friday tomorrow!
  • + 3
 Don't let the size of those hills fool you, there's some amazing, steep, techy riding hidden in there and some bloody lung busting moments!
  • + 2
 I can't wait for either day, marshalling on saturday at Innerleithen (Caberston....steep, muddy, rooty, dangerous) then on the black route ( Deliverance,part of the trail centre) at Glentress on sunday, :-)
  • + 1
 Matt W - Was that you with Flooksy on Tuesday?? I was the guy on the Old School Santa Cruz Heckler with Rockshox Judy DH and V Brakes who had been up checking out the EWS Stages maybe slightly slower than the boys with the Bronsons will be tomorrow!
  • + 1
 English, shaved head, irritable? If that sounds like the man you met, yes it was probably me!
  • + 1
 I wouldnt have said irritable! Sorry I was more interested in getting a potted history of RockShox from Tim than introducing myself properly..... TBH I was just gutted that my retro Manitou FS is away for repair as I think you guys would have got a kick out of seeeing that rock some of the EWS stages - maybe next year!
  • + 3
 Was I the only one reading that article with a bad Scottish accent?
"tuk a strull roun' toon ta tree ta wurk ou' whut was whut"
  • + 2
 Lord knows why, I'm English...
  • + 1
 I was at inners Tuesday evening for a blast of middle make or break and cadon bank a few times .there wasn't many people about had a chat with tim flooks and a very nice person he is too . by the way I would probably walk right past a lot of pro riders and and mtb celebrities cos I don't who they are . but one thing I have noticed ant mtb event I have been to everyone is very friendly .
  • + 2
 I went to mugdock last night for a first look and bumped into some guy who kindly took me on a 2.5hr epic round all the best spots. Turns out he's semi pro and didn't even mention it till the end. Pretty blown away by the experience. Don't know if that would happen anywhere else
  • + 1
 I f*****g love being Scottish! We have some of the best trails in the world, whether they are natural or man made by the wonderful trail fairies, no matter where you go you're left with a grin from ear to ear.
  • + 0
 Duir, what are u talking about, tweed valley was chosen because it's a great venue with brilliant riding, " miles better riding" , who are you to say? I've riden all over Scotland and if u ask me it's all brilliant, up north you get some of the greatest natural single track, tweed valley gives you genius trail building that gives smiles from ear to ear, perhaps you've missed something?!
  • + 4
 Proof you don't need big mountains to have a great event.
  • + 2
 they were pretty tight on numbers for marshalling on Wednesday, don't know if the numbers have increased. I hear Manuel Ducci suffered a broken ankle on Jawburn at the Golfy
  • + 1
 Ffffh...unfortunately he got injured. Frown
  • + 1
 Went past some of the trails while at GT tonight. Looked good, going to have to hit them up in the next few weeks. Good luck to everyone competing!!
  • + 3
 New trails yippee!!!! And World Series in Scotland yippee also!
  • + 2
 Not just regular old porridge. We eat Enduro Porridge in the Tweed Valley.
  • + 2
 So Tim Flooks works for SRAM now? Well that explains the Pike...
  • + 1
 I can't wait until Saturday, my friend and I have media passes, so will be able to get up close and personal with the pros!
  • + 2
 Yorkshire next year for the EWS then.
  • + 1
 gotta love scotland !! best part of the UK !
  • + 1
 TENENTS
  • + 1
 What a stunning place!
  • + 1
 Thanks Matt :-)

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