Point and Shoot - Enduro World Series, Round 2 - Tweedlove

May 30, 2014
by Matt Wragg  
Arriving in the valley at the start of the week we were greeted by glorious, golden sunshine. That didn't last. Within minutes of riders taking to the tracks for practice, the heavens opened. Then they stayed open for the rest of the day. Under the dark, dense pine trees here moisture tends to cling to the soil. Someone asked EWS main man, and local resident, Chris Ball, what time of year the tracks dry out here. His answer? "They don't." The rain turned already tricky tracks into dark, slidey tunnels through the trees. Tracy Moseley described the style of riding here as "point and shoot" - line the bike up and stay off the brakes through the roots. With eight race stages split between the trail centres of Innerleithen and Glentress this weekend is going to be a real test of both fitness and bike handling - whoever wins this weekend is going to be a complete mountain biker.

The after shot from yesterdays photo of Peebles green. It s certainly a lot less tranquil than it looked at the start of the week
  The after shot from yesterday's photo of Peebles green. It's certainly a lot less tranquil than it looked at the start of the week!

Eyes on ewe at every turn. Nearly every field here in Scotland is densely populated with sheep who keep a close watch.
  Eyes on you at every turn. Nearly every field here in Scotland is densely populated with sheep who warily eye your every move.

Ye old public telephone it s not just a relic from days past here but a full functioning means of communication.
  Ye old public telephone, it's not just a relic from days past here but a full functioning means of communication here in the UK.

After the glorious sunshine at the start of the week things took a darker turn as practice start and the rain began to fall barely minutes after riders took to the course for the start of practice. The dense forests barely dry at the best of times so the tracks became a test of who could hold their composure best on wet slick roots and mud.
  After the glorious sunshine at the start of the week, things took a darker turn as practice began.

The climb up to stage on starts of with this nice fireroad drag. Then you take a right turn up into the woods and things begin to get painful. What must make the punishing top section of the climbing even worse is knowing you need to come back and repeat it to get to stage two.
  The climb up to stage on starts of with this nice, fireroad drag. Then you take a right turn up into the woods and things begin to get painful. What must make the punishing top section of the climbing even worse is knowing you need to come back and repeat it to get to stage two.

Some riders are going to need a few of these encouragement signs over the weekend - over two days of racing there are more than 100km of race course and more than 3 000m of climbing to tackle in two days. The transitions times aren t exactly generous either so it s going to be a real test of fitness this weekend.
  Some riders are going to need a few of these encouragement signs over the weekend - over two days of racing there are more than 100km of race course, and more than 3,000m of climbing to tackle in two days. The transitions times aren't exactly generous either, so it's going to be a real test of fitness this weekend.

Day one kicks off on the network of trails the locals refer to as Golfy. The liaisons here are long dirt road climbs that run up to the top of Kirnie Law. Stages 1 and 2 then run through open heather fields before plunging into steep tight single track riddled with slick roots. Stay on with as little dabbing as possible and you ll be in good shape.
  Day one kicks of in Inners, on the network of trails the locals refer to as "Golfy." The liaisons here are long dirt road climbs that run up to the top of Kirnie Law. Stages one and two then run through open heather fields before plunging into steep, tight single track riddled with slick roots. Stay on with as little dabbing as possible and you are in good shape.

With Jerome Clementz out Graves will be duking it out with Martin Maes Justin Leov Nico Lau and Joe Barnes. Jared was coming to grips with the slick tracks on Wednesday and Thursday. Rains held off today and things dried out quickly so no doubt he will be picking up speed.
  With Jerome Clementz out, Graves will be duking it out with Martin Maes, Justin Leov, Nico Lau, and Joe Barnes. Jared was coming to grips with the slick tracks on Wednesday and Thursday. Rains held off today and things dried out quickly, no doubt he will be picking up speed Saturday.

Jesse Melamed taking the plunge into the heather on stage two. The fast open section soon turns into some of the most demanding technical descents seen at the EWS to date.
  Jesse Melamed taking the plunge into the heather on stage two. The fast open soon turns into some of the most demanding technical descents seen at the EWS.

Moss is so thick you can write messages in it.
  Moss is so thick you can write messages in it.

Mud mud and more mud.
  Beneath the moss is mud, mud and more mud.

Joe Barnes has a bit of a home advantage and is looking quite comfortable in the mud and the wet. The Canyon rider could easily pull a couple stage wins here.
  Joe Barnes has a bit of a home advantage and is looking quite comfortable in the mud and the wet. The Canyon rider could easily pull a couple stages here.

The rich black ribbon of loamy soil that cuts through a think bed of vibrant green peat moss hides slick roots and rocks beneath. When it is wet the riding is more like survival mode than high-speed descending. It s been plenty wet. Control is more of a relative term here.
  The rich black ribbon of loamy soil that cuts through a think bed of vibrant green peat moss hides slick roots and rocks beneath. When it is wet the riding is more like survival mode than high speed descending, and it's been plenty wet. Control is more of a relative term here.

Sic Mik and most of Hutchinson United Ride are here in the Tweed Valley on the way to Fort William. Hannah has good fitness but it remains to be seen how he will fair across eight of the most demanding stages seen in the EWS.
  Sic Mick and most of Hutchinson United Ride are here in the Tweed Valley on the way to Fort William. Hannah has good fitness, but it remains to be seen how he will fair across eight of the most demanding enduro stages.

Dirts Greg Callghan looks at ease on the demanding stages. His home in Dublin has very similar loamy tracks to the ones here in Scotland the main difference is that they have bigger hills here though.
  Nukeproof's Greg Callghan looks at ease on the demanding stages. His home in Dublin has very similar loamy tracks to the ones here in Scotland, the main difference is that they have bigger hills here though.

Point shoot and stay off the brakes is the name of the game this weekend.
  Staying off the brakes and staying upright is the name of the game this weekend.

The risk versus the reward. Lukas Anrig rode two separate lines to find which would save him time. This option would have been quicker if he could have been more consistent.
  The risk versus the reward. Lukas Anrig rode two separate lines to find which would save him time. This is the option that would have been quicker if it would have been consistent.

Aaron Bradford scored a steady top 40 finish in Chile and will be looking to move up the order here in Scotland. It s going to be tough going though more than one Californian has already admitted this weekend that these conditions are well outside their comfort zone.
  Aaron Bradford scored a steady top 40 finish in Chile and will be looking to move up the order here in Scotland. It's going to be tough going though, more than one Californian has already admitted this weekend that these conditions are well outside their comfort zone.

Anita Gehrig is solo twin right now her sister Caro destroyed her collar bone riding in La Parva Chile just days after the EWS race in Nevados de Chillan another victim of the anti-grip.
  Anita Gehrig is solo twin right now, her sister, Caro, destroyed her collar bone riding in La Parva Chile, just days after the EWS race in Nevados de Chillan, another victim of the anti-grip.

Manuel Ducci was the weekends first casualty falling on stage two and breaking his ankle. Word from the doctors is six weeks in a cast so it looks like it s the sidelines for him for most of the rest of the season.
  Manuel Ducci was the weekends first casualty, falling on stage two and breaking his ankle. Word from the doctors is six weeks in a cast, so it looks like it's the sidelines for him for most of the rest of the season.

Cedric seems to have found his feet with enduro this year and seems to be having more fun on the bike than he was last year.
  Cedric seems to have found his feet with enduro this year and seems to be having more fun on the bike than he was last year.

With eight stages spread out across two towns finding the top dogs has been like finding a needle in a haystack. Even more so when they aren t running number plates and are often in rain gear.
  With eight stages spread out across two towns, finding the top dogs has been like finding a needle in a haystack. Even more so when they aren't running number plates and are often in rain gear.

Ben Cruz takes the direct approach to one of the multiple choice sections on stage four - sending it off this sketchy huck onto some equally sketchy slick roots.
  Ben Cruz takes the direct approach to one of the multiple choice sections on stage four - sending it off this sketchy huck onto some equally sketchy, slick roots.

Rene Wildhaber putting down the power at the end of the final stage of day one. So far the Tweed Valley isn t Wildhaber s favorite venue but he is looking rather fast here.
  Rene Wildhaber putting down the power at the end of the final stage of day one. So far the Tweed Valley isn't Wildhaber's favorite venue, but he is looking rather fast here.

After his breakout ride in Chile Florian Nicolai is one to watch for sure. He seems to have only taken confidence from his podium winning the French national round in between fairly comfortably. His home slopes near Nice in Southern France may not have this much mud but they are just as steep and technical to ride fast.
  After his breakout ride in Chile, Florian Nicolai is one to watch for sure. He seems to have only taken confidence from his podium, winning the French national round in between fairly comfortably. His home slopes near Nice in Southern France may not have this much mud, but they are just as steep and technical to ride fast.

Everything opens up after the dark pine forests on the final climb to stages 1 and 2. The views up here are breathtaking and the descents are top notch. Ride well here and you can ride well anywhere.
  Everything opens up from the dark pine forests on the final stretch of the climb up to stages one and two past the old water reservoir. The views up here are breathtaking, and the descents are top notch. Ride well here, and you can ride well anywhere.

Anneke Beerten peaces out to the lush green fields of Innerleithen after stage 4.
  Anneke Beerten peaces out to the lush green fields of Innerleithen after stage 4.

We re a little surprised we haven t seen any Rene Wildhaber Chuck Norris-based jokes. The tough Swissman isn t beating his bike but caring for it in his own style - wiping the dirt off with a piece of wood most people would use for a club. He was offering to charge for this service too but there were no takers.
  We're a little surprised we haven't seen any Rene Wildhaber Chuck Norris-based jokes. The tough Swissman isn't beating his bike, but caring for it in his own style - wiping the dirt off with a piece of wood most people would use for a club. He was offering to charge for this service too, but there were no takers.

Tracy Moseley wasn t phased by the slick conditions after years of racing UK downhill races here she knows how to deal with them better than most and we reckon she s on for beating a fair portion of the male field this weekend because of that.
  Tracy Moseley wasn't phased by the slick conditions, after years of racing UK downhill races here, she knows how to deal with them better than most and we reckon she's on for beating a fair portion of the male field this weekend because of that.

Many of the riders have remarked on the transitions between light and dark here. Hopefully this puts the challenge somewhat into perspective. When you keep in mind that they are making those transitions at top speed on tracks littered with roots and rocks then you can start to appreciate just how tough it is to ride fast here.
  Many of the riders have remarked on the transitions between light and dark here. Hopefully this puts the challenge somewhat into perspective. When you keep in mind that they are making those transitions at top speed, on tracks littered with roots and rocks, then you can start to appreciate just how tough it is to ride fast here.

Ludo May has made signed for the Canyon Factory Team this year that seems to have given him plenty of self-confidence.
  Ludo May has signed for the Canyon Factory Team this year, that seems to have given him plenty of self-confidence.

The mid section of stage eight is a dirt ribbon winding its way around the trees although not too far below this point is a long lung-bursting climb in the stage that is going to separate the weak from the strong.
  The mid section of stage eight is a dirt ribbon winding its way around the trees, although not too far below this point is a long, lung-bursting climb in the stage that is going to separate the weak from the strong.

Ludwig Doehl keeping things tidy through a very rutted corner.
  Ludwig Dohl keeping things tidy through a very rutted corner.

Is this going to be Jareds weekend With Clementz out of action the big question is whether he is going to walk away with the season now
  Is this going to be Jared's weekend? With Clementz out of action, the big question is whether he is going to walk away with the season now?

This is a man we didn t expect to see here this weekend - Dan Atherton. He s still not yet back on the mountain bike but his leg is strong enough for him to put the miles in on the trainer and on the road bike. The problem right now is lateral strength in that he s lacking it but he says in a couple of weeks his knee brace comes off and he s back on the bike. He wants to be racing the EWS before the series heads to Colorado.
  This is a man we didn't expect to see here this weekend - Dan Atherton. He's still not yet back on the mountain bike, but his leg is strong enough for him to put the miles in on the trainer and on the road bike. The problem right now is lateral strength, in that he's lacking it, but he says in a couple of weeks his knee brace comes off and he's back on the bike. He wants to be racing the EWS before the series heads to Colorado.

Sik Mik and most of the guys getting constant attention from the large local crowd here. The venue is located right in town drawing a huge crowd to the event.
  Sik Mik and most of the guys getting constant attention from the large local crowd here. The venue is located right in town, drawing a huge crowd to the event.

Andrew Shandro is making his first Enduro debut while over here on Trek business. It s going to be a long couple days.. The course is physical technical and pretty tough all around. . I have a huge respect for the top guys out here in the doing it and will take a lot to win. It s a beautiful place to race for the first time and stoked to be doing it
  Andrew Shandro is making his first Enduro debut while over here on Trek business. "It's going to be a long couple days.. The course is physical, technical and pretty tough all around. I have a huge amount of respect for the top guys and gals racing this weekend and will take a lot to win. It's a beautiful place to race for the first time and stoked to be doing it."

The post-bike wash remains... There s definitely enough mud to go around up on the tracks here.
  The post-bike wash remains... There's definitely enough mud to go around up on the tracks here.

The traditional Scottish bike wash. Get em clean in the local stream.
  The traditional Scottish bike wash. Get 'em clean in the local stream.

It s turning out to be a lovely Scottish summer day here in Tweed. A patch of sun here and there and it s reached sixty-two or so degrees. Let s hope the weather holds for the weekend.
  The sun seems to be coming back here in Tweed. A patch of sun here and there and it's reached sixty-two or so degrees. Lets hope the weather holds for the weekend...

www.enduroworldseries.com


33 Comments

  • + 12
 Baller's right there. I'm kind of glad it's been a bit rainy this week for the Enduro because it seems to give more of a classic tweed feeling. Seriously for most of the year the trails here are wet and generally you come home covered in mud. It's brilliant. Been at work experience this week at the Alpine Bikes shop in Glentress and the atmosphere right now in the Tweed Valley is amazing. So many people here who're all absolutely obsessed with bikes and you literally end up talking to pro riders at some point, was standing talking to Curtis Keene yesterday haha.
  • + 12
 If anyone finds my tooth which has been embedded in a stump somewhere on the hill at Innerleithen since 2007, please give it my love; better still, PM me so I can give you a forwarding address that we may be reunited after all these years.
  • + 4
 I know how you feel. I have lost four teeth and its like loosing a best friend only it hurts more. Just remember you aren't alone and you can get through this hard time.
  • + 11
 Glad to see Paris finally got there! Great photos guys. Good luck to Jesse, Matt, and Andrew repping the sea to sky!
  • + 4
 Don't forget Josh and Dylan also Sea To Sky slayers. This would also explain why Shandro wasn't at last nights Toonie.
  • + 1
 Oh yeah, those guys should kill it in that mud!
  • + 5
 Big fan of Graves but I hope Joe Barnes takes this one. The way he rides those trails = boss.
Awesome to see Mick there, and Shandro!!!
  • + 1
 Barnes in 2nd place right now, Graves sits in 43th.
  • + 3
 Crazy....A couple weeks ago Pink Bike told me that fat and loud 'Mericans were the ONLY ones who rode Enduro with mushroom lids + goggles.
  • + 1
 Dudes of PB, please don't forget the young Florian Nicolai in your next pronostics, he's probably the best one to beat Graves this weekend. His recent performances and improvement are incredible.
  • + 6
 Florian was in my 20 watch this year, and he's in this article here, so not sure what your point is?
  • + 11
 Hey Matt,I see Cedric didn't get your memo about the use of Open-face helmets and goggles.
  • + 2
 He seems to have switched back to a Bronson from the new Nomad. And is it just me, or does he have a DVO sticker on a Pike? =D

Must be nice to show up at these races with a Nomad, Bronson, & Tallboy LT.
  • + 1
 Nicolai, Slick Mick and others also missed the memo. Looks like most would prefer open face helmets to race in also.
  • + 2
 Should have simply said the course is a typical uk trail ride, everywhere here is wet muddy and full of roots Smile
  • + 2
 Don't forget Dylan Wolsky of 'The Nomads' repping the Sea to Sky! And the ginger Josh Carlson! #dingosunchained
  • + 1
 Jesus Id give my right arm to be there it looks deadly. I loved the trails when over there. Very like here just bigger longer and faster
  • + 2
 Full face no longer mandatory?
  • + 2
 I'm pretty sure it's unsanctioned practice. Thus the lack of number plates and whatnot
  • + 2
 This EWS race is the only one where you can choose between Full face or Open face helmets.
  • + 2
 It was the same last year I think. You have to be wearing a helmet all the time you're riding, including the climbs, which is where some riders caused some controversy.
  • + 1
 Greg CallAghan (see what I did there) - rides for Nukeproof, not Dirt! Some lovely pics in that selection though
  • + 2
 I would love to see come videos of this.
  • + 1
 Which trail is this? not Jawbone eh?
  • + 1
 Yeah that's Jawbone but they've smoothed it out a bit and sanitized the drop out Frown
  • + 1
 Shandro !! Give em hell. Smile
  • + 1
 What kind of bike Graves riding? The 66?
  • + 1
 atypical weather for may - will make for some interesting racing.
  • + 1
 Whole lotta wallpapers here.
  • + 1
 Great photo essay, really well done.
  • + 1
 Tracks look so good!!
  • + 0
 Nice looking golf course!

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