The challenge for the third round of the EWS is unlike any other in elite mountain bike racing. With back-to-back races the athletes had just two days to recover after Ireland's gruelling race before practice kicked off here in Scotland. Most of the top riders put in around 150km last weekend over the three days of racing and practice - this week there are looking at more than 200km this week if they want to do more than one lap of each stage... This is where the fitness counts. The big question this week is who has the conditioning to thrive on the face of that sort of punishment?
Fresh off the boat from Ireland, we made out way up the Scottish coast to the Royal Village of Peebles.
Welcome to Peebles.
On the Wednesday night after the first day of practice the local cycle clubs held a coaching night for local kids with some of the EWS pros.
Pete (bottom left) is one of the local trail fairies, he and Mark (top left), they have dug stage five fresh for this race and it's a beauty. Between the forestry and the network of volunteers they have an incredible network of trails in these forests.
Familar sights in the Scottish borders.
Florian Nicolai having a bit of fun to kick off his first run in training.
Fabien Barel was running strongly last weekend until a puncture put paid to his chances of the win. He's out looking for redemption this weekend.
Damien Oton has had a quiet season so far, but did well here last year and will be looking to kickstart his season this weekend.
After a third last week in Ireland, Richie Rude is hungry to add an EWS win to his already impressive list of racing accomplishments.
Knocked off the podium on the last stage of the day in Ireland, Martin Maes has a score to settle here in Scotland
Bryan Regnier low and fast through the bike park jumps that line the bottom of stage two.
With long liaison stages through the small villages, many riders could be seen at the local cafes relaxing, refueling, and most importantly drying out.
The fresh-cut heather at the top of stage three was like unearthly green powder - a heavenly surface to ride on.
At least the long climbs back to the top helped to keep riders warm through the many hours of rising in the cold rain.
Chris Johnston diving into the dark woods at the top of stage four.
Riders pass through the clear cut in the dark, dense forest on stage four.
Joe Barnes got his first ever EWS podium here last year and is on a mission to repeat that again this year.
Pouring rain followed by direct sunlight gets you a shot of Anneke Beerten through a steamed up lens.
Justin Leov and Rene Wildhaber finish out a long day in Innerleithen.
Jerome Clementz admits that he's still not feeling 100% - in practice he said he was taking it easy. His easy was over 2,000m of climbing on the first day of practice...
Francois Bailly-Maitre rolling the big wheels through the tight trees.
Jesse Melamed is riding high after his first top ten last weekend and is looking to repeat it again here in Scotland.
Cecile Ravanel looks good on the tech sections, and will be threat for the win if she is able to put some horsepower down on the pedaling sections.
Yoann Barelli has been in Whistler all winter learning to ride in the rain - he has the chance to see if it paid off this weekend.
Ben Cruz and Marco Osborne kept the mood light by blasting tunes out of a portable stereo all the way down the track again today.
Anne-Caroline Chausson isn't a huge fan of the more physical stages here in Scotland and is waiting until the steeper, big mountain races to come to make her push for the title.
Rain, sun, wind, and hail. In random order and on repeat all day long.
Dan Atherton blasts the lower woods on stage eight.
Troy Brosnan is here for his first EWS this weekend. He has spent the past two days riding in trains with his Specialized teammates Curtis Keene and Mitch Ropelato.
Greg Callaghan's spends a fair bit of time here in Peebles, so he knows the terrain here well and will surely be looking to silence any doubters who think last weekend was anything but pure pace.
Mark Scott drags bar and forearm through the greasy corners on stage eight.
Local pinner Ruaridh Cunningham won a stage last year - if he holds it together over two days he could have a real shot at the win.
Eddie Masters knows how to prepare for torrential Scottish rain. Minimal layers for quick drying and swim goggles to keep the water out.
Iago Garay storming down stage eight to escape the hail.
Welcome to the wet and Wild Tweedlove EWS.
About the Photographers Matt Wragg • Age: 32 • Years Shooting: 3 Maybe best-known as a long-standing member of Pinkbike's European editorial team, Matt is also a successful commercial photographer. As the first English-speaking photographer to follow and document the nascent European enduro scene, he was shooting enduro well before it became a marketing buzzword or a shade of blue. Today he is still one of the few photographers to make his living following the discipline and has built up an enviable client list that includes many of the top teams and brands in the world. Dave Trumpore • Age: 35 • Years Shooting: 4 Dave spent the bulk of the past 17 years racing professionally before realizing that despite qualifying for the random World Cup final here and there, the next generation was just way too fast and way more talented. Upon hanging up his racing boots in 2010, it would be a few years until Dave picked up a camera and started shooting the odd race here and there as a way to stay in touch with all the friends he had made over the years, and the rest as they say is history. In just a few years time his photos have graced the pages of just about every MTB magazine and major media outlet, while his commercial client list includes a who's who of the cycling industry, and he is lucky enough to shoot regularly with some of the best riders on the planet. Currently at Pinkbike, Dave shoots the Downhill WC and the Enduro World Series as well as contributing to the occasional editorial story.
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