Muckmedden & Glentress

I Would Drive 500 Miles…

And I would drive 500 more; well 545 miles to be exact! For another weekend of riding in Scotland like last weekend.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday off work, what to do? Maybe a trip to Dalby for a morning spin and some housework/DIY was probably on the cards but first things first wash all my kit after riding Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday night. With the washing on and a brew in hand, cue a complete change of plans when an entry to the Mucmedden, Fair City Enduro in Perth (Scotland not down under) was offered my way.

With the prospect of a 5 hour plus drive including Friday night rush hour traffic in store, the wait for the washing cycle to finish so I could set off was agony. Finally with the van packed it was time to hit the road. 177 miles later and I made the rendezvous point of the Cedar Café truck stop somewhere between Berwick and Edinburgh, to start the convoy with my weekend riding buddy Bill. A quick mac n’ cheese stop and search for a cheap hotel we set off again, reaching Perth with 276 miles covered!

Now my expectations for an enduro in Scotland at the end of October, billed as fresh cut off piste trails, was a potential slop fest. But waking up to a dry and bright, if somewhat cold morning, after the fantastic summer we’ve had, gave encouragement for prime conditions. What a cracking event village awaited us for registration. Sign on complete, timing chip collected and number boards fitted. We opted to wear almost all of our warmer riding gear to deal with the biting breeze coming off the hillside, especially after seeing a car roll into the car park with 2 inches of snow on it.

Rolling out through the centre of Perth we soon headed into the hills in search of the 6 blind stages that had been laid on for us. Most of the transition climbing was taken care of on fairly good going (though stiff in places) fire road action, then heading into the trees on some nice singletrack to reach the stage starts.

Stage 1 - short, tight and twisty through the trees. At a little over a minute long any little mistake was a big mistake. There wasn’t much time to get settled on the bike, especially as the lower half was almost pitch black due to the dense trees (which explained why the 2 locals were sporting helmet mounted lights).

Stage 2 - slightly longer but equally as tight and twisty. Heading back down the same hill it left us with massive smiles due to the dry dusty, almost ‘hero dirt’ conditions that were obviously the order of the day.

Stages 3 & 4 went in different directions from the same start point, and provided more open flowing conditions through felled woodland and open moor. So far so good, the tracks were running fast and only a couple of dabs were required to help with some of the looser tight corners.

Stages 5 & 6 were reached by a tough transition and set off side by side, and provided a much different challenge. Starting off in woodland an unexpected amount of rock kept the thankfully ‘non-sniper root’ roots company. Dropping out of the woods onto some hardpacked trail centre stuff gave the opportunity to get wheels off the ground on the jumps. Across the next forest road though was the biggest surprise, a steep chute followed by a 400-yard uphill 1st gear pedal! With heavy legs and puffing lungs it was straight back into the techy stuff for the final push to the bottom.

After a great mix of stages, a thankfully downhill roll to the finish line got us back before the small amount of spitting rain and landed us straight to the fresh baked wood fired pizza stall - spicy chorizo & chilli please.

Bikes packed away and fresh warm clothes on it was time for the podiums, yours truly managed a good middle pack finish with no crashes, Bill however was quite frustrated with a few silly mistakes including 2 ventures outside the tape so was well chuffed to get the call for the 3rd step in grand vets.

With the light fading and temperatures falling it was time to convoy to Peebles, on arrival a quick call to Bonny’s at the entrance to Glentress secured bed, breakfast and a nice steak sandwich washed down by a couple of jars. Waking up to outside temperatures of -1 and copious amounts of frost we fuelled up with a full Scottish (Irn Bru available) before donning all of our remaining warm gear and riding up into the forest.

With the exertions of the previous day taking their toll on the legs we managed a good ride round the red route with a second quick diversion up to the bird’s nest for the fun short cut lines back down again. After finishing with the red & black trails we headed back to the visitor’s centre and then back onto Bonny’s. A quick shower, bowl of soup and piece of cake later and it was time to hit the tarmac again and head home.

Tipping the trip counter to 545 miles and 11 hours 25 minutes on the road for the weekend the traditional takeaway curry was ordered while I recounted the entire weekend to the good lady. What a way to end the season, now bring on the winter.



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