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Tweedlove: POC King and Queen of the Hill Enduro

It was a last minute decision for me to take the plunge and enter the POC King of the Hill Enduro at Glentress. Being one of the main opening events of the now annual Tweedlove festival which sees all things 2 wheeled take to the streets and hills surrounding the Innerleithen and Peebles area for 10 days at the end of May.

The idea of an All Mountain Enduro, with timed climbs, didn’t really sit well with me, I mean I was never the climber I wanted to be but I thought what the hell, a day riding one of the best known trail centres in Scotland with a few old friends did appeal.

270 riders lined up for the start on the bowling green right in front of Peebles Hydro Hotel. With the banter starting right off the bat with the MC getting stuck in interviewing a few of the waiting riders, the mood was good, but the weather was even better. With Scotland enjoying yet another good week of sunshine….the temperature was in the low 20’s perfect for trail riding.

008, Chambers, Douglas Chambers

The event was always marketed as an  All Mountain Enduro, that means expect a climb or two. So the opening stage was a climb right from the Hydro to the back of the closed curved wall ride at Glentress’, it had a ramp or two in there but in general it wasn’t that bad…well it was for me, top tip…don’t ride for 6 hours the day before…you’ll feel it the next day.

The start with the Peebles Hydro Hotel as a rather plush backdrop

From there it was onto the first of 4 descending stages…Berm, Baby Berm was the top half with a quick sprint across the back of the Buzzard car park and into the second section, Electric Blue, a pretty mellow descent which required a hell of a lot of pedalling, this wasn’t easy as you’d think…I was cream crackered at the end…a true test of fitness.

Lewis Kirkwood

The one stage I had been dreading all weekend, Stage 3 was from the top of the freeride area to the mast at the top of Glentress…with all of it fire road, I was expecting the worst but it wasn’t that bad…well it was in the midday heat, I took my time.

Andy Barlow

Now at the highest part of the course we rested under the event shelter and munched at the feed station…then the real business was about to begin. The last 3 stages took in a natural drop into spooky wood with a cut down the push up track, some single track back onto spooky wood and then down super g, Then Brown trout got a session, this was the best bit, tight techy and a reminder of the old Innerleithen of days gone by…I loved it.

Is that Chipps?

Now it was back on the right shifter to click the mech up to the big ring (on the cassette) and climb the spooky climb to the start of the final stage back down to the hydro. This was the highlight of the day a big old 9 minute decent with one quick climb in the middle, natural single track most of the way with roots, roots and more roots all the way to the Hydro and the finish. I was done!

Crawfy takes some time out to fix his puncture, one of them!

Here’s my top tips for riding an AM Enduro…

1. Don’t practice too much the day before…I should have taken it easy but the trails were soo much fun, 6 hours and 3 laps later I was done.
2. Eat and drink right…you need the fluids and the carbs. Especially when it was that hot!
3. Have someone take your backpack and pads to the end of stage 2…saves you during the climb.
4. Take it easy during the linking sections…they didn’t count.
5. Don’t push in front of the queues at any stage…some guy did this in front of us…take about brass neck!
6. Enjoy the ride, the views and the banter.
7. Tear up the downhills…they’ll hurt but 10 mins of descending is a lot of fun!

Katy Winton

So who was crowned? Andy Barlow and Katy Winton took the crowns on the day…the full results are linked in below.

King Andy and his Queen Katy

Full Results

Derek Laughland drops into the final descent down to the Hydro

 

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