Selkirk Weekend & Marathon/Raid Events

The Selkirk mountain bike marathons have been running, in various forms, for many years now and this year saw the organisers make some changes, dropping the 25km XC loop and adding a 50km raid/enduro event.  This year it managed to entice a fair few GMBC types to enter, namely Elizabeth, Gav, singlespeed Simon, Ian Godber (75km XC);  John B, Keiran, Myriam (50km XC) and Will, myself & Jamie (5okm Raid).  It turned out to be another memorable weekend….

Elizabeth and I headed down on the Saturday morning to get in a warm up ride on Gypsy Glen.  The recent snow was apparent as we approached Peebles but with a local guide, in the shape of Elizabeth’s friend Caroline, we headed off along with two of her other friends (Jo and Christine) full of confidence that it wouldn’t be that bad….

…. after about 2 hours of pushing over harvested forests and through knee deep snow drifts we opted to bail out and return via Glentress for a blast.  The muddy fireroad of our bail out option was a pure joy.  That said, it was wee adventure and we had some lovely sunshine & snowy scenery.  A return to Gypsy Glen in summer will need to happen!

British Summer Time - near Peebles!

British Summer Time – near Peebles!

However, there was no sign of any snow on the Selkirk side!  We were joined by Will and Myriam while we pitched our tents on a lovely sunny evening at the Selkirk Rugby Club before we all made our way to a lovely, relaxing pub meal in a nearby hotel.

Sunshine in Selkirk

Sunshine in Selkirk

Sunday was race day.  I say “race” but the Selkirk MTB events are really chilled out and you make it as much of a race as you feel like.  Final tweaks were done and all the riders gathered in the town centre for the start at 10am.  The high winds and damp trails made some of it tough going but sometimes the wind was from behind and that was a welcome helping hand.

The Raid/enduro first stage was a new one to me; diving off down into a forest, twisting and turning through firebreaks and freshly cut corners before spitting you out onto a really steep off camber grass & heather hillside.  Will Aylward was right behind me and absolutely nailed the section as I slid out in a minor crash not far from the bottom.

The rest of the 50km XC and Raid events share the same route and it was the same as previous years.  It’s generally a mix of moorland trails, forest and riverside singletrack, farm track and fireroad, with the 75km taking in some tarmac plus Caddon Bank & Minchmoor descents at Innerleithen.  The 5okm felt a bit like this (red sections show the timed stages) with 4206 feet of climbing (according to my Garmin):

Selkirk 50km Raid Elevation Profile (timed sections in red)

As the day went on the climbs got tougher but as Will and I reached the top of the final climb and realised where we were it was all guns blazing for a really fast blast down the rough farm track back towards the finish line, overtaking the event organiser on his quad bike in the process.

So how did folks do?

50km Raid:

  • Will: actual 50km time: 5hr 10m / raid course: 3hr 59m / raid stages: 17m 14s
  • Graham: actual 50km time: 5hr 10m / raid course: 3hr 59m / raid stages: 19m 01s
  • Jamie: actual 50km time: 5hr 20m / raid course: 4hr 09m / raid stages: 14m 11s – second place Male Vet on Raid event!! 4th overall 🙂
  • Fastest total time: 2hr 48m (from start of first Raid stage)
  • Fastest raid stages: 13m 55s
  • NB: the raid course time started from dibbing in at the first raid stage, the target of 4hr 30m to complete the course was taken from there.

75km XC:

  • Elizabeth: 7hr 17m
  • Gavin: 5hr 58m
  • Simon: 7hr 20m – on a flippin’ singlespeed!!  Top job!
  • Ian: 6hr 15m
  • Fastest overall time: 4hr 15m

50km XC:

  • Myriam: 6hr 22m
  • Keiran: 6hr 26m
  • John: pulled out after mechanical near the start 🙁
  • Fastest overall time: 3hr 13m

After all this strenuous activity it was time for the much-deserved recovery curry at Taste Of India where Gav kept telling the waiter that he’s never felt so broken after a ride and that it was the toughest ride he’s ever done.  It’s definitely a tough day out but the format of choosing your distance and being quite relaxed means that everyone gets an enjoyable day’s riding.

Here’s a few links to photos from an event photographer (Peter J Smith):

The riding in the Selkirk end of the Tweed valley is maybe a little bit less well known than the hotspots of Peebles & Innerleithen but it’s natural, scenic and definitely worth exploring.  Once the weather decides it’s summer time then I’ll get the ride (or a variation of it) into the calendar for a club ride so you can come and see for yourself!!

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One Comment

  1. And a wee write up in Singletrack website with Gav sneaking into the first picture in the article:

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