Wattage bazookas at Vallelujah! Kelan Grant’s race winning report.

Team Wideopen’s Kelan Grant raced last weekend’s Tweedlove Vallelujah – and he only bloody won the thing!

Here’s Kelan’s first race report from his first win of the year.

Thanks to Ian Linton for the images.

Over 500 keen mountain bikers took to the hills of Glentress this weekend for the first race of three Tweedlove Enduro events, Vallelujah.

I’ve only been to Glentress a handful of times (the last time being the Enduro World Series in 2015) but what an amazing place! The riding is great … but add some sunshine and dry trails to the the mix and you’re in for a treat.

Wideopen’s new man on the scene – Kelan Grant.

Chilled laps

I took the late night ferry from Belfast to Cairnryan, grabbed a quick night’s sleep in the back of the car and dropped into town just in time for practice. After the big trip over it was good to see a relaxed start to Saturday morning with a chilled 30km lap with some friends. That’s one of my favourite things about racing in Scotland, I turned up solo and found myself riding with 10 other enthusiastic mountain bikers that were just as keen as me to get some hot laps in.

The route was really impressive with a strong mix of trail centre and steep, rooty, slick natural stuff. After the first lap we were so stoked that I decided another was due. I smashed out another solo lap  before dark and was chewing at the bit for race day!

Top of stage 1 and 2 had a little snow left over from earlier in the week
Number boards
Cold start on race day but the sun soon shone on these young juniors, 2 seconfs split them by the end of the days racing Cory Watson won with Ben Balfour in second place just a tenth back and Ewan Mackay got fourth place.

The Leg Burner

I was feeling confident on race day. The stages suited me a lot. There was plenty of physical stuff with lots of pedalling and drops with some pretty technical trails. There were lots of sections that had been used and abused over the years which made for a really good, physical ride – I loved it.

Stage one was a leg burner that set the tempo for the rest of the day. It was clear from the off that riding with tired legs was going to be normal. I took a dive in stages two and four, taking the wrong side of some ruts and sending me over the bars. I was sure I wouldn’t be in the contention for the podium, never mind the win, so I went hard for the rest of the day and tried to rip the stages apart.

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No time to take in the views as you drop into the final part of stage 4.

Wattage bazookas and flat out berm smashing

Stage four was another tough one – named the “Pedal Fest”. It was a combination of seat up wattage bazookas and flat out berm smashing.  I overtook a rider but ended up crashing again – I recovered and hit a long fire road interval to the last section. It made for some loose riding and was easily my favourite.

I beeped in at the finish convinced I would be going home early. I was shocked (and stoked!) to see that I had actually taken the win. I think riding well and staying smart between crashes had helped me save time.

Women’s winner Janey Kennedy.
Junior winner Corey Watson by a tenth of a second.

BIG respect goes to Mr Gary Forrest who took the overall fastest time of the day, pipping me by a decent 23 seconds. Also to Corey Watson who was the fastest junior and was riding way above the rest of his age group.  Fastest female of the day was Janey Kennedy.

Thanks Tweedlove, I’ll definitely be back. Great BBQ, coffee, sunshine, podiums and banter topped off an unforgettable weekend. Cheers!

Thanks to everyone at Tweedlove for a cracking weekend. You can learn more about their events on the Tweedlove website.

senior podium
Masters podium had the fastest man of the day Gary Forrest sharing some pop with his mate 3rd place Gaz Neil. James Swindon in second

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