Team Wideopenmag’s Christo Gallagher was our sole racer at this year’s inaugural Tweedlove British Enduro Championships, finishing a solid 5th.
A stacked Elite field included all the usual local pinners, combined with unprecedented dryness, and six stages that were very well received, meant Christo had a blast galloping his Nukeproof Mega into 5th.
For 2018 the British Enduro Championships, a one off race to crown the fastest rider from the UK for one whole year, was hosted by Tweedlove team and was the big event for their amazing two week festival cycling in the Tweed Valley.
I was pretty excited coming into the weekend of racing. Having had a weekend off before the race, I was feeling fresh and keen. The forecast was looking warm and mostly sunny and the Tweedlove team had put on a truly exceptional set of trails.
Practice for the race was over the Friday and Saturday, with Sunday being a one day race with six stages. I headed down for an early solo mission on the Friday to get stages one and two done, so I could get back up to Edinburgh for an afternoon of work (can call coaching a group of little shredders at the pumptrack work?).
Stage one was a mash up of classic trails and was an absolute blast with a cheeky fire road sprint in the middle. Stage two was a bit longer combing some absolute Innerleithen classics and a few freshened up sections for good measure.
On the Saturday I headed down early again, to be joined by hardtail shredder Lewis Kirkwood for a bonnie day out in the hills. We headed up the Innerleithen golfy side first and were once again treated to well selected trails. Golfy classics like Repeat Offender and Waterworld made up stages 3 and 4 and stage five was a lesser known trail called Awkward, one that lived up to its name.
The day ended up over in Glentress for a short descent from the fort down to Peebles Hydro. The top of which is a classic in any Tweedlove enduro, but the bottom included some fresh turns, which were truly a treat to ride. The hot question on the day was at the easy/hard split on stage 6, was which line was faster. I tested it on GoPro and found the easy line to be faster.
A little rain on Saturday evening did nothing to dampen the spirits for Sunday, which was a mostly sunny and very warm and humid day. It was tight racing, with Tweed Valley locals, Lewis Buchanan and Ruaridh Cunningham battling all day for first and Mark Scott not too far behind.
The trails on race day were a tad slippery on anything where the rocks were showing and this showed with many riders having a wee crash or two. I pushed hard all day and kept everything together and had really fun day of racing. In the end I finished fifth, which was a lot better than I was expecting, so I’m pretty chuffed with that.
At the end of the day, Lewis just edged Ruaridh by 2.8 seconds and Mark was little further back in third.
In the women’s racing, Bex Baraona came out on top ahead of local Katy Winton and in third place was Becky Cook.
At the end of the day Tweedlove had put on a truly amazing event and I was stoked to take part in it for another year. Already can’t wait for the next one.