Saturday, May 12, 2007


After we all fought our way north thru rain and Friday's traffic we all met up north of the border at Barend Holiday village and no one was more pleased than I to find that our lodges were tip top.

Saturday could have started better but everyone managed to find their way north west to Kirroughtree where Toons and his northern posse dropped in to swell the ranks.

This route is quite unusual in that one trail (red) takes you from the trail head out to pick up another (black) before rejoining (red) back to base camp. Once rolling, it soon became clear that these trails started as they meant to go on with single track all the way with the odd tricky section to entertain. The technical terrain was pretty intense and it took this "flat lands" rider a good while to settle in. So much so that I baulked at quite a few sections but my lack of bruises confirms my tentative start was correct ;)

The mighty odd McMoab that just a few of us attempted was the most weird terrain I've ever come across. It was difficult to pick a line and even more difficult to keep going, the pictures and videos just don't do it justice. The lumpy, moon like terrain continually sucks up both wheels making restarts very difficult. It's more of a trials section that requires 100% concentration and commitment, which only DDave managed to bobble his way through. Our ballsie rider even committed to the final signature drop off of this nightmare section.

The overall mileage is no indication of how tiring this relentless route was and by halfway the big "Heartbreak Hill" took it's toll on many a rider. However the steep climb was well worth the effort as the long twisty Talnotry Hill section back to the A712 was a gem. Btw, the drive between New Galloway and Newton Stewart is fantastic and highly recommended should you get the opportunity.

The likes of Hissing Sid, Jabberwocky and the Twister sections were intense and very demanding on tiring legs. Fortunately the trail gradually developed into a rolling finish which might have been welcome for the pins but seemed something of an anticlimax to an otherwise full on trail. However, this is a cracking trail that demands all of your attention all of the time and I quite agree with Toons that it's better attempted on fresh pistons. Although some may have found it a little "bitty" I thoroughly enjoyed it. The views and variety of vegetation along it's length were quite magical.

Tin topping it back to the cabins, Rob then somehow decided to ignore the possibility of another days fab riding and jumped behind the wheel to hoof himself back south. 18hrs north of the border was all our "home boy" managed. Meanwhile the rest of use freshened up and refuelled in preparation for another day in hills.

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all my good riding buddies and pals for making such a commitment to join me a long way from home. You all helped make a wkend's riding even more enjoyable and I hope y'all thought it was worth it...

Route; Tracklog
Weather; Dry, overcast with sunny spells.
Posse; Baggy (XTC), Brumster (Merlin), Chris (Inbred), Darren (Cannondale), DDave (Cameleon), Drew, Farqui (5Spot), Jenni (Cotic), Les (Hardrock), Rob (Flux), Rich, Roger (FSR), Toons (5Spot), Uphilla (5Spot)
Mechanicals; Roger snapped his chain. Brumster and Rob both experienced slow punctures (tubeless and tubed).


uphilla said...

Big Thanks to Farqui for organising first class location and working his charms on the weather :-)
This was certainly 'in at the deep end'. Despite Ddave's warning that Scottish trail builders have a completely different rating system to the rest of the country, I am not sure I was ready for this one.
I can remember enjoying early sections, but what I missed later in the day was the pay-off for the climbs. There were some nice short bits of single track, but often they were interrupted by rocky bits or more climbing. I missed the long flowing downhill bits we have experienced elsewhere as a finale.
I know people really rate this trail, so I guess that overall it did not suit me and perhaps favours the fitter riders.
Having said that I would be interested to try again, but would certainly aim to make the trip longer next time so I could get over the journey and ride with a fresher head and legs.

Dan Howell said...

I echo those comments, Geoff. My technical ability must have been missing on the day because this was just too stop-starty for my liking and I only seem to recall a few nice, reasonably lengthy speedy/swoopy bits.

I don't seem to recall being overly tired physically but I know I felt mentally like I'd had enough by about 2/3rds in, and every little rocky outcrop was met with a groan and a sigh - "Not another one". It just got a bit tedious towards the end; Hissing Syd was a pure ballache, for example.

McMoab was fun to try but was way above my ability level; more trials oriented, I think!

Still, nothing ventured, nothing gained - and it made Dalbeattie all the better on the following days!

Farqui said...

I was soooo glad that the weather turned out ok for us, especially after driving through hrs of rain to get up there. Another sigh of relief came when peeps were pleased with the accommodation.

It's a beautiful part of the country, somewhere new to me and was well worth the miles to get there. A long wkend visit is the absolute minimum that I'd suggest and our wk long stay was just about perfect. Being away from the rat race for 7 whole days was great and fully recharged our batteries.

Farqui said...

Checkout a vid of DDave slitherin down the top of the slab.

Darren said...
This comment has been removed by the author.

Darren said...

What a fantastic, knackering day 18 miles felt like 40! The technical rocky sections needed total focus to pick the line and keep the bike moving, something that as the day rolled on proved more and more difficult and I loved every minute. Every aspect of the challenge made for a perfect day which I can not thank Farqui enough for. Thanks to everyone who made the ride and the weekend special and for Les who brought the weather with him.