Report: Borderline PMBA Enduro Series Round 4 Kirroughtree

Published on: Jul 10 2015 by Kev

PMBA 2015 Round 4

Round four of the Borderline/PMBA Enduro Series took place in Kirroughtree, Scotland, last weekend.

The Break Pad bike shop were the hosts for this round and the guys had been busy creating tracks that would test both our legs and our skills. It seems the brief was to try and put in as much fresh-cut trail as possible to minimise the time spent on the 7Stanes trail centre.

Singletrack’s Rich gives us his race report- which features a very-nearly podium finish!

The happy campers pitch up before the competitive action gets under way

I’ve been away from home quite a lot recently. Shows and races have taken me all over the place, but with a young family, the ride/travel and stay-at-home balance has definitely tipped to the wrong side… (well, that’s what my wife thinks!)

So I ask you, fellow mountain bikers, was it worth spending precious, limited time to ride a bike – only to get into more trouble once I finally made it home? Read on before you make a decision.

PMBA RD 4 (1)

Being the round that’s furthest away, this is the only round that we opt to camp at. On arrival there was a huge field close enough to the shop and visitors centre; we could pitch up camp wherever we wanted. During the evening, the camp was a busy happy place with riders working on their bikes, drinking beer and having small (enclosed) camp fires to keep the midges at bay. We ended up with a group of about 10 riders all sat around having a laugh and telling tales. Already it was starting to feel like a good idea travelling that far up the Isle.

And so to Sunday morning and race day. The Brake Pad team were on hand to help with any mechanical issues and spares that riders couldn’t sort out themselves, as well as the friendly PMBA volunteers who sorted registration. Some small downpours tried to spoil the day but the tightly packed forest offered some relief, which also helped preserve the trails during practice.

PMBA RD 4 (2)

Stage 1 – This was a painfully tiresome start. A simple section of the trail centre led into two short climbs, the second being a bit of a mudfest. I opted for a CX style dismount and run, with a not so elegant remount at the top. For me, this climb was worth the extra effort as it took us straight into some slippy (but natural) root turns and chutes. My feelings were purely positive as I made it out onto the section of blue trail, that was now full of surface mud from rider’s wheels. Quickly we were onto another short climb – this time of the fire road variety. It was a dart back into the woods, pedalling and twisting through some tight turns, narrowly avoiding those pesky trees. After a steep chute, with a couple of available drops, we were pretty much there. Suddenly, the long drive up and the impending trouble at home was quickly forgotten about.

PMBA RD 4 (3)

Stage 2 – After a nice sociable transition and forest push up, we were onto the second stage. This was a stage of four parts (some might say quarters). All of the sections were natural, linked together by quick fire road blasts. Starting quite gently, again with some tight turns in close proximity to the trees, we slipped and slithered down to meet a large root that crossed the track. I had a problem with this root.

A problem that everyone I was riding with didn’t have or understand.

PMBA RD4 (4)

On practice I took yet another OTB (over-the-bars), landing firmly on my head. It was just the right height to catch your chainring, with trees that were too close to pop through. Anyway, I got through with tightly clenched cheeks and made it to the first fire road. A quick sprint and I was back into the dark woods, greeted by another flattish natural section that required good legs and the ability to maintain speed. This went on for one more section before the final quarter, which was steeper and even more slippier, but a whole load of fun.

PMBA RD 4 (5)

Stage 3 – Perfect! Is there anything else to say about this stage? It was a natural start down loamy goodness with a comfortable amount of grip, leading to a jump onto possibly one of the best sections of trail centre there is. It had steeper chutes, rocks to hop over and the occasional multiple lines. That was stage 3. There was also a lovely chute three quarters of the way through that finished with a fast right hander, with just enough of a catch berm to hold you. It was smiles all round at the end of this. Even riders who made mistakes on this stage still had ear to ear grins at the end.

PMBA RD 4 (6)

Stage 4 – The final stage was a bit of a pedalfest with some natural sections. It started with some open(ish) freshly cut corners. There were some nice off-camber roots to catch you out but it was relatively straightforward. We briefly jumped back on to the trail centre before another natural section, again with some fast corners that just about held you… as long as you avoided the blanket of roots. With my lungs gasping, my legs burning and my face grinning, we’d all made it back in one piece.

Hopefully you’ll be able to tell that the pilgrimage north (and getting into a little trouble with my wife) was well worth it. It was a weekend of riding bikes on natural, fresh cut trails and camping with like-minded folk telling tales around a fire. What’s not to love?

Oh, and did I mention that I finally managed to go fast enough to stand on the podium? – well, 4th place, so next to it – but it was my best result to date.

I, for one, will be back next year, along with the group of mates I was riding with.

 

 

 

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