Sun shines on Tweed Valley mountain bikers

Steve Deas of Innerleithen at the  Tweed Valley mountain biking event (picture by Ian Linton)
Steve Deas of Innerleithen at the Tweed Valley mountain biking event (picture by Ian Linton)

Around 500 riders took to the hills of Glentress last weekend for the first of the Tweedlove Triple Crown enduro races for 2017.

The sell-out race was met with glorious spring sunshine all weekend - conditions vastly different to last year, which saw horrendous weather. The event village was destroyed by gales, accompanied by heavy rain and sleet.

Local riders dominated the podiums, showing the strength and depth of race talent which has now emerged from the area.

A hugely disproportionate number of the UK’s top mountain bikers have grown up locally and honed their skills on the trails of the Tweed Valley – an area now widely recognised as one of the world’s top mountain bike destinations.

The overall win was taken by local rider Gary Forrest, who also won the Master Men category, and a notable performance came from Team TweedLove’s very own rider Ben Balfour, who took 14th overall on the day and second place in the Junior men’s category, only 0.18 seconds behind the winner.

Innerleithen cycle shop owner Steve Deas took the win in the Super Vet Men’s category with the UK’s only Olympic mountain bike rider, Peebles-born Grant Ferguson, suffering a tyre puncture on stage three, which left him 16th overall and eighth in the Senior Men.

Local woman Janey Kennedy took the win in the Senior Women’s category, in a strong field of female riders.

“Of course, the weather played a big part in making this such an enjoyable weekend but it was fantastic to see the continued growth of interest in this sport, and also to see how many people had travelled significant distances to take part,” said organiser Neil Dalgleish. “Almost 40 per cent of those taking part came from outwith Scotland – not bad for the first race of the season!”

TweedLove’s events are now an important tourism driver for the Scottish Borders, bringing in £1 million for the local economy every year.

This year’s bike festival will be headlined by the Shimano International Enduro and the largest cycle demo event and expo in the whole of the United Kingdom – to be held on Tweed Green from June 9-11.