Last weekend saw Selkirk town centre taken over as the Selkirk Mountain Bike Festival, incorporating the British MTB Championships, rolled into town.
On Friday evening the High Street was closed and became a hive of everything biking.
A pump track, head-to-head roller racing, bike obstacle course, stunt display team and a giant pillow-like airbag allowed bikers of all ages to participate in what has in recent years become an award-winning event.
On Saturday it was the turn of the experts to strut their stuff, and a 100-strong field in both the men’s and women’s categories lined up on Selkirk High Street for the mass start of the 2015 British Cycling Mountain Bike Marathon Championships.
This gruelling 75km course, with 2300m of climbing, tested everyone to the limit. The men’s race was fought to the end with Ben Thomas narrowly beating Dan Freeman to the title by 15 seconds with an overall time of only 3:46:50.
The women’s race was wide open. With Scottish Commonwealth and Team GB riders starting, it was always going to be exciting. With a fantastic time of 4:31:08 the honour of being the 2015 British MTB Marathon Champion went to Scottish rider Kerry MacPhee, beating another Scottish rider, Lee Craigie, by just under two minutes.
Local rider Isla Short (18) - Novus OMX Pro Team – from Cardrona, the 2014 British National Junior XC MTB Champion, crossed the finish line in fifth.
Starting just after the Championships, a further 470 riders set off to complete the noncompetitive Selkirk MTB Marathon. Offering a choice of 25km, 50km or the same 75km route, these take the riders down the valleys and over the hills of the stunning Scottish Borders, following a fully way-marked route through Bowhill Country Estate, Yarrowford and Ettrick Valleys, the Forestry Commission’s Yair, Elibank and Traquair forests and the Southern Upland Way.
Paul McGreal from event organisers Durty Events said: “We’re extremely happy with how the Selkirk Mountain Bike Marathon went at the weekend. The riders loved the fantastic trails we have in the Borders, both natural and man-made, though it’s fair to say a few of them were pretty shattered by the end of their rides.”
McGreal also thanked EventScotland, Scottish Borders Council, Forestry Commission Scotland and PowerBar for helping to make the event happen.