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Three teams from Oban set off for Peebles last weekend for their first competitive mountain biking competition since Strathpuffer in February 2019.
Glentress Forest was the destination for a seven hour endurance event attracting entrants from across Scotland and the north of England.
Covid arrangements meant racing with no support and minimal equipment on the 11km of natural singletrack descents and crippling climbs.
North Argyll Cycle Club fielded three pairs and a solo rider. The teams fell into order and lapped consistently as the drizzle dried off through the day. Initial rusty technique after a long break developed into a more focused effort and all the riders pushed hard to the end.
Team Ben Lora Massive Aye! – Sam Wood and James Barrow – opting for trail and enduro bikes were closely matched to team Rusty Cycle Shed – Nick Charlton and Steven Groom – on XC bikes. Both teams completed nine laps to finish four minutes apart and fourth and seventh respectively in their age groups.
Team Ginger All the Way – Iain McDonald and Fraser Inglis – were late entries to the event and pushed hard to deliver eight laps. Inglis’ eyebrows raised as McDonald explained: ‘The cake stop was worth the slower lap.’ Despite this unplanned feed these power houses placed a strong tenth in their category.
Tom Smith came back to cycling competition after a long absence and rode solo. Despite his experience he commented regretfully after the first lap: ‘I set off too fast.’ He regained his composure and lapped diligently and with precision to complete eight laps and gain 14th in his category.
The duel of the day was between Fort William’s Gary Macdonald and Rab Wardell from Glasgow. Both riding solo, the two elite riders tested each other over the full seven hours. Both completed eleven laps with Wardell taking the time advantage at the end.