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TransScotland Challenge - NE

Great Britain, May 27-June 2, 2007

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Race 2 - May 28: (Day 2) Moffat to Drumlanrig Castle & Team time trial at Drumlanrig Wood, 55km/10km

By Matt Skinner

A rider negotiates a corner
Photo ©: TransScotland
(Click for larger image)

The first competitive day of the TransScotland bloomed strong under a blue, fluffy sky in much welcome contrast to the first day in Selkirk. It began with a 45km linking stage through fine, single-malt Scottish wilderness and ended with a team time trial on natural-feeling, technical, flowing, root-infested singletrack in Drumlanrig.

Right from the start in Moffat, riders were thrown into action, facing a behemoth of a climb up Hods Hill that was both steep and sustained in pitch right up to 567m. Many riders, wary of the cumulative toll over the seven days, portaged this wee beastie's more severe parts as they slowly followed the Southern Upland Way. The trail eventually then kicked downwards over more wide open grassy "piste" sections, a sweet reminder of the steep final descent of day one.

The route continued in a high quality, downward vein: a two kilometer Roman Road descent gave back to the riders all that the bugger of a climb had taken. The road snaked its way smoothly down the Kir Burn valley, only tempering the devil-may-care abandon approach to braking by the occasional water bar. High speeds, carving lines, and smooth grassy contour-caressing trails brought the riders down into Durisdeer and back onto the black top. Then the day's linking stage was all but done: blacktop and a singletrack foray brought riders onto the picturesque Drumlanrig estate, before the final climb took the riders into the woods for a brief, but satisfying taster of the trails yet to come in the special stage's team trial. The trail flitted this way and that, doing its best impression of a convulsing serpent with plenty of pumpy undulations and a matted network of wheel-grabbing roots to boot. All total, riders climbed 1,150m for the stage.

With a few hours to kill before the beginning of the special stage, the event village filled out and the riders made the most of a few quiet hours under the much-welcomed sunshine. Riders also explored the treasure trove that is Rik's Bike Shed's Bike Museum, a literal historical walk-through of the bicycle, albeit beautifully higgledy-piggeldy.

The men's open podium
Photo ©: TransScotland
(Click for larger image)

The special stage itself would see team riders racing in relay - one from the start who would then switch out with his or her partner mid-way through the lap - around the 10km Drumlanrig circuit, with its 300m of climbing. With the first half of the course containing the more techy, picky, rocky, and rooty singletrack and a plethora of power climbs, and the second being made up of more flowing and undulating trail with more singletrack climbs, team tactics came into play for the teams to decide who would open the batting and who would come in at the halfway point to bring the team home. For the many solo riders, it was just flat out all the way round the full 10km circuit.

Set against the background of the impressive Drumlanrig castle, the riders went off at 30 second intervals from the start ramp and out onto the course. After a brief fire road climb, the singletrack began in a predatory manner and jumped the riders from the summit of the climb. Snaking downwards the trails spun a web of singletrack seduction that lasted became more and more acute as the lap wore on. The fastest pair, Ryan Bevis, and Jonathan Pugh of Ram Bikes/Scott UK blasted the trails to smithereens in a time of 33'24" to claim the stage win, with the fastest solo male, Andy Barlow, of Whyte Bikes coming home in just 35'27". In the women's open division, Meggie Bichard of Extreme-Endurance.com wrapped up the win with 42'55", and Julie Cartner and Renel Brennan of the 7Stanes did likewise in the women's two-person category with a total time of 42'38".

A monster 100km linking stage characterizes day 3, during which they will turn southwards through the Forest of Ae towards Dalbeattie as well as tackle 2,000m of climbing to get there during a long, hard day of riding.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by TransScotland


Special Stage 1 - Drumlanrig Woods Team Time Trial
Womenís Solo Open Category
1 Meggie Bichard (Extreme-Endurance.com)                 42.55
2 Christie Boucher                                        3.10
3 Helen Lambert                                           6.29
Menís Solo Open Category
1 Andy Barlow (Whyte Bikes)                              35.27
2 Ben Thompson (Nevis Cycles)                             0.15
3 Mansour Youssef (Fusion Bikes)                          1.08
Veteran Womenís Solo Category
1 Hilary Bloor (Team Planetfear)                         54.22
2 Tatjana Troll                                           3.13
3 Julie Dinsdale                                          6.01
Veteran Menís Solo Category
1 Rob Waller (ERC One Week Younger)                      37.06
2 Antony Green (G A Cycles/gonebikinmad)                  2.56
3 Matt Scrase (MTBMarathon.co.uk)                         3.11
Mixed Category
1 Jay Horton and Maddie Horton (XC Racer.com/Trek)       40.09
2 Alice Crook and Neil Hamblin (Cakemonsters)             4.22
3 Yolande Wase and John Singleton (Laurel & Hardy)        7.54
Veteranís Category
1 Bryan Singleton and Peter Strong (Global/Torq/Buff)    39.08
2 Robert Barker and Mark Langdon (Sportstest.co.uk)       2.09
3 Arthur Rijk and Tim Snyder (TNT)                        4.32
Female Category
1 Julie Cartner and Renel Brennan (7Stanes)              42.38
2 Sally Lee and Kate Chappell (Extreme-Endurance.com)     6.03
Male Category
1 Ryan Bevis and Jonathan Pugh (RAM Bikes/Scott UK)      33.24
2 Andrew Wardman and Steven Halsall (7Stanes)             2.41
3 William Pearson and Edward Kerly (Good Willed)          4.18

Note:  There are no results for the linking stages of the TransScotland.