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TransScotland Challenge - NE

Great Britain, May 27-June 2, 2007

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Race 1 - May 27: (Day 1) Selkirk to Moffat, 70km

The beast awakens

By Matt Skinner

Racers enjoyed some beautiful descents.
Photo ©: TransScotland
(Click for larger image)

The TransScotland kicked off with a full, fat 76km opening day, filled with lung-busting climbs and rear tyre-buzzing descents--alll as the rains came limply down on Selkirk. Sunday morning, 245 riders clicked into their pedals and began making their way to Moffat, some 76km away. Facing them was a significant hunk of typically Scottish border country with three progressively tougher major climbs.

The riders spun through Selkirk as it slumbered and headed west along a sequence of wooded singletrack forays that screwed their minds firmly onto the job in hand. The overnight rains had given the trails a good dousing and added some slippery spice to the mix. The course then headed calmly by Ettrick Water and along the forested trails of the Bowhill Estate before hot-stepping it to the foot of the first major climb of the day: all 450m of it up to Sandbed Moss that wound its way up snaking double track road before ramping up grunt-inducing tussocky slopes to the top out.

From there, the course skirted the flanks of Eldinhope Knowe, and made for the forested escarpments of The Wiss and another gravity surge up 516m book ended with mud and tough conditions under tyre, for which the fast rocky descent was more than a just reward. After a spin out on the blacktop to shed excess organic matter and onto the Southern Upland Way, the riders worked themselves up Capell Fell and its straight up stairway to heaven portage to summit one of the highest points in the region just shy of 678m.

This racer jumps a log during the TransScotland.
Photo ©: TransScotland
(Click for larger image)

Then the die was firmly cast: the only way was down. Straight down Selcoth Burn in an orgy of tyre buzzing steep and open grassy descent that race participant Keith Bontrager later described as "like a groomed ski piste." Just pick your line, get off the back (of the saddle), and carve down the never ending, brake pad melting descent..

Tomorrow sees the second linking stage from Moffat to Drumlanrig, followed in the afternoon by the first special stage on Drumlanrig's wooded singletrack, after which the race's pecking order will begin to take shape.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by KB Photo

Images by TransScotland


No results for Day 1, a non-competitive linking stage.  
First competitive stage is on Day 2, a team time trial at Drumlanrig Wood.