Last year the first Merida event to be staged outside Wales received an exceptionally warm reception, and it’s easy to see why they chose Selkirk. It’s just a rock, skip and hop from Innerleithen – part of the burgeoning 7Stanes project – where the man made trails were put to great effect in the 85km marathon.
Riding in Scotland is always going to be a challenging affair, and the hills around Selkirk are nothing but monstrous, peaking at close to 2,000ft as the course reached Minch Moor. Even more than usual, the climbing was a long distance memory when descending, as each descent pushed bike and rider to the limit, on the sometimes hellishly rocky chutes to the smoother manmade tracks around Innerleithen. But a pleasant surprise was the addition of several singletrack climbs. Yes, they were long and hard work, but at least the narrowness of the trails (that and keeping as close as possible to the back wheel of the bike in front), took your focus away from hurting legs and gasping lungs.
The best course on the calendar? We’ll leave you to decide that. Just over a thousand people made the long journey from various parts of the country, with quite a few regular faces from previous Meridas. Many were getting value for money from their long journeys by warming up, and down, on some of the nearby 7Stanes trails. We had a spin around the Black run at Glentress, look out for some words and pics soon.
The weather for the weekend played good. The only muddy section was right near the end, peculiarly where our photographer was camped. Just take a look at these photos to see what we mean.
It’s highly likely that there’s a photo of you in the gallery. You can browse by rider number; just make sure you’re logged in first.
The next and final round of the series returns to Wales, with Ruthin* the host. We won’t be there riding but our photographer will be there getting all the best action, and the best crashes. Don’t forget, he’s usually camped somewhere “interesting”, so that’s your cue to entertain.
*If you’re planning on entering the next round, we’ve a fantastic competition to win a MTB-Marathon jersey.