Glentress Youth MTB Stage Race, Glentress 7Stanes, Scotland
Glentress Youth MTB Stage Race was based in the Birds Nest car park in the Glentress forest. The Saturday morning 10.30am signing-on and issuing of number boards was followed by the course recce, held at specific times for the different stages. As this was our first trip to Glentress is was an important job to get done, even in the pouring with rain!
Day 1 racing started with the Prologue stage running through super-fast and flowing woods, with wet and slippy conditions due to heavy rain throughout the day. Riders started at 30 second intervals for a max attack effort, seeded in Alphabetical order, results deciding the gridding for the XC race the following morning. Team HUP’s Connor managed 4th overall in a field of 26 U12’s, a great start for his first visit to Glentress!
Day 2 was the real challenge, kicking off with the mass start XC race. A brutal access road climb lead to the steep drop onto technical, rocky singletrack with plenty of tricky roots to race over. Things didn’t go to plan, as it soon turned out Dad had underestimated the gearing required for racing in Scotland, as Connor lost ground on the climbs, finishing 8th U12, slipping back to 6th in the GC. Minor crash on the roots didn’t help, but didn’t affect his position.
Next up was the double header - the Hillimb followed by the Downhill. Again starting at 30 second intervals, seeding Alphabetical again. Strength was really put to the test heading up the hillside gravel track, this was a serious climb, with a 36t cassette becoming a real problem, dropping Connor down to 9th in GC.
A 20 minute recovery pause at the top was followed by the fast, very technical descent back to the Hillclimb start, in the same running order. In the wet conditions, this would be the worrying one for parents, passing a few injured riders at the top of the Hillclimb didn’t help the nerves! Connor has very rarely ridden such a technical trail, let alone raced one, so a real test. Without the gearing issue going downhill, Connor faired better, only being caught by flying local Innes McDonald at the end of the descent, he expected to get caught much earlier.
The final race of the tour was the Dirt Crit, another mass start race taking in a gravel climb up the hill, before turning onto very quick singletrack that winds it’s way back down the hill to the start, super fast laps we’re guaranteed. Legs were beginning to struggle for some riders by now, particularly up the access road climb on each lap, but everyone loved the excitement of the final race - great spectating too! Seeding was in GC order, only this time the girls were gridded in front of the boys. Despite traffic issues on the singletrack, Connor managed 6th on the Dirt Crit, finishing 6th overall U12 for the tour. Lots learnt, lots more to learn but a great result for a first trip to Glentress. Little brother was tearing his hair out with frustration all weekend as there was no U10 category, you will have your time 😂 No shortage of trails to keep him occupied though 😎
The weekend finished with the podium ceremony for all the age categories at around 6.30pm on the Sunday. A great event, well run by Peebles Cycling Club and Scottish Cycling in very testing conditions (especially Day 1!) but with smiles on their faces the whole time. All this plus homemade cakes, a great soundtrack and brilliant commentary - we really hope to be back next year! 👌The event has a FaceBook group HERE #glentress #7stanes