70 days to go… Training is going well, I am feeling fitter than I have for many years, I have confidence in my bike and my wife is being uber supportive. The only element that has not been on my side is the weather. Until yesterday. A blue sky, warm, Scottish spring day. A rarity and had to be embraced!
Monday had seen me complete three laps of a trail centre loop that I have created that had me cover 51km and climb 1335m. Yesterday’s ride I wanted to do something different so what better than a tour of the Tweed Valley! A quick text to local Kona Bikes rider Tom Mitchell found me company for the ride, neither of us knowing exactly how far/long this would take, all I had was a mental picture of where I wanted to go… and it basically revolved around good coffee shops, sadly No1 Peebles Road in Innerleithen was closed which would have rounded the whole set off!
Stage 1 – Cardrona – Gypsy Glen – Leaven Deli, Peebles. Best coffee and food in Peebles. This is a classic of the Tweed Valley with incredible 360 deg views. Rocky, technical, fast, grassy, narrow heather tracks – it has it all. Sitting in a wee courtyard, basking in the sun outside the Leaven Deli with a cappuccino we really thought we were somewhere else!
Stage 2 – Soonhope – Dunslair Heights – Leithen Water – Innerleithen Golf Course. Mega climb, fast descent, stunning valley views, a very French-like chateau.
Stage 3 – Preisthope – Waterworld – Caberston Coffee Shop. Awesome carrot cake. Another big climb to then one of the most technical descents in the Valley and used for a past Enduro World Series stage.
Stage 4 – Innerleithen concoction – Nashy’s Coffee Shop, Cardrona. One of the best flowing trails followed by one of the steepest!
What this day provided was 59km and 1850m of climbing over 5 hours. No pressure, no racing clock. We had fun, skipped about, played with lines and just had a blast. It was hard, but all great training on a day which just could not be missed.
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