Wednesday, 5 October 2016

The Capital Trail 2016, Some words pictures and film...


Capital Trail 2016 (6mins) from coastkid71 on Vimeo.

Song is by Scottishnatureboy aka my big brother!, check out his tunes on soundcloud, there pretty cool!; Capital Trail 2016 Out and back

After a few days it`s hard to believe we cycled 242km with 6100 meters of climbing over two days.
Many have said this years CT was harder with softer ground conditions. Lending my newer Pugsley with 29+ wheels to Markus`s brother i committed to entering on my Surly Wednesday Fatbike-as if the weekend is not tough enough lol!, It would prove better in many places for myself on a full 4" tyre Fatbike but it was harder work on the climbs, i still think 29+ wheels (and probably 27/5+ wheels) are best, but it`s about entering on whatever bike you have and riding the event which is really what it`s about.
The distance and climbing on paper is too much some have said to attempt.  Dont be put off by the stats, i`m an average fitness cyclist with a crap diet-and food is just as important, if not more important than your fitness to enter and push your own abilities to your own limits and you will be surprised what you can achieve.
This year proved great despite the October date as the weather was fantastic!, big skies and bigger views of heather hills and nettle free trails and not too warm for cycling which i prefer.
The weekend started for myself on Friday with loads of food  to carb load  and good friend Dave arrived mid afternoon having drove down from Skye.
We had a big pasta dinner and packed the bikes ready for an early rise at 5am...

5am and up before the dawn we had big breakfasts and with the bikes loaded in Dave's car we drove up to Portobello arrived around 6.15am. We were first with bikes out with others entered awaking and emerging from their vans and cars and a few familiar faces from last year said hello and we met other people as the crowd slowly grew as the clear sky turned red and we were awarded with an amazing sunrise east over my home of East Lothian.
Markus said a quick briefing and we all lined up for a picture on the beach, then 51 or so riders were off!,
I was mostly trying to shoot loads of short bursts of film on the Go Pro so did not take that many pictures this year and this post has all my own pics.
This year we were riding the event with Markus and his brother Matthias who was riding my new Surly Pugsley in 29+ `KramPug` set up. others would ride a while with us over the two days and we finished the ride along with Lewis who rode with us all Sunday. By then we had bonded as a group and friendships formed of lasting memories of what was a tough but very rewarding weekend.
We settled into a cruise mode and enjoyed the sunrise and light on the coast as we rode to the River Esk in Musselburgh and on to Carbury Hill and the Ormiston Railway Line via old mining roads-and past bings that along with the Pit name stones is all that`s left of the mining heritage here today.
Wooded single track through Winton estate and past Pencaitland village and then on to Saltoun Woods, minor roads to Longyester and our first stop in a group where jackets were removed clothing adjusted and food and water consumed...

45km  Lammermuir Hills
First of the big hills and over Lammer Law, second highest point in East Lothian, hard going and wearing two layers of Merino i was sweating and should have shredded a layer really but pushed on until just before the shoulder where i pushed up for 50 yards or so having soaked up the stunning views over East Lothian and out across the Forth Estuary to Fife.

52 km Bunny`s Bothy
Down past the shooting lodge with stove on and preparations for lunch for a Grouse shoot which we would later past after passing Bunny`s Bothy, waved through we were greeted by big smiles and waves...

62km Lauder
Road to Thirlestane Castle estate and we followed the Southern Upland Way (SUW) into the historic market town of Lauder.
The Lauder Bakery is very cyclist friendly and we all got food and offered to have our water bottles filled with cool fresh water...


Onwards and the old Roman road would take us south towards the distant view of the Eildon Hills and the fantastic Tweed riverside single track to Melrose,

85km Melrose Town
West from the town we followed the Tweed again on its opposite bank then entered Yair Estate, some of the finest trees in the borders grow here and we rode past a huge Sequoia Redwood....

A break in the trees as we climbed on gravel forest roads and a tiny spec way up on a distant hill was the destination of the next big climb of the ride. Some walking and cycling, mostly walking myself! (Markus rode up most of it!) and we reached the 3 Brethren Cairns...

107km 3 Brethren Cairns
The Cairns mark the boundary corners of Yair, Selkirk and Philiphaugh Estates and cairns have been here since the 1600`s.

The sun was setting as we rode on along the ridge top to the Minchmoor road into an amazing sunset...



120km  Innerliethen
With the lights on we rode through the trails of Innerliethen Trail centre and finally arrived in Innerliethen where we had some food and beverage in the Traquair Hotel, before riding to camp/bivi at the MTB trail centre car park...

Hip flasks were shared and then we turned in for the night, it was not as cold as fore casted so i slept comfortable warm and snug in my little tent...



Sunday we were up just before sunrise and the tweed vally had an amazing mist over the river that burned away as the sun rose. Stoves boiled water for porridge and coffee and packed up we were all soon on our way and rode to Glenshiel estate...



Stunning views as we slowly climbed...

Ahead was the grim climb up Stake Law (680m) mostly a hike a bike with a few level sections that were rideable, good on the Fatbike here being soft and wet...
Here is a pic of myself trying to look fresh! lol...

130km Kailzie Hill down to Gypsy Glen
Once up to the fence a rutted track through the peat and heather leads to Birkscairn Hill and the views north across to Peebles and further north the Eildon Hills was stunning in the clear sky...


And ahead after Kirkhope Law was the best descent of the weekend. the walled ancient drove road over Kalzie Hill down into Gypsy Glen in Peebles...

I filmed the entire descent as it is fantastic, the Surly Wednesday Fatbike was in it`s element tearing down off the brakes and i was buzzing by the bottom. I swapped helmets with Dave and he filmed me saying i need to get on the film too!...

150km  Peebles and Glentress
Into Peebles and a cooked breakfast sitting outside in the sun at the Cross Keys before riding into Glentress Forest via a leg sapping `Jaynes Brae`, we had fun on the trails and woke up a few riders on Enduro Rigs that looked a bit miffed at packed bikes roosting down trails!...

The loop of GT done we had a quick drink at the Cafe before leaving town via another old historic droving route over Hamilton Hill. This historic Drove road to Romanno Bridge once ferried thousands of cattle making their way from the highlands to Peebles market, and then south over Kalzie Hill.
Markus repaired a puncture while the rest offered advice! and i sang the praises of Ghetto split tubeless on my 29+ wheels! :D

187km  West Linton
The sun was setting when we reached West Linton and the sky was full of Geese as we ate outside the village Co op.  riding on east and soon the big climb up Monks Rig...

197km Pentland Hills
This climb i mostly pushed and with it`s false summits it feels like it is never going to end!. near the summit it levels out and back riding we rode onto the top and an amazing streetlit view of Edinburgh and west lothian coastline with the coast of Fife behind....

Pictures or film do not capture the view, or the feeling of being nearly home, everyone felt the same and with the lights on we started the descent down off the Pentland Hills and trails into Edinburgh.
It would be 10.30pm when we finished. We were not last to finish, and sadly there were a few people who had to scratch, but everyone who entered achieved something i am sure from the event, and to share a quote from Horse Endurance riding;   `To Finish is to Win`...

242km  Portobello


Here is a full unedited 24 minutes of our weekend ride of Capital Trail 2016
Music is from the album `BIKE`  by Scottish Artist Chris T
Track1; Around the Rigg
Track 2; Glenbrook
Track 3; Chopper
Track 4; Cycling Proficiency
Track 5; Gresham Flyer Dream
and `Happy Four Twenty`


CAPITAL TRAIL 2016  UNEDITED (24 mins) from coastkid71 on Vimeo.

Next year Dave and i are going to ride the event as a pair and travel light as possible and try ride a far as possible through Saturday night, the fastest time records are safe!, but our own personal challenges will be pushed again and i`m already looking forward to it...

More soon...


2 comments:

  1. Great blog Bruce , I'll be there next year.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Aye join us Paul!, be great to see you!

    ReplyDelete