Rab’s World: Loving the Tweed and the year of Creative Scotland!

Our racing columnist Rab has been rather bust over the past month, taking part in the Tweedlove biking festival in the Borders before heading to the Fort William World Cup to do a spot of work for our minisite. Inspired by the Year of Creative Scotland, he’s also moved into the realm of dirty film maker…

“The mountain biking season really seems to have kicked up a gear over the last month with some significant events up here north of the border; I’m sure it’s been busy down south too. A few of the stand out events, along with the British Cycling Cross Country Series and the SXC events, have been the Tweedlove Festival in the Tweed Valley and unmissable Fort William World Cup.

Fort William World Cup - big travel, big rocks, big fun.

Tweedlove is a relatively new festival celebrating all that is great about the bicycle culture in this part of the world. A series of cool competitive and non competitive events including enduro and cross country racing, a bivvy night (outdoor wild camping), daily ‘ride out’s as well as film and photography competitions. There is a friendly atmosphere around all of the events and it really sums up the culture of cycling in and around the Tweed valley and Peebles in particular. In its third year it seems that Tweedlove is here to stay!

I had a great time, competing in the Peebles Sprint Criterium (sorry, mention of road bikes once more) where mountain bikers took it to the roadies and won! Hooray! I spent some time just riding around at Glentress, watched some dual slalom racing and also took a win in the men’s pairs at the Glentress 7 event with none other than Oli Beckingsale.

The ‘GT7’ race itself was a relatively chilled out affair – tight but loose was our approach with Endura main man Marty Steele helping us out with stove top coffee and taking the pics. Oli hit out early on, looking dapper in his new Endura clothing which was being race tested. After two laps he came into the arena with none other that Rob 4real Friel of XCracer.com who was leading the mixed pairs with Caroline Vance. I took over for 3 laps of a cracking course with a mix of everything, including a sketchy off camber root section and dual descender berms. After a few more stints from Oli and I we came home quite comfortably with the win. Job done.

Fort William World Cup is another event which for me is unmissable. I’ve been a fan of downhill mountain biking for a long time and it’s what really got me interested in mountain biking initially. I was fortunate enough that this year I would be helping Singletrack at the Digital Hub, an addition to the event as 2012 is Event Scotland’s Year of Creative Scotland. Singletrack had a cracking mobile optimised minisite, specifically for the World Cup weekend, and I was helping to populate this site with content. This in turn meant that I was able to interview and photograph some of the fastest downhill riders in the world, as well as giving some possibly lesser known stars of the future an opportunity to tell the world important downhill facts like what kind of socks they liked…

Alongside publishing and photography seminars from Singletrack and Dirt, I was particularly interested in the film making workshops at the Digital Hub. These were conducted by Mark Huskisson of Reset Films and maker of the amazing mountain bike films ‘Home’ and ‘Find’, as well as Stu Thompson of MTB Cut and Cut Media. Those of you who follow me may know that I am partial to a bike edit; from watching Midweek Mini Movies to starring in it, as well as cobbling together my own mini edits.

Roadies vs. mountain bikers. FIIIIIIIIGGHHT!

When I was back home and out riding, I got thinking about how it’s possible to create your own little edits from a ride. The technology on some mobile phones is incredible these days with video capturing and editing software at the tip of your fingers. I decided to try and piece together some really short edits, one on a section of tricky downhill I love in Mugdock Park, another in Pollok Country Park, a simple family mountain bike trail only 10 minutes from my front door. Using my mobile with some rocks and sticks as a makeshift tripod, I captured myself riding the trails by riding the sections piece by piece and editing them using an app downloaded onto the phone. I made each edit in less than a few hours including the ride and I was pleased with the results. I really wanted to strip back the edits and not to overcomplicate them with effects or soundtrack; to keep the crisp sounds of rubber on dirt. I found it really satisfying to do and I’m blown away at the simplicity of it all yet the quality which is possible. We really are spoiled with technology! In an old school Neil Buchannan Art Attack style, I’m suggesting that you too ‘Try it yourself’! After all it is the year of Creative Scotland.

You can follow Rab’s progress through the magic of social media as well as his monthly Rab’s World articles here on singletrackworld.com….

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