What a Tweedlove!
Due to the schedule of other events (like the EWS in Ireland and the Fort William World Cup) this year’s Tweedlove was split neatly into two, with events like the Glentress7, Natural Tweed and the Bivi ride taking place over the first weekend, before the World Cup weekend distracted everyone up at Fort William and then everyone returned to Peebles for the big, second weekend of Tweedlove.
The weekend started on the Thursday, with a packed Eastgate Theatre hosting the Tweedlove Media night. Lots of films to watch and a couple of incredible slide show/life stories by Matt Wragg and Geoff Waugh. After some prizegiving in the photo competition, the evening concluded with the ever-cheerful Greg Callaghan being quizzed by Chipps and members of the audience about his ‘as good as it sounds’ career as a top EWS racer.
Friday saw the event village and Tweedlove demo get set up – with top bikes from a wide range of manufacturers. During the day, riders turned up, having booked to demo bikes that had caught their imagination – and they were able to ride from the event village and into Glentress forest on a marked demo route.
The big event for Friday was the G-Form ‘Enjoyro’ – an event designed to appeal to first time racers, not-that-enduro riders, as well as letting younger riders down to 12 years old race with a parent or other grownup as a pair.
The format of the Enjoyro saw riders heading out on Friday afternoon for a 20km loop consisting of three stages and an optional fourth, with the best three stages counting to your final result. The terrain was mostly existing trail centre and not-too-scary natural stuff and it proved to be very popular with riders.
Saturday saw the big guns in town, with top racers like Katy Winton, Tracy Moseley and Greg Callaghan in town. Sunday’s International course was a huge 50km lap of the valley, so many riders chose to pick and choose their practice runs so as to leave some energy for the Sunday. Skinny Tweed took place in the morning, with road riders taking on a 75km loop of the formidable local hills – starting in the rain and finishing in some pretty stiff headwinds.
With a mix of sunshine and showers on the Saturday, some of the enduro riders took to the trails to practice and some decided to wait it out and see what Sunday would bring. There was plenty of entertainment, though, with local bands, Tempest Brewing Co., lots of pizza and street food options too (the haggis, chilli and black pudding pizza was a winner…)
Saturday evening saw perfect weather for both the Tweedlove Family Ride and the Love Cross event. The Family Event shut down Peeble’s main street as every young rider for miles took to the streets for a procession of laps through the town. It was quite a sight…
Love Cross, meanwhile was a sight for different reasons as a couple of dozen nutters raced elbow to elbow over a combined cyclocross and obstacle course – with water pistols, beer barrel slaloms and hay bales to content with while also trying to race. Needless to say, it also went through the beer tent…
Sunday was mostly dry, with the odd shower and riders reckoned that the trails were slippy but fun. The whole 50km loop took riders much of the day to complete (including the giant climb from the Golfie all the way up to the back of Glentress) but the finish saw lots of cheerful racers and a lot of time-comparing with friends.
The event finished with a giant prizegiving, with lots of cheers for all the top racers – who have a cult following among the youth of Peebles and the traditional soaking of everyone in nearly-Champagne.
A top weekend? Absolutely. Whether you were there to win (as Greg Callaghan and Tracy Moseley did) or to take part, or even just to demo a bike and drink a couple of pints on the Green, we imagine that many riders will be back for more. And for those who can’t wait for next year, there’s the Whyte King and Queen of the Hill in mid-August to look forward to.