10@Kirroughtree – Editors’ Choice Awards 2021

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The Singletrack Staffers pick the standout products and locations from their riding year. This article was originally published in Singletrack Magazine Issue 140.

The year has felt a little like approaching that nemesis feature on the trail: you roll up to it full of optimism, then at the last minute pull on the brakes in an attack of ‘nope’. Whether it was a ping that put paid to yet another plan, or a shipping container that didn’t arrive as expected (by now, perhaps, that should be ‘as expected, a shipping container didn’t arrive’), we had plenty of interruptions along the way. However, our northern hills had an unusually dry summer, so we managed a decent spell of short-sleeved riding on our doorstep, and there were a few chances to get further afield that we grasped and enjoyed. Like that trail feature, once we cleared it, the elation at meeting friends, riding new trails and generally enjoying bikes was all the sweeter. 

Amanda – Art Director

This past year I’ve worked hard on improving my fitness to allow me to enjoy longer adventures without the fear of running out of beans. In the process, I seem to have found my cycling niche. Cross-country riding has combined my mountain bike skills with fitness training, and the races I’ve entered have improved my bike handling skills due to the nature of cross-country racing – laps of a circuit where you can learn from your mistakes. I’ve gone cross-country.

10@Kirroughtree

The standout event for 2021 for me was the 10@Kirroughtree endurance cross-country race. As many laps as you can within ten hours sounds daunting and I was very nervous on the start line, but the event was so much fun that the time flew by.

The course included sections of the red and blue marked trails, and a lot of off-piste. The mix of rock, slop and fast flowy singletrack kept riders engaged and I personally didn’t find the time to notice that I was tiring. It was great to ride sections of a trail centre that you’d normally not even notice, and the course was truly excellent. Technically challenging and becoming more testing throughout the day as the mix of traffic and torrential rain rearranged the earth.

As we entered the camping field on every lap, we were greeted by a commentator keeping the crowds hyped up, encouraging the riders, addressing us by name and giving us live updates of our progress. The organisation really felt like it was all about the rider experience, a feeling sometimes lost on larger events where you can feel like nothing more than a number. 

Galloway Hillbillies could charge twice as much as the current £35 for this event and I’d still enter it every year.

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