A Scotland MTB Odyssey

John “Smudger” Smith turned 50yrs auld so he and his mates fancied a mountain biking trip to ye olde Scotland and the Western Highlands. The weather was a wee bit claggy but we had a crackin’ good time. Day 1 we were a bit scunnered by 12 hours of trains planes and automobiles but had a brilliant “hike” up the Devils Staircase in Glencoe and a belter of a descent. I was properly buggered after slammin’ ma heid, nothin’ a bit o’ Haggis couldn’t fix.

Day 2 was an all-day affair in Skye. We rode from Boreraig to Kilbride and we were sorted at the Camasunary Bothy for the night, Ben was out his face after 3 bottles of whisky.

Day 3 took a wee bit of a “swim” along the Glen to Sligachan. We were a bit clatty so we took a walk-about in Skye for some sight seein’ and a tour of the Talisker Distillery. Brilliant accommodations in Plockton as the night was a fair drawin in.

Day 4 was seriously mingin’. We took the Coffin road up a dodgey ascent from Applecross across the glen to Shieldaig. It was a beltin’ ride despite the dreich. After a wee bit of skoosh we took a chancer at the Torridon Hotel whiskey bar but were told “Awa’ an bile yer heid.”

Day 5 and the sun come out for a bit. It was a wee climb to Bealach na Lice through to Coire Grannda and descent to Achnashellach. All sorted for our 2nd bothy night until we were swarmed by midges which was a bit of a barnie. The breenge to Coire Fionnaraich was a bog but we were greeted with Smudgers mates and another 3 bottles of fine single malt. Bill Turner got properly blootered and was a bampot on the descent to Coulags the next day.

Day 6 was our last day of riding as we headed to Laggan Wolftrax trail park. These trails were less than 1000 yrs auld and the baws, Pare would have gaun dinger. We were a bit jiggered so we headed to Smudger’s sisters in the lowlands in Earls Ferry for a night in the scratcher.

Day 7 was a tourists affair. Some of us hit the links while Smudger and Greg Jackson went riding along the beach and Smudger got scuddered not once but twice like a slecher. Then we went out for a swally along the streets of Edinburgh and some tatties and neeps and bit of vino collapso with Smudgers other mates.

Ma heid was nippin’ in the mornin and I had the whirlypits on the way to the airport. Aye it was a crackin’ trip that I won’t soon forget.

— Jeremy Cratty, MRC DS

MRC’s Russ Campbell Notches Back-To-Back MTB Wins

After competing in his first mountain bike race somewhere around 1988 when he was 27, MRC’s Russ Campbell waited a little while before entering another MTB race: 25 years. He must have learned a thing or two along the way because he won two races in a row in July.

The inaugural Gnar Weasels Cometh, on a rocky, muggy and buggy Saturday racecourse in Foxboro, was the scene of Campbell’s first win. Competing in the 50+ Novice field with four others, his margin of victory was pretty decisive: the gap to 2nd place was 11 minutes! (read his race report for Gnar Weasels)

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Left: Russ in his first MTB race ever c.1988 Right: Competing in his second one 25 years later.

Two weeks later, again competing in a newly offered MTB race, the Barn Burner at Adams Farm in Walpole, MA, Russ lined up against 13 other 50+ Cat 3 racers. After two circuits of the 5 mile loop that featured a lot of turny single-track and some challenging rock gardens, Campbell came out on top once again. (read his race report for the Barn Burner)

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Campbell atop the podium at Gnar Weasels Shredeth (left) and Barn Burner (right).

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