Glentress in the Tweed Valley has to be one of my favourite trails. I think because I have ridden there many times it has the kind of appeal that you get from revisiting something familiar. The black run is one of my favourites. I know the first climb up to the mast at the top of Dunslair Heights is a big climb. The secret is not to go at it like a bat out of hell, but to sit and spin and work your way up. You need the energy for the climb up redemption later in the trail.
Sundayâ€™s blast around the forest didnâ€™t disappoint. After making it to the wooden hut just before riding Brittany Spears last, I still had plenty in the tank to take on the rest of the climb and lead off through the singletrack down to the top of Deliverance. The Patriot really is a fantastic bike. I donâ€™t think I have ridden anything so confident inspiring on the downhill trails. Front wheel drifts, rear wheel slides, two wheel drifts where the tyres are scrabbling for traction, but all the time just on the right side of the ragged line between being in control and in danger.
It was also quite satisfying to be pulling away from the others. The honest truth is that the Orange probably isnâ€™t the best climbing bike in the world and getting dropped on the climbs isnâ€™t much fun. The grip is fantastic. Itâ€™s not a question of traction, but more to do with a freeride kind of setup that isnâ€™t best for powerful climbing that you can get away with on a hardtail or singlespeed. On the downhills though the bike just comes into its own. The suspension travel seems endless and plush and wit the Fox 36s up front and oversized wide bars it goes where itâ€™s pointed.
After a wet ride in the forest with Neil getting lost just before the Ewok Village and then picking up a puncture just afterwards, by the time we made it down to the Hub it was cold and our enthusiasm for Innerleithen had vanished. We consoled ourselves in the fact that four trails in three days and some great and hard riding had been a good accomplishment. Weâ€™re already making plans for when weâ€™ll head back.