My brother, Jazz, is over for a visit from New Zealand, he’s a keen biker so he borrowed a spare bike and we headed over to the Nevis Range. I’d been wanting to do one of the red runs since me and Jen were last there and this looked like the perfect opportunity.
Like last time, we warmed up on the skills loop (I managed about half the black run this time) and then decided we’d have a go at the UCI World Championship circuit because we’d seen it on TV the night before. The route is only suppose to be 8km but it felt like we’d pedalled 8km just to get to the top. Very hard work, but the good bit was to follow.
The very first bit of downhill had a fairly big drop and we both got quite scared but the route eased slightly and we had a great time following the burns down the hillside and then dodging through the trees as the singletrack wound its way through the forest. We got a bit lost at one point and ended up on a different route (10 under the Ben) but luckily the routes joined up towards the finish. Absolutely brilliant. I’ll be back there to do it again as soon as I can. Maybe not 6 times in 2 hours like the world champs.
As we sat in the van having a spot of lunch we decided we’d like to have a go at the proper downhill track from the top of the gondola. The nice people at the Nevis Range recommended we hire the proper gear (full helmets with face guards, body armour, elbow and shin pads, and of course, a couple of proper downhill bikes), oh, and they made us sign a disclaimer in case anything happened to us. We got to the gondola looking the business and feeling pretty confident. My confidence began ebbing as we rode the gondola up because I could see the track winding it’s way down below us and some of it looked pretty hard!
Once we got going it was absolutely brilliant, the bikes were amazing, they just swallow up the rocks and dropoffs, you don’t need to worry about where you are going, they go over everything. The cycling is really intense, even with all the suspension your arms take a battering and your head is numb with concentration. We had to stop a couple of times just to regain composure, oh, and I had an unscheduled stop when I attempted to ram down a tree with my head. I won (just) because Jazz had an wee accident on the last jump – hopefully he’s not planning on having any children soon!