Some of you may never have considered it before, but we live in one of best places in the world for Mountain Biking, thanks to some enlightened Scottish Access Laws and the endless network of trails that criss-cross our beautiful country.
Mountain biking is both exciting to watch and take part in. It appeals to all ages and promotes physical activity and general well being, getting people out into the fresh air and away from TVs and games consoles. This surely has to be encouraged in a country where obesity is a huge problem to both children and adults alike. And if it’s raining (it does occasionally in Scotland) who cares? Mud just adds to the fun!
Pitmedden Forest on the outskirts of Abernethy is not only the perfect place to take the dog and the kids for a walk, but it’s also a gem when it comes to Mountain Biking. This fantastic place is at our disposal whenever we feel the need to burn off some steam/calories and get a quick shot of adrenaline at the same time. I love Mountain Biking in Pitmedden Forest for lots of different reasons. I love the smell of the Pine trees as I jink through them, hopping over their roots looking as far ahead as possible for the best line down the trail. I love the way two rides are never the same no matter how many times I have ridden there, the way the forest changes through the seasons, and the sound of the trees creaking on a windy day when I stop for a breather. Most of all though, I love the fact I can get on my bike in the village and within minutes I’m riding through the forest with the good friends that I have met whilst riding there.
Although this is such a beautiful part of the country surrounded by fantastic riding, most bikers who visit Scotland to go Mountain Biking will head for The Cairngorms, Laggan-Wolftrax, Nevis Range or The 7stanes Trail Centres in The Borders. This is with good reason, all of these places are fantastic, but why not host a mountain bike event on our local trails within travelling distance of all of them and let them see what they’re missing out on?
Pitmedden Forest has no waymarking, so it is easy to get lost there, and this can be off putting for some riders who don’t want to waste their riding time lost, looking for a decent trail to ride. This is the reason a lot of riders either stick to the places they know or hit the trail centres. They know they can just follow a well marked course and concentrate solely on enjoying the ride. I think an event incorporating a huge lap of Pitmedden Forest is a great way to give riders an unguided tour of the trails we locals love to ride.
My name is Aaron Gray, I am a local tradesman, mountain biker and proud father of two. I have competed in a few MTB races just for fun, and got a lot of enjoyment out of the whole experience, so I decided to look into how I could (with the help of many others) organise a race on my local trails. I thought it would be fantastic if there was a race in Pitmedden Forest to create a buzz around the place and help stimulate the local economy. With some unique ideas, including a Tag-Team category and rider training on a mobile skills loop from qualified cycle coaches, Muckmedden will be great fun, and just a wee bit different when compared with other MTB events. The main race will be both physically tough and technically demanding, and will suit riders with a decent level of fitness who ride trails regularly. However, if you’d rather ride on less technical trails over a shorter distance, “The Muckmedden Mini” will suit you down to the ground. This will take place before the Main Event on the day which is 22 April 2012.
Some people will be at Muckmedden to race hard and others will be less competitive, but the whole vibe of the day will be relaxed, with the focus on just having fun on the trails. After all, isn’t that why we all ride bikes in the first place? There will be good music and top notch local caterers on site, so if you don’t fancy taking part in the race, why not bring a fold out chair and a brolly (to keep the sun off you of course) and watch the riders sweating it out.
I hope that Muckmedden can become an annual event that people will look forward to attending either as competitors, as spectators or even helping out on the day. If you are a local business, individual or organisation who’d like to get involved please visit www.muckmedden.co.uk
Keep it mucky! Aaron