Twenty- Five go to Glentress

15 November 2023

Twenty-five young ERC members visit the trails at Glentress with their newly-minted leaders and coaches

Photo: © Alastair Webb

Close to the second anniversary of the last ERC Youth’s visit, 25 young riders enjoyed dramatically better weather than 2021, and the new runs at Glentress.

For just over the last year, the club has been working on delivering MTB sessions for young riders of different abilities. David (who leads Go-Ride North) has been key to this, and Sam (a coach who did some of his college training with us) has been a superb help in getting this going again after the pandemic. And Sean, Fraser and Tom who all did their Level 2 Ride Leader training earlier this year have been great in building capacity, and running a range of sessions that all riders enjoy.

The team did a great job planning the sessions, and whilst some folk think that the good weather was ‘good fortune’, the coaches did put ‘inside information’ to use to avoid weekends with flooding. The 25 ranged from 8 to 14 years old, from ‘first timers at Glentress’ to quite experienced experts. Splitting into 4 groups with the 4 leaders by experience, off they went. Your author went with one of the older groups and was super impressed by:

(1) Enthusiasm that lasted all day (at least one rider simply bounced his bike around whenever we stopped)

(2) Good humour and passion on the fairly long ascent to the top of the new red

(3) Skills and confidence of riders on the mix of rooty, natural trails and ‘quite intimidating’ berms.

This was my first visit to the new trails, so it is worth mentioning that they are awesome. Watching folk wind and jump down the new red from the top was a bit like watching an Alpine Ski run in a fantastic setting.

Helping the leaders were a group of parent-helpers... so massive thanks to all of them. Some seemed to enjoy it quite a lot, and their help was invaluable.

The coaches are already thinking about a repeat visit to build on the skills and fitness riders are developing on home turf (Corstorphine & Pentlands). As this trip was a ‘first go’ for all, it was just publicised to those regularly doing the MTB sessions; the aim is for the next one to be opened up more widely (if sufficient leaders, coaches, etc available).

And – of course – the club would love to see more riders joining these sessions, and if anybody fancies helping with coaching or leading the expression is ‘bite your arm off’.

The last word goes to one of the riders at the end of the day who said it was one of the best days of his life!