A couple of weekends ago, Scotland’s Tweed Valley was alive with the sounds of screeching brakes, beer cans fizzing and live music bouncing off the valley walls. Specialized brought their unique three-day Trail Days festival to Glentress, the jewel in Scotland’s trail riding crown, and set the valley on fire!
It’s always a brave move bringing an outdoor event to Scotland. It can be tough (impossible) getting a good weather window in the knuckle end of the UK – especially in the Tweed Valley which traditionally bears a grudge against big events. However, Specialized must have made the correct sacrifices as the sun poked its head out, and bathed riders from all over the UK as they set about thrashing the huge demo fleet.
With a crazy low entry fee, Specialized was clearly not running this festival to make money. Instead, they wanted to give something back and take the opportunity to put bums on their bikes. With a 62 bike test fleet including everything from grin-inducing Levo’s to bonkers Stumpjumper EVOs, there was something for everyone to try. It was all hands to the pumps as the demo fleet was turned over several times a day. There was no shortage of great trails either, with Adrenalin Uplift running free shuttles to the huge trail networks of both Innerleithen and Glentress, taking the sting out of the climbs. SRAM were on hand giving demos on their products and offering free assistance to anyone who needed help with their SRAM drivetrains or RockShox suspension.
For the 52% of participants who had never been to the Tweed Valley before, guided rides were on offer from the experienced teams from Dirt School’s Tweed Valley Guides and Swift Trails. Knowing that great trails equal great riding, Specialized’s very own soil searching chief Fanie Kok ran a ‘sold out’ trail building session along with the local trail building community.
In the evenings, the event beer flowed freely as Dero & Klumzy, Jonny Dee, We Are Troubadour and the UK Foo Fighters took to the stage and pumped the crowd up to fever pitch. Social media was buzzing with over 17,750 hits of the hashtags as revellers set about drinking Tempest Brewery dry. The Valley was lit. After the hangovers had faded and the tents had been packed away, good vibes and stories spread all over the UK.
Chapeau to Specialzied, not only for putting on an amazing show that will certainly be talked about for years, but also for giving back some of the proceeds to the local trail building association, as without good trails the scene would fall apart. For the ENDURO staff team, a new annual pilgrimage has begun. Trail Days, we will see you again soon.
Words: Trev Worsey Photos: Finlay Anderson