Review by: NoManNoRiver on 23 September 2017
A Hardcore Trail You Have to Earn
A Red graded loop and a lots of Orange graded DH tracks.
There is a little over 500m of climbing on the Red, almost all of which is front loaded giving the classic “Big Climb, Big Descent” profile. Very little of the climb is done on fire roads, the majority being on single or double track, and about halfway up there is the brief respite of a short single track descent.
The climb, especially the first 3km, is a real test of your commitment to riding; this is a trail you have to earn.
Once you’ve climbed quite literally as high as you can on the hill, to the trig point, the trail points back down and the descent begins. Most of the trail from this point on is down hill with some small, punchy climbs and a bit of fire road. Like the climb the descent is solidly Red graded with occaisional Black A-lines with Red B-lines. Unfortunately the trail commits that cardinal sin of wasting some of your hard earned altitude on a fire road descent. This is over quickly and soon forgotten as you return to aggressive single track and technical rock features.
The final descent in to the car park is fast, big and technical with loose banked turns, doubles and rock gardens. I say gardens, most of them feel more like you’re riding down a drystone wall.
Facilities are limited to a car park, although it is less than 3min to Innerleithen itself.
Review by: GT I-Ride 6.0 on 26 March 2014
Well worth the 400 mile round trip!
Rode the Innerleithen red on the morning of day 2 of a trip up to Peebles in March and this venue was absolutely amazing, my favourite of the 2 day trip (day 1 was Glentress blue x2 followed by Glentress red so check out my reviews of those places too). There were no facilities at the location unlike Glentress but that was the only downside.
There was quite a bit of climbing but most of it was do-able despite my previous days riding. The good thing was that you do the vast majority of the climbing from the moment you leave the car park so once you reach the incredibly picturesque top it's mostly descending and fun from there! The scenery even put Glentress to shame, it was absolutely silent whenever I stopped for a breather, absolutely brilliant experience.
Clearly a lot of effort has gone into this venue, there where loads of splits in the course where you had the option of taking a black option. Even if you stick entirely to the red you will definitely love this place but if you venture onto the black you will be whooping and hollering like some sort of cowboy! There are some real fast bits too including plenty where you are zig zagging through wooded areas of undulating trail coming up to decent jumps and drop offs, just remember Colin McRae's philosophy... IF IN DOUBT, FLAT OUT!
Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to try the downhill route but did see quite few lads on some serious looking pieces of downhill kit so no doubt that would be epic too... If only I lived nearer I'd buy a Status II To go with my Camber Expert in a heartbeat.
I wish I could go back tomorrow, only reason I rate it with a 9 and not a 10 is it needs to be longer like say 30k although you could ride it twice I suppose. Also there is lots of potential to have some really long jumps on some of the faster sections but this potential hasn't been realised yet. The descents on the second loop at Cannock Chase are the sort of thing I am talking about.
Review by: Leckie on 2 October 2010
Outstanding - to be reckoned with
This trail is superb. The long 7km uphill grunt to start with is varied and relatively interesting and prepares you for what must be one of the best downhills in the UK. 4 different sections on the down hill from drop offs to technical to fast swooping berms and none are short. The day we did it it was gusting about 60 mph on the top (thank fully wind behind us) and we nailed it accross, just superb.
Review by: fatbiker1980 on 7 August 2010
One huge climb (5.5-6miles) followed by a decent which dreams are made of.
One massive climb (i hated it)HOWEVER once at the top and 20 minutes to get my breath back in an oxygen tent. The decent starts, fast-faster and then it gets stupidly fast (great) blind drop offs jumps single track and berms which you can hit at rediculous speeds. Theres a peice of single track of about 6-700 yards long where the faster you go the more fun it is but beware at the end theres a little drop and then a fence straight in front of you at the end of it, ive hit the fence and ended up in the trees at the side as i couldnt slow down quick eneough because of the speed i was going. theres a few more ups to go yet though, but the rewards on the downs are well worth it. the last bit on the the way down is awsome just as you start there are 3 MASSIVE drop offs which i bottled the first 2 times i was there but the rest is amazing. if you want a great day and something to tell your friends about go here and you will never regret it.
Review by: ChrisLP on 13 November 2009
A challenge for anyone
The Traquair is a pretty serious route. Although you could do it on a hard tail I think the fear fun ratio would take a major swing toward the former so take your full suss would be my advice.
The obvious but easily forgettable point is that over 500 metres is a long way to ascend and it is hard work getting a heavy bike up there. In addition on the lower part of the ascent some sadist has put a lot of rock steps which adds interest but does stop you getting into a rhythm.
Once you top out (and have a breather) you launch yourself down lovely flowing singletrack interspersed with berms and the odd small drop off and rock garden to keep things interesting. After about 2 k you hit a fire road and follow it round the hill to reach Plora Craig the next section. Things take a decided turn for the technical here with a tricky narrow track though rooty woodland and with frequent rock gardens thrown in towards the end. Some of the sections can be testing I hit what must have been a 2 foot drop off a root on a corner and remember thinking thats an interesting feature for a red. There is a brief uphill then you hit fire road and again contour round the hill to the Caddon Bank section.
Now I for one wish I had paid better attention to the More Dirt info before descending this section. It starts from the fire road and immediately launches you into 3 drop offs. I had not remembered this so the first two were something of a surprise and I took the chicken run on the third. You then start an exhilarating descent through a series of massive roller coaster rises and dips. A series of berms and tight corners follow and deposit you tired but full of adrenaline at the Car Park.
In summary the Traquair is a challenging rather than fun route. The descent I found took genuine concentration. It is worth repeating that this is a big ascent and descent (I remember being surprised at how high I still was at the top of Caddon Bank) and it will be beyond the reach of most mortals to do it twice in one day. It was certainly beyond me consequently I would love to do it again now I have a better idea of what is in store.
There is a little too much of the track on fireroad for it to be an absolute classic and with the best section being Caddon Bank it does raise the question whether you would be better off taking a full face and pads and simply pushing up to the top of Make of Break for the full hit (lets hope not literally) of a downhill track.