Six Days in Scotland by Becky Cook
The first week in May means only one thing to a trials rider, The Scottish Six Day Trial. 180 sections, 440 miles of moors, tracks and road over six days makes it without doubt the toughest trial in the world. 275 riders took part, of these there were only 5 girls.
I set off aboard the Wightlink ferry from my home on the Isle of Wight on Thursday evening making the relatively short trip to Wiltshire to meet up with my fiancé and riding partner for the week, Craig Talbot. We finally set off Friday afternoon after what seemed like forever packing. The Sprinter was rammed with bikes, kit, wheels, spares and the dog! Next stop Fort William.
Sunday is weigh-in day, where all the riders parade along the high street and place their bikes in Parc Ferme ready for action the following morning. For me this is when the nerves, excitement and apprehension kick in. This was my fifth ride in the Scottish but it never gets any easier and you never know how the week is going to go.
The previous two years I have suffered from tendonitis in my wrist early on in the week, which made it uncomfortable at best and really quite painful riding along the rough moors and tracks. So this year, my main goal was to finish without any injuries and be able to have a more enjoyable week.
Monday morning arrived along with the typical Scottish weather. Riding number 210, I set off at 10.53am, fully kitted out in my Alpinestars waterproofs ready for a wet day ahead. It all seems a bit of a blur now having ridden so many miles and so many sections since then. I do remember taking my first trip over the handlebars of the week though, going over a little rise across the moor and straight into a ditch the other side!
On Tuesday we awoke to a completely different world, bright sunshine and it even stayed with us all day. We had a horrible rough moor crossing that day which always gives my wrist a pounding but thankfully I came out the other side still feeling strong and fit.
Wednesday dawned overcast and windy with the rain returning once again in the afternoon. For some reason, I felt really tired and had no energy at the first group of sections, I’d had my porridge for breakfast like every other day! A High 5 drink and energy gel and I was away again though and felt good for the rest of the day and week. I was happy to clean Pipeline for the first time and even managed it again on Saturday.
Everyone dreads Thursday! It’s the longest day of the week starting off with a 30 mile ride out to Chairlift to the first group, fortunately the rain held off long enough for us to get there without being completely soaked and frozen.
Our early day, Friday meant a 6am alarm call, so we were in the Parc Ferme ready for our permitted 20 minutes bike fettling time before our start at 7.52am. My Top Trial Team Beta machine ran perfectly all week, all I had to do each morning was change the air filter, put a new Michelin tyre on and a bit of Putoline chain lube and it was ready to go again. Thanks to Beta UK for there support during the week.
Before I knew it Saturday was upon us and the end was in sight, well almost! It seems to go on forever and I end up in a lot more bogs when I’m tired! Usually we have a 20 minute lunch stop, but not on Saturday so I made sure I had plenty of supplies in my bag to keep me going.
The final section, Town Hall Brae is situated in Fort William town centre and completes a long and tough six days of riding, I was happy! My observation score wasn’t as good as I’d of liked but me and my bike had finished in one-piece with no injuries or problems and most of all I had an enjoyable week with great people and amazing scenery. What more could I ask for!
That’s about it for my week in Scotland, I am writing this as we make the long drive back to Craig’s, I’m looking forward to a good nights sleep before the big clean up tomorrow and drive back home ready for work Tuesday morning.
Finally I’d like to thank all the SSDT committee, the army and everyone who makes it possible for us to continue to take part in the best trial in the world.
See you next year!
Becky Cook #210