Galloping consumption

Eight Walkers riders took to their off-road bikes on Sunday to participate in the Galloway Gallop event at the Kirroughtree Mountain biking centre.

Run as part of a series across the UK, the Gallop is an adventure cross event in which participants complete a sportive type ride but with most of the route off-road. Riders had the choice of the 67 mile long Massif or the 42 mile Mini-massif and the eight Walkers members had all signed up for the longer of the routes.

One rider, however, made an early decision to switch to the shorter route after having struggled on the opening section of the ride. A longer than planned food stop allowed her to continue on to limp home in just under five hours.

Meanwhile the other riders had continued on the longer route and it soon lived up to its name of “adventure” cross. Some stretches were little other than beaten down narrow grass tracks, while the old railway path provided the challenge of the afternoon – a foot deep stretch of muddy water lasting for somewhere in the region of a mile and a half.

The intrepid riders decided that discretion was the better part of valour and rather than get their shoes and feet soaked, they opted for scrambling up the embankment and picking their way along through the brambles and other undergrowth.

Despite this, the riders were soon back on more even territory. Sadly, another rider felt a bit unwell and opted to bale out at the last food stop.
Undaunted, the others all soldiered on and the main group eventually crossed the finish line after a ride lasting some six and a half hours or so. John McCracken and Kevin Pugh had both pushed on ahead of the main group to complete a good hour before.

The consensus was that the event was very enjoyable despite being fairly challenging. All riders also commented on how well signposted and marshalled the event was and the general feeling was that it was one to repeat next year.

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