Double diamond black and black describes how beastly the mountain bike riding trails of the Nevis Range AonachMor descent and the Witch’s Trail of Leanachan Forest are.
Spectators, MTB riders and non-riders will all appreciate how the world class mountain bike riders of the World Cup, including world champion Sam Hill, conquer the geomorphological demands of these trails to compete for the World titles.
With the Nissan UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 08 event presented by Shimano and three other major MTB events this summer season, the Nevis Range and Leanachan Forest’s black graded Scottish trails will be well worn by the MTB field.
The AonachMor descent, the Nevis Range downhill track and Witch’s Trail cross country course in Leanachan Forest are accessible to visiting riders in training at all other times in the 2008 summer season (until mid September), open 10.15am to 4pm weekdays and weekends.
Visiting riders and their companions should note what a black grading means before setting out on the Mountain Bike World Cup courses.
Riding a good-quality mountain bike with suspension, body armour and full-face helmet are essentials.
Richard Moore and Andy McCandlish in Bike Scotland Trails Guide (pocket mountains ltd) define the black trail grading in Scotland as:
- Black – severe: “suitable for expert riders with a high level of fitness and stamina on good-quality mountain bikes with front suspension. Extended steep sections; large steps and drop-offs. Varied but always challenging surface with prolonged rocky/loose sections.”
- ‘Double diamond’ black – very severe:“suitable for technically expert riders with jumping ability on good-quality mountain bikes (dual suspension system). Extreme exposure/risk; severe drops and steep inclines; may include ‘downhill’-style sections, very narrow gaps and North Shore”.
Nevis Range MTB Downhill AonachMor Descent Scotland
Serious mountain bike riders will have heard of the monster Nevis Range descent - 550 metres in 2.6 kilometres - down the AonachMor Downhill Track constructed for the first Mountain Bike World Cup in Fort William.
The Official Programme(Mellor Media, £2) sets out the course as Out to Lunch, Stepping Stones, Long Drop, Cantilever, Bog,Trotter, Bus Stop, Pin Ball, Snakes & Ladders, Slab 1, Disco Hips Kicker, Man Trap, Steps, Arthur, Switch Back, The Stairs, Big Woody, Got Wood?, Rootu, Into the Groove, The Dark Place, Hip Replacement, Motorway, Navara Jump and Wall.
Mountain Bike World Cup spectators can expect finishing times of less than 4 minutes for what is considered the toughest downhill course in the world.
The Witch’s Trail Leanachan Forest
Constructed for the 2003 Mountain Bike World Cup in Fort William, Leanachan Forest’s cross country course The Witch’s Trail is designed for racing and outdoor spectacle.
Course highlights include singletrack climbing before fast jumping and berms, The Berminator, forest roads and the Big Up steep climb to the Lazy K singletrack.
The highest point of the course in Leanachan Forest is Blue Crane and the 15 kilometres demands includes Cackle, Nessie, Ridge Run, Cauld-Run, Rock n Roll and Hole in the Wall.
With two months to go before the Beijing Olympics, visitors to the Nissan UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 08 event presented by Shimano can watch riders challenge their MTB training in the AonachMor Downhill Track and Witch’s Trail Cross Country courses in the Nevis Range and Leanachan Forest.