Mountain bike trails at Cathkin Braes Country Park are now ready to host some of the best riders from across Europe as part of the Glasgow 2018 European Championships, following an upgrade of the trails which were first created for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.
So what can we expect from the revamped facility?
Cathkin Braes 2.0
The UEC European Cycling Mountain Bike Championships will be hosted at Cathkin Braes on Tuesday, 7 August and the trails now have a number of new features including a brand new start and finish loop built to International Cycling Union (UCI) standards thanks to investment from sportscotland, Glasgow City Council, Glasgow 2018 and LandTrust.
The trails, which regularly attract a multitude of thrill-seekers from across Scotland, occupy the highest point in the city area and will provide a spectacular backdrop for the competition.
Competitors at Glasgow 2018 will be able to challenge themselves on new technical elements of the course. This includes short, sharp climbs and flowing single-track downhill sections, as well as the Double Dare section which will see athletes racing head to head on parallel tracks.
Grant Ferguson, five-time British Mountain Bike Championships gold medallist, tested out the exciting new features of the course and said it had enhanced his determination to secure qualification for the Championships.
“It would be fantastic to compete at Cathkin Braes again in another major championship, it’s such a great opportunity to be able to race in Glasgow in front of a home crowd," said Grant.
"The standard of the competition is going to be amazing and I hope everyone will come out and support all the riders, as they take on the challenge of the exciting new features on the course."
You can try it too!
The trails can accommodate riders of all abilities and there are new beginner and intermediate skills trails, a pump track and three new descents of blue, red and orange jump grades for those looking for more adrenaline.
The facilities upgrade includes a new car park, making the trails more easily accessible to the local community.
The Minister for Sport, Aileen Campbell MSP, and sportscotland chief executive Stewart Harris were impressed by the improvements and the potential impact on developing the next generation of mountain bikers.
Aileen Campbell MSP said: “Cathkin Braes looks set to be a fantastic venue for the European Cycling Mountain Bike Championships and beyond.
"I would encourage as many people as possible to get out and make the most of this free event this summer and cheer on the competitors.
"It is great to hear that the trails are suitable for riders of all abilities and I am sure they will continue to be used by recreational mountain bike riders for years to come.”
Stewart Harris added: “It will be fantastic to see the world’s top riders testing their skills on the upgraded trails, but it will also be exciting to see those inspired by the European Championships trying the sport for the first time, or developing their skills, in the months and years to come.
"Cathkin Braes is already established as a huge asset, both for the local community and the cycling community as a whole, and that’s why we have invested National Lottery funding into making the trails even more accessible.”
Another first for Scotland
Glasgow will be the first city to simultaneously stage four Olympic discipline cycling championships within its city boundaries, with BMX, track and road events also taking place as part of the Championships in August.
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Inspired to take up cycling? Our partners at Scottish Cycling can help get you started.
The Glasgow 2018 European Championships take place from 2-12 August and feature swimming, gymnastics, triathlon, rowing and golf as well as cycling. Check out the official website for the latest news and ticket info - including free events.