Selkirk (Scotland)

GORE BIKE WEAR Road Sportive (Saturday) including the ‘Extreme-distance’ followed by the and Merida Bikes MTB Marathon (Sunday)

Selkirk has been very popular over the last few years amongst the Mountain Biker fraternity through being the hosting town for the Merida Bikes MTB Marathons and the TransScotland 2007. Pete Laing is our man on the ground and besides having extensive knowledge of the trail and road network of the Scottish Borders. He works closely with road clubs and road enthusiasts of the region to create a fantastic sportive course which hits the balance between challenging course and breathtaking views just right.

For this event he put some extra effort in by not just putting two but three courses together.

The Selkirk round of the GORE BIKE WEAR Road Sportive series is the only round that features 3 rather than 2 different courses. The ‘Extreme-distance’ was created to give the experienced sportive riders a challenge of a new level. Please keep in mind that we recommend this event only for experienced and well trained riders.


GORE BIKE WEAR Road Sportives
The Selkirk road sportive will be run on the Saturday of the event weekend with an open start from early in the morning onwards. Following the huge trend of non-competitive road events the GORE BIKE WEAR Road Sportives are trying to set themselves apart from the rest by offering a high quality event package with outstanding courses and first class support around the course plus all inclusive camping, parking, facilities, event meal and finisher present…pretty much the same deal the riders of the marathon series have been enjoying since the very beginning.

Three courses to choose from including the Gore Extreme Loop:
The Selkirk road sportives will have three courses on offer – an approx. 80-100mile, an approx.40-50mile loop and the extra long ‘Extreme distance’ which is approx. 130mile long. The GORE BIKE WEAR Sportives are run very similarly to the Merida marathons by being one loop events with the start and finish being in the same location as the event village, registration and event camping.

Due to legal reasons the Sportives will be started in small waves of riders at set intervals. The start will open at a certain time and will stay open for approximately 1 hour to give everybody the chance to have a relaxing start at the time of their choosing.

The courses are fully marked but every rider will get a small ‘backup map’ given in case that marking is not 100% clear or gets damaged or removed. Around the course our energy food sponsor High5 will be present with energy drinks, bars, and gels as well as with bananas and water. Alongside the energy backup, mechanics will be out there to help everybody with any technical problems. The feeding stations are normally between 25-35miles apart but should not be relied upon as the sole source of your food and drink.

Once you’ve managed to complete your ride and come over the finish line make sure you don’t just race past the commentator and the timing crew as you would miss out on your unique finisher present and on your chances of getting one of the many spot prizes that we will give away again.

Course Description

Last years Gore Bike Wear Sportive followed an 80 mile loop that followed quiet roads in the Tweed, Yarrow and Ettrick Valleys; a fairly easy route that featured only two proper climbs. Feedback after the ‘08 event showed that most sportive riders are after something a little tougher, so, for the Selkirk round of the ’09 series, there have been some BIG changes.

Gore Bike Wear have asked for a 120-130 mile challenge route to sit alongside the usual 95 and 47 miles options. This has given us the chance to plan three completely new circuits taking in some remote and little used roads to the south-west of Selkirk, and to include loads of climbing!

Each route makes the most of the network of narrow hill roads linking the river valleys that the Scottish Borders is so famous for. The climb tot-up for each distance is… 47 mile: 4 climbs, 95 mile: 8 climbs, 120 mile: 10 climbs. None of the climbs are Alpine in scale but only one is less than 100m vertical and if you check the course profiles, there isn’t a flat road in between, so the ascent total soon builds up. The 120 mile route especially is a bit of a beast with 3600m of ascent. Note: Climb highpoints are shown in square brackets.

Everyone will head out of Selkirk [120metres] along the picturesque Ettrick Valley, with 2 miles of easy spinning before hitting a singletrack road that snakes its way up onto the Woll Rig [334m]. After a fast descent to the village of Ashkirk, you start a lovely undulating moorland road that takes in Blawearie, Alemoor Reservoir and The Rankle Burn before reaching the first feed stop at Tushie Law in Ettrick Valley. Here the 45’s turn east and take on two of the best climbs in the Borders, The Berry Bush [380m] and Witchie Knowe [362m] before an easy run back to Selkirk along the valley floor. Everyone else turns left and makes for the wilds of Eskdalemuir.

Given a calm day, it’s a big-ring churn up to the source of the Tima Water near the glamorously named Foulbog [334m] and on past Samie Ling Tibetan Monastery. Stop for tea and contemplation if you want but you may be persuaded to stay (in silence) for 3 years, 3 days, 3hours, 3mins ….you get the drift. At Eskdalemuir village (two houses and a tree) it’s a right turn and a tough peck over to Boreland through he endless Spruce plantations of Castle O’er Forest. Look for a well-stocked feed table at the village.

After more sticky roads, a near miss with Moffat and a marvellous 10 mile climb alongside Moffat Water (blink the sweat from your eyes long enough glance at the areas’ highest waterfall, the Gray Mares Tail if you can.) the Dumfries/Selkirkshire border marks another high point [338], the return to civilisation and the start of a 45 minute rolling descent past the Borders’ best known beauty spot, St Mary’s Loch. Feed stop #3 soon comes into view at The Gordon Arms Hotel.

Next up is The Witchie Knowe [362], 167 vertical metres of hell for tired legs and the last climb of the day for the 95 milers who turn left on reaching the Ettrick Valley road and follow the same return route as the 47’s. Psychological trauma sets in for the full distance boys and girls because at this junction they have to go in the opposite direction and tackle another 30 miles and two fair sized climbs before reaching home base. Climb #9 is The Berry Bush over the Gordon Arms again and climb #10 The Paddy Slacks [360m] starts straight away and takes any gibbering wrecks still left in the event over to the Tweed Valley and a lumpy run back to Selkirk by a leafy back road along the south bank of the river.

The clockwise direction of each route means that the outward leg will be into the prevailing wind and unlike last year, there are no busy main roads included; in fact on some sections you’ll be lucky to see a car. The new courses are going to be a challenge for most but choose a distance that suits your current level of fitness, get some miles in well before the big day and the reward will be some of the best sportive riding to be experienced anywhere in Britain.

Statistics – short course (standard sportive)
Length: approx: 47 mile
Climbing: approx. 1,600 meters

Statistics – long course (classic sportive)
Length: approx: 95 mile
Climbing: approx. 2,700 meters

Statistics – extra long course (‘extreme’ sportive)
Length: approx: 120 mile
Climbing: approx. 3,600 meters

Please note that all course details are approximate and that the course might vary from the details given here.

Download – Further course details (including profiles) – extreme sportive – PDF File: 1.2mb

Camping, registration and start time:
Camping will be available (included in the entry fee) from Friday night through to Monday morning at the Selkirk Rugby Club in Selkirk.

Start times:
The GORE BIKEWEAR Road Sportive will start 8am onwards on Saturday the 1st August ’09 at the Selkirk Rugby Club in Selkirk.

Registration opening times:

Friday from 6 – 9pm
Saturday from 6am – 8pm (Please note: from 6 – 9am only road sportive riders can register)
Sunday from 7 – 9am

Entry fees:
The entry fee for the approx. 50,100 and 130mile long GORE BIKE WEAR Road sportive is £25 per rider.

Discount: If you enter the road sportive on Saturday and the mountain bike event on Sunday (at the same weekend) then we will give you a £10 discount on your over all entry fee.

Your entry fee for the GORE BIKEWEAR Road Sportive includes:
Ride entry
Free post event food
Free usage of service stations
Free usage of facilities
Finishing present
Free camping and parking
Spot prizes

Location and our man on the ground:
The Selkirk Rugby Club is the location for the Selkirk round of the GORE BIKEWEAR Road Sportive (1st August) Merida Bikes MTB Marathon (2nd August) and the

Our man in Selkirk is Peter Laing who is renowned for his excellent course and trail building. For the last four years running the event in Selkirk was the most loved by the riders and this is certainly down to the excellent skills Peter has been showing over the years. He also has an extended knowledge of the road network of the borders and works closely with local road riding clubs and speortive enthusiasts to create one of the best course of the Gore Bike Wear Sportive series. If you haven’t done this one yet (road or MTB) it is worth the trip!
We will add any course news and last minute updates to our regular newsletter. If you have not subscribed yet please go onto the home page and click the newsletter button on the right hand side.

The ancient and Royal Burgh of Selkirk stands high above the Ettrick and Yarrow Valleys. Sir Walter Scott served as sheriff here for 33 years and his former courtroom features a fascinating audio-visual presentation telling the story of Scott’s associations with the area and its people.

Halliwell’s House, the town’s oldest dwelling, is now the local museum, with the building’s links with the ironmongery trade recreated, and the Robson Gallery providing a venue for exhibitions. Clapperton’s Daylight Photographic Studio is a working museum and photographic archive.

Visitors to the town can enjoy free parking, and local publications include a Town Plan, Town Trail, mini-guide and countryside walks. Selkirk Common Riding in June is recognised as one of the oldest of the Border Festivals, with a tradition going back to the Battle of Flodden in 1513, with as many as 400 riders taking part. The town’s industrial background is reflected in the number of specialist tweed outlets, whilst local glass works offer the chance to buy products and see skilled craftsmen at work.

Three miles west is Bowhill House, a Georgian mansion, with woodland walks and an adventure playground in the extensive grounds. Its Little Theatre hosts drama and music performances.

The twin valleys of Ettrick and Yarrow contain some of the most glorious scenery in the Scottish Borders, with St Mary’s Loch, Southern Scotland’s largest stretch of water.

The area’s rich heritage provided inspiration for such writers as Sir Walter Scott and James Hogg. In the old byres of 16th Century Aikwood Tower, an exhibition features the life and work of James Hogg, known as ‘The Ettrick Shepherd’.
Local places of interest include Aikwood Tower, Bowhill House & Country Park, Halliwell’s House Museum and Robson Gallery, Sir Walter Scott’s Courtroom, Lindean Mill Glass, Selkirk Glass, Selkirk Golf Club (9 hole), The Woll Golf Course (9 hole), Swimming Pool and Fitness Centre.

Local Information
For information about local services and accommodation please get in touch with the local Tourist Information Centres and check out the local web sites.


Tel: 0870 6080404
Fax: 01750 21886
Halliwells House
Web: and

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