First up was SXC at Kirroughtree. With only a few KM on the trail centres this proved to be a WET and pretty technical challenge. Some running on the ups and the descents were pretty wet and deep mud in sections too. You had to concentrate pretty hard.

The field up here isn't that deep, but the top end of it has some good quality. I watched the front 3 ride off at the start, which included Gareth Montgomery and Dave Henderson of Team GT, and Kenta Gallagher who is putting in some impresive U23 world cup results this year. I thought I was on for 4th until my hour long turbo sessions stamina ran out, and James Fraser-Moodie rode past with ease on the last lap, voicing his concern "I hope you hang on for 5th Rob" - Thanks James, you cheeky git, I was aware how slow I was going.

Well unknown to me Kenta had pulled out of this one so I salvaged a 4th.

After this race, the clocks changed and the weather got good. Suddenly it was all systems go and the legendary chain gang kicked off on tuesday nights. 4 hours hard thursday night MTB rides started out to Mugdock and wed nights have seen some long road rides. I should really hae started to get fit.

Next up in the SXC was one of my favourite courses at Aberfoyle. I went up for a practice with Gareth on the sat morn where we met Nimmo and MTB Bob from Squadra Porcini. They were cutting some tricky little track into the side of the hill. Hard to ride, but we thought it would be easy so long as it didn't rain. The course was only 3km and was taking the BMBS champ from 2008 almost 20mins. Sherwood it wasn't!, It climbed the hardest hill I've had to ride up in a race, down some amazing hills and did the new tricky traverse.

We went home to get prepped for the race, and it started to rain! The course held up pretty well and the race kicked off. The first fireroad section was exended and we rode around the brutal climb on lap one lengthening the course a bit. I got up front. Just before the climb kicked proper Gareth rode up next to me, said "I can still taste Jagermeister", and rode off up the steep bit of the hill...... Does anyone want to buy an XC race bike.

James FM, Doug Shearer and Simon Ernest shot past in pursuit, but I was wary of the course and let them go. It wasn't long before I went back up into third. That was the way it stayed. I think that puts me joint 2nd in the series with James.

Another race series up here is the Edinburgh 48. I headed over for the first one, pre-rode the course, fast and fun. A couple of punchy climbs. Doug Shearer was here who is going well in the Expert series this year. Should have been a good race. We set off pretty fast, I was mid bunch. Through the first drop into a field a CX bike was going sideways infront of me. I swerved, through some nettles and saw a big block of concrete in front of me. I did a sidehop out of desperation, smashed my front quick release and scraped my chain stay. My front QR came undone and it was bent beyond repair. I did it as tight as I could, and though - BE CAREFUL, that could come undone. It took a lap of breathing out of my arse to get back up front. I caught Doug and then tried to recover for a couple of laps drafting him. Then my wheel came loose again. I repeated the above tactic, and decided if I was going to win I needed to gap Doug now incase my wheel came loose again. I felt like I was flying, got a pretty big gap then went down hard in a fast grassy corner. Yep - wheel undone! Anyway, only one short lap to go, I got up, still with about 30s to spare and took it east to the line, with a bloody sore rib.

First race of my 30s, first win of my 30's, nice!

Second race of my 4th Decade was to be Ten Under The Ben. I entered with Rab who was back on it. Team name 'Tanned and Handsome'. Explanation for this is when we get abuse and road rage from to**er drivers, Rab just thinks to himself - 'look at them getting all angry with us for getting all fit, tanned and handsome on our bikes while they get fat and stressed in their car' - good attitude!

The weather by now was in a pretty bad spell, and it was cold and threatened rain at fort william. We decided to do a 2 lap strategy cos we decided that changing too often would just mean more getting cold, and less chance to eat. We took an early 2 min lead, and dragged it out to 10 min by 3 hours in. But the others were on a 1 lap strategy and kept the pressure on. Then suddenly at 7 hours, I'd done a 3 lap strategy, Rab had had a good recovery and he smashed a fast one taking us to 28 min ahead. I only had to go out once more and just had to avoid crashing. We won by over a lap in the end. Awesome ride Rab. It cost me a new chain, cassette, middle ring, pads and a nrake bleed though. We were pretty much riding in river or bog for the whole race.

Other things from up here - Ross, Dave and myself rode 6 hours on the legendary trails at Kinlochleven and then the three of us plus Rab, Si Hartley and OJ (anyone remember him) hiked up Ben Lomond and smashed it down. This is the best DH I've ridden in Britain - possibly anywhere. It's a must on your way up to Fort William. 2-3 hour push up. 3000feet vertical drop. Throw in a couple of punctures and you'll be done in 3 hours plus a quick wash in Loch Lomond. Brilliant. OJ took a head cam. I'll hopefully get edited footage to you soon!