With its twisting downhill drops, long sheer climbs and rocky paths, it may not be for the faint-hearted.
But when the 60 athletes from 18 nations have completed the one-day Mountain Bike Competition (on Tues July 29), the course at Cathkin Braes Country Park in the south of the city will reopen to families and cycling enthusiasts for generations to come.
The facility, developed by Glasgow City Council, is the city’s first international standard mountain biking course and will remain as part of the legacy of the 2014 Commonwealth Games. It will not only provide a venue capable of staging future international events but will also be a facility that will benefit people from the surrounding area in a sport that is rapidly growing in popularity.
Because of its location close to the city centre, it provides easy access for residents and for elite athletes – as well as some of the most stunning views over Glasgow and beyond.
Local communities have been involved in the creation of the 5.6km course with eight of its key features being named by local schoolchildren from Glasgow and South Lanarkshire – the neighbouring local authorities in which the park lies.
Their winning entries included:
- Propeller Point for the area where athletes will pass close to a wind turbine
- Double Dare to describe the twisting downhill two-lane track where cyclists will overtake each other
- Boulder dash, a creek crossing
- Broken biscuits, a rough rocky stretch of track and
- Clyde Climb, a long uphill track (dimensions needed).
Other challenges along the course include Braveheart a curved and steep downhill drop.
More than 10,000 people have bought tickets to witness the thrilling action up close as the athletes race the course, which forms a figure of eight. The men have to complete seven laps to the finishing line and the women five.
David Grevemberg, Glasgow 2014 Chief Executive, said:
“Mountain biking offers a fantastic opportunity to get more people involved in cycling through the inspiration of seeing some of the worlds’ best cyclists at the Commonwealth Games. The Cathkin Braes course will be used for years to come by riders of all ages and experience, making it one of many of the tangible benefits the Games will leave for local communities.”
Cabinet Secretary Commonwealth Games and Sport, Shona Robison said:
“Scotland is one of the best places in the world for mountain biking and the excellent facilities at Cathkin Braes will help create a lasting legacy for Glasgow and the rest of the country. As well as getting people active the course can attract future competitions and help develop the sport and raise its profile. We are about to see some fantastic mountain bike action at the Commonwealth Games, with great trails across Scotland, anyone inspired by what they see is a short journey from an exciting course to suit their ability.”
Councillor Archie Graham, Executive Member for the Commonwealth Games at Glasgow City Council, said:
"The Mountain Biking competition will bring more memorable sport to the Games, and provide another new striking perspective of Glasgow for spectators and vieers. Team Scotland has done fantastically well on the track so far at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, and I am sure the achievements of all the cyclists on the various surfaces will inspire Glaswegians to use our fantastic new facilities and enjoy a sporting legacy from the Games."
Councillor Eddie McAvoy, Leader of South Lanarkshire Council said:
“We are looking forward to the Commonwealth Games experience at Cathkin at what will be an exciting event. Good luck to everyone competing in the mountain bike challenge.”
Cathkin Braes Country Park covers 199 hectares (493 acres) and is a site of importance for nature conservation. It extends from Blairbeth Golf Course in the east to Windlaw Farm in the west and has a wide range of local habitats includes marsh, heath, scrub, grassland, hedgerows and ancient woodlands.
On a clear day from Queen Mary's seat - a large cairn in the area where Mary Queen of Scots is said to have observed the defeat of her forces at the Battle of Langside on 13 May 1558 - it’s possible to see as far as Ben Lomond to the north and Goatfell to the west.
The trail opened for public use in 2013. Last summer, Cathkin Braes hosted the British National Championships and in April the Scottish Champions.