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Pete Scullion is on a mission to ride with his mountain bike heroes and see what makes them tick. This time he catches up with Junior Downhill World Champs legend turned neoenduro pro, Ruaridh Cunningham.

As I stand in a frozen Innerleithen car park trying to wrap my arms tighter around my torso in a vain effort to warm myself up, I’m slapped by the irony of having Ruaridh Cunningham battle through Edinburgh rush hour traffic and an icy mountain road in early December to discuss the less glamorous aspects of being a professional mountain biker. At least the sun is out, right?

From the get-go up a frosty Glenbenna, Ruaridh (say ‘Roo-ree’) is in his element. There’s a tempo to the gentle spin up the fire road and between buildings where lumber harvesters are being serviced that has me forward on the saddle and going faster than I can sustain as my legs struggle to loosen up.

Even on the steep, slippy push up the trails in the woods here, I can’t keep pace and every time Ruaridh points the bike downhill, there’s an effortless urgency about his riding that I quite quickly stop trying to match. It’s no real surprise that downhill speed comes easily to the man from the Tweed Valley, but it’s far beyond what I was expecting.

Keeping moving in -3°C is key, and I’m not in any danger of cooling down keeping up with Ruaridh at any point during the day. We’re out to beat the sun’s low dash across the horizon before the forecast rain comes and ruins play.

The trails are slick from having never seen enough traffic or the sun’s attention, and I’m squirming about as the red dot that is the man in Trek Factory Racing colours gets further and further away through the thick pines that are synonymous with the Tweed Valley.

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Editorial: Greasing Out Chipps ponders the strange language of mountain biking. Is understanding the code the difference between being a mountain biker and just riding bikes? UK Adventure: Glasgow’s Campsie Fells Sanny seeks out some overlooked trails within a stone’s throw of Glasgow. Why does he love them so much? Column: Jason Miles Turns out that, if you ride bikes, your neighbours think you know everything about all bikes. International Adventure: Bohemian Rhapsody Tom Hutton heads to the very-accessible Czech Republic to check out the trails and trees on a three-centre bike safari. International Adventure: Kyrgyzstan Rickie Cotter warms up for the Silk Road Mountain Race with a solo trip around this remote expanse of wild unknown. Beyond The Review: In The Bag Tom Hill writes about the aged Timbuk2 messenger bag that isn’t his, it’s Jenn’s. He’s just using it for her. Classic Ride: Grate Expectations In a cheese pun-filled ride around the West Country, James Vincent takes us on a tour of the trails around Cheddar. International Adventure: You Can’t Script Adventure James McKnight and Victor Lucas get in over their heads in the Pyrenees. Turns out this bikepacking lark is more complicated than they thought. Bike Test: So Long, Huckers Our big friendly giant, Barney, gets friendly with the three longest full suspension bikes in the world. Three monsters tested, from Cotic, Geometron and Pole. 25 Years of Chipps Chipps reflects on 25 years as a bike journalist. Does he know what he’s doing yet? International Adventure: Budget Bolognese Sanny heads to Italy to experience a comfortable adventure without a painful credit card bill. Pete’s Pros: Ruaridh Cunningham Pete Scullion chases downhill legend turned neo-enduro pro Ruaridh Cunningham around the trails of Innerleithen. Last Word Adam Batty discovers that finding riding buddies can be tricky, especially when they’re not being entirely honest.