THEY have become legends in the mountain biking world, helping turn the hills around Glentress in the Borders into an international centre for the sport.
• Emma Guy and Tracey Brunger at the Hub in Glentress Forest, a business they built from scratch. Photograph: Lucie Husband
Now Emma Guy and Tracey Brunger, who run the Hub caf and bike hire centre, are to be thrown off site, prompting fury among cyclists and locals.
The women, who built up their business from scratch, have been snubbed in a tendering process to operate the Forestry Commission's new 9 million visitor centre at Glentress. The pair claim up to 30 jobs will now be lost at their award-winning caf, bike-hire and coaching business.
Forestry Commission Scotland claim the decision not to accept the Hub's bid was made by a panel of assessors and the decision will be explained.
But the Commission was yesterday accused by mountain bikers of ripping the "heart and soul" out of the Glentress centre, which draws thousands of visitors every week and has become a major boon for the nearby town of Peebles.
Speaking out about the decision, Guy, who cooks, serves and coaches at the Hub, said: "We have ten years of experience, we know this area inside out, we have an incredible track record in this area. But now we have been told that we are not good enough.
"This decision is a real kick in the teeth for us after spending ten years of our life and a considerable amount of money building up this business.
"But we are just as hurt at the fact that we had to sit our staff down and tell them the bad news."
She added: "As a result of this ten full-time staff and 20 part-time staff will be out of a job when our lease comes to an end at the end of next year. It is a real shocker.
"We have also been a bit taken aback at how impersonal the whole process has been. For the first six years we were in business the whole set-up was fantastic and we worked hand-in-hand with the Forestry Commission. But sadly things changed and this seems to be the end result."
Guy and Brunger had to break the bad news to staff that they had fallen at the second hurdle of a tendering process to run the caf and bike hire business at the new Peel centre, after being told by e-mail last week.
The pair, both former mountain bike race champions, began the Hub ten years ago, selling everything they owned to fund the venture, and in the early days saw just a trickle of customers. But through hard work and vision the caf began to attract visitors from all over the UK.
The decision to close the Hub has been met with resentment from regular visitors, who are planning a campaign to save the much loved mountain bikers' favourite. Fiona Dalgleish, a mother of three from Peebles who is a regular visitor at Glentress, said: "It is absolutely shameful that Emma and Tracey have been treated in this way.
"Without them, Glentress would still be a few paths with very few visitors. It was them who turned it into what it is today. The Hub is a brilliant place for everybody, from expert mountain bikers to young families. My four-year-old has even been down one of the trails on his balance bike. This new visitor centre will not have the same appeal as Tracey and Emma's place. It will be a white elephant without them.
"By removing them, the Forestry Commission has ripped the heart and soul out of Glentress."
Mountain bike writer Richard Moore agreed, saying: "It is scandalous. They are responsible for the interest in the place, and for getting 4,000 mountain bikers there every week. The new centre wouldn't be viable had they not created what they've created there."
A Facebook page for the Hub has also been inundated with messages of support.
Biker Ewan Fulton wrote on its Facebook page: "It is so unfair after all your hard work building up an amazing facility at Glentress and making Glentress the place it is today that the FC do this to you. I can tell you where I'll be spending my money next year."
But Steve Williams, a press officer at the Forestry Commission, said: "We understand the Hub's disappointment, however, the tendering process is being carried out strictly in accordance with public tendering for commercial opportunities procedures."
"FCS staff will be inviting the Hub, as with the other unsuccessful bidders, to a meeting to be given feedback. This will be done once the tendering process is complete."