Seek and ye shall find

Ask, and it shall be given you;
seek, and ye shall find;
knock, and it shall be opened unto you

Why not quote The Bible every now and again!

Or by contrast maybe Iggy Pop?

And I’m the world’s forgotten boy
The one who’s searchin’, searchin’ to destroy

The point is get out and look for it… Find a trail. Build a trail. Shred a trail.  Ok I’m not really a shredder!

Let us finish this, once and for all. I came to this dimension to destroy turtles. The more… the merrier! Now come! Come and face your doom!

Yes another quote, this time from Shredder off of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!

I’m no shredder like I said, but like many of us normal folk I like to think I can tear up a trail from time to time!  LOL Who am I kidding!

Anyway, the whole point of this post was to show you a new POV edit of some local stuff, most of which we only found recently. Some built by others, some by us, some made by wildlife, some cheeky little off piste bits but mostly all dusty, dead leaf crunchy stuff within a short pedal of my house.

Go and have a look for yourself, its out there.

I feel I should have ended with another quote…. hmm

The Italian Job – Nant Yr Arian

I am sure there are better sections of trail – I know there are. Steeper, faster, more technical etc but The Italian Job is something special I think.

This was my second visit to Nant Yr Arian and I had forgotten how much I enjoyed this trail centre. We rode the Summit trail which perfectly suited our needs to top off the weekend of riding in Snowdonia.  Approx 2 hours of trail with some of the best purpose built singletrack you can ride.

Everyone talks about the Mark of Zorro (a seemingly never ending 2km descent zig zagging through the pines to the bottom of the hill), and High as a Kite (the final tree stump ridden exposed descent to the centre).  Don’t get me wrong, these are both excellent trail sections – the entire trail is a great one actually – but the Italian Job is a real treat and here’s why.

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Nant Yr Arian’s cafe and trail head is at 300m which makes it different to many that we are used to in South Wales for instance, where they are typically situated 200m lower. As you can see from the pic above (the view from the car park), this means you already have some height gained and Nant Yr Arian delivers you a cracking piece of singletrack and a great descent within 5 mins of the car park!

The Summit Trail as a whole is superb and yes Mark of Zorro is a real thrill but the Italian Job delivers smiles and grins straight away.

I need to go back for another go ASAP.

Here’s Mark of Zorro just for good measure!

Contact Info

For trail information call the Nant yr Arian visitor centre: 01970 890453

Visit http://naturalresources.wales  or email: bnya@naturalresourcewales.gov.uk

Follow Nant yr Arian on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/bwlchnantyrarian

Getting There

Located 10 miles east of Aberystwyth on the A44, two miles west of Ponterwyd.

For Sat Nav/GPS/Mapping Services use: SY23 3AB
OS
Grid Reference: SN718813

Snowdon 2017

2 years have passed since I went up and down Snowdon with my bike.  Notice I didn’t use the word “ride” or “rode” – there are large portions of the ascent that you simply cannot ride. I was not surprised to find that the climb hadn’t got any easier. Despite all the tourists, they haven’t quite put in an all weather all purpose track. Thank God!

Its brutal.

Going up is exhausting as you are pushing, pedaling or carrying your bike for nearly 2 hours and it was hot last weekend! I wont complain about the weather but it was warm…

Coming down – by the time you have regained your energy at the summit its time to descend and what a descent it is!

Fast, loose and hugely rocky…

Starting at the top of the highest peak out side of the Scottish Highlands with almost 1000m of descending ahead of you feels quite special. By making your way up the mountain under your own steam, you have just earned one of the best and gnarliest descents in the UK.

No trees grow here so you are exposed to the elements (in this case sunshine) all the way down. The surface is hard, rocky and in most places loose under the wheels!

Its a challenge of nerve and skill from top to bottom and I love it.

Go to LLanberis, obey the cycling restrictions and get your bike up the Llanberis Path.

Then enjoy what has recently been voted the best view in the UK and then pick your way down the Rangers Path.

After your ride, count the new scratches on your bike, check for missing teeth (yours or your chain ring) and go grab a beer cos you deserve it!

Why do you need a MTB guide?

Yes I have been on a British Cycling mountain leader course. Yes I am planning on leading and am “bound to say this” but just listen for a moment…

Coniston Water
Not the Peak District – I haven’t been yet to take a photo.

Have you ever wanted to ride somewhere new and I don’t mean a trail centre?  Of course you have. Did you find somewhere and go ride it? What did you do?

You have a bunch of ways you can go about this and its not that hard really, is it?

So you saw some cool pictures on Instagram of something called Jacob’s Ladder. Where’s that? And the Google search begins. Peak District! That 3 hours away! Looks worth it though…

Next you search for cycling routes, the results that the world wide web presents you with are a little vague and everyone has different opinions on where you should ride – how am I going to decide?  I can’t drive 3 hours and miss out “the best trail in the Peaks”!

You remember those old MBR routes you cut out and kept for such an eventuality. This is more like it! But still they don’t seem to cover some of the bits you’ve heard about. Continue reading “Why do you need a MTB guide?”

Back in the Saddle

EDIT Now with a video…

I hadn’t been out for a few weeks due to family commitments, a cold and yes I had avoided the rubbish weather on maybe 1 or 2 occasions; but today I was going out and needed to get some miles in and much needed time in the saddle.

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The UK weather certainly showed me that it can be unpredictable at this time of the year. I couldn’t decide to keep the rain gear and water proof gloves on or to pack it away and just wear the T shirt.  I had it all other than snow.

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This’ll do nicely

I planned a loop that I had to commit to and short cuts weren’t really going to be an option. But I went prepared with a small packed lunch, snacks and my Alpkit Kraku stove and Mytimug.  I had chosen a specific spot for my mid-ride brew, but my lacking fitness and some strong headwinds put me half an hour from where I wanted to stop.

But this little spot by the River Kennet worked out perfect.

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Cheers!

In some form of preparation for my upcoming British Cycling course I used only a map and compass for navigation. Yes, you may spot a Garmin on my bike in the photos but this was purely to keep an eye on the time and to record my activity.

My original planned lunch spot above Alton Barnes was a tad windy, but at least by the time I arrived at the highest point in Wiltshire the sun came back out and I could admire the views.

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I only did around 24 miles, but with 2000 ft of elevation gain (38km and 650m) it was a good test of my fitness after 3 weeks of no riding.

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Spending 4-5 solitary hours in the outdoors gives you time to reflect and relax and I realised how much I enjoy this time by myself as much as I do with friends playing about in the woods.

Wiltshire has a lot to offer for good cross country routes and with plenty of time to think about it, I really feel a plan coming together…