Return to the Iron Mountain

Guiding duties for MB Swindon at the weekend around the ever amazing (for many reasons) Blaenavon…  So here’s the write up I did for the club website:

Return To The Iron Mountain

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For some bizarre reason people started to turn up just after 9am for a 10am ride. Its possible it had something to do with them camping in the Brecon Beacons the night before and being up early but I’d like to think they were equally as eager to get on the ride. Continue reading “Return to the Iron Mountain”

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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!

Phase 1 – Complete

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Wave at the camera on a stick!

High on top of a mountain on the edge of the Black Mountains we all stood around checking map markings, measuring distances and trying to figure out what we would do if someone had an injury at this point.

Then we all waved at my camera of course!

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What a handsome chap

What were we doing? Well this was Day 2 of a British Cycling The Level 2 Mountain Bike Leadership Award course being run by Wye MTB. Continue reading “Phase 1 – Complete”