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!

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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”

Y Slab at Coed Y Brenin

Y Slab at Coed Y Brenin
I had a brief visit to Coed Y Brenin while in North Wales recently and Tom Hutton of MTB Guiding accompanied me to the top of the Tarw Du trail to show me the new Y Slab section.

It was a really cold day; my Strava record says it was a -2 Celsius average temperature and my toes were numb for about an hour after riding.

 

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Does my thumb look big in this?
While I have been to Coed Y Brenin a few times I had never ridden the Tarw Du, so this and a newly opened trail section was a double treat.
The Tarw Du is a Black / Severe grade trail and certainly has some obstacles that require commitment but ultimately I think its more a “Red +” as I didn’t find this any where near as daunting as say Dai Hard or 5o Shades of Black at BikePark Wales.
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One of the “slabs” on the Y Slab section
Its well worth a trip and Tom was great company as he knows the centre and the trails really well. His business runs guided days and full weekends in Snowdonia as well as the Lake District, Scotland and other parts of the UK.
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Tom Hutton (LEFT) drinking another coffee!
Tom is probably best-known as a guidebook writer and the man behind MBR magazine’s pull-out route guides.  I have been on a few trips with MTB Guiding and highly recommend Tom and Steph as excellent guides and superb hosts check them out on Facebook and the web in the links below:

The Same, Only Different

What a great weekend that was. Popped a couple of MTB related cherries and the whole trip couldn’t have gone any smoother – for most of us anyway!

The plan started about 3 months ago after a group of friends returned buzzing from Llandegla trail centre wanting to return as soon as possible.  I hadn’t been able to make the trip having only just been on a 5 day Snowdonia stay and another weekend away from family duties was deemed against the rules!  So we planned another visit to Llandegla, the only Welsh trail centre I hadn’t visited, and I had my wicked way with the proceedings and included a mountain ride in Shropshire for the Sunday.

Continue reading “The Same, Only Different”

Trail Centre Quick Review – Llandegla

This weekend was my first visit to Llandegla. What did I think?

Its tough!

Not tough like scary, just tough like exhausting. To get the best out of the trail and to ride it all you have to go around twice or find some fire road link like I did to go back to do do a loop we missed.

You will find yourself going up and down a lot! South Wales centres like Cwmcarn or Afan basically send you up and then down. This is a lot more lumpy and jumpy – I really need to push myself more as this is the ideal trail centre to spread your wings!

I am not sure if it claims it or not but these are some of the longest boardwalks I have ridden. Be careful in the wet! There is wire to give you grip but it can be torn / worn in the corners where you need the grip the most.

Its a very flowy trail centre and if you haven’t been don’t be scared of the Black Grades just keep an eye out for low flying bikes!