Friday, 11 September 2009


Last week Kelly I went to South Wales with Bikes for a what I think is essentially a staycation. Being a trip longer than a long weekend I think this qualifies.

The riding was, as ever, great - unfortunately, and a bit predictably, the weather was not so good.

We rode the Twrch Trail at Cwmcarn - a nice 18km (with 300m climbing) - and as a place to start was logical as it is quite close to the Severn Crossing. A nice trail - but with most of the climbing straight out of the car park it meant that after being in the car for three hours it took a while to get in to it.

Then we went to Afan and rode two trails on two separate days. The first was the Penhydd Trail - 17km and 550m climbing - and then Whites Level - again 17km long and another 550m of climbing.

At Afan the weather when we rode the Penhydd was shocking - really heavy rain for the entire ride, and this made it far more technical than it would be in the dry. No major problems other than I slipped out on a switch back section in the woods and slowly fell off the trail and into the tree line. No damage done.

We did have to wade across the stream at the end - which had become flooded - well over Kelly’s knees - mid shin for me - but it by the end it was pretty clear that we were going to drink tea for the rest of the day.

Whites Level is a good challenge - it starts with a 6km switchback climb up a goat track - which is a little technical in places - and then it is essentially a ton of singletrack down into the valley you started in. On the way up the valley (very near the top) Kelly slipped off the trail and fell about 10 - 15 ft down the side of the very steep valley side. Luckily she landed in some flowers and was completely fine………………

I was led to believe the decent was more technical - but Kelly and I absolutely bossed the decent and had a great laugh. I can not keep up with Kelly on the downhill sections - she is just too fast - it just seems to be when she is travelling slowly that we have any drama. See below.

At the very end - I would say within 1KM of the finish, in sight of the end, almost on the flat Kelly went over her handlebars rolling over a small low natural stone step (slow motion and not as bad as her earlier stunt) and I managed to rip off my front mech on a rock (Not sure how the laws of physics allowed for this).

Luckily there is a bike shop at the trail head - and they sold and fitted a new mech for me whilst we had a huge lunch in the drop off Café.

The last ride we had was on Saturday - on the way back from Wales we stopped in on my mum and dad and had a ride over Exmoor. We did a circuit of Duncary Beacon from Exford and this was about 35KM long and 450m of climbing.

So over the break we got some KM’s in:


Total - 87Km and about 1850m of off road climbing.

So getting there with the legs and lungs - and there is the chance of a good ride on Sunday this week over the North Downs to keep the training up.

Some of my colleagues who are also doing the challenge have been putting in a few miles of training - and two have dropped out due to other commitments - so there are five confirmed starters in our group.

I hope the mileage is not getting inside everyone’s head with two weekends to go.

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