1,2,3 and 417

I never could count. OK so I could a bit and got a flippin’ good solid A in my Maths O level (yes I am just about that age)…

Anyway….. Last Friday evening I went to the 417 Bike Park near Cheltenham just off the A417 – see what they did?  And well I loved it!

Me and a friend only did 5 runs (Red x2, Black x2 and Blue x1) but after that and a play on the very smallest of the dirt jumps we were ready for some food. Continue reading “1,2,3 and 417”

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!

 

You’ll never believe what this 70’s babe looks like now!

Baby.

I meant baby.

You’ll never believe what this 70s baby looks like now.

That’s me…

I’m sorry I have no idea what I was thinking with that blog post title. Anyway, that’s me (I was born in 1971 hence the title) having some fun a few weekends ago in South Wales on the water slides at Festival Park in Ebbw Vale. Had a busy day with the kids and my parents doing some tourist style running about the valleys visiting Ebbw Vale, Blaenavon and finally took my kids to the Folly Tower in Pontypool.

The next day I went to BikePark Wales and rounded off a great weekend of summer sun, Welsh mountains and mountain bikes. Aren’t weekends awesome!

Continue reading “You’ll never believe what this 70’s babe looks like now!”

#BikeParkWales – penblwydd hapus

Was this really the first time I had been this year? There have been a few race/events, camping, weekends away bikepacking, North Wales big mountain and trail centres and Lake District (wow I’ve been busy)… Anyway I recently returned to BikePark Wales for the first time since October 2015 and I forgot how much fun it was!

Its unusual for me to not take a photo or video when I go out on a bike. I like to remember the day and  photo does seem to serve well to do this. But this time, no camera, no phone and no GoPro – purely focused on my riding and not worrying about the camera being on or stopping to snap a mate or a view. How different was my GoPro footage going to look from the last time anyway?

The usual trails were ridden, can I say “shredded”?, I’m not really a shredder or a ripper of trails though some times I think I’m doing just! Anyway, we did the usual Blue / Red mash up with a bit of Black peppered here and there for good measure.

Sixtapod is the gang’s usual favourite for a warm up, but this time we went straight for the new Blue/Red mix of Terry’s Belly and Hot Stepper.

Terry’s Belly was a highlight addition to BPW last year lauded as the longest blue descent  in the UK. Its good fun with berm after berm threading you through the trees and steadily down the hillside just out side of Merthyr Tydfil but I did find it a bit repetitive.

But now the Hot Stepper section was open, breathing some Red graded life into the top section of this 4.6km smooth trail. The teaser trailer from BikePark Wales showed a trail with a more natural feel to it than its berm heavy brother. Taking some steeper lines down the mountain side and opening up at time to give you a choice of drops and lines to take it really is one the most fun trails I’ve ridden in a while.

The only down side is you have to finish with the bottom end of Terry’s Belly. As I said above its a great swoopy trail with some fantastic berm action – its just it gets a bit repetitive towards the end and I long for some more roots and drops.

I guess this is my personal taste. There is nothing wrong with a long bermy trail if you like that sort of thing.  My preference is something more technical.

This is the beauty of a bike park! You can mix up your trails, have break from the lumps and bumps and ride a smooth trail. Or test yourself through a black section before going back to the comfort of your favourite trail.

Starting at 10am means that come 4pm the arms are aching, the brake pads are thinning and the beer is calling. The end of another visit and for me personally another day of learning a little more about me and the bike – mostly I learn how I need to push myself more when it comes to jumping.

Oh and by the way Happy Birthday BikePark Wales – 3 years today!