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!