Britain crew take a well earned break from pedaling at Glyncorrwg
and Afan in South Wales.
Cost £25 per
person per day, or: £5 per uplift shuttle run.
would you like to descend all day on some of the best trails in
Wales? You can cover two to three times as much descending in one day
with Afan Adventures Uplift service. This is a good thing!
The centre of
We met up with
Geraint on a sunny Saturday morning in January with the car park at
Glyncorrwg already filling up, this place is popular. The Dropoff
Cafe at Glyncorrwg is fantastic, in a league of it's own and that's
just the food. We soon hooked up with Ian Luff who manages the
Dropoff and he dropped everything at a moments notice to come and
ride with us, this guy loves to ride. We swiftly hitched the bikes on
to the 'Afan Adventures' Landrover bike rack (It takes seven bikes)
and jumped in to be chauffeured to the top of the first descent.
All of the superb
local downhills can be reached via the uplift and Geraint soon had
us unpacking at the top of the Skyline's final downhill. This was
too sweet, I hardly know what it's like to head off downhill without
tired legs and to say that it rocks is under selling it. Geraint had
the weather booked too (clever) and as you'll see in the video it
was literally blinding.
Now came a downright scary chase trying to keep up with Ian and Paul on the
slippery wet trails. They were flying and I was hard pushed to stay
with them, Ian knows the singletrack like the back of his hand and
Paul was born without the necessary fear centres in his cerebral
cortex. This made it relatively easy for him to keep up with the
flying Dropoff manager even on his home turf.
the time we reached halfway down I was only a turn or so behind but
my ego was feeling battered. The relentless pace continued as
we flew over humps and scratched around hairpins. On the final
section I got my first chance to really appreciate the bedrock
jumps, whereas last time I had been grateful to finish at the end
of a grueling days biking. At the bottom
Geraint was waiting for us and we were off for a run down 'The Wall'.
On the way up we couldn't miss the steep banking and turns of the
new Black Run carved from the hillside. Wahay (we said
intelligently) give us some of that! Ever the obliging, Geraint
us up and we were soon flying along the slippery looking boardwalk
at the top of the (not quite finished) new run: video.
afraid, be a little bit afraid
There is a sign
which fairly enough warns you to inspect the course before riding
it, we didn't but it's not really that bad. Still, I wasn't about to
hit it at a speed that was too fast to slow from, if they threw anything
really dangerous at us. Beginning as a boardwalk and continuing on
crushed stone with small table tops and doubles this new trail is a
It's the end of
this first section (more is planned) where things start to get
really interesting with huge banked turns and a steep drop studded
with rock drop-offs. Two final wall-like banked turns brought us
panting back on to the fire road. XC boys and girls be warned,
hitting this at full pelt could be bad for your bike!
Soon it was time
for lunch and what a lunch it was. This place is worth visiting just
for the big eats, which could previously only be said of Dolfrwynog
at Coed y Brenin. Whilst we were stuffing ourselves Skyline
Cycles fixed my slightly ailing rear brake which neded bleeding,
superior quality service. After lunch which was literally huge we
didn't suffer the usual pains associated with valley bottom cafe's,
we jumped back in the Landy for another run and finally in the late
afternoon we decided to hit the Penhydd trail. Making short work of
the hideous climb in serene comfort we could see the sun on it's way
down behind the mountain.
Doug fixing a puncture by the time we reached the top of the
Hidden Valley dusk was waning. Still even in the darkness of the
woods it was possible to appreciate the silky flow down this by now
classic 'old' trail. This is when I remembered there were a couple of
climbs to do in the remainder of this loop, we'd have to pedal! Doug
restrained himself from chucking me off a cliff admirably. We made
great speed on the way down to Dead Sheep Gulley but as the moon
rose (below) it was clear the game for us underlit types was over.
We should have let Geraint drop us back to Skyline Cycles as they
rent out lighting systems, clever chaps.
all the rides I have ever finished in the dark this one was the
dimmest. The strong moonlight barely penetrated as it had
dissappeared behind the mountain. We were riding by sense of smell
out there. Finally we crossed the ford and flew at crazy speed down
the final doubletrack, shouldn't we be able to see something going
at warp factor three? Geraint was waiting patiently in the car park
having restrained himself from calling mountain rescue, we didn't
even have to pedal back to the car, bliss.
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