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Once we stopped it became clear that my rear wheel had fallen clean out of the frame! This could have resulted in a horrendous crash had it happened ten minutes later on the final descent. Unfortunately after leaping inconsiderately out of the frame the dropout landed smack on top of the rear disk rotor' The rotor was bent beyond repair. We swiftly removed it, 'Look' I said nervously, 'Air brakes'' Well the Calliper would certainly be braking on air. The spectre of a fatal accident still loomed over me. Cwmcarn's final and hair raising edge trail, with no rear brake'
No more route description, it's impossible to get lost from here. We thundered on along a swoopy, woodsy singletrack, quite hard work on lap three as it climbs gently. A final steep pitch leads on to a double wide trail with a single wide smooth line. Bumping rapidly down here you suddenly come out of the woods and see the spectacular drop in to the valley to your left. By spectacular, we mean you soon feel like you're right on top of it.
here. The narrow trail follows the hills contour around to the right with a very steep slope only a couple of feet to your left. As you reach the sharpest bend of the descent the illusion is complete, you've figured out exactly which house roof you're going to land on if you mess up. If this fear doesn't slow you down nothing will. Don't get me wrong here, this trail is only dangerous if you're pushing the envelope, careful riders will have nothing to fear. It's those of us who simply have to fly who need to be concerned.
Going over the edge here would surely have to hurt. A lot. Once around the hill and back in the visitor centre valley the trail goes 100 yards along a quiet road before doubling back through a gate on the left for another slightly less hair-raising (and therefore faster) plummet down to the overflow car park. This last descent is a nice mix of long fast straights and deceptive little bends, on the video I manage to ace past both Lenseman and Rob as they miss time their turns. Not very often I get that pleasure: sweet' You don't have to restrict yourself to two or even three laps of the main trail at Cwmcarn like we did. There are two or three other top downhills on the route if you need to add some more extreme descending to the main trails off-camber mix. The bottom end of the first is close to the pit wheel monument, go up the valley road beyond the visitor centre, take the slightly steeper left fork and you can't miss the wheel a few hundred yards later.
The trail is up the bank to the left of the road opposite. The big downhill of the day is also easy to find. Whilst you're riding around the main route look out for your first view down on to the housing estate in the valley. The downhill crosses this obvious clearing from right to left. Look for the only singletrack that crosses here, to find the start head right up through the wood. Take care when crossing the main trail on the way down! From the bottom of here it's possible to ride back around and up the main Cwmcarn entrance road to the visitor centre. In this way, once you've found it's start you can use it as an alternative final descent. This downhill has some excellent jumps!
Cwmcarn, definitely worth the drive even if it can't yet compare with Coed y Brenin's vast trail network.
in text only form.