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|The Red Bull|
Sponsored by the caffeine loaded drink of the same name, this is a 6 mile (sign posted) loop which can be done in under an hour. It's best treated as a quick race against your mates and done in addition to one of the big routes like the Pink Heifer. It starts at the visitor centre and zig-zags steeply up through the dense forest on the characteristic shale improved singletrack. After a short steep forest road climb the double track levels off, then roller coasters for half a mile to a sharp right hand bend. We usually take the excuse of looking at the view here to summon energy for the next climb, which is covered in loose rock. once up this the trail turns back on itself for another climb which starts out bumpy then smoothes towards the top.
Go left in to the wood here for the first section of single-track (At last this is signposted) this 200 yard stretch includes a short steep climb halfway through (low gear) and some trademark tight turns before spitting you back out on to the forest road further down. The bumpy forest road s-bends on to a left turn where you pile on the gas for 100 yards then fork left and realize you've over-cooked it big time for a sharp left up a small bank. This is the first of three consecutive pieces of single-track which will knock your fillings out and leave you begging for more suspension (pity the rigid hold-out!) These are best taken as fast as you dare but watch out for that tree! The rocks will spank you hard-tail aficionados as your forks lead your back end in to trouble and your chosen line is all over the place. Slam your anchors on at the bottom of the last section digging the rear hard in to the shale double track. Turn right and soon join the wider forest road then shortly after go right again up a loose stony trail. This is rideable without dabbing although water displaced stones mean it's do-ability varies widely. Take the left 50 yards up here and wind your way up on to the next forest road.
Right on the forest road then follow this up and up. A short detour to the left on singletrack spits you back on to the main trail. Go left and you are at the high point of this section. After a few hundred yards of screaming forest road (they filled in the water splash here - shame!) Take the single track on the right and give it max! Watch the deceptive first left bend as it can throw you in to the trees and be ready for the frequent water bars which are deepened and steepened with regular maintenance. Most can be taken at surprisingly high speed by lofting the front wheel. One is really big however and will spank your rear end then spit you out in pieces if not taken seriously. The big one is about 20 yards after the first right hand bend which sees you out of the trees. After you launch over this things get even rockier and one boulder affords a great jump giving you a smooth line on to the next rocky section.
|A new wooden bridge has been built here with a great jump off.
After the bridge a burmed left hander launches you down a lane divided double track then a jump over a water bar sends you plunging in to a 50 yard long six inch deep water splash YEEEEEHAH! unless it's dry of course then you'll wonder what I'm on about! Shortly after you come to a T junction, the left turn (climb) here is often closed and actually you're much better off going right, down the excellent gnarly double track which should be taken at top speed (how else?) watch out for the left hand lane which could break light wheels, ride the middle where possible. In really wet weather a brook crosses here in a foot high wave of roaring water. We came across this after a bend at high speed and jumped over/through it in a rush of adrenaline fuelled madness. Can't wait till it happens again!
After 100 yards of smooth farm track the sign points you abruptly right, up a steep bank and over some bumpy, boggy hollows before leading you down a seriously narrow and rocky singletrack. The trick with this wiggly little pitch is to straighten it out as much as possible by riding straight over the rocks. A final steep drop lands you on another doubletrack where you go right for 50 yards and then left down the sting in the Red Bulls tail. A double wiggle between rocky outcrops and a sudden 90 right turn (this is very dark at dusk!) then a short straight track with a small drop off leads you on to an almost indescribable solid rock slope. Man made this is rideable at speed but requires some confidence! the track continues to traverse the hill in the semi-darkness of the wood with tight wiggles between rocks and a further rock drop before doing a 180 turn then plunging down a steep and narrow drop with moveable obstacles (why has someone always put one in the middle of the trail?) a sudden double right bend at the bottom sees you pedaling uphill before a further steep drop to the left and a final chicane. At time of writing erosion has made this last section difficult and a bail out grass line is evolving. Also the chicane at the bottom is falling apart and degrading in to awesome head sized loose rocks - I managed to ride it and felt pretty pleased to be in one piece! (This was Monday 27th December 1999) Stop Press - this last bit was being re-routed on Sunday (20/02/00) by Daffyd Dafis and a group of ultra hard-working volunteers. A trail 'Guru' was over from the states helping show them how to avoid the severe trail erosion, which has caused some of the difficult conditions here. See the photo link below for more recent info. The trail now does a 180 turn (slow) and drops down and across the road. A narrow singletrack with a short climb lets you down in to the top of the Slalom course to finish.Llys Ednowain Hostel Coed y Brenin
Accomodation close to Coed y Brenin. Sleeps 18 people in 4 centrally heated rooms, en suite with showers, with linen and duvets provided. The accommodation offers a private car park, fully equiped kitchen, computers, washing machine and dryer.
e-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
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