10 Nov 2007

RAF Cycling Buddy Rides

Coed Llandegla - Saturday 10 November, 2007

This is undoubtedly going to be a winter of trail centre riding for me, especially now that I have found this gem only an hour and a bit away. Now I love my riding in the mountains with an OS, a compass and cheating with my GPS. However, when there is a howling gale and driving rain, this place is still bursting with morale. I will be back.

The setup has been provided by a private company that were looking to generate some revenue from their forest when the market for newspaper dropped due to an increase in usage recycled paper. As a result the trailhead facilities are spot on. An excellent café with bike washes, bike shop and classroom for MTB courses to use.

The trail itself is very synthetic, which sometimes may be a bad thing but on this occasion it is most definitely good. It kicks of with a steady gradient climb from the off on a buff, well drained track where you can comfortably climb two abreast and have a sociable chat. It does go on for a while, but due to the friendly gradient and twists and turns, time soon flies by. The first section of singletrack descent set the tone for the rest of the ride, winding up the speed and confidence with nicely rounded humps. These allow you to jump to your hearts content if you ride them hard, but for the less confident rider are just as nice to roll over. The majority of corners are bermed but with a nice flat bit at the bottom again for the less confident rider.

Soon the first section (Roller Coaster) splits of onto on of the new black sections. They are black not due to rocky technical sections, but more due to the height of some of the hairpin berms and a few of the jumps immediately preceding twists and turns around the trees. These sections just flow so well, and you soon learn that by staying off the front brake and letting the ‘g’ push your tyres into the perfectly prepared turns, allows terrific momentum to be carried.

For payback there are some short sharp climbs that whilst they hurt a little, the soon have you back up for the next perfectly planned descent. As for the woodwork, well I shall not put you off because when it comes to this stuff, I am soft. It is very clever the way the trail builders play with your mind and that is all I will say on the matter.

Thanks to Si, Andy Rich and Moose for a cracking day out. Two laps makes the travel worthwhile at 21 km each. It also means that a bit of familiarity enables you to ride it a lot harder the second time. Despite some inclement weather, the superb drainage has made sure that this trail will be a great ride all year round. Get yourselves over there.

Happy trails..... Sam