The Wall

It was a dismal day for a ride in the Welsh hills. We pulled on waterproof jackets and started out into the light rain.

I seemed a long way uphill and constantly wiping glasses became an irritant. Although it rained lightly and constantly it was warm enough to make your jackets steam. The trail drained well but some of the stone sections felt quite slippery as tyres squirmed on the surface water. The condition surprised us but probably reflects the maintenance work over the winter; it was firm, consistent and without breaks where the erosion is pulling the trail base apart.

Trying to push some of the single track sections it was easy to find the limit of both the front and rear tyres and the only sensible choice was to ease off a little. We rode everything as it came until we hit the rock garden towards the end where we took a couple of attempts to overcome the roots and the larger rock obstacles. It looked like the local line went between two rocks but four attempts failed to keep to that line. Alec missed the local line but had sufficient momentum to reach a rock crest and pop his front wheel over at ninety degrees. Casually balancing he turned his front wheel and dropped off his escarpment. I can vouch that he used all of the travel on his forks and the rear shock on his Truth was completely compressed. Bounding over  rocks like a trials rider might not be the intended application for this particular Ellsworth but the frame did not flex and he held his line and rode off.

I had intended to take some photographs of this particular point and had assumed that we would be there for a while but his mix of pleasure and relief at getting through this section in the wet conditions meant that it seemed churlish to ask him to return and repeat his feat of balancing. I admit to trying myself one more time but failed to match his accomplishment ,but I will return. Only if it is dry.

The last descent I allowed the Nomad to find its own line and flew over the rocks and lumps with the bike saving me, time and again, from my own limitations. This was the intended application of this bike and made all the uphill efforts worthwhile.

Five runs were enough for me for a weekend and I returned to the car park and a shower. Clean,hot and five minutes for a pound. I bought some lunch in the cafe before driving home and was struck by the difference between the two cafes. The old one is adequate but the newer one  at Glencorrwg is great.

As for accommodation we all stayed at the Green Lanterns which is close enough to the centres to drive in a few minutes and has a full restaurant on site. Staff were friendly, rooms were comfortable and clean, restaurant portions were good with prices around twelve pounds for a main course. The breakfast was included and the portions were ideal for a hungry mountain biker. I will go back and recommend them for you to try.

A great weekend and if you have never been, and are a good mountain biker ,then buy some pads and head for the hills.


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