Friday, September 29, 2006

Post Afan Awards

Personally I had an absolute blast throughout last wkend and the smiles amongst the posse seemed to reflect my feelings.

Now I thought it'd be fun to sum up some of our antics and have some virtual awards - I'll start the knobblies rollin' with...

Posse
  • Biggest Grin; Mark - for consistent chesire cat like gurnin'
  • Darren - after the final Skyline descent
  • Biggest Air; DDave - 'nuff said
  • Most Serious Injury; Dozer - busted shoulder
  • Biggest :( ; Dozer - missing rides
  • Most Improved; Roger - gawd knows where his fitness and speed have suddenly come from
  • Most Whippet Like; Chris
  • Biggest Chuckle; Mark - trying to restart 3/4's of the way up Cwmcarn's initial ascent, too funny
  • Loudest Snoring; Mark - an outright winner
  • Dirtiest Dishes; Rob - who thought he was lord muck !
  • Most Speeding Tickets; pending
Bikes
  • Most annoying; Farqui's M4's - howlin' up Penhydd's fireroad, sorry peeps :blush
  • Most bling; Rob's Flux - 4Ti pedals and new SRAM-esque shifters :p
  • Most mechanicals; Farqui's 5Spot - which took a serious batterin', needing a rebuilt rear wheel / Uphilla's 5Spot - shifting woes
  • Most Reliable; Jenni's Cotic
  • Newest; Mark's Giant XTC
Trails
  • Best Trail; July - short loop of the Skyline with fab techy climbs and great descents
  • Best Section; Penhydd's Hidden Valley - switchbacks-r-us
  • Best Climb; Skyline/Whites initial climb - just techy and steep enough to a great climb
  • Best DH; Cwmcarn's final descent - fast and mighty furious
  • Worst Climb; July's Fireroad slog after Joyrider
  • Worst DH; Any fireroad !
Lets hear your nominations...

For any stasticians amongst us, checkout this spreadsheet which lists everyone's mileage and altitude cranked throughout the course of the wkend.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Cwm Carn Monday morning

Trail; Cwmcarn XC course

Roger had ridden the XC route the year before with Ben and as DDave had brought along his mighty DH rig we were keen to try the "freeride" routes. The normal uplift service doesn't run on Monday/Tuesday and they're now stopping Joe public uplifting themselves! Apparently some dodgy characters have been abusing the system e.g. using tow ropes to uplift their buddies. Poor DDave was seriously bum'd as reverted to plan B and a loop of the XC orientated trail.

The initial climb is a serious affair with lots of steep and very technical bits where line a good line choice is essential. We reckon that the lower section would be near on impossible to clear if it were damp as the roots and moss covered rocks were a handful in the dry. It's much more difficult than climb at the start of the Whites Level and we were all relieved to ride some fireroad over the last couple of k's!

The first couple of DH sections contained a number of jumps and table tops that kept DDave amused. Three wooden ramps allowed the only jumper amongst us to get some air and when Farqui gave the smallest a try with the smallest of air and then lost it on the following roller :rolleyes the rest of the posse sensibly sneaked around the drops.

The remainder of the route typically consisted of very fast and narrow DH's with lots of cheeky roots with the odd lower branch to keep you even more focused. The trail has lots of fabulous berms to help you rail the turns and maintain your momentum. Roger in particular was grinning from ear to ear as he began using less brake and more berm.

The end of each of these fabulous techy DH's was often followed by a gentle singletrack climb to regain a few feet but nothing too leg sapping or technical, unlike the first few km's.

Towards the end our XC route crossed the full monty DH course and the size of the berms and drops just has to be seen to be believed. We were all happy to continue down our tamer route ;)

This happened to be the last section down to the car park and has some of the fastest and most awesome berms and chutes that I've ever ridden. The trail was zipping by so fast that I was now looking 3-4 turns ahead, my rig was heaving in the compression of the berms and when I could I gently stroked the brakes a little to reign back the pace. Turn after turn, s bend after s, rock after rock all flew by. Then all hell let loose. . .it seemed that once you released the brakes you were immediately back at warp speed and I couldn't find any traction to prevent us hurtling down the mountain. The trail sneaked right and then left but my brakes had me pulling a right hand tack. No probs, there's a run off with three rocks (upright!) spaced out and if I clear them then I'll rejoin the trail. Initially I thought made the gap but in hind sight I think I glanced one with my front wheel. Which then ripped the bike out from under me and although it appeared that I'd cleared 'em. . .I was now without bike ! The next thing I recall was slamming into the dirt, HARD :O The side of the trail grabbed my left arm and shoulder, a mighty pain ripped across my chest as the rest of my body continued down the mtn. I stood up and tried to lift myself and bike out of the way but my left arm was limp and dangling at my side. "Is that my arm :huh" The posse rolled around the bend (at a more sensible speed), checked me over and figured nothing was broken. Although I was dazed I thought I'd be able to ride to the car park which was within sight but my left arm couldn't grip the bar so I wobbled clumsily down the rest of the trail whilst coming to grips with my tumble. Loading up the bikes saw some mobility return but my injured arm couldn't lift anything or press inwards (using your chest muscles) without lots of pain but I still had plenty of outward strength (using your back muscles). The drive home was a struggle with 5th gear taking some serious gurn'in to acquire. Later that evening my left bicep had become swollen, very bruised and dis-coloured.

Over the course of this fabulous wkend I've been lovin' the trails and have been hammerin down 'em on my rig so it's no surprise that my luck ran out. At least now I know my limits :D

This is a mighty trail and one that I'd love to ride again, albeit with a little more in reserve ;)

Posse; DDave (Cameleon), Farqui (5Spot), Roger (FSR), Mark (XTC)
Route; Tracklog
Weather; Overcast but sunny, warm and humid
Mechanicals; Farqui snapped his chain shortly after starting
Inuries; Roger mis-timed a series of jumps and jarred his wrist a little. Farqui had a spill after the wooden jumps - minor cuts and grazes. On the final mighty fast downhill section within yards of the car park, Farqui failed to reign back his momentum and stacked big time - slamming his shoulder and arm into the ground. Fortunately nothing was broken and movement gradually returned after coasting down. Inward strength with his left arm is now minimal and the 200mile drive home was mighty painful when selecting 5th/6th gears.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Afan Sunday afternoon

Trail; Afan Forest Park, The Wall

The man possessed aka Roger was keen to get yet another ride under his knobblies so after completing the morning ride and returning to the cabins a dedicated few decided to give The Wall a try. The Graveyard section of which finishes just around the corner from our chalet.

A lbs had indicated that much of the trail was under diversions with mucho deforestation underway and some nasty steep climbs as temporary work arounds.

Perhaps DDave or Roger can shed some light on the route and I'll update this post accordingly?

Posse; DDave (Cameleon), Roger (FSR)
Weather; Dark and overcast yet dry
Mechanicals; Farqui had planned to join in but a mighty wobbly rear wheel and a stubborn Chris King rear hub put pay to any fun as he dashed off the lbs.
Inuries; None

Afan Sunday morning

Trail; Afan Forest Park, Penhydd

Dozer, Farqui and Rob had covered this trail on Friday afternoon but didn't have any qualms repeating the ride. Most of the posse were looking for a final blat before heading back home so this relatively short and easy trail seemed to fit the bill. I'd have liked Rob to experience the July trail which he missed on his ambulance duties but we'll get him up there before too long.
The overnight rain had now made its way through the canopy and was starting to turn the trails into a mouse but no parts were too much trouble. The damp didn't seem to affect the grip on offer either although the exposed roots needed a little more care and attention.

Uphilla was looking forward to the Hidden Valley and it didn't disappoint with plenty of smiles and stories exchanged at the base of the next fireroad. Chris grumbled a little about the moisture but perhaps his rapid Michelin's weren't quite "all mountain" enough in these conditions ? He was still smiling tho ;)

The final sections were dispatched without letup and finished off a great wkends riding for most of the posse. Although a few die hards weren't done yet...

Posse; Brumster (Liquid), Chris (Inbred), Darren (Cannondale), DDave (Cameleon), Farqui (5Spot), Jenni (Cotic Soul), Les (Hardrock), Rob (Flux), Roger (FSR), Sicknote (Hardrock), Mark (XTC), Uphilla (5Spot)
Route; Tracklog
Weather; Fairly overcast but remained dry and pleasantly warm
Mechanicals; Farqui's M4's squealed from the off and although a strip and clean silenced them for a few sections they wailed their way up the fireroad - much to the annoyance of riders further up the hill ! A couple of handfuls of Welsh mud and grit thrown satisfying over the rotor kept them quiet for the rest of the wkend. Brumster collected a puncture which fortunately didn't show itself until he unloaded back at home, phew.
Inuries; None.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Afan Saturday afternoon

Trail; Glyncorrwyg Ponds, July Trail (the shortest section of the Skyline)

This trail shares the same initial 6km slog up the side of the valley as the Whites Level so we all knew what was coming. Some even found it too much and sneaked off back down to watch a local rugby match ! For me, the most excellent chilli and jacket spud were making themselves felt whilst leaning over on this climb and I was almost relieved when I had to stop and fix a puncture :p

Once the slog was dispatched the majority didn't fancy the Black section again, a wise decision as it had already sent one of us to A&E, so we continued on with the Skyline. Whilst mullin' over the trail options, the hills gave way to the sea and the twirling wind farm made a suitably picturesque backdrop.

The fireroad takes you around to a couple of sections of entertainment and after Granada it was time to take the 1st of two shortcuts that make the monster Skyline trail more manageable. The shortcut itself is quite steep and obviously has a high volume of water flowing down there when wet 'cos it's well cut up and very rocky, which Chris really enjoyed.

Now the trail gets to be really fun with Joyrider flinging you along the top, the side of the hillside, into and out of the woods. A sizeable fireroad slog follows which starts to wipe the smile off your face before tucking left into the woods for the grand finale and some of the best DH that Afan has to offer. Deadwood has some rocky drops that seem to have been sanitised since last year but they still caught Farqui out who pogo'd his way down with just one foot clipped in :rolleyes The whimpers from his quads cramping and nads flailing over the back wheel appeared to amuse the posse tho :p

The next couple of sections continue with some fabulous flowing sections which repays the brave with plenty of high velocity action, blurred vision, aching thighs, wrist and forearms. All managed to race down the switchbacks whoopin' and a hollerin'. Although we all had a blast down to the finish, Darren seemed particularly takin with these final sections and his companions driving back to the cabin with him prob'ly needed ear plugs :D

A great days riding was then enjoyed in good company around a fab communal BBQ back at the excellent accommodation.
Posse; Chris (Inbred), Darren (Cannondale), DDave (Cameleon), Farqui (5Spot), Jenni (Cotic Soul), Les (Hardrock), Roger (FSR), Sicknote (Hardrock), Mark (XTC), Uphilla (5Spot) - although Roger and Mark stalled on the initial climb and decided to sink a cool one at the bar ! Both DDave and Sicknote were extremely tired and missed the last 2-3 sections, taking the fireroad down instead.
Route; Tracklog
Weather; Overcast, bright spells, humid
Mechanicals; Farqui had his tubeless rear burp terminally on the initial climb, requiring a tube. During the ride, Darren spotted a slight wobble in my rear wheel which revealed a heavily dink'd rim so it was little surprise that the tubeless setup wouldn't re-seal.

Inuries; None

Afan Saturday morning

Trail; Glyncorrwg Ponds, White's Level

This was the first ride of the wkend where we were present and a mighty train of knobblies we made too. For those that hadn't joined us on Friday, the initial 6km slog up the side of the valley was an hell of an introduction. The singletrack climb is steady and has plenty of rocky interest to keep you mind off your aching legs and pumping lungs. Once the posse had eased a little roadie-esque air from their boots traction was restored and everyone steadily winched their way topside.

At the top, a new Black section has been added which starts with a handful of high banked berms which were fun. You then race down some double track before darting off over a good length of pleasantly wide northshore woodwork. This had plenty of bends and drops to keep you focused.
Then the trail turned rocky with a series of ups and downs one of which has almost every rider stop before deciding to ride or walk down. For the brave few the speed was welcomed into another batch of high berms and it was on the last tight and high sucker that Dozer questioned his line choice a little too late and toppled over on the tighter line. He bravely rode on and seemed to be able to ride all but the larger drops with his sore shoulder. After another section we then noticed the tops of his shoulders weren't equal and would have gotten him off the mountain had we not been at the furthest part from anywhere :rolleyes He soldered on and Rob whiz'd him to A&E where the x-ray showed that he'd separated his shoulder :O Effectively his shoulder had dropped leaving a single bone up high, yikes. His riding was over for the wkend :( but I'm relieved that he didn't appear to be suffering too much pain whilst his arm was in a sling.

The rest of the ride was pretty much all downhill over the typical Afan terrain that everyone was now getting used to.

Posse; Brumster (Liquid), Chris (Inbred), Darren (Cannondale), DDave (Cameleon), Dozer (Endozer), Drude (XTC), Farqui (5Spot), Jenni (Cotic Soul), Les (Hardrock), Rob (Flux), Roger (FSR), Sicknote (Hardrock), Mark (XTC), Uphilla (5Spot)
Route; Tracklog
Weather; Warm, sunny spells
Mechanicals; Chris' non-driveside crank bolt came out which Les somehow spotted on the trail. Unfortunetely, Chris reassembled his ISIS cranks out of alignment and couldn't get 'em apart again, doh. He was forced to retreat down the initial climb and use an extrator before whiz'g around after us. Uphilla suffered mis-shifts throughout the ride. A few punctures ?
Inuries; Dozer separated his shoulder and although he bravely rode to the end of this trail, his riding for the wkend was over, boo.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Afan Friday afternoon

Trail; Afan Forest Park, Penhydd

A few of the posse managed to take a day off work with which to travel to south Wales and hopefully arrive early enough in the day to fit in a sneaky ride before the bulk of the posse arrive. I often find that these trails take me a while to adjust my riding style and I was also keen to get Dozer out there as he hasn't experienced them before.

The drive down was unerving as we all passed through some heavy downpours that I feared might set a trend for the wkend. As it happens we were extremely lucky during our 4 days riding with the rain only appearing overnight and our riding was under cloudy yet sunny skies :thumbu. Although we'd passed through some heavy showers this trail didn't show any sign of damp so we were able to crank around without too many problems.

The Penhydd trail starts at Afan Forest park and has been badged as an ideal trail for the less experienced rider, although I think that's a little cheeky.

After a few forest sections that twist through the trees you crank your way steadily up a fireroad before darting off into the woods. This is a common theme on this route although you often get a series of juicy DH sections back to before regaining altitude again.

The Hidden Valley, is a particularly sweet section with lots of twisty technical sections and the trail often runs right up to the edge of the slope with a long drop for anyone who over runs the turn. As it was dry the turns were easily railed at a substantial pace which helped gain a little air over any following rises.

Dozer experimented with a slightly lower fork pressure and although it felt nicer on the rough stuff he now had some re-learning to do.

Sidewinder and Sheep Dip Gulley are fun to blat along and both Rob and I smoked these bits on each others heals. After which we agreed that travelling too close at such silly speeds wasn't such a great idea and was inviting disaster...even though it was great fun :p

Dozer seemed pleased after popping his Welsh cherry and we were all keen to cover plenty more miles of singletrack throughout the course of the wkend.

Posse; Dozer (Endozer), Farqui (5Spot), Rob (Flux)
Route; Tracklog
Weather; Warm, overcast
Mechanicals; none
Inuries; none

Thursday, September 21, 2006

That Skills book again

...has another review on NSMB.

"Throughout the book a lot of emphasis is put on weighting and unweighting the bike, pumping and staying off the brakes. So I guess it is no great surprise that those are the skills I worked on the most after reading the book. At a place like Whistler those skills can change your riding dramatically. Pumping the back sides of jumps, rocks or any dip in the terrain not only makes you significantly faster but reduces the focus on pedalling so you stay strong longer - which simply makes your riding experience better."

This is what I found and couldn't believe the difference it made to my riding experience.

You can get it from Play.com for £11.99 delivered

Friday, September 15, 2006

Swinnerton Cycles Affiliation

Swinnerton Cycles recently announced their new online store which promises a massive stock and to include more obscure and specific items than any other retailer. I initially clocked this over at Singletrack, as they were teaming up to offer readers a further 10% discount on their already competitive prices, clicky for more details.

A quick browse of the clean, new site reveals that Swinnerton's offerings are competitive, even against the likes of CRC and Wiggle.

For additional benefits, I've also added our beloved Knobblies blog to their affiliation program which promises you even more savings. To receive this discount you need to access the Swinnerton Cycles website using a specific link, so update you shortcuts to;

http://www.swinnertoncycles.co.uk/Affiliate.aspx?id=3.

I've added this url the "retailers" section of the blog's sidebar. Oh and their site logo within this post ;)

Dozers Loop

Last night, Dozer guided a few of us around his local patch, taking in the clay pit with the *ahem* "jump" where he broke his arm last year...whist test riding an Enduro with 12"s of travel :rolleyes

Blasting down the springs was as fun as ever, especially in the twilight. I'd have seen the last drop had I removed my sunnies :blush Steve warily watched us pile down before venturing over the edge himself and joined us with a big grin.

Heavy rain the night before hadn't turned the trails to a leg sapping goo, but I don't suppose this'll be the case for much longer.

Thanx Dozer for a decent ride with a good mix of ups'n'downs and was good practice for Afan - the height gained was only a couple of hundred feet short of an typical s.Wales trail.

Posse; Dozer (Endozer), Farqui (5Spot), Roadie (Klien h/tail), Steve (Spesh Hardrock h/tail - steel)

Weather; Overcast, approx 12c - pleasant ride temp, v.gentle breeze.

Mechanicals; Roadie acquired a puncture within a mile or two of the trailhead.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

RP3 PUSH'd

TF Tuned Shox have now returned my RP3, having been overhauled and tweaked. As I'd been away from my beloved knobblies for some 10 days, I was mighty keen to get my 5Spot rolling again last night. But whilst my camelbak was thawing, I opened the package and read the TFT service report.

Tweakin;
TFT had called me prior to the service and their initial tests showed that my 18 month old, 2k mile'd was working normally - encouraging for anyone else running a stock RP3. I recounted the problem experienced in the Peaks, which I bike ride, my riding "style", typical terrain and riding weight.

He then quiz'd me about any specific changes I wanted. Since the riding rough Peaks terrain, I feel that my 5Spot feels too soggy at the "sag" point. It feels too hard overall if I add a little more air to jack her up a little. On my local cross country terrain the RP3 works fine, although the Pro-Pedal does seem to still allow some pedal induced bob.

Neil offered to re-valve or better still add the PUSH assembly which would then give him more options to fine tune the shock. From browsing tinterweb I hadn't realized that these suspension guru's could adjust the mid stroke as well as the compression and rebound. Specifically, The PUSH mod allows them a choice of 4 to 5 options ranging from soft to xtra firm in each area. Gulp. With so many choices I pretty much left it to him to identify which option would suit - they have loads of experience listening to dodgy, illiterate MTBers like me and interpreting what they really want. I think he pretty much selected the middle options with perhaps a firmer mid-stroke.

So what'd they do to my ol'RP3 ?

  • Stripped, cleaned and reassembled '05 RP3
  • Full service
  • Fitted PUSH platform damping upgrade kit
  • Dyno tested shock operation
  • Static water-tested shock for air leaks
Parts fitted...
  • PUSH platform damping upgrade kit
  • Air can seal kit
  • Oil damper seal kit
Much to my surprise, all the displaced parts were returned for my inspection. How brilliant is that, it proves that they're talking straight ;) They included some Fox lube and even replacement DU bushes, after noting that the original bushes are still fine. Oh and you also get a new "logo" sticker :rolleyes

The service sheet also highlights that adjustments can be made to the PUSH kit if the initial configuration is not to your liking. Promptly and free of charge, me likee :p

Recommended set-up;
  • Positive pressure to 210psi (which may need re-setting to get correct sag)
  • Rebound will need adjusting
210psi ! Gulp. I'd found that running my stock RP3 at approx 160psi gave me almost full travel locally and wouldn't bottom out on the occasional Welsh drop. At this pressure the ride was still acceptable albeit a little wallowy. 160psi is approx 90% of my body weight (lbs) - a rough gauge for a 5Spot. So TFT's recommendation of 210psi flips this rule to 120% body weight :o At this higher psi, a quick sag check showed around 12mm of the 55mm shaft, around 20% which is pretty good for general trail riding.

Initial Ride impressions; Cranking a straight forward xc route, my immediate thoughts are how taught the rear now feels. Sure, the stock RP3 could be made firmer but then even the smallest ripples would crash and skip by underneath you, let alone riding over roots or babyheads. Not so with the PUSH mod - even tho I'm running waaay more psi the rear is taught and firm but not harsh over the bumps.

The rebound adjuster didn't seem to make much difference and consequently wasn't tweaked too much.

The Pro-Pedal appeared to be working (looking down at the cable movement) but seems to be much softer between settings than the stock RP3. As the different settings don't seem as pronounced, I suspect that I need to adjust to the operation of the revised damper before I can feel any differences - much like familiarising myself with the action of the stock RP3 last year.

Summary
; :thumbu Although it's still early to make a complete assessment, I can tell ya's that tuning really does make a huge difference. The less soggy feel makes the bike feel much tighter and quicker yet it rides the terrain with so much more composure. I also have my digits crossed that running less sag will improve climbing ability and help nail my long fork to the trail.

The peeps at TFT are down to earth, helpful, prompt and definitely know their stuff. Their prices aren't high compared to the competition either. PUSH are the dogs, 'nuff said.

I'll update this post when I've completed a few more hours testing.

What's Next ?
  • Sag; when loaded up with riding gear
  • Rebound; more testing required
  • Varied terrain; get over to a rooty Woburn and hammer it !
  • Experiment with lower psi

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Afan Bikefest

...based at Glyncorrwg Ponds are having a "mini-festival" on Sept 22-24th with food, drink, riding and test bikes to play with.

It kicks off on Friday with nosh / drinks in the cafe and demo bikes will be available on Saturday and Sunday with 2007 models on show from the likes of Kona, Commencal, Orange, Santa Cruz and Nicolai.

During the evening, they'll be music with a band and DJ.

Farqui; So it's bonus time folks with some bike p@rn laid on for us :D You see, all that "date" planning paid off...

I suspect that Drude will see "festival" as an opportunity to wear his bright tie-dye outfits ;)

Monday, September 11, 2006

RP3 Tease

That MrFlooks...he's a joker. Why? Last Thursday I posted my RP3 to TFT for a tweak.

Over the wkend the Royal Snail website indicates that the parcel was delivered = good. But offered no confirmation = bad. Their site lists numerous links to "lost parcels" and more worringly "it says delivered, but isn't". Now I begin to seriously regret not using a courier :x

After a wkend bereft of knobblies, I'm eager to confirm that that the "fast factory fettlers" actually have my bouncer. So I make a quick call...after some paper shuffling, list checking and odd grumblings from s.Wales - their system says it isn't there :o

Gulp. My pulse quickened, my blood surged, stories of lost parcels and lengthy claims flash by... Just as I'm thanking MrF and preparing myself for the Royal merry-go-round, he calmly mentions that it's on the shelf !

Ho-ho, nice one :D :x

Friday, September 08, 2006

Afan "nears"

Posse, can you believe that we've just 2 wks left until we meet up in south Wales :o So I figured it was time that we get logistics, route suggestions and the like cleared up.

Travel;If y'all recall, I was keen to make this a long wkend with riding on four days - provided my legs can take it :p The cabins are available from mid afternoon Friday, until mid morning Monday and I intend to make full use of 'em.

At the moment, here's a rough idea of when I understand peeps will be arriving...

  • Friday lunchtime; Dozer, Farqui, Rob
  • Friday eveninng; Brumster / Bex, Chris / Jenni, DDave, Roger, Mark, Uphilla
  • Saturday morning; Darren, Les, Sicknote

...please chime in if I've misunderstood your eta. This also goes for any of the following tables that I've been dreaming up.

Accom; You'll find good directions to the cabins here. You should take note that Brwn Bettws is accessible via a loop and that the furthest "road" from the B4287 is the preferred entrance as it's a gentle climb over a wide surface. In contrast, the access road closest to the B4287 is very steep / narrow and best used as the exit.

As veryone has now paid their deposits, we're each now owing £19. Or £16 if the last place can be filled. I'll settle up with the owners myself and but would appreciate some form of payment over the course of the wkend. Which you'd best bring with you as cash points are few and far between down there.

Bedding is supplied for the x2 singles (bedroom) but we'd best each bring our own sleeping bag, pillow and towels.

Each cabin consists of a bedroom (x2 singles) a double and single futon and after speaking with a few of the posse it seems logical that the cabins "might" be occupied something like this...

  • Cabin#1; Chris/Jenni, Darren, Dozer
  • Cabin#2; Brumster/Bex, DDave/Uphilla, Farq's
  • Cabin#3; Roger/Mark, Les/Rob, Sicknote

...which then means that our "couples" each get a bedroom (with the exception of cabin#3 !) and each cabin is occupied on the Friday evening.

If anyone is uncomfortable with the idea of sharing a futon with some strange hairy chap you'd best bring along an airbed. There's plenty of floorspace within each cabin.

Our accomodation almost backs onto the "Afan Forest Park" trails (after the Graveyard section) so we should be able to leave the jalopy's at the cabins for one day.

Nosh; Since my last visit, I'm told therre are now central BBQ facility's - which appears to be a favoured option for Saturday night?

I'm open to suggestions (and voluteers) as to who brings what?, if we all chip into a central kitty? or sumat? Perhaps it's simplier if each cabin mostly sorts out their own supplies?

Breakfasts are important to organise as I know that some like's 'em greasy, whilst I need a good bowel of gruel and some tasty pancakes to set me up for a day in the saddle.

Lunches will be available at cafe's of both the Afan center's so you'll need a few bob to refuel.

I doubt that anyone will need prompting to being along a little *ahem* "lubrication". If you don't, then you'll go without !

Trails; Now the fun bit ;-)

I'd originally planned to hit Afan's "The Wall" and "Penhydd" trails on the Saturday, but I've two reasons for shuffling them to Sunday.

  • Drude is joining us for Saturday and rode these trails last year, so he'd prefer something new.
  • The Glyncorrwg Ponds trails share a peach of a 6km climb that is probably best attacked with fresh legs.

Here's a "suggested" ride schedule that is by means binding :p

  • or

...it's open to "interpretation" and might change as some peeps may opt to;

  • ride just one trail a day
  • split into smaller groups
  • ride the "natural" Brecon Beacons

The "schedule" should cope with those that arrive for the day, are there for just Sat/Sun, miss Friday or miss Monday, etc.

The "July" trail isn't shown on the "ponds" map as its the start and end of the monster Skyline trail, effectively the best bits. It leaves out much of the boring fireroad mileage and cuts across just after the "Granada" section. The mighty Skyline actually has another shortcut option available after "On the Edge", which'd make another choice for us. The option to extend or shorten makes it ideal as an afternoon ride so peeps can see how their legs feel.

The routes are so good, that I'm happy to ride 'em more than once and I'm sure that you'll feel the same.

For more information on the FC centers, checkout the Afan and Cwm Carn sections of the MBWales website.

Do please remember to bring along some decent head protection, 'cos riding this terrain in a beanie isn't very sensible. Ben forgot his brain bucket at CyB back in March, and was forced to tippy toe around :(

I can't wait to get my knobblies rollin' over them schweet trails, see ya there :B

PS: Don't forget your bike :blush and a little maintenance wouldn't go amiss either.

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