Friday, September 28, 2007

Brechfa

Around an hours drive west of Afan, you'll come to the small village of Brechfa which has a couple of relatively new trails. Approximately half of the drive is via the M4/A48 with the rest of a terrific twisty country lane amongst some fab countryside - an ideal end to a long motorway slog.

At the moment there's a gentle green graded loop that takes you out to a slightly more taxing blue loop before returning back the trail head on the last of the green. There are no trail head facilities and I didn't see any potential site for any, although the car park is substantially larger than say Penmachmo's.

My start didn't go well as the first section isn't complete yet and I'd read you have to drop back to the road and ride around to the start. A sharp road climb gave way to a steep "boat" before popping out on some fire road where I soon picked up the trail markers. I later learned however, that I could have simply ridden over the crest from the car park ! So don't believe everything that you read :p

A short section of fire road the trail ducked into the tree's and the compacted trail was lovely and smooth, approx 3-4ft wide, undulated and twisted it's way up and down. Although my legs were fresh I was glad I wasn't greeted with a long vertical slog, instead I was soon building momentum using these clever rollers and berms. It's like no other trail I've ever ridden and whilst it isn't technically difficult it's an absolute hoot blasting around the cleverly placed berms and boosting off the roller and roller with such little effort :D

Before long the blue section arrived with trail following a slightly steeper gradient upwards and the newly cut surface definitely needs a few hundred knobblies on it to compact it and take away the "stickiness". Before too long I was pointing down and hammering between the trees when I found the undulations where now more frequent and needed some long range piloting to get a good line. The smooth flat surface might be easy to ride but it's awkward to find any last braking traction so I opted for a more relaxed yet none the less rapid technique. Instead of the rocky, flat perilous switchback at Afan, these are smooth, big bermed beauties to rail and help keep all that sweet momentum going. The blue DH also has a couple of more technical lines that the DDave's amongst us could opt for so don't overlook the challenge this trail offers, it's just different to the others.

After the relatively short blue you head back along the fire road before taking a long, long and faster, faster descent back to the trail head. Again using the unique roller system to keep you out of the saddle and pumping each drop to effortlessly fire you around the next curve or over the next crest. There's no tight turns to contend with as it all "flows" on and on. It was so fast that my eye's were watering even though I had sunnies on. Should you choose, it's a full on g-in/g-out whoop and a holler that'll see you out of the saddle flicking left'n'right, lofting or sucking up the crests.

This is a great trail packed into a short package that should appeal to novices and single track gods alike. It'd be great for the young'uns to start developing their skills and even the teacher should be able to have a good ride too. For me, it was a great opener to a weekend of Welsh riding and I'll definitely be back...

Route: Tracklog
Posse: Farqui (5Spot)
Mechanicals: None
Weather: clear blue sky's and sunshine

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