Thursday, October 23, 2008

Mabie - First Taste

After a couple of aborted visits I finally got to my knobbly's out around Mabie earlier this week.

Before you ask, "yes it was wet and falling from the sky" :-( Comically it was bright and sunny when we arrived, before the heavens opened whilst I changed into my ride togs. Which then cleared for 5mins whilst I assembled the bike and then dumped big time just as I rolled off road. Fortunately I then only had to tackle a strong wind and the odd spot of drizzle.

The red graded Phoenix trail unfolded as a typically well drained trail (thankfully) consisting of a slate, small rocks and mud with a good dose of slippery roots which made me feel right at home :p The trail doesn't have any long nasty climbs or descents and keeps you busy with little challenges throughout.

There are a few 2-3ft drops dotted around to keep you on your toes but they can all be taken carefully - although one at the end of a board walk really made me grin as I floated into a level drop :D

Did I mention raised board walks ?...there's a few of these and the first is the worst being uphill, around a couple of corners and off camber. Oh and like Dalbeattie there are short technical black sections available to those with many more skills than I. I did commit to x1 "black" right at the end which simply turned out to be a steep roll back to the fire road :rolleyes

There's even a couple of small stream crossings which were good fun and flowing strongly.

A number of small open berms (unlike Brechfa) were great fun and easily railed even though I didn't know what was coming around the next bend.

"The Scorpion" is a fairly challenging steep albeit relatively short climb that played with my mind and seemed to repeatedly yell "dismount" as my legs and lungs burnt. It was a shame that riders were resting at the top (the fireroad) which forced me to dig deep and crank my way ever upwards atop my knobblies ;)

The route isn't very long at 10miles-ish and although it's graded "red" I'd say it'd be a good trail for a competent rider to cut their teeth on as it doesn't have any nasty surprises but has plenty of nice bits to entertain.

A special thank you must also go to Mabie House for making this trip as special as the others.