Sunday, March 29, 2009


It's been roughly 3 years (to the day) since I first rode Penmachno on a set of Marin trail weakened pins. Although "rode" isn't accurate as I was completely shattered and don't remember much except the never ending pain. Both Uphilla and I were keen to revisit this trail, this time on fresh legs and also try a new loop donated by the trail pixies.

With busy weeks behind us and daylight savings kicking in we decided on a later than normal start and took a leisurely amble up the autobahn arriving at roughly 1pm, in glorious sunshine. Now don't get carried away, this is Wales and it's fickle weather also supplied a fairly brisk'n'chilly breeze that kept us from standing idly around. Although with knobblies promptly unloaded we didn't need any further encouragement to leap off up the fireroad...

My ride buddy has a fresher and more favourable recollection of this trail which helped spur on his wibbly wobby legs. After a couple of tentative opening sections (these trails ain't like those in the flat lands) we started to find our groove and start hammerin' along. The original trail follows the hillside in/out/up/down and is a relatively point'n'shoot afair with plenty of grip on hand 90% of the time. The other 10% was spent "catching" ourselves from near tumbles :p

The extended loop starts with a long fireroad descent (boo) but then show us some crackin' flowing singletrack that tempts you to lay off the stoppers and keep your speed up. Until it all gets too much and your forced to reign yourself in (a little) - beltin' stuff.

During my first visit I don't recall the wonderful almost panoramic vista of the Snowdon range, complete with snow capped peaks - awesome.

The new loop also has some of the longest board walk I've ever ridden. It's also got a fair number of turns that keep your focus at 110% Oh and a part fallen tree almost forces you to slow and duck underneath...tempting you to dab, but on we soldiered :-)

Shortly after the start I was grateful to find that the climbing eased off to a nice gradient with plenty of steady winches through rock gardens to keep you focused. The exposed, pedalie open section of the original is still there...along with the same 'orrid head wind :x

Unfortunately I missed my ride buddy take one of his now typical over-the-bars dive on a hidden dip that suddenly reared itself. Thankfully he came out unscathed.

Although the car park busier than we've ever seen it, we only saw two riders on the hillside so pretty much had the place to ourselves :thumbu

Worth the trip.


Posse: Farqui (5Spot), Uphilla (5Spot)
Mechanicals: None
Weather: Bright'n'sunny (no really!)


Rob#2 said...

Fine blog review to open this years spring summer riding season!
Looks like a nice ride, nice pics and plenty of legs hurt just thinking about 3600feet...
Nice to hear that I'm not the only one that likes throwing himself over the handle bars and having a 'lay down'. Glad that Uphilla was OK and at least this time it wasn't me that caused the tumble!

Farqui said...

This is the 1st serious ride I've cranked wearing knee pads - I'm pleased to say that they felt well comfy (661 Earth Knees btw). Which means that I'm now set for a pre-wedding shralp of your Chilterns ride :p

uphilla said...

Thanks for the Taxi service, farqui. It was worth the trip, though it is a very taxing trail with longish sections that are slight climbs, but quite rough.
The first part of the 'new' loop was a dissappointment - going downhill on fireroad is just wrong - but what followed was one of the longest, sweetest sections of singletrack I can remember. Much of the extension is more challenging, with some large rocky bits as well as the boarded section already mentioned.
With much magazine publicity I expect that this area must continue to develop.