Wednesday, October 07, 2009

AFAN 3rd 4th October 2009

After much discussion, it was decided that the camping group would go down to Afan on Saturday morning. The Uphillas decided they needed their beauty sleep so advised the remaining 5 riders (including a non regular, Jonny, my brother in law) to “start without them” and the three cars rolled into a wet Glyncorrwg car park around 10.30. Unfortunately much of Skyline (the original planned Saturday route) was closed due to forestry activities and so we decided eventually after customary faffing around to do W2 which comprises Whytes Level plus the Wall (geddit?). The route up to the top was still quite dry and therefore not too bad to get up although 10km of climbing is tough whatever the conditions. However the downs were really enjoyable, not too slippery but with enough roots and rocks to get you thinking. About half way around Whytes Level at the top of the “Energy” descent you take a fire road link to the Wall which then takes you down close to the Afan side of the park. Again the downs were fun – nothing too outlandish and fortunately no tabletops for me to crash on. Part way down we passed the B&B where Rob#2 and Chas were staying where it was unanimously agreed that camping was far better and who on earth would want a dry warm place to sleep with a slap up breakfast included?

From sWales'09

By this time it was also clear that Jonny had a level of fitness and speed that the rest of the group had not had for some time (if ever) so Darren cunningly managed a couple of pinch flats to give everyone a short break. Jonny soon realised that at our pace, he was never going to get home in time to baby sit the kids and with the fear of his wife’s retribution in his veins, set off for Glyncorrwg at a pace that beggared belief. For some reason I was nominated to go with him and there followed what felt like a lifetime (actually about 90mins) of gruelling climbs and seat of the pants descents with barely a break for banana bread between. I don’t remember too much of that part of the ride except falling off the north shore bit (no witnesses fortunately as Jonny was way in front by then) and arriving totally sh*gged back to the car at 3.45. Jonny leapt into his car and was home in two hours so clearly drives in the same way he cycles. The rest of the group arrived back about 30 mins later having spent the afternoon in the pub and cadging a lift back (that bit is not true btw). At roughly the same time we met with the Uphillas who were heading up for the second time to do the end piece of Skyline – which some of us managed to do on Sunday.

The rest of the afternoon was spent putting tents up, cleaning the bikes, drinking tea and beer with a great dinner in the café by the campsite serving up huge portions of lasagne and potatoes. More beer on the comfy seats followed by more beer back at Les / Darren’s place (ie tent) with cakes and crisps provided by Mrs Les. Unfortunately sleep was not easy to come by; Darren p*ssing into a glass and Dave’s snoring not to mention considerable contributions to greenhouse gases by some of the party, kept the whole site up until the early hours.

The next day dawned (eventually) and it was clear that the weather was going to be good. The Uphillas were not riding Afan (black mountain route which no doubt will be blogged in due course) so the remaining four went off up to the top again to do the bottom piece of Skyline. Sadly, Dave’s rear freewheel gave way part way up (it’s not as if it is under any stress is it?) so it was left to Darren, Les and me to struggle once again to the top – a quick couple of miles on the fire road to an intersection with the trail. Then down….virtually non stop perhaps 20 minutes of fast and furious descent with some big (for me anyway) drops swoopy curvy bits and twisty switchbacks. What an absolute hoot – overall a bit more difficult than previous day’s fare but more rewarding I think for being like that. By the end, Darren’s rear mech cable had failed so he was stuck in 8th but that just made him go faster so the small uphill bits without having to pedal. One of the best things about it was that because most of the trail was shut, virtually no one was to be seen and big thanks to Uphilla for working out the way off the signposted route.

We met up with Dave at the campsite and eventually Les and Darren left to get back to their loved ones…but not without having the largest bacon and egg sandwich ever in the Dropoff Café. Dave eventually managed to get the freewheel fixed and we went off to the other side of the park to do a ride there – Dozer will post that in due course.

Thanks to Dozer for organising a great weekend. Camping certainly added a dimension but unsure whether to be repeated….

More Pic's and also here.

Posse: Dozer (Canyon), Darren (Heckler), Les (Pitch), Jonny (Trek Fuel thingy), Willy (Cotic)
Weather: Damp on Saturday but mild. Sunday fine but overcast. Not bad for October in Wales!
Darren: 2x pinch punctures, rear gear cable failed; Dozer: rear freewheel failed; Willy: front and rear mech minor niggles.

Injuries: Dozer, minor scratch falling off going uphill.


Farqui said...

Darn shame I couldn't join in, tho I doubt I could compete with Darren's f@rting.

Dangerous Dave said...

No one could compete with that level of flatulence!

Rob#2 said...

Shame Chas and I failed to meet up with the group....didn't anticipate such poor mobile coverage. I'll put a bit more effort in next time.


Anonymous said...

I'm getting some bad press here, I was overflowing with excitement and by the sound of it I wasn't the only one.
A great jolly boys weekend, steep ups fast downs and camping to boot. Hussah!
Bring it on again I say!

dozer said...

I think this must be the first blog for a while where no one is taking the Mickey out of my navigating. We were OK on the bikes, it was just getting to Afan that was the problem, there was an extra loop on the roundabout on the M4 were we had stopped at the services and then Miss Direction (that’s my sat nav) sent us on a detour round Cymer.
A good weekends riding and excellent food in the cafe. I was annoyed I missed the top ½ of the sky line decent, the bottom 1/2 was interesting freewheeling down. All the trails seemed fairly quiet all weekend, maybe other groups had been put off with the weather and tree felling?

Willy said...

I forgot to mention that Dozer's navigation was crap...actually only one minor error caused by poor signage more than anything.

uphilla said...

It was good to be back at Afan again, I think those trails at Glyncorrwg Ponds are amongst my favourites and White’s Level is brilliant with the new energy section. After the Alps the Black section seemed fairly easy, though it is still capable of catching you out if you ride it fast. There is a good mixture of jumps flowing single track, boards, switchbacks to keep you entertained down to the bottom.
That initial climb is long, but we managed to overcome the mental barrier and head back up to ride that fantastic long final descent of the Skyline trail – it was late in the day, but we just managed to get down while the light held and enjoyed every minute of it!
The jury is still out on camping :-)

Farqui said...

Uphilla - I hear that this ride gave you some trouble with your rear end !


How's it hanging now ?

uphilla said...

Ah yes, what dangerous described as a 'spectacular dismount' :-)
Rear triangle dented and slightly bent; Fork stanchion and crown also 'rock damaged' :-(