Welsh Weekender (Day3) – 22nd April
Another clear morning welcomed us, but today there was no frost, and looking South clouds were already building. Today would be spent in the Dyfi Forest riding sections of the Dyfi Enduro course and also some sections of the Cli-Machx trail. We packed the van under the watchful eye of Cerys the dog, who was keen for us to abandon our plans and spend the day throwing sticks. After yesterday’s departure and resultant walk back with dog in tow we hatched a plan. Get the van out in the lane, engine running with Rob ready to go. I then go with Cerys and throw her stick as far down into the valley as possible…. and run. Worked like a dream! As we headed down the lane I kept watch, but no dog appeared.
Heading down towards Machynlleth the clouds gathered and the rain started. By the time we pulled into the car park above Ceinws the rain had eased off a bit. We unloaded the bikes and headed up the fireroad, a long climb later we hit the top and did a couple of loops of the public access sections of the Dyfi course. Slowly the weather was improving, the rain stopped and we got the occasional spell of sunshine.
My legs were really starting to feel the effects of the weekend. During one of the descents I’d even heard Rob managing to keep up with me! So I’d eased off the brakes, upped the ante and managed to drop him by the end 🙂 We rode back up the side of the mountain, the plan being to ride down the final sections of the Cli-Machx trail then ride up a fireroad off the lane towards Corris. Up this fireroad was a bridleway that we’d ridden the last time we’d been here. The final descent had been shut, and this bridleway was the alternative way down… and was a balls out, no finess required, just point it down the mountain and go. The climb at the start of the “where’s my ball section” was murder on the legs but soon it started to descend, flowing really nicely.
Out onto the fireroad we were now at the top of “Tony the Tiger” supposedly once or maybe still, the longest singletrack descent in Wales….who knows. I’d never ridden it before, so Rob gave me a brief resume. The one thing that stuck in my head was look out for a sharp left turn, it’s not bermed, there’s a big drop if you get it wrong. Originally there had been a catch fence, but someone went into it and took it down with him! Best keep my eyes peeled for that then!
To start I followed Rob, the trail slowly losing height in a series of humps and rollers, it then turned into rock slabs and steps. Some rideable, but some were quite wet and technical. I was too knackered to mess about trying to clear all of them. The trail then went back to the flowing style it had been at the start, so I went ahead of Rob, knowing from the first section I was slightly quicker. The trail was now under tree cover, so the surface had that extra little bit of slip allowing the rear to get nicely sideways going into some corners. The speed gradually increased, out across a section of cleared forest the trail was covered in small fir tree branches, changing the little bit of slip to out and out slide. On a couple of humped turns the bike was fully sideways, but in a controlled way… well sort of.
Back into the trees the trail dropped more, the kicks and turns coming think and fast….. then there was an arrow pointing left. I think it was made of old tree branches, but glancing at it took my eye off the trail. Looking back the trail turned HARD left after a rocky outcrop, somehow I got round it, but I’m not sure how. There now came a section of switchbacks “The Wiggles” that dropped out onto a fire road. Rolling out of the section I pulled the bike to one side got off and sat down. I was battered, my legs were shot, there was nothing left in the tank. Stuff the fireroad climb and the bridleway descent from the last visit.
I’d got a stupid grin on, and was in that state you get when you really commit, attack the trail, and ride it as fast as you can, knowing if you screw up it’ll spit you off the bike and it’ll hurt alot. But somehow you took it on, and beat it…. this time!*
“Tony the Tiger” was a great way to finish a stunning weekends riding……
*Non mountain bikers just won’t understand
Ride – #66 Bike – Gary Fisher Paragon 29’er
Miles – 20 Total 2012 miles – 1479.8