Nant Y Arian, Syfydrin Trail – 30th September

Rob, first to the top of a climb as usual.

After the day at the Coed Y Brenin Enduro we were that knackered we didn’t even get the bikes out the van and wash them, so when we arrived at the Forestry Commission centre at Nant Y Arian my dropper seat post was still ‘dropped’ and my rear brake was still hardly working.

I had a look at the seat post and it turned out the clamped lug on the operating cable had slipped, and within 10 minutes it was back working again. The rear brake I’d have to live with as I’d got no new pads, and no way of putting new fluid in the system.

With the wind starting to blow drizzle almost horizontal across the car park we headed off. My legs felt terrible as we rode the climb up to the ‘Italian Job’, a rocky twisty section that I really enjoy…. but not today. The rear brake thing was really playing on my mind and I just couldn’t get into a flow. Soon we were heading out past Llyn Syfydrin after which the route was named. Soon we left the trail centre, a combination of gravel, tarmac and not lot of climbing and I felt fine. Then a short road section alongside Nant Y Moch reservoir, the forest on our left shielding us from the wind. We knew it was still there from the waves on the water and the sound of it whistling through the tree tops.

All too soon we climbed to marker post 19, where we turned and headed up over the top of the ridge. A gusting headwind laced with cold drizzle greeted us as we crested the ridge. The double track now dropped down into the valley as we headed West towards Bont-goch village. Pretty soon my rear brake was coming back to the bars and hardly doing anything, apart from wail like a banshee. With a constant faceful of drizzle I was rapidly having a sense of humour failure.

I considered throwing in the towel and going back, but Rob and Chris were way ahead as I struggled to get my head round riding with only a front brake. I needed to let them know, I couldn’t just clear off. “Come on, Man Up, you soft idiot” I kept thinking. As we dropped further towards the village the rain stopped. Then onto tarmac…. my mood lifted.

Now we had a long climb that traverses the side of a valley, and eventually drops you back into the trail centre. Not really that hard, just long. I’d finally found my riding legs, and I rode up no problem at all. Not as fast as Rob though…..

Back into the trail centre and we got back onto some flatish singletrack trails…. wow, even my riding head was back. The lack of rear brake gave me a few sketchy moments, but I was quite suprised how much front brake I could get away with using.

Soon we were through the ‘Hippity Hop’ section (the clue is in the names sometimes) and out to the decision point. We could head back to the van now or carry on and do the whole of the Syfydrin trail. I was feeling fine, I knew Rob was too, it was down to Chris…… “Go on then”  By now the lack of rear brake wasn’t an issue and we howled along the side of the mountain and down a fire road to the start of a superb section of riding know as ‘Mark Of Zorro’

Rob headed off first, with me second. I was determined to keep with him as long as possible…. I think he’d worked that out too, and I could see from his riding he was pushing it. I was right on his tail most of the way down, only one quick loose slatey left hander where things got a bit sketchy allowed him gap me, but sometimes having a full view of the trail ahead allows you to carry that little more speed and soon we were dropping out onto the fireroad at the bottom with me about 5 foot away from his rear wheel. Rear brakes eh, who needs them?

Now for some pain, “The Leg Burner” a very aptly named fireroad climb, it goes on, and on, and on. 820ft in just over 2 miles…. just get your head down, spin the pedals and don’t look up! I was last up, I’ve ridden it enough times to know it will kill you if you go at it like nutter, and by now my legs were beginning to feel the effects of the weekend.

Rob and Chris were sitting on some logs at the top when I rolled up. Soon we were back on some good trail, before a short climb took us to the top of the final descent back to the car park… “High as a Kite” I went first and flew down it, I don’t know if Rob was trying to keep up… but he didn’t. Big grins all round at the car park, an excellent weekend of mountain biking.

The rain started falling (horizontal) again, but we didn’t care,  getting changed in a rain lashed car park, by the side of a van, all part of the fun!

Ride – #159     Bike – ’12 Trek Superfly Al Elite

Miles – 23.0     Total 2012 miles – 3627.0


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