Celebrating having made it to a bit of blogging milestone, for the 1,001th post I headed out to West Wales and hooked up on the trails of Coed-y-Brenin. The last time I rode around was May 2006. 2006! Crikey, it didn’t feel like that long.
Understandably a lot has changed in that time when if I recall the new visitors centre building was still in the final stages of construction and not open. Well it’s all very different now, that is for sure and there are plenty of trails to choose from. It lacks the warm and friendly sense of community from back when Sian and Dafydd Roberts ran the initial pioneering visitors centre, but the scale of that setup didn’t have the super helpful team in Beics Brenin.
I opted for the Beast, because it was the longest option and having spent over two hours driving the 61 miles as the crow flies to get there, it was about maximum biking.
I didn’t pay enough attention to the differences between the Beast and the Dragon’s Back Trail. They looked to be largely the same, a bit of a school boy error as they diverge near the start and that meant I ended up doing extra bits, which wasn’t ideal as the Beast is a trail that lives up to it’s name.
For the second week in succession as I reached the top most bits of the trail the weather closed in and it was a bit damp and grey. The views when you could see them were amazing as you would expect from being on the fringes of Snowdonia.
The trails were good and I am sure radically different since I last rode them, but Gomez, Uncle Fester and Pink Heffer all seemed familiar as something might with the haziness of 15 years ago memories.
As I return to the car a bit broken by the ride, I just thought that the trails were so rocky that they would be really quite unpleasant on a hardtail and even on an Enduro bike they were tough going. Almost to the point that if this is by design they are going to put a lot of folks off.
I’m not just talking about the Black bits – you get what you asked for – but many of the bits were shared with Red trails and on that basis they are definitely dark red. Maybe we need a regrading of the trails, using the IMBA classification and introducing the double Black diamond grade: