Monday, 15 December 2014
Epic Cymru: A multi-day stage race
Have you heard about Epic Cymru? It will be the first ever MTB stage race to be held in South Wales launching this summer.
Held on August 15th-19th the event features some of the very best riding Wales has to offer. From the classic XC venue at Margam Park, visiting trails in Afan Valley, Bike Park Wales, Rheola & Brecon Beacons National Park. Timed XC and downhill sections will form around 40-50% of the riding, with the remainder being un-timed linking sections. Solo or optional team of 3 category and families welcome to give their support.
Entry opens on the 11th January.
For more information visit http://www.epiccymru.com/
Thursday, 11 December 2014
Winter Riding Goals
Winter is here so set yourself a goal. We all know that once you're out on the bike you never regret going but it's fair to say longer colder nights can make getting your bum up off the sofa and onto your bike a little more difficult. So set yourself a training goal to keep up your motivation. I’ve put pen to paper to give you a few ideas;
Are you going to ride 100, 200, 300, 400 miles over the next 3 months. Record your distances every time you hop on your mountain bike and start toting up the miles. Maybe you could promise yourself a small treat at the end of it all if you reach your goal. A mince pie...or a new bike.
Visit a trail centre you've never been to before. New is always good for enthusiasm and a trail centre can be a friendly option when you can follow the way-marked trails and finish in a cafe with a bacon butty. Obviously, it’s winter so you still need to be prepared with spare warm clothes and emergency repair kit.
Demo a bike you've never ridden before. Another way to spark your enthusiasm. You may find yourself so inspired you end up dipping your hand in your pocket to make a new purchase. Alternatively, just swap or borrow a mates. Full sus, 29er, short travel, long travel, fat bike...surely there one you've not tried.
Watch inspiring films. Ok, ok...when it really is grim outside (I'm talking horizontal ice rain and -40C) throw an extra log on the fire. Indulge in a suitably gnarly mountain bike film session. The skilful riders always make it look easy and you'll be imagining yourself gliding and bouncing around on two wheels.
So what is your goal going to be? Follow mbwales on facebook and let us know.
Photo by the talented @mtbcymru - follow him on twitter
, Mid Wales
, South Wales
, Antur Stiniog
, Coed Trallwm
, Bike Park Wales
, North Wales
Monday, 01 December 2014
Antur Stiniog - Aerial Teaser
A dramatic peek at Antur Stiniog from the skies. A seriously epic dose of riding.
Antur Stiniog - Aerial Teaser from SKYQUAD on Vimeo.
Monday, 01 December 2014
Epic Afan an MTB challenge
Mountain Bikers to attempt first 10 hour 'Epic Afan' challenge this Tuesday at Afan Forest Park.
Endurance Mountain bikers Ant White, Matt Jones and Scott Cornish will be the first to attempt to ride every mountain bike trail in the Afan Forest Park, back to back, in just 10 hours on the 2nd December.
The trio will be the first ever to complete the two-wheeled 'Epic Afan' challenge which will see them pedal 85 miles over 8 challenging trails in just 10 hours. It will be a battle of fitness, riding ability and endurance with the final hours of the challenge taking place in darkness.
The riders are all experienced, long distance mountain bike racers and look forward to both completing the grueling ride and establishing the event as a new challenge that other riders can aspire to.
Matt Jones said, "I'm excited about the challenge, not just for the actual riding but because it has the potential to become an annual event that others can attempt. I'd like it to become a bit of a winter challenge for nutters like us to keep fit in the off-season and see who can set the fastest time."
The Afan Epic challenge will start at 8am on Tuesday 2nd December with all three riders aiming to complete the ride by 6PM. They will start riding on the new and technically demanding Blade Trail, before moving on to Skyline and making their way around the remaining 6 trails.
Support for the ride is being provided by Exposure Lights, Mulebar and Weldtite.
Messages of encouragement can be sent by Twitter using #epicafan
Monday, 17 November 2014
Penmachno Trail Video
Over the past few years Conwy County have been working closely with Menter Bro Machno to create two new exhilarating sections of trail at Penmachno. The construction of the trails is now complete and it's ready to ride! What are you waiting for...
Tuesday, 11 November 2014
7 Things I Like About Winter Riding
Yeah, it's a little bit colder but that's no reason to put your bike in the garage for the next 4 months. Winter riding is a heap of fun...especially in Wales. Here are my top reasons for getting out on your bike between now and the first sprouting daffodils.
1) You get to go night riding.
Night riding is some of the most fun you will ever have on a bike. Bikes lights crammed full of lumens are pretty cheap now. Bung one on your helmet and one on your handlebars and you are good to go. I find your senses become heightened and you assume the concentration of a beginner again. Fortunately you should also have more skill to overcome obstacles instead of running into them. Obviously be sensible, take extra clothing and ideally ride a trail you're familiar with.
2) It's Quieter.
Lots of people are summer bikers so by making that extra effort to get on your bike in the colder months you'll be rewarded with considerably quieter trails.
3) Maintain your fitness.
By remaining active you can still keep up with the best of 'em when it comes to spring again. Or if you've been trying particularly hard you may find you overtake a few more people on the trail. All this additional fitness without the need to sully yourself with any indoor bike/sufferfest malarkey.
4) Eat more cake!
Sticky toffee pudding and mince pies are all great winter food and if you hit the trails you'll feel all the better for having earned them too.
5) Getting muddy.
Who doesn't like getting muddy. More rain, means more puddles which means considerably more fun.
6) Warming up by a log burner at the end of a great day.
It's that combination of ice cold wind on your face followed by the extra warm cosy heat of an open fire. It doesn't matter whether you are at home, in a pub, or making the most of a long weekend in a Welsh holiday cottage. Although...come to think of it, a long weekend in a holiday cottage, in Wales, with my bike....now that does sound like a lot of fun.
7) And as one facebook follower said...the ground is softer to fall on. Bonus!
Here's a great photo by MBTom.co.uk as someone enjoys a free winter bike wash.
Monday, 27 October 2014
Dragons Back Ridge
Ben Dunster is an 18 year old student studying Mechanical Engineering at the University of Bath. He lives within riding distance of the Black Mountains and Brecon Beacons, which he tells us 'is pretty much the perfect location if you are a mountain biker'. Ben's been filming his rides with a GoPro for nearly three years and it's via his YouTube channel that we became inspired by one of his latest trips. If you get your kicks from big views, technical descents and plenty of sweaty effort getting up then this is definitely one ride for you. I'll let Ben tell you a little more about it:
"Encouraged by a father with a love of cycling, I learnt to ride not long after I could walk and have not stopped since. I have competed in disciplines such as Cyclo-cross, XC MTB and Road all my life. My favourite place to ride is the Black Mountains because of the fantastic terrain and isolated feeling. It is how natural riding should be.
There’s no two ways about it with the Black Mountains, whichever route you choose it will involve a difficult climb. On this day I decided to ride (and push the steepest parts) up the Dragon’s Back ridge. I intended to ride down, starting near the Black Mountains Gliding Club in Pengenfordd. This allowed me to check the ridge before riding down.
I continued up onto the top of the Black Mountains, peaking at the Pen Y Manllwyn summit (775m). After taking in the views and a drink, I turned the camera on, and set off on the descent. The ride down is a good as it gets. It’s really fast in places, and steep and technical in others. And if that’s not enough to contend with, the sheep are likely to be in the way. Although a short ride, and a slog to get to the top, the Dragon’s Back Ridge is my favourite ride in the Black Mountains because of the 360 degree ridge views, spectacular terrain and adventure ride feel. It’s a truly unique experience."
Tuesday, 21 October 2014
Aerial View of A470 at BikePark Wales
Unusual view of the very jumpy A470 red grade trail at bike Park Wales.
Saturday, 27 September 2014
Busy at Brecha
The trail pixies have been really busy recently in Brechfa. If you've not been for a while you'll find bigger jumps, smoother berms and fewer puddles. Here's a quick update and photos so you can see how nice it rolls.
On the Gorlech trail there have been improvements on the 'Gardens' (second to last) section of singletrack, redirecting water and repairing the trail after a landslide earlier in the year, also rebuilding the last berm in a set of four to bring it back up to its original height. On the final decent of the Gorlech, just past the bridal way crossing, there is new trail layout to prevent water causing a huge puddle.
Harvesting is now complete at the furthest point of the Raven close to the red route, the singletrack up there is barely recognisable now the trees have gone and give great new views over the Cothi valley.
The Raven has had a lot of work done on the Jump Park, redesigning the tabletops - the last table top is now much bigger than it used to be! Some repairs have also been done on the Raven's 'Gully' berms, the decent that comes out on the forest road where it meets with the green before the green / blue cross roads.
Finally, some repairs have been done on the Derwen's (green trail) second to last section of singletrack.
All of the works are riding really well and the recent dry weather has led to amazing dry dusty trails. All photos are from Maia Media
. And a big thanks to our models Ivy, Carl, Nick and the very awesome little Pedr.
Thursday, 18 September 2014
Trail Review: Black at Coed Llandegla
Trail of the month: Llandegla Black
Difficulty level: Black/Advanced
Nearest Trail Centre: Coed Llandegla / One Planet Adventure
Parking: Coed Llandegla Mountain Bike Centre
Good place to refuel/eat: One Planet Adventure Café (it’s one awards including ‘Best Breakfast in Wales’ by The Times)
Most scenic spot: Morwynion Valley where the red and black split.
: A well groomed, fast and challenging route that slaps you about the chops and leaves you grinning all the way to the car park. But beware the route isn’t a winch up, fly down, repeat. You are going to need to bring a set of legs with you as every descent is matched by a brilliant ascent to get your lungs working. Technical features coupled with fast flowing singletrack make this a stunning all round tester of a route.
Llandegla’s most prominent feature is the well groomed nature of it’s trails and the black route is no exception. There are still plenty of exciting features to test you and you’ll have to keep your wits about you but it’s a real speed merchant of a route.
The start is shared by all trails and quickly gets you to the top of the hill, some nice flowing singletrack takes you down into the valley where optional black lines start to give you a flavour of the route. As you ride through the forest past some great windfall trees a vista opens up to you looking down the Morwynion Valley. The wide open valley gives you some stunning views and is a great place for that group photo or quick snack.
Here you are presented with the start of the black proper. The singletrack is fast and flowing, twisting through the trees. Beautifully crafted singletrack tugs you this way and that down the side of the hill. After 100m or so you can choose one of two lines, Parallel Universe, which is a more jump focused line or Big Jim’s a more singletrack route down the hill. Both offer huge grins but are very different in flavour.
The later sections of black throw in some great macro features like the elevated boardwalk and B-line. Afterwards you reconnect with the red route and head back to the trail centre. There’s still plenty of exciting, fun and fast features to keep you focused as well as an abundance of lung and leg busting ascents.
Most technical section:
B-line is worth a special mention, a fast extended boardwalk starts this section leading into some great jumps that come thick and fast. Everything is rollable but there are some subtle hips, scoops and blind jumps that will require your full attention. Like everything here if you keep your speed under control it’s grins all the way. A short sharp ascent leads you into the second set of descending jumps. These are a little simpler to negotiate so watch your speed.
A super groomed, jumpy pumpy trail. If you like jumps you’ll absolutely love this trail. Lots of big berms and tight singletrack make this a very rewarding ride. Take it as fast or as slow as you want but there is potential to really get some speed and air. That said don’t underestimate the climbs as you’ll still need a pair of good legs