Wednesday, 03 September 2014
Bog Snorkelling Triathlon 2014
HMBT: Hi Elizabeth.
EM: I think you'll find I prefer World Champion Female Bog Triathlete 2014 these days! But, yes hi!!
HMBT: I believe you are the 2014 Female World Champion Bog Snorkelling Triathlon Champion. It's quite a mouthful to say. How does it feel and what was involved to gain such a title?
EM: Ah yes! I'm glad you have remembered. Quite a mouthful to say?! You should try the 13km fell run, the 120yrd bog snorkel and then the 19km mountain bike ride! Initially, the experience felt quite exhausting, and then freezing but I suspect that was just the after effects of having run up a great big hill ( I wanted to say mountain, it felt and looked like a mountain to me?) and then getting in some cold bog water! I don't think that the enormity of the event and the title has even begun to sink in yet, although I have asked at work to have my door sign changed to reflect my new status and I have asked if any one wants me to sign my autograph. To be honest I think that they too are also overwhelmed by my new status as no one has approached me yet about it....Do you think anyone wants me to turn on their Christmas lights?!!
HMBT: We are fans of mountain bikes around here. How did you find the mountain bike leg of the race?
EM: The mountain bike part of the race was the one that I felt most prepared for prior to the event and the least prepared for during the event!! I have completed a couple of sprint triathlons and a standard aquabike, but in those the bike bit came after the swim and before the run, I found that completing the run, then the snorkel and then the bike really took its toll on my calf muscles in terms of cramp. I suspect that the cold water in the bog ( do I keep harping on about this?! It was cold!!) and in the pond sized epic puddles on the MB course played a role in this. The course itself was really quite pleasant, although the grass and field parts at the beginning and end of the course was physically challenging.
HMBT: And what's it like snorkelling in a bog? Stinky?
EM: I don't know if I want to make this common knowledge if I want to defend my title next year ( this year only 2 women in race!!). I was prepared for really dirty, stinky water and you know what - it wasn't!! A pleasant surprise.
HMBT: Can you give us an insight into the type of training you did to prepare?
EM: I didn't run for 3 months and sat on my arse instead studying for my PhD!! Aha ha ha, ok the first part is completely true, I've just finished seeing my physio who I've been working with for the past couple of months trying to sort out my wonky biomechanics. This was my first run back and I wasn't sure if I would be able to complete it. In addition I'd never run further than 7.2km before and that was by mistake when in the 1st triathlon I did someone made a miscalculation!! However, that said, I do usually go swimming twice a week (once open water long swim, once triathlon club swim training), cycling 2-3 times a week a mix of hill reps, time trials and longer rides, as well as a mix of circuits, yoga and metafit 3-4 times a week. I suppose now, I have no excuse not to go back to run training! :(
HMBT: Will you enter the Bog Snorkelling Triathlon again...or has it put you off for life?
EM- I cant believe you have even asked this! For me Bog Triathlon is not an event its a way of life!! It's a mind set! I'll be back next year to defend my title! Furthermore I might even do some run training and wear appropriate footwear!
HMBT: Anything you'll do differently next year?
EM: Yeah, smile! Normally, if you ask friends and family they will tell you that I am always joking around and laughing, however having seen the photos of the event if you asked the spectators they would tell you I was the most scary looking serious person! A friend showed me a picture where I look like Jack Nicholson in The Shining - I showed it to my mum and she agreed! I would also google 'how to avoid calf cramp when bog triathloning' and research it as I was in agony during the bike bit! Oh and I'd remember an inner tube so I wouldn't have to borrow one from a kind stranger that I had full in intentions of returning, but then ended up nicking - thank you kindly bog triathlon man. Finally I'd be more careful when handed my trophy so I didn't drop it on the floor like this time ooppss!
HMBT: I notice there were quite a few other events on at the World Alternative Games. Do any other events take your fancy? Which ones?
EM: I think it would be easier to tell you which ones didn't! I absolutely love the idea of the WAG and I think its fab. I have already been talking to people at work about doing a trip next year. And I think I'd like to do the double next year both the bog tri and the bog snorkel......with that in mind I'm off to dig a pit in the garden and practise!!
Monday, 01 September 2014
Bog Snorkelling MTB
A taster of the weirdness that goes on at the World Bog Snorkelling Championships
every August in Llanwrtyd Wells. It's definitely worth a visit and a dip in the bog for the brave.
Friday, 15 August 2014
BikePark Wales celebrates first anniversary with new trail open
On the 24th August 2014 BikePark Wales will be exactly one year old. A lot can happen in a year, ups, downs and everything in between. We’d be lying if we said it has been easy, but all of the best things in life are worth fighting for right?
We would like to thank every single customer that has visited the park this first year. We hope you have enjoyed your visits. Each and every one of you is helping to create a sustainable future for this amazing facility. Our ever expanding trail crew are flat out not only maintaining but also upgrading existing trails. Checkout the all new “Insufficient finds” trail as well as improvements on Zut Alors, Willy Waver and Enter the Dragon as well as a new start to Vicious Valley.
And now for the really exciting news, to celebrate our first birthday we will be opening the first of two completely new trails for 2014 on Sunday August 24th jump trail; this red graded trail is a work of art, each lip and landing sculpted with love and care from Welsh rock and dirt. Created as a collaboration between trail building company Back on Track and our own trail crew, A470 Line is set to be a new favourite for visitors to BikePark Wales from across the globe.
If you aren’t excited enough already, take a look at this short edit by Liam Murphy, the first in a new series of “BikePark Wales diaries” which will keep you up to date on happenings at BPW. This first episode features Trek World Racing rider Laurie Greenland shredding A470 Line in a recent test session.
The aptly named A470 line is the UK’s biggest and best A470 line will open on Sunday 24th August. We will also have many of our great sponsors in attendance to enjoy the weekend with us so stop by and say hello to the guys from Mercedes-Benz Vito Sport, Mojo/Fox,
Trek and Shimano as well as the guys from MBUK.
Thanks again to everyone for making our first year such a great one, this is just the beginning, there is plenty more still to come from BikePark Wales.
Build it and they will come
To book online and find out more visit https://www.bikeparkwales.com/uplift
Saturday, 09 August 2014
Your MTB related photos!
We are revamping the Centre pages on the mbwales.com website and on the look out for great Welsh mountain bike related images. If you have a photo you wouldn't mind us using with a credit please add it to the mbwales.com Flickr group. We're after any kind of image taken at a Welsh trail centre. Families, POV, big jumps, tasty food...anything.
Thanks and I look forward to seeing them!
Here's the Flickr group - https://www.flickr.com/groups/1841960@N23/
, Mid Wales
, South Wales
, Antur Stiniog
, Coed Trallwm
, Bike Park Wales
, North Wales
Friday, 01 August 2014
Trail Review: Blade Trail at Afan Forest
Trail of the month: Blade Trail
Difficulty level: Red / Difficult
Established: February 2014
24km (with an additional 23km available if you incorporate the Skyline Loop)
Nearest Trail Centre:
Glyncorrwg Mountain Bike Centre- Parking: At Glyncorrwg Mountain Bike Centre- Good place to refuel/eat: Skyline Café in the Centre
Most scenic spot:
Check out the view as you emerge out of the tree after Twister.
Over 5,000 since Feb with the busiest day counting 222!
Overview: The Blade trail
is a fantastic addition to the Afan Forest Park trail network and provides the perfect addition to the already impressive array of trails. With lots of great singletrack sections combined with some of the ‘classics’ like ‘Peregrine Ridge’ and ‘Jetlag’ it shares the same sheep track climb out of Glyncorrwg with the ‘White’s Level’ trail but then the Blade takes you out to higher and more remote areas as it twists and winds its way around the 24km Red graded loop. You finally hit the top when you look out over a spectacular view over wind turbines and rolling hills.
Crossing the fire road and starting the first descent is exciting, the trail immediately tells you it's slightly different and by the time you hit the trees you can tell you've signed up for something very special. The tight technical trail through the trees is invigorating and provides a great challenge.
Once back in the familiar areas of the skyline trail you hit another of the great elements of the Blade Trail - optional lines. You can follow Peregrine Ridge or The Rock to finish on either Happy Life or Jet Lag. All the options are where the trail really makes it's name, there's loads of rock features, big berms, great singletrack and all on the side of the hill overlooking the valley. The final leg back into the trail centre is quite the test with challenging rocky features that are going to leave you hanging on for dear life with a huge grin on your face.
Most technical section: Climbing wise it has to be Groovy Gully which tests most peoples climbing skills as it climbs it’s way through a steep sided gully about ¾ of the way round the trail. There are a some great technical descents but look out for ‘Ghost Train’ which is the section after the amazing views over the Brecon Beacons which gets pretty tight and requires good line choice. Both ’The Rock’ & ‘Happy life’ sections will have you thinking you’re in the Alps on a dry day with numerous rock steps and fantastic views but don’t take your eye off the trail! Most of the Blade trail descents are real benchmark Red grade (Difficult) and require a good amount of skill and confidence to ride well.
Summary: With some tough technical climbs and fast flowing descents it offers a fantastic day out for the more experienced rider which will test both your climbing and descending skills. The Blade Trail is the perfect evolution of trail design and an excellent addition to the existing routes. Trails don't get much better than this with it’s mixture of new skool trail design including huge berms, banks and swooping lines with more technical rocky obstacles.
Important Note: Make sure you stick to the way marked trails as it now passes through the Pen y Cymoedd wind farm construction site.
Wednesday, 30 July 2014
Adventure X event at Coed y Brenin
The Rhinog Raptor Adventure X Race
took place on July 13th 2014. Calling in at Coed Y Brenin it was set amidst the rugged beauty of the Snowdonia National Park. Steep climbs, wild terrain and all sorts of off road surfaces from fire roads to grassy singletrack made it a genuinely tough day out. The long route circumnavigates Rhinog Mountain Massif and is approximately 95% rideable, with one section which was a carry climb for most, if not all riders! Check out the video.
Wednesday, 30 July 2014
Snowdonia Greenway Bike Shuttle Bus
The Greenway Shuttle Bus will connect you and your bike to the start of some of the best cycling routes in Southern Snowdonia.
On Thursdays and other selected dates through out the summer holidays, the South Snowdonia Greenway Shuttle will transport you and your bike allowing you to leave the car behind or make a longer point to point ride.
The shuttle links Dyffryn Ardudwy, Barmouth, Dolgellau, Coed y Brenin and Llyn Trawsfyndd. Make the most of a days riding at Coed y Brenin, riding the Mawddach Trail or mixing it up with the bike and canoe facilities at Llyn Trawsfynydd.
The South Snowdonia Greenway itself is a 43km route on quiet roads and cycle tracks.
The first Shuttle of the summer season runs on Tuesday 29th July and the last on Thursday 4thSeptember.
Sunday, 20 July 2014
Afan Lodge: Bike Friendly Accomodation
A little shout out to the very wonderful Afan Lodge who invited us to stay with them on our recent Bike and Beer road trip across Wales earlier this month - more on the road trip coming soon.
If you're not familiar with Afan Lodge it is ideally located between Afan Forest Park Visitor Centre and Glyncorrwg Mountain Bike Centre. Modelled on a 'Swiss lodge' ski chalet it makes for a perfect base camp with all the Afan single track trails
available within a short cycle ride from the door. Cwmcarn and BikePark Wales are only a short drive away too.
As a mountain biker you won't feel out of place - in fact you'll feel positively embraced. Bike paraphernalia adorns the walls, there's a pump track & skills loop in the garden, a secure bike lock up on site and huge food portions to sate most appetites.
Oh, and there is plenty of Welsh beer available in the bar too.
A little piece of mountain bike heaven to lay your head after a fun day on the trails. Next time why not make a weekend of it.
Wednesday, 16 July 2014
Up and Riding: BikePark Wales Celebrate First Anniversary
BikePark Wales is the UK’s first and biggest commercial bike park. On August 24th anniversary. It is hard to believe that this ground breaking facility is in fact less than a year old, so much has been achieved in that short time but there is much more to come from BikePark Wales. A new coaching programme using video analysis and deconstruction techniques has just gone live and is proving extremely popular. Additionally two new trails are now under construction, a red jump trail that is set to be the UK’s longest and most creative section of flowy jump trail and a new, steeper black run designed specifically for long travel DH bikes. This is just the tip of the iceberg, there is plenty more to come from BikePark Wales in the near future.
In “Up and Riding” we join the BPW team 10 months after the park opened and find out what it was like behind the scenes with the mayhem of opening weekend. We also meet the BPW staff for the first time including a hilarious introduction to the BikePark trail crew. There are riding sections with some of the UK’s best riders including BPW locals Manon Carpenter and Taylor Vernon and we get an outsiders view of the park from MBUK’s Doddy.
BikePark Wales would like to thank everyone that has visited and helped make the first year such a success, each and every one of you has invested in the future of the park and we are already seeing the benefits of well maintained trails and new trails being added. We look forward to unveiling our two new trails later in the summer sand enjoying some fresh tracks with you!
Find out more and book your trip to BikePark Wales
Tuesday, 08 July 2014
Beer & Bike Countdown
I’m a firm believer that no two words go better together than Beer and Bikes. If you add Welsh in front… ‘Welsh Beer and Bikes’...then all the better. So this week we begin our roadtrip across Wales pedalling at some of the best Welsh trail centres and drinking some of the tastiest Welsh beer.
At the end of our journey we’ll put together a write up and a video so
you can follow in our tyre tracks. Until then follow our journey on
. We’ll be using the hashtag #beerandbikes