The Beast, Coed y Brenin
There was no wind forecast this weekend and after a brief visit to Coed y Brenin a few weeks ago I was dying to try out some of the moutnain biking trails there so I made an early start on Saturday and met Steve in the car park at 9am.
We decided to do the trail called ‘The Beast’ which is basically a combination of the MBR and ‘The Dragons Back’ trails and according to the trail guides is 38km long, rated as a black run and therefore only suitable for experienced riders used to prolonged physical effort and difficult terrain and should take between 3 and 6 hours.
The trail starts off with some well constructed rocky singletrack which was very bumpy for Steve and I on our hardtail mountain bikes. It then climbs up the hill on a combination of forest roads and technical double and single tracks before launching you into some really good downhill sections over rocky singletrack. next up was probably the best bits of the whole ride, ‘The Pink Heiffer’ and ‘The Big Dug’ which are long flowing singletrack descents that were a joy to ride.
Steve was now beginning to suffer from some mechanical problems with a broken cassette and a lack of drive but was soldiering on. It did mean I had to wait at the end of each section for him, but at least i could have a rest and he was still enjoying himself.
We then climbed again and after a few stops to chat with other riders and at one point a group of about 30 girls we reached the forest cafe. We didn’t stop, but headed off into some more open countryside and a long, slow climb to the top of the hill. We stopped again for some refreshments and to admire the view and then headed off down some very tricky descents. the section called ‘Gomez’ was particularly difficult. Before long we were back at the river and had another climb to the top of the hill before a final descent towards the car park and a final singletrack section back to the visitor centre.
Steves bike had now given up completely so he ended up pushing his bike for the last few miles, and I thought I may have lost him completely at one point, but patience paid off and he arrived at the top of the last climb in the end.
Despite all of the stops and the mechanical issues we completed the course in 3 hours and could probably have done it in much less as we took it easy all the way around.
I’d certainly recommend it though as the trail has a nice mixture of riding and is the perfect distance for a nice, nothing too major, day in the saddle.
I even took a camera with me, and guess what used it once as well so here are a couple of very autumnal photos from Coed y Brenin.