MTB Mayhem at Afan Argoed

The scene was set, End of Month ride at Afan Argoed. I met Jon, Dave and Dan at the leisure centre, we put the bikes on the racks and headed off to South Wales for a planned ride around the W2 trail.

Pre-ride pfaff

Pre-ride pfaff

Jon and I stopped off for a Burger King breakfast on the way and we got to the visitor centre at Glyncorrwg where we met Jay, Brad, Matt and Woody who had made the trip across from Bristol. They were all ready to go so after a bit of a pre-ride pfaff whilst I got ready we were off onto the Trail. The Bristol contingent missed the first turning but were soon back on track for the first climb of the day. I actually quite enjoyed the climb, but I’m not so sure about the others. It wasn’t long before we were heading back down though and enjoying some top class fats flowing singletrack, some rockier singletrack descents and even some north shore for good measure.

Dan on the first climb

Dan on the first climb

Dave on the first climb!

Dave on the first climb!

Jay on the first climb

Jay on the first climb

Matt was having a bit of a nightmare with three punctures and Brad’s knee was swelling up but everyone was enjoying the trails and the sunshine, even it it was taking quite a bit of time to cover the distance. In fact we were enjoying ourselves so much and blindly following the W2 trail markers that we managed to go wrong and soon found ourselves back at the Trail head at Glyncorrwg, obviously having missed the high level link across to the Wall at Afan. Not to worry it was an ideal time for a lunch break, Pizza for me and a few others and Matt managed to get the biggest tuna sandwich ever. Good stuff. Then we refilled our camelbaks, did a little bike maintenance (and swapped bikes or Matt) before heading off towards Afan and The Wall.

Brad came along to the start of the trail and then headed back as he knee was hurting and we all carried on in the sunshine. This time it was a long hot fireroad climb. Matt was on his Stinky now which slowed him down on the uphills, but at least he didn’t puncture on the downhills. Jay was struggling a little by now, but is getting some fitness back. Then it was more of usual bumpy descents, little climbs and then the final ZigZag descent which was all going well until I cam around the final bend to find Jon on the floor with a big laceration just above the knee. With the help of Matt they already had him away from the bike and had a inner tube tourniquet on to stem the bleeding. We then moved him a little to get him comfortable and allow us to elevate his knee and apply compression to the wound which was about 4-5 inches long and deep enough to allow us to see all manner of muscles, bones and other internal bits and pieces. As the other cam down behind every one sprung into action. I was holding Jon’s leg and doing my best to stop the bleeding whilst helping him stay on top of things, although I had to get Dan to help with this after a while once his leg got heavy!. A couple of people (Dave and Woody I think) were sent off to the visitor centre to get some help Dan was on the phone dialling 999 and organising the emergency services and a couple of people were stopping others people coming down the trail so that they didn’t hurtle into us.

We’re not sure exactly what happened but the end result was that a fast spinning brake rotor had become a meat slicer and sliced though his knee.

After a while a ranger and rapid response paramedic were on the scene and the air ambulance was on its way. A Jay and Dan were then down guiding the helicopter in and apparently marvelling at the way the pilot decided to land UNDER some power lines!

Once the air ambulance crew were on the scene we bundled Jon onto a stretcher and then we all carried him down to the waiting helicopter before sending him off on his way to Moriston Hospital. The Ranger then helped out by giving the car drivers a lift back to Glyncorrwg so that we didn’t have to ride back in the rain (Yep, somewhere in the proceedings it had started raining!) and then we got ourselves organised before everyone headed off and I went to Moriston to find Jon.

All fun and games!

All fun and games!

Accident scene

Accident scene

Air Ambulance

Air Ambulance

Into the truck

Into the truck

Into the helicopter

Into the helicopter

Ready for take off

Ready for take off




When I got there they hadn’t really done much, just the usual heart rate and blood pressure tests and he was sitting there waiting for them to take a look at him. I guess the fact that he wasn’t a top priority was a good sign in a way but he was starting to feel the pain and get a little bored with waiting after a while. The doctor soon arrived though, gave him some morphine and removed the dressing which, despite the morphine looked as though it was pretty painful. The decision was then made that it was too bad to stitch up with a local anaesthetic so it was off to theatre for surgery under a general anaesthetic.

I headed home once he went off to theatre and then after making lots of phone calls to let his family know where he was and work know that he wouldn’t be in I headed back down to Swansea to collect him. He looked a lot better and was free to go, hobbling along on his crutches. It sounds as though he was quite lucky and missed everything important other than his muscle so hopefully will heal pretty quickly.

All in all a great days riding with some excitement at the end. Everyone responded perfectly though and Jon should be back out and riding soon.

4 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    Excellent recovery, fantastic machine the air ambulance
    They have a lottery at http://www.walesairambulance.com

    be a sport and join it

  2. Cath says:

    I’ve ridden these hills n valleys years before any “fancy pants” trails where built … But this has gutted me to the core… No respect given to the original guys who built the hardy trails and now the whole tourist “industry” is due to close… Sad days

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Alan Cole

Alan is a Freelance Website Designer, Sports & Exercise Science Lab Technician and full time Dad & husband with far too many hobbies: Triathlete, Swimming, Cycling, Running, MTBing, Surfing, Windsurfing, SUPing, Gardening, Photography.... The list goes on.

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