Dyfi Enduro 2011 Trails

Just over a week to go now until the Dyfi Enduro 2011 so we were once again checking out some of the trails on our evening ride last night.

This time we started at the northern end of the forest to ride some of the trails we rarely ride. Dave Reed couldn’t make it so it was supposed to be just me, Pete and John. None of us know that side of the forest so we were armed with GPS’s and GPX files to help us find some of the trails and hoping that it would all come flooding back to me once I saw it. However, as we arrived at the designated meeting spot so did Dave Elliot so we quickly commandeered him as our official guide for the night.

We set off and straight into a steep, technical climb towards the top of the Baileys Bridge descent. The weather was perfect, clear blue skies, no wind, warm but not boiling and it hadn’t rained for ages. The trails were going to be perfect and John had his new bike. At the top of the climb, we stopped for Dave to put on his pads, dropped our saddles and threw ourselves down the Baileys Bridge descent. The top wasn’t quite as rocky or steep as I remember it, but it was a little looser and the loose slaty rocks seem to have infilled some of the steps in the bedrock.

The rest of the descent was it’s usual self with loose slatey rock over the top of jagged bedrock but it was bone dry, grippy and riding well. The very bottom was covered in brash though which will need to be moved before the Dyfi Enduro proper.

Next, rather than climb the fire-road as I have in the past we took a little track to the left of it. This was steeper and more interesting but not too difficult. It brought us out onto a fireroad and then onto another singletrack climb that none of us had ever done before. We don’t know if it will be in the Dyfi Endruo this year but it probably should be. It was a fairly steep, slightly technical climb that switched back on itself halfway up into a steep narrow grass sided climb that brought us out onto a fire road.

After a brief stint on the fire road we found another new track that we explored. This one was very steep and had all of us, even Pete, pushing at points. At the top though it didn’t really seem to go anywhere, certainly not in the direction we wanted to go so we turned around and hurtled back down it. With a little bit practice this could be a very nice descent with lots of little jumps off the bedrock humps.

From here it was a quick bit of rocky single track that is a common feature of the Dyfi Enduro and off to the World Cup Descent. I’ve only done this once before and remember it was very steep and scary, so I entered it with a little trepidation. The top was quite badly eroded but there were ways around the gulleys. As it steepened the surface improved and I felt good. I seemed to be going well and before I knew it I was at the bottom. No incidents, no injuries and all was well – It wasn’t as bad as I remembered – or was it just that the conditions were perfect?

My pads had worn down on my brakes though and Dave Elliot was heading home. Our options were to change my pads and explore a little more without Dave as our guide or head back to the cars as well. It was getting later, we’d had a good ride and our stomachs needed food so the latter was chosen.

This involved a big climb back to the top so off we set. Dave and I were at the front setting the pace whilst John and Pete were nattering away behind. The climb got a little competitive of course. To start with Dave and I were chatting too but as we pushed on conversation became a little difficult. I pushed on ahead but Dave didn’t let me go so we were now pushing hard. My heart rate was up in the 160’s I was putting in some effort and we seemed evenly matched.

We were riding side-by-side and my side of the trail started getting a little claggy whilst Dave’s was still dry and hard-packed. I thought this was going to be my undoing so mentioned it to him, but he could hardly get a reply out – I noticed this and thought I still had a little bit in me so took my opportunity to put in a bit of a spurt – Mean I know, hitting a man hard whilst he’s on the ropes, but it had to be done. I opened up a little gap and kept pushing hard and my effort paid off as I made it to the top in first place! Dave wasn’t far behind though so hadn’t given up when the gap opened out and had obviously kept pushing hard too. John and Pete soon joined us at the top and we headed back to the cars in the fading light.

All in all a good ride and the conditions were perfect. If the weather stays dry until the Dyfi Enduro then it will be a classic but no doubt it’ll pour with rain for a few days before it washing out new lines and turning it into a mud fest in places.

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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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