After many weeks of organization, van hire kerfuffles, rush for payments, and persuasion of people to drive all the way to Snowdonia and back- Wales trip finally rolled around.
The fleet of Adam ‘Get In My Van’ Dobson’s hire van, Arthurs executive Vauxhall hire car, Chris Batts’ ‘Battsmobile’, Danny’s pimp Mini, Sam Reeves Corsa and my trusty Yaris assembled in the Arts Tower car park at approximately 6pm. Typically, it had to start pissing it down whilst loading the van- it was definitely a tight squeeze with 26 peoples bikes and kit being shoved in the back.
After 3 hours on the road, we finally made it to Idwal Cottage youth hostel, nestled in the far depths of Snowdonia. The setting was spectacular, and the youth hostel well equipped and in a perfect place for riding bikes!
Once all assembled and unpacked, it was time for a special surprise from committee- autentic UOSCC Lads on Tour T shirts, with custom artwork and nicknames! A presentation ceremony was held in the lounge of the youth hostel, providing much hilarity for all. Personal highlights were Chris ‘Quim Fisher’ Davey and Robin ‘The Sex Pistol’ Groves.
Day 1- Saturday
Up bright and early on Saturday, the mountainbikers headed for the summit of the largest mountain in Wales- Snowdon. The plan was to head up the Llanberis path up to the summit, and ride back down Rangers path and back across to Llanberis. After bikes being unloaded, the ascent started.
The ascent took around 2 and a half hours, with a few stops. Most people managed to ride a lot of the climb- an impressive feat, considering how technical it was. However, when we got to the top ¼ of the summit it just wasn’t rideable anymore, and also covered in a thick layer of fog, so everyone started to push to that elusive summit.
Once we were all at the top, due to the wind and cold, most people wanted to grab a quick bite to eat, admire the non existent view and hang it wild down the descent!
The top of the descent was super tech and quite quick- think we definitely scared and shocked a few walkers! After crossing the train lines, it opened out into a flat out peaks style descent, with head sized rocks littered everywhere. Even 2 minutes in, we had 3 punctures between 18 of us, really shows how knarly it was. This was only the start though- it quickly descended into loose, no real line, rocky sections with steep rollers- almost unrideable. Certainly some of the hardest and most technical riding I’ve ever done.
The best (or worst?) was yet to come- dubbed ‘the escape from Mordor’ a super technical, steep section that traversed the hill, claimed the derailleur hanger of many, and punctures came thick and fast. If you got down here without crashing you did well. I don’t think anyone got down clean, proof as to how knarly it was. Dobson took a heavy spill here, supermanning over the bars.
Fowles making it look easy
Dobby can fly!
After us all escaping from mordor, a flowy section and a push up a hill and through a bog, endless flowing singletrack awaited us. However smooth it was though, Ben ‘Flatden’ White managed 4 punctures, sealing his nickname for life.
Everyone did make it back to the car alive, even Jonny ‘Chorley FM’ with a flat, proving tubeless maybe isn’t the way forward on a flint ridden descent.
Day 2 – Coed Y Brenin
Another early start, this time to set off to the classic trail centre Coed Y Brenin. I’d heard mixed things about this place, so was unsure of what to expect. We decided on the black graded MBR trail, as it mixed in the best bits from the centres many routes.
It opened with a technical rocky climb, which sounds like hell but it just flowed so brilliantly. Such a well constructed bit of trail. Onto the fireroad and it just kept climbing and climbing- surely it had to end somewhere? And it did, and opened into an endless descent- first section was flowing singletrack corners, then into a mini A line, with jumps and rollers galore. So much fun in fact, we pushed back up for another run.
All the way round the trail was just flowing endlessly, and the descents put a grin on everyones face, with cheeky drops, tabletops, and berms thrown in everywhere. I highly recommend Coed, and if you ever get the chance to go, go.
And so the weekend was done, and everyone agreed a great success- Beer, Banter, Bikes, and Bunkbeds.