Afan Ride Report Day One

The day commenced with an early start from the 'Shire. The bikes were loaded and the weather looked promising. However on leaving the M4 for Afan forest the first but not to be the last raindrop fell. 


On arriving at Glyncorrwg mountain bike centre the bikes were unloaded and riders greeted.  Bike checks were performed under shelter and then the climbing begun.

The climb started with the technical White’s Level trail, which is rocky and twists up the mountainside with some spectacular views of the valley below.  Individuals climbed at their own pace, and congregated at the top to discuss options.  At this point there was the option to just complete White’s Level or the combination of White’s and Y Wall (W2).  The speedy few at the front and those not put off by the continual rain went on to do W2 while the more sane of us decided to complete White’s Level.  At the top we were wet, well I thought we were wet, how wrong was I! By the end of the first section (Windy point) we were all soaked but all smiling. 

The descending continued with the energy section and a group dressed in very good Halloween fancy dress joined us. I think the axe in the helmet was a very good touch!  The descending continued without mishap all the way back to Glyncorrwg.

On arrival back at the centre the bikes were quickly put back into cars and the mission began to get dry and into the Café.  Food was ordered, eaten and the ride discussed in great depth while we waited for the brave few to finish W2.  The group arrived wet and smiling. 

All in all it was an awesome day of riding despite the weather.


Cwmcarn Report day two

On Sunday a few more people made the journey from Bucks & Oxon to ride the XC & take advantage of the CwmDown uplift service for the day and we said farewell to a few who'd ridden the day before at Afan.

The day started with a group photo in the rain. A sign of things to come...?

The XC course at Cwmcarn is fantastic! We started and followed the mellow climbs at the start that get rockier & steeper once you've warmed up with some really technical sections to take your mind off the gradual, but steady, height gain. There are a few testing sections with poor grip on the wet roots and a choice of the sketchy or sketchier line but they're short and add a great little challenge. It's not all climbing - there are a few choice descents and flatter sections to provide a little leg rest or give an opportunity to really put the power down! The last real push up to the freeride section is pretty steep to start with but widens out & mellows out to give another section for a rest. We stopped for a breather at the top looking out over the bay in the distance, before starting our first descent. There are 2 options to start with - a red run with loads of sweeping berms & some massive puddles! It still ran nicely despite the frequent foot wash. The black run has some brilliant rolling drops, a few hip jumps & some HUGE berms as well as the occasional foot wash of course.

We re-grouped & followed the trail down alongside the road ducking under branches & weaving through the wet roots and rocks. A fast climb through the ferns lead to a superb descent - wet & rocky but really grippy at the same time. Tyres were skipping over the rocks on the straights & cutting into the corners easily. Next comes a mother of a climb on wet, slick concrete. Fun. It’s only a few metres but it’s a real pain. Thankfully though it’s worth it and opens the door to another long descent – it starts off open and rocky with a slightly exposed fall to the left, massive puddles then into the woods again with orange pine needles all over the trail and little rollers providing a great take off for whips and impromptu hip jumps – guaranteed grins on this descent, and if you’ve not ridden it I’d get over there as soon as you get the chance!

The descent runs for a quite a while in the woods and suddenly you come out into the open (and wind and rain) with a great (and distracting) view over the valley, then back into the woods and down and down and down off rooty drops and round little berms before the final climb. It’s pretty easy all in all but after the distance it can feel sometimes like quite a slog. As with all things gravity rules and the last descent is a real blinder! 10 -15 mins of small rock gardens, rooty corners, massive berms and rollers, puddles, overhanging branches and exposed edges! It’s far less technical than the main DH run but I always have more fun on this because I find it flows much better.

We regrouped at the bottom and caught our breath, replaced brake pads, and crammed down some sugar ready to get the last few uplifts in the van for some DH action.

A single lift up to the top is £3.50 – the drive is about 10 minutes up (way faster than I can cycle up!) and the uplift service runs really smoothly. Bikes are hauled onto a trailer – hung by the front wheel with the rear wheel sitting in a slot to prevent it swinging around. The driver normally has some good tunes on, it’s warm and dry and a great chance to meet the others riders on the trails, clean your glasses or goggles and have a bite to eat. The uplift will stop at the freeride section on request but normally goes right to the top of the hill – only 20metres away from the start ramp. Bikes and riders unloaded it’ll shoot down on the road to wait at the bottom ready for another van load of muddy riders.

Dan, Polly and Tim all had day tickets for the uplift and the last time I did it my group managed a good 10 or 11 runs in a day so I’d say it’s good value of downhill is your thing!

We all set off down the Red DH trail at once; it had changed since the last time I’d ridden it and I had a great time following people who’d already worked out the better lines on the top section. We stopped to regroup after the quarry gap (it’s flippin’ HUGE) before the steep switch-backs. I ducked ahead to get a few pics and had the pleasure of watching Dan roll down the hill head first into some bracken – lying on his back like a stranded turtle. Brilliant! Body armour is great stuff and Dan was quickly back on the bike – rubber side down – hurtling towards me through the rocks – catching the berm and pinging off down the hill through the tunnel and off towards the jumps at the bottom. Everybody else followed and I grabbed my bike and desperately tried to catch up with them. Got them. In the car park… Last run of the day was down a variation of the same track but instead of the fast open rock gardens we were in wet woodland trying to stay upright. The fading light and tired arms made it hard work but we finished up with massive grins on our muddy faces.

Bikes washed and packed we set off down the M4 at a snail’s pace until we got home.

Many thanks for all who attended on Saturday or Sunday and huge props to those who made it both days!!!!!!! Feel free to let us know how it went for you and tag yourselves in the Facebook photo album online.

If you’ve got any feedback or requests for our BMTB Club Members Only rides please don’t hesitate to contact us directly.

Best Wishes

The BucksMTB Team


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