Last weekend the Active Brits posse headed to Capel Curig for a quality weekend of mountain biking, drinking and full on eating. After several months of searching for bargain parts to fix a worn out Zaskar it was time to get back into the realms of high speed downhills, gnarly uphills, technical singletrack and back breaking carry-ups.. let the good times roll once more..
After a quality drinkfest on the Friday night and a fantastic breakfast in the local cafe, Rico. Weeman and myself decided to pile down the A5 into Betwys to get some grub for the days outing then do one of our favourite routes in reverse.. We had planned on doing a quality 20miler which climbed over 1100m (about 3500ft) but on the approach to Betwys things went slightly pear-shaped. Over the last few weeks, I'd managed to build a rear wheel using several worn out Mavic rims but on the final fast sweeping curve into the town it just seized solid.. the bearings had shot and the hyperglide mechanism had completely failed.. after emptying the lumps out of my shorts, i thought to myself ' here we go, a 4 mile carry back to the site and a weekend of walking'.. we then discovered that a new bike shop had opened up and yes.. they had wheels.. not exactly the ones i wanted, but wheels.. sweet round wheels that would enable us to at least get some riding in..
On account of the disastourous morning, we decided to go on a few smaller warm up rides and leave the big event till the Sunday so we made the trip back to the site to dump off all the gear and have a spot of lunch. Here it all went pear shaped once more. Rico decided to change his disc pads and in the process lost a small bleed valve which resulted in hydraulic fluid p**sing all over the shop. Ahhhhhh, the poor lad wasn't the happiest but it was pretty damn funny. We decided to head back down to Betwys once more but upon our arrival, all the shops had shut on account of a power cut so we had to make the return back up to the campsite. Rico said it was the worst 4 miles of his entire life as none of the wheels seemed to turn properly.. we opted for an afternoon of bike fixing and banter beforre heading up to the local boozer for a swift 5 hour sugar intake and to laugh at the days events :o)
On the Sunday morning we all headed back down to Betwys and Rico managed to get his brake sorted. Finally it was time to do our first major ride of the season and it was a killer. We headed up the back road from Betwys-y-Coed and over to Llyn Geirionydd then onwards over the ridge via forest tracks and down to Llyn Crafnant. The views as always were spectacular and the temperature perfect for some steep uphill work. From Crafnant we headed down the road towards Trefew and on the approach to the village swung left up an absolute total killer of a hill.. It must go up over 400m (1300ft) in less that 1.5 miles with about 6 hairpin switchbacks that really help to push the vomit upwards.. My wheels were about 2lbs heavier than the old ones and i could really feel the difference. We normally come down this route and now we know why.. great buzz to complete it though, but i did have to stop once on the way up before the heart exploded.
From the top of the ridgeline we headed down the fast road section and up to Llyn Cowlyd Reservoir.. yerrr, more uphill work.. Now it was time to have some real fun and attack the couple of miles of technical singletrack that skirts the reservoir. Its such an unspoilt spot but is quite physically demanding with stacks of babies heads and death cookies that you have to charge into to. At the end of the reservoir, just as you are feeling completely shagged you have to do a couple of small carry-ups before letting the rig loose on a quality moorland downhill section which brings you out back at the road on the A5 at Capel Curig....
Its a great route which allows you to get to grips with all transitional elements and is great workout. Its probably 50% road (steep af ****) , 15% forest track and 35% singletrack/ trail. Downhill element... lets just say not as much as the uphill... click my profile, email me and i'll send you a route breakdown..
We are back on the rigs tomorrow.. Sunday 22nd.. so keep ya eyes out in North Wales for us..
Have a good one..