While Todd toils away building frames…the european Bronto contingency decided to take advantage of the hottest spring weather in the history of Northern Europe. No better way to do this than with a road trip and some trail riding. So off to Wales we went, with the Tachelet brothers (who have themselves visited Todd’s shop, ridden in Oakridge, and been bitten by Todd’s dog).
Wales is, as it turns out, a mountain bike mecca in the UK. Just 3 hours west of London, it has multiple (government-funded, thank you big government!!!) riding centers with marked courses. Many of the centers have bike shops, cafes, and sometimes even showers. It’s as if they were trying to promote awesome trail riding as a legitimate activity! So you just show up, pick your level of difficulty, and off you go. We picked black level trails, because we think we’re hard men.
Yes, hard enough that we even ate English breakfasts for 3 days. Not easy, I can assure you. Anyway. The riding was brilliant. Peter and Stijn are racer-types so they dragged my soft behind up the hills with their foam grips and straight bars. But it was me with the last laugh on the descent!
First day was at Afan, probably the most famous riding center in Wales, and home to the legendary Skyline trail. We opted for W2, a 44km loop with heaps of climbing and seemingly endless singeletrack. Looooong singletrack descents. So tasty.
The next day we were off to Brechfa, a smaller and lesser-known trail center just an hour away. It was brilliant, felt very similar to west coast riding in the US. We pedaled up I don’t know how many climbs, tore down the singletrack descents, taking advantage of the man-made and maintained berms and booters. I was constantly reminded how very few things there are in this world that can bring as much pleasure as riding a mountain bike.
And so it was, onto the last day at Cwmcarn. We had to make it early and short due to a ferry reservation, so we woke up at the crack of 6, forced down our fried egg, and were clipping in just after 7. It was a gorgeous morning, birds were chirping, and we were the only ones on the trail. And what a brilliant trail it was. Very technical singletrack climb up, and brilliant descent back down. I can’t think of many better usages of 1.5 hours of my life than riding that trail.
So Wales, highly recommended. Go to www.mbwales.com for more. For me it was maybe the best riding I’ve done to date over here in Euro-land. For those looking for some tasty euro trails, look no further than the UK.