Tuesday, 27 August 2013


Trail? What trail?

So there's this event in October that covers 200k over 24ish hours around mid Wales, South of Llanidloes. We got ourselves down for it so thought we'd go recce the route a bit. Glorious weather was forcast so we travelled relatively light. Bivvy roll up front and the rest spread around bikepacking style. A pair of Surly 1x1s again.

Bothy - hidden across a couple of river crossings if approached from the wrong side

Once we'd got half the route checked out we started to make it up as we rode along. Past a bothy we'd used a few years ago and up into the woods. 3k later on and we reached for the camera to take the top 'trail' picture. Wasn't there! We'd left it right in front of the bothy - cue a descent back to the camera waiting nestled in the grass. Much relief and a bushwacking run back to the bikes. We grunted back up the hill to take our pic - nice trail huh? This was a sign of what was to come - you'd think there'd be some sort of compulsion to keep rights of way open wouldn't you? Not here it seems.

Brooks Cambium - good for mountain bikes
 A bridleway gate appeared from out of the confusion and we exited the forest onto open moorland. So open that there is no actual trail where there should be or anywhere else for that matter. Cue 4 hours dragging, cursing and bruising dragging bikes across pathless and featureless landscape and it was dark. We found ourselves a small area of flatness and rolled out our sleeping bags - it sure felt small as my feet dangled over the edge...  Pasta and soup never tasted so good. We were also lower down than the previous night so warmer and that's probably the best night sleep we've had in a bivvy bag. Probably helped that we'd been out for 15 hours or so. Knackered.

off into the hills
Woke up to a midgy morning so packed up quick and early. We rolled down the hill past sleepy Elan and into Rhayader - surprisingly busy at 7 on a holiday Monday morning. It's great to find a well stocked corner shop when you're a bit peckish - better to find the coffee machine too!

A spin back on the road and into Hafren Forest finished off a kind of gruelling 36 hours or so. Back to hard little rides we haven't done for a while and should do more often.

If you plan to be out for one night take enough gas for 2.
One gear is enough, derailleurs are overrated.
Take more food than you think you'll need.
Take more tubes, you might pinch one when your installing it.
Bivvy bags are great. If you've ridden long you will sleep well.
Take a warm spare pair of gloves - you'll need them at 5.30am