Sunday, 11 March 2012

Wentwood 50 - Nice!

     3 well earned zipties

After a last minute change of plan this week I did a spot of forum trawling and found somebody who wanted to sell their place on the Wentwood 'Goshawk' 50 Enduro - Bonus :o)

Thought I would take the trusty 2011 26" wheeled Simple as it is good in the mud and having looked on the organisers website - it seems Wentwood could get sticky in the wet.   A reasonably dry week gave us good ground conditions and after a foggy drive and to the event and first climb the sun came out and it was scorchio for the rest of the day.

Initial contact with the organisers regarding my buying somebody elses entry gave me a good feeling about this event as they seemed nice people.  The event field was a easy to find with all the faculties you would expect  to find (even the Drop Off bus for strong coffee and light cake).

After a last minute call of nature I found myself staring at the rear of the field with all the nice chatty bikers rather than the focused racers - a nice start to the day.  After steady back lane cruise around the Newport countryside and catching up with a few old friends along the way we hit the dirt.

Nice mud!

And what nice dirt it was too.  Just the right amount in my opinion enough to be slidey and interesting but with a little grip underneath to catch you should try and push it a little too hard.  A few ups and downs of mostly singletrack and we came to the top of  what appeared to be a common in the glorious sunshine where followed an awesome descent of a mix of ancient singletrack and freshly cut trail just for this event and even little hero dirt thrown in for good measure to get the bike drifting with confidence.

And the route generally went on like this for the full 50km with only one section of long fire road that I can remember being a bit of a chore (but this was after 40km of riding).  Each descent was grin inducing and most of the climbing had a little demon mud, root or gradient to keep you working hard.

The organisers had devised a route that meant you passed the same feed station 3 times on the 50km loop and with an offering of Torq energy drink, bananas, and chocolate muffins it was a strong mind to draw you past without stopping each time.  Whilst each time the marshals handed you a different colour ziptie to represent which route you were on - 35/40/50km.

And for the finale - 5km of mostly descending back to the car on singletrack trail and singletrack road - nice :o)

A fantastic event organised for charity in forest littered with a myriad of fine singletrack trails - I'll be back.

Trusty Simple!

Final result - 25th/216 finishers of the 50km route. Nice!

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Butter on a Welshcake!

St Davids day, and leaving behind the smell of freshly baked Welsh cakes, I snuck out for a quick spin on the small Cotic Soul before it got dark.  It was a stunning evening in the West Wales hills, and after riding the little BFe a few times recently it was great to get out on the Soul and have a taste of something different. 

Turning in the opposite direction of the Brechfa trails, I scooted up the steep road out of the village and linked up a couple of bridalways to make a loop.  Straight out of the house I wondered how that first big hill was going to feel, but there was no need to think about it - I know people say 'its not about the bike' - but this little demon was just mega responsive, every downward stroke of the pedal it just seemed to propel me further upwards. I haven't done that much technical climbing on recent rides, yet this little Soul combined with the super plush Marzocchi 44's was just skipping up over the gnarly bedrock as the sun was starting to disappear behind the hill. 

There are days when you are just meant to be out on your bike, and this was one of them, and the right bike was making it ever more the perfect evening.  As the sun went down, the remaining light on the hills was a glowing soft pink as I reached the open hilltop and paused to drink in the view of the valley below, inviting me into them with open arms. Everything was extremely still and quiet, a farmer on the other side of the valley was feeding sheep, their calls echoed across.  Once fed there was silence, then, just the sound of Maxxis tyres on grass and gravel, and the rush of air in my ears as I launched into the long descent home. Swooping, blasting, sliding a steam crossing, all in a days work for this little bike.

Its St Davids day, and it is God's Country ;-)  Its not a bad place to live ... its not a bad place to ride your bike ... and its not a bad bike to be out there riding! 

Time for a welsh cake.