Parked up at the Marin trail car park in Llanwrst and rode away from it and went through Betws and up the hill to Penmachno. Rode the trail there then rode back the way I came through Betws again, back to the Marin and rode that. All planned like that so that the car was in the “right” place at the end and so that I rode the harder Marin second. The total distance was 45 miles (28 off road), with 2500 metres of climbing (which is quite a lot I tell thee). In my wisdom I took the Patriot that just so happens to weigh just under 40 pounds and has 2.5 inch tyres – so I was maximising the “training effect” somewhat. Yeh, it feels bloody heavy too. Probably not a good choice but I’d not ridden the Big Bike for ages and it’s loads of fun and it climbs “kind of ok” with a firm rear tyre.
Anyroad, as soon as I started the ride it started raining. Oh well, I’m used to it now. 10 miles along the road and I reached the first manmade loop of the day. Then the rain turned angry. Then a flash of lightning and the biggest explosion of thunder I’ve ever experienced. It must have been right above my head and the boom reverberated through the forest and through my skull. Then there was the hail. It didn’t stop raining for 4 hours from that point on. Types of rain included “bouncing off the ground” heavy to “that fine rain that soaks you through”.
The Penmachno trail is a corking ride. The skill of the trailbuilders really shines though in the sheer amount of quality singletrack and thrills on offer. It’s very, very fast especially on an overbuilt bike with DH wheels. One small section crosses a stream that was flowing very quickly as the rain continued to fall. PLOP. There go my expensive Adaptalite sunglasses, floating down the small series of waterfalls…too fast to rescue. Gone. Bugger.
Once back along the road again, I did prepared for the fireroad climb-fest of the Marin. This trail is good, but you have to have the ability to switch off your pain receptors and climb A LOT. There were a lot of mincing beginners there today. One woman was really nervous on this really rocky downhill (Dragon’s Tail I think it’s called, in an Alton Towers kinda way) and I stopped to check she was ok. She said she was, but it was obvious she wasn’t. I’m sure she got back to her car eventually. Or she was rescued by a nice man with a helicopter. On the last downhill to the car park I was Droppin’ Da Bomb 😉 and then there was a loud CRACK as the shock mounting bolt on the bike sheared. Shit. I thought I’d snapped the frame at first, so was thankful it was just the bolt. I then rode back to the car a bit gingerly as the swingarm rattled about on the bearings. On inspection, it looks like I might have got away with it but I’ll know if I’ve ovalised the mounting holes once I’ve got some replacement bolts.
So eventful, but well worth doing.