What can I say other than “what a fantastic ride”?
We left Bath around 9:30 ish and headed to Afan arriving around 11. After getting kit ready and letting Olly do his customary pre-ride tyre inflation and spoke tightening, we headed out on the old 9Feet trail. There was a bit more singletrack climbing than when I went last, but we eventually arrived at the start of Desolation. The next section was pretty much the same as last time I went, although somewhat drier. We did Hidden Valley twice as is customary, then headed onwards little knowing what was in store around the corner.
Sidewinder and Dead Sheep Gully were almost entirely new to us, and comprised some of the best singletrack I’ve ever ridden. Swoopy, whoopy, rooty, rutted, rocky, and fantastic fun.
By this time a natural order had appeared, on the climbs Matt would dissappear off into the distance leaving Olly and I lagging behind, then on the singletrack descents Olly would vanish, followed by me, then Matt bringing up the rear.
We reached the end of Sidewinder and spent a few minutes enthusing about how good it was, only to find that Dead Sheep Gully was even better. The rest of the course was almost an anti-climax after that, although the last descent down to the river crossing was taken at a speed not normally sensible on a hardtail, and left me grinning like a maniac.
By this point Olly’s back wheel had progressed from “slow puncture” to “full-on puncture” so we had an enforced rest while he fitted a new tube. The last bit of singletrack brought us back to the starting point, and the cafe called out to us.
Suitably refueled with pasta-bake and chips, it was time to head homewards.
We’ll be back soon to sample the delights of “The Wall”.