Today was “riding day”. I picked Mike up at 9:30 ish, and we headed off in the direction of Afan, planning to ride the new White’s Level trail. After missing the turning the first time, we finally parked up and found someone to take our parking money. Bikes were extracated from the car and we headed out looking for the route. And promptly went the wrong way. After looping back through the carpark, we started out again, this time in the correct direction.
The route itself is quite techinical. It starts out with about 6km of singletrack climbing which is relentless, and not always particularly easy. However this is pretty much all the climbing on the route. You get it all out of the way in one, fairly hefty, chunk. Once at the top the trail points downwards and comprises lots of rocky singletrack, with a couple of bits of fireroad to link sections together. I managed to pile myself into a bank once whilst trying to avoid falling down a hill, then a bit later drifted the front wheel into a large rock at the side of the path and exited the bike over the bars. Slightly battered and bruised I carried on.
All too soon the ride was over and we got back to the carpark. There we bumped into the trail architects, and started to dismantle the bikes. They tried to tempt us with talk of a 6km descent which is part of the new, as yet unopened, 46km route. The downside of this was that we would need to ride the 6km climb again to get to the start of it. This idea lost out to getting lunch in the cafe. That was until the offer came to drive us to the top of the descent. Now we were talking.
The bikes we loaded into the back of the van and we set off. Eventually we arrived at the top of the descent and were pointed in the right direction, and promised a 6km descent back to the carpark.
This was a fantastic descent, smooth and whoopy at the top, followed by a loose rocky part in the middle with some rather large rock steps, them more rocky singletrack. The only downside of it is the 40km you’ll officially need to ride to get to it. It didn’t feel like 6km long, but thats probably because we were having too much fun riding down it. I also avoided crashing which was a bonus.
With the riding over, we reloaded the car and nipped back down the road to the cafe at Afan for sausage, egg, and chips, washed down with cold Coke, and cups of tea. Then it was time to head back to Bath.
All in all, a good days riding. The White’s Level trail needs to bed in a bit more, but is a nice technically demanding route which is well worth a visit. If the last descent is anything to go by, the new 46km route will also be fantastic.