It's been a while since I've been out properly on the bike, October in Afan was the last time I rode for real, so it was with a mixture of excitement and trepidation that I ended up organising something of a large ride round the penmachno trails on Sunday.
A mixture of Shrewsbury Canoe Club members and Entec bods met at the Conwy Falls Cafe (www.conwyfalls.com) ready to head off into the Penmachno forest to ride both of the mountain bike trails. The weather was as good as we could hope for with the sun shining down and once we topped out we were treated to fantastic views down the Conwy Valley and the across to the mountains in the North.
The Penmachno trail is one of my favourite man made trails benfitting from a mixture of a fantastic location mixed with a trail that is sympathetic to the local conditions built so that you can make it as hard as you want by winding up the speed that you ride it.
The group joined the trail at the far end of Loop 2 joining at the start of a long section of continuous singletrack, starting in the trees ...
before making our way out into the more open traverse.
The riding quickly took it's toll on both bikes and bodies.
6 months of paddling had taken their toll on the legs of a few of us in the group and by the time we reached the far end of our ride, the start of the normal route, Dan and I decided to cut our losses and head back for the tea and cakes whilst the others finished the route off. Riding back down the valley we came across a giant cuddly racoon stuck up on a telegraph pole. There are some strange people in them there hills.
After polishing off a lamb burger and seeing Dan off the others soon arrived having managed to get a bit lost, having to crosss a field and having a shotgun let off by a friendly farmer to encourage them on their way.
Despite only managing to get half the ride done it's certainly fired the enthusiasm to get back on the bike, with the days drawing out and the promise of dry trails locally it's time to get out in the evening.