Ride report: Brechfa weekend with Mudtrek

Mudtrek chalet logo View from Mudtrek accomodation near Brechfa.

This was a weekend trip with Mudtrek – the bunkbarn ski chalet for mountain bikers (club discount).

Some of the party arrived at Friday lunch time and did a lap of the Gorlech Trail at Brechfa (see our trail guide).

By Friday evening we had ten people present. Nicky was still out on a night navigational exercise in her car, finishing with a special mud stage with rescue by Jay from Mudtrek.

We had three people missing due to injuries and illness, which was sad. It did mean more food for the rest of us though. Gary didn’t bring his Whyte (lasagne goes best with red).

Preparing to leave Mudtrek

Saturday brought bright sunshine which was very lucky considering the rain that had been falling during the week. After a hearty breakfast we assembled for our Mudtrek epic ride. Our guides were Jay and Richard from Mudtrek.

“Mrs MudTrek here. Gorgeous day here at HQ. Just waved off 13 happy mountain bikers with tummies full of cooked breakfast – Mr Mud has taken them on an epic 42km off-piste ride from the door, ending at the pub. Let’s see what state they come back in! :)”

Brechfa West mountian biking.

Jay used his knowledge of the area to give us a extensive tour of the off-piste trail riding in the Brechfa West woods. We took in pretty much every descent possible. The going was tough – even the flat sections were slippery. Gary aptly described them as “chocolate fountain”.

We had plenty of bike wash opportunities. Pretty much every track had deep puddles to ride through. It had clearly been raining a lot recently.

After a late lunch then two of our group opted to return to Mudtrek towers. After an ingenious rebuilding of Gary’s rear mech then our tour continued. Jay promised us a great downhill. First impressions were not good – it was a gloopy mix that in Rafe’s words “Looked like slurry, smelt like cheap “pine scented” toilet cleaner”.

Looks can deceive though, for under the slurry was a layer of confier branches which provided surprising amounts of grip. There was a steep ramp near the bottom of the descent which most of us opted out of. The consequences of falling over were a mud bath. Pete Latham rode the steep bit and then fell into the mud in relief.

The late afternoon brought golden sunlight and much appreciated heat onto our backs. A punishing climb brought us to the Brechfa road which we followed for a while before turning east onto a foresty track. This was followed by a slate lined descent which reminded us how much faster you can go down a hill when the wheels stick to the ground. A cunning path along the side of the river linked us to a steep road climb and then a clever link into the back of the Raven trail at Brechfa.

Water splash at Brechfa mountain biking. Mud at Brechfa mountain biking.

 

Muddy group of mountain bikers

The ride was taking it’s toll by this time, so the swoopy black descent of the Raven route lifted our spirits. I’ll remember it for a near-death experience when I followed Jay over an edge and realised that the short cut was in the form of two large rooty steps. There was no time to stop and the bike did all of the work for me, to my relief.

Most of us knew what lay ahead; a long slog up the main climb of the Raven trail. This was not any easier or shorter when tacked onto the end of twenty miles of mud.

The good news lay at the top – one of the best bits of trail at Brechfa. First the tight section along the wall, then a really fast flowing section through the trees.

The link to the Gorlech trail was followed which meant that the only thing between us and the pub was probably the best downhill section at Brechfa.

The small track climb coming into Abergorlech was not welcome. As we reached the Mudtrek Land Rover spirits were high. Part of the group were ferried back to Mudtrek whilst the rest of us called into the local pub for a fully justified beer and cider.

We sampled the famous Mudtrek lasagne on Saturday and were not disappointed. Portion sizes were massive. This defeated a few people, but not Jerome who ate for two. Jenga plus a dodgy DVD and then a review of Jay’s photos kept everyone entertained.

Mud at Brechfa.
Big puddle at Brechfa on bike.
Brechfa Raven route. Black lion at Abergorlech

Our plan for Sunday was an easy lap of two of Cil y Cwm (aka Cwm Rhaeadr aka “valley with the waterfall”). The fire road climb did turn into a bit of a race for both laps though, so not so easy.

Once again Cil y Cwm proved itself to be the great trail that we always rave on about. Once you’ve reached the great view at the top then you’re guaranteed smiles and whoops as you follow the entertaining single track down. The rock drops on the first section have eroded a bit meaning more drop for the same money.

Video of Cil y Cwm.

We finished the day off with a trip to the West End cafe at Llandovery.


Feedback on the Mudtrek Facebook wall….

“Thanks for a great w/e. Brilliant place to stay even if I did feel guilty about Nikki doing the washing up! Really enjoyed the riding round the little known parts of the Brechfa Forest as well. Looking forward to another visit already.” Tony Holmes.

“Just wanted to add my thanks for such a great weekend. Wonderful hospitality, great facilities and beautiful scenery.

Looking forward to our return.”Pete Latham.

“Thanks for a fab weekend, great food, accomodation, countryside-wicked course. I will be better prepared next time, wellies I think may be good. And thanks for towing me out the field!” Nicky Harries.

“Thanks for a brilliant weekend. Epic riding, fantastic food, friendly hosts and very comfortable accomodation. So glad we paid the 10% extra “nice weather surcharge”!” Chris Hopkinson.


Route map: OS Map | GPX | Map my ride.

See also the Brechfa Frostbite/Flood 30, our Brechfa Monster from April 2011 and our snow ride from December 2010.

Brechfa trail guide.

View from top of Cil y Cwm
Rock drop at Cil y Cwm (cwm rhaeadr)

Thanks to Nicky, Jay and Richard at Mudtrek for a great weekend.

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