Real Ale Wobble
I’ve just got back from an awesome weekend at the Real Ale Wobble in Llanwrtyd Wells (mid Wales). I did the route three times in two days.
The Real Ale Wobble offers a choice of cross country routes through the Cambrian mountains with lengths betwen 15 and 30 miles with several beer stops along the way.
I stayed at the Neudd Arms hotel which is right in the heart of the event.
This year it was dry both days, though it rained overnight which ensured that there was plenty of mud. The route was a bit different this year. It looked a lot shorter but turned out to be quite tough. Google maps reckons on 20 miles (30km). For the first time since 2004 it didn’t pass through the Coed Trallwm trail centre (see historic maps).
I’ve spoken to the route designer at Cycle-Tec in Builth Wells and he told me that the trail centre received a battering when more than 700 riders used it in a day so it was being rested for a year. In general the route was designed to satisfy riders with technical ability and the kit but who don’t want an endurance challenge.
Video of the Real Ale Wobble 2010.
Real Ale Wobble Videos
Real Ale Wobble Photos
A brief history of the Real Ale Wobble
I’ve been going to this event for so long that I can’t remember what year was the first. I think it was 2000. It had been going for several years before that, so it must have started in the early 1990s.
It was started by Gordon Green (Green events) who was the landlord of the Neudd Arms Hotel in the centre of town. He also dreamt up Bog Snorkelling and Man vs Bike vs Horse. Sadly, the bike bit was dropped from the latter event. Times article.
Llanwrtyd Wells was a town in decline and Gordon set out to change that by bringing visitors into town with a series of events over the year.
In the early 2000’s the route went out to the LLyn Brianne reservoir. The route was pretty much the same for a few years. In 2002 the woods down to the Trallwyn control were avoided with a short cut over the hills. A feature of these early rides was the “transport museum”; a collection of rusty buses on the hillside before the Trallwyn control. By the late 2000s these had gone and had been replaced with a house.
In 2004 there were major changes when the the reservoir loop was dropped as the trail centre at Coed Trallwmwas opened. I’ve never thought much of the trails there – they need surfacing and more development. In 2004 the first part of the route moved from the bottom of the valley and used a stinging climb up through the trees. This gave a good downhill section on rocks.
The position of the last beer stop moved in 2004. Before then it was up a short climb from the road. It was now in the car park by the bridge over the river.
Looking at my old maps it looks like the “sheep dip” section was not used before 2004. This is the secion with numerous rock puddle, the deepest of which is up to the middle of the wheels. This section has been used in ever route since 2004. Rightly so, since it’s a great bit of riding.
Prior to 2004 the the Sunday route was the Saturday route ridden the other way round. From 2004 the route was the same both days.
In 2005 the route start and finish moved from the square outside the Neudd Arms hotel to the local school. The “proper” wobble always started with Gordon Green giving a safety lecture outside the hotel.
There were changes in 2007 when the route started off up the road, did what was normally the last section first, then had a steeper descent down in one of the main valleys. This was followed by descent over the open hills into the Abergwesyn valley. It also had an out and back loop near Llanwrtyd Wells. This route used a lot more road than usual.
The Sunday route had a completely different start – going towards the Woolen mill and then joining back onto the Saturday route.
2008 and 2009 were back to the 2004 model but with slight differences in the trail sections used at Coed Trallwyn.
2010 was a new, shorter route with the trail centre not included.
If you are going to the event then book accomodation as early as possible because everything sells out. See Google maps accommodation link and Llanwrtyd Wells Tourist Information for more information.