Ride report: Brechfa monster weekend April 2011

This was a club weekend at Brechfa in Wales (Brechfa trail guide). We stayed at the Gilfach Wen bunk barn. See our ride report from December 2010.

Friday 1st April

Several people took the day off and opted to do the Gorlech red trail (18km 500m climb).

The whole group met at the Plough Inn at Felingwm where we stuffed our faces, talked bollocks and drank a fair amount of beer. All good. We had 20 people present.

We had a bit of a table football session at the bunk house.

Saturday 2nd April

Brechfast at Brechfa Bunkbarn.
Brechfast.

Simon got up early to start work on the fried breakfast which we started eating at 8:30. We aimed to be riding by 10am.

It had rained a fair amount over night but it was dry by the morning.

The larger group of 15 set off to do the “Brechfa Monster”. This is a route that we made up that does the first half of the black Raven route then all of the red Gorlech route, then the remainder of the Raven route and then adds the blue and green routes on to the end. Route map: OS Map, GPX. This makes for 45km of riding and around 1,600m of climbing.

The smaller group did the blue plus green routes in the morning and after lunch an even smaller group did the Raven route.

Climbing up from the last descent on the Brechfa Gorlech route.
Gorlech climb.

This was our second attempt at the monster route. Our previous attempt in November had to be abandoned about half way round due to extreme ice. See the ride report.

This time the early spring weather meant no ice and the Monster group made great progress. We started at 10:30am (helmet issues) and by 11am we were starting on the big climb. We opted to use the blue climb in place of the black climb since it’s single track rather than fire road. By 12:30 we had done half the black route and made it to the top of the first climb on the red route. The following sections went past really quickly and we were back onto the Black route by around 3pm.

Gary broke his seat post on the final red descent and had a workable fix using cable ties, though this gave an infinitely adjustable saddle position.

Rock steps on the Brechfa Raven route.
Raven steps.

The split for the green and blue routes was reached by 4pm. A few decided that enough was enough, leaving about 8 riders to finish off the job properly.

We all agreed that we were knackered but the job had to be done. Doing the blue climb for the second time of the day was a bit of a drag, but the descent was worth it. That was followed by an enthusiasm sapping climb on the green route, but that then gave us a really long and fast descent which was as good as ever.

All that was left was the short climb and up to the picnic table and then it was the final descent to the car park. (45km, 1600m climb)

Bikely map of Brechfa Monster.

After showering and resting we were back at the Plough Inn for another beer and food session.

The landlord provided a free taxi service to ferry drinkers back to the barn and the obligoratory table football session.

Sunday 3rd April

After the epic Sunday we decided that we were due a late breakfast and a trip to Cilycwm (Cwm Rhaeadr). Ride guide coming shortly.

Cilycwm drop.
Cilycwm drop.

The whole group did a lap of this neat 6.5km trail and it was met with universal approval. It really is a great trail; one of our favourites.

Most of the group did a second lap. It rained a bit and we were all knackered, so that was enough. (2 x 6.5km, 2 x 200m)

The Saturday and Sunday rides combined give 58km and 2000m of climb. Including Friday gives 76km and 2,500m.

We finished off by showering at the bunk barn, eating any remaining food and then doing a bit of cleaning before leaving.

Thanks to everyone for such a fun weekend of riding, drinking, eating and being sociable.


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