All set ready to take on Dyfi's tough trails
All set ready to take on Dyfi’s tough trails

The forests around the area of Dyfi (mid Wales) are synonymous for sports of two and four wheels, holding frequent races for rallying, British Moto-Enduro and of course now a venue for one of the UKGE rounds once a year. The place is amazing for riding, with big long fire-road ups and some of the gnarliest of downs found in Wales, this and the area’s vast remoteness also being the reason a certain Dan Atherton has upped-sticks and set up home right on the edge of the forest.

There's history round these parts
There’s history round these parts

This was the fifth consecutive year the event had been run and it is not known for being too forgiving. It takes in some of the longest of fire-road climbs, these sap your legs enough in the warmth of the summer, but as Dyfi is not very forgiving during winter the climbing can be a real killer in the cold and wet. It started off at the Corris Craft Centre, where all the 300 riders signed on and enjoyed and could enjoy a hearty Welsh breakfast feast before the event. It’s a real tester of your winter fitness, as although it’s not timed and not officially a race, it really does wake you up to what training you need to do if you have an up-coming season of racing ahead. Although saying that I would reckon that most of the riders were not racers at all, more just hobby riders, out to test themselves on whether they could manage one, two or the big 45k three laps on offer.

Doose style
Doose style

We started off, myself and mates Myles and Doose, probably not expecting the ride to be as savage as it was, with the brunt of the morale draining Welsh drizzle and rain in full effect for pretty much most of the ride. It started with a very long climb up the road and forest track (not to be repeated) then you were upon the trails, which were to be set out as the lap. It was so much fun and a real blast on some of the fast rocky downhills, where overtaking was done at your own risk, I just couldn’t help myself, that to me is where all the enjoyment is!!

 Overtaking is just an option!
Overtaking is just an option!

We flew the first climb, maybe too much of a pace, then ended up regretting our initial climbing speed as the legs nearly went during lap two. Lap three was tough, especially as the rain came in hard, not many riders opted for the full 3, but we weren’t going to short-change ourselves. There was a food and drink station at the end of each lap, but we just cracked on and got the job done, Doose and I digging deep to complete the task, Myles had bonked from the middle of lap three and needed a bit of the old moral support. As we came in to the car park like three tired drowned rats, never has the sight of the van been so welcome, cold and hungry we got changed with one of those big achievement grins on our faces, what a tough but fantastic day.

Myles's back legs went near the end!
Myles’s back legs went near the end!

Massive thanks to all that hosted this great local event!

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Words: Jim Buchanan Photos: Mark Wood ( & Jim Buchanan

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