After the great time we had riding ever inch of Afan, Coed y Brenin was next on the list to tackle as a big mileage trail centre venue. With the Marin and Penmachno trails just a short drive away, a total of 85 off-road miles was on the cards. Myself and Chris Noble were in for the duration with Dave and Jason from Team JMC coming along to make up the numbers for the first part of what turned out to be a very long day!
The idea behind the epics is first and foremost a weekend away with mates riding all day on all weather trails to get some winter base miles under our belts before the race season really kicks off. Having these booked in the diary really helps to keep the motivation going for winter miles. I’d recommend to anyone having some dates in your winter diary for little adventures like this if like me you’ve previously fallen victim to the off season indulgences and need some milestones.
Planning these things can be as time consuming as the ride itself. We’re self sufficient on the day itself sometimes with the exception of a quick refuel at our vehicles which often get looped past on route to the next trail.
If you’re thinking of plotting an Epic of your own I’d suggest getting some sort of GPS device and tap into local knowledge where it’s available. For Epic Brenin we had advice from the local mountain bike ranger Andy through to the volunteer trail group at Penmachno, all really important to make sure you are prepared for a big day in the saddle. Having a good HQ is important as well, I wouldn’t recommend a bad night’s sleep in a tent or a noisy pub beforehand. Fortunately we found Cadair View Lodges just up the road from Coed y Brenin. A late check-in time and outside tap are nice little touches that just make these sorts of weekends so much easier.
Epic Brenin turned out to be a bit more of a beast than even Afan with some pretty horrendous weather reducing the numbers down to just myself for the last trail of the day. A slight diversion had added 4miles on earlier in the day so I actually ended up riding 89miles! Here’s my Strava data:
If you’re looking for something further in the south of Wales give Epic Afan a try:
Thanks to Rob Barker for the action shots