Round two of the WES took place at Coed y Brenin with another one day event with a loop short enough to whip round in the morning and race in the afternoon. With the superb cafe on site and the sun shining, we were set for a good day. I’ll be honest, when I saw the stage map, and even pottering round for a practice lap I was a bit depressed – definitely a course that highlights my lack of pedaling fitness!
By the end of racing I had a huge grin plastered across my face, as did a lot of people – there must be something about the dibber beeping as you drop in that makes you almost immune to the pain in your legs!?
Stage One was the classic “Beginning of the End” that crosses the road, passes the centre and down to the Afon Eden at the bottom of the valley. Mixing massive rock pavements with horrid ditches and a fence that wasn’t wide enough for 800mm bars made for a bleak start to racing – pedaling hard out the start I immediately felt like I was losing speed with every rock! I was glad to get it done with my wheels intact.
Stage Two started atop the newest feature at CyB – “Y Slab”. A series of large grit-stone slopes to link together, including a gap off the first one that a couple of folk put front wheels out of action with. Feeling good amid heckling riders, you dropped in to two minutes of flat, emotion sapping singletrack.
Nail the lines and hold your speed, or smash into repeated rock steps and just keep pedaling, just as you wanted to cough up a lung you were spat across a fire road into Snap, Crackle and Pop – Coed-y-Brenin classics full of rocks to hop and the odd sketchy inside to be made.
It was then a gentle spin back across to the never-ending Stage Three. Starting down the uber-pedaly Rocky Horror show, you then went fully old school with a solid minute of fire-road down to a stabby little climb and into Pins and Needles before cutting into the old school trail and a couple of loamy short-cuts. It was all about keeping the power on the whole way down, something my legs are not happy about this morning! The end of the stage looked like a war-zone with people wheezing and collapsed all over the place, exchanging stories of just how many of their internal organs had failed on the pedal!
Proving that Enduro is an older bugger’s game, the top times came from the Masters, with the fastest time of the day going to SPS rider Dan Farrer, second fastest Indy Cycle Work’s Si Ward, and third to Whyte Bikes Neil Halcrow.
Full results are at https://www.rootsandrain.com
Once again we owe a big thanks to Mike, Buds and their team for a slickly run event. Round three heads to Llandegla where we are told there is fresh loam to be shredded….
Awesome photos courtesy of Doc Ward