Dyfi Bike Park

After a hard days ride uphill yesterday, today we were going to Dyfi bike park and getting an uplift. This is where you pay a chap to drive you and your mates up the hill in the back of a Landover, with the bikes in a trailer. You then spend 20 mins coming down the hill, back to the start, where you catch another Landy to the top again, rinse and repeat. So much easier than pedaling to the top, and before you say it’s cheating, I did enough uphill pedaling yesterday not to feel even slightly guilty about it!

We had driven over last night, to a spot literally around the corner from the bike park. We therefore has a nice leisurely rise, sausage bap breakfast and still arrived as soon as the gates opened. 

I was a bit apprehensive about Dyfi because whereas most (I’ve only been to 1) bike parks had a range of graded routes from easy to expert.

Green – canal path flat, maybe a kerb

Blue – rolly hills and the occasional cobble stones

Red – small drops and jumps, slightly more pointy rocks

Black – pointy rocks, significant drops and steep slopes and jumps

Double black – fall off and hurt yourself rocks, so steep it’s hard to walk down hills and drops and jumps the size of cars

Triple Black – for some, a controlled crash down a cliff

Dyfi, only had 1 Red route and the rest were Black or harder. This bike park is aimed at the more accomplished bikers. It’s built by the Athertons who are all pro MTB riders. Black routes are something I can do after I’ve had a bit of a warm up and I’m feeling brave. So naturally we went down the Red route first, called Super Swooper and it was just horrendous. Nothing on there was anything I couldn’t do, but the wear on the trail was so bad there were holes that would swallow your entire front wheel if you didn’t pick it up over them. It’s not a beginner friendly place. Couple that with new brake pads in the rear so the levers feeling weird and the majority of the route being large jumps (which I don’t like) and I didn’t have a good time. 

I got to the bottom and was in a really grumpy mood, thinking this day was going to be a huge waste of time and money and I would only be able to do that one route which was shit, and my bike was feeling off… I just had a bit of a melt down. That first run, Steve also managed to break his brake lever so it was looking like he would be sitting out the rest of the day too.

Then James had to ruin my bad mood by adjusting my levers making my bike feel perfect. Steve and I fashioned a brake lever out of a cut down tyre lever and LOADS of zip ties which meant he could ride again. After a tester lap down the Red again (which I still hated) to prove the lever bodge worked, we did another route that was much better. My mood started to lift.

This one was called El Hippo and had only recent been upgraded from a Red to a Black, so I figured there must be some easy red stuff left on the trail that I could do. It was a much better blend of jumps and technical rocky and rooty sections which is more my style.

After lunch, we did a route called 50 Hits which is just a shit load of jumps, boring.

But the best route of the day was Race Track, a Double Black that was literally the limit of my ability. The trail was majoritively technical riding over rocks and rough terrain with the odd massive jump thrown in. There were lots of features where I just had to stop and take a look at it before riding, which was really annoying. I did them, but couldn’t go in blind. It also had the steepest cliff I have ever ridden down on route, which I only did because I saw Steve make it look easy. Which, turns out, he only did because James made it look easy! 

At the end of that, I called it a day. I knew if I went up and did that route again, I would probably hurt myself and just didn’t want to risk it. The day had gotten better as it went on, but I still won’t be returning to Dyfi, maybe ever. It’s just not fun feeling like I’m going to hurt myself all day. I would literally rather cycle up Snowdon again (as hard as that was) than spend a day in fear of my skeletal integrity. I think Single Black routes are where I’m going to self limit my ability. They are testing enough to have fun and enjoy the challenge and, ultimately, I’m not doing this to be the best, it’s just to have fun.