Gwydyr Gravel

Woke up to beautiful sunny, blue skies this morning. It was game-on for a morning spin down on the seafront at Rhos-on-Sea with Daniel.

We parked up and rolled east to pick up the really good traffic-free cycle path there that runs parallel to the sea only to be met with a closure and ridiculous diversion on open roads so we decided to roll the other way back through the town on the seafront and back.

Holidaymakers were already camped out on the beach enjoying the sun.

We took a breather at the turnaround point and pootled back to a cafe for some refreshments. Just before we finished we took in the mini-pier which replaces the full pier that burnt down years ago. All posh and fresh, its a great view point now.

Dan was tired and it was hot in the sun to be fair so I took him back and decided that while he had some downtime I’d use it and escape into the wilderness for a bit.

I got changed and jumped in the van and drove to Llanwrst. I didn’t have time to ride the 8 miles there and back. I parked up in a free car park and cycled over the River Conwy and climbed up to the car park which marks the start of the Gwydyr Mawr and Bach MTB trails.

The route used to be called the Marin Trail

I decided to just stick to the wide, open fire roads and follow my nose and get lost for a bit. I know the roads around the forest so if I popped out anywhere I’d have a good idea where I was. After an initial descent I began the long, steady climb to the top which snakes left and right until you get to a T-junction. No plans, so I just went left and just followed the gravel trail until I summited and popped out the trees and the view opened up in front of me.

on top

The first serious descent was loose in places but the trail was wide enough to pick the safest lines to the shore of Llyn Elsi.

Llyn Elsi

I met the first rider of the day as I took my pic. A lady on her MTB stopped to take in the view too.

I climbed away from the shore and carried on following the gravel forest road around blind bends until I crossed a road and met a random guy in a white van coming the other way. A bit further on there were forestry works happening so he must have been something to do with that.

At the end of the track I popped out onto a road again but this time I decided to take what appeared to be a less used fire road as it was quite green and overgrown. Glad I did as the view as I rounded the edge of the forest was stunning

stunning view

Around a hairpin and a short climb and the track just stopped at a dead end. Off it was some rocky singletrack so I engaged first gear to climb the first kicker and then enjoyed some nice, flowing singletrack for a few hundred metres before it popped out onto a fire road.

I didn’t really know where I was so I decided left and decsended back to a junction I recognised then got the hiss of a puncture. I stopped and noticed air and sealant pissing out my tyre. It looked like the tyre had a small cut in it, so I dropped it back round to 6 o’clock and the sealant stopped it. I carried on and it started again so I Ieft it a little longer and popped some more air in which seemed to seal it. It was at this point I realised I didn’t have my dart with me to repair the hole if I needed to but I did have a tube if necessary.

sealant doing it’s job

I got back to the main climb and descended then headed off on a random track right which was high on the edge of the hill and ran parallel to and overlooked the river, railway and road to Betws-y-Coed. After initially being quite wide, the track narrowed and then kicked up to become a super-steep narrow climb. I had to sit as my back wheel was spinning if I got out the saddle.

random but fun

At the top I picked up the fire road again and this time I dropped down the main climb again taking a slightly different route back to Llanwrst and across the bridge again to finish my quick blast in the forest.

90 mins of gravel fun and escapism done

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