Was heading over to North Wales on Sunday night so decided to take the bike. I originally intended to do a route out of Ruthin around Moel Famau, but a late start getting the kids up meant that I wouldnt be getting there till about 1ish. Not generally a problem, but I've never ridden the route before and CBA with navigating. So, why not have a reccy round Pen in preparation for the trip with the boys on the 13th May?? Why not indeed.
Now its been something like 3 years since I rode Pen with Toss and I had a brief recollection that it was getting a bit worn on the last 2 downs of loop 1, So I was a bit cautious as to how the trail had held up. I need'nt have had any worries as it turned out.
Arrived at about 1.30 and set off. The inital climbs are all over pretty quick and getting onto the singletrack climbs was easy. Loads of fallen tree's though that we all across the trail.
I forgot just how much climbing there is to the start of the 3 rollers though as was soon blowing out of my star. Still all was forgotten as I rolled into the first section. Penmachno really is a fucking ace trail... the sections of singletrack just plead with you to push that little harder, force you to carve the turn just a little further over than you would normally... the flow is just superb and the grip it gives, even in the wet is stunning.
Up the switchbacks and onto loop 2. I remember this being quite pedally, but you have to give it the beans as it just rewards faster and faster riding. Views opened up too on loop 2, Snowdonia laid out before me.
Finished loop two is quick order and then came the long climb up around the hanging valley. This was fucking hard work if I'm honest, I had a head wind all the way round and the trail just seems to climb all the time, but finishes lower than when you start. Still, the fun really kicks in here, my 3 favorite downs coming up... first one through the trees, ending on some hairpins is ludicriously fast... flying between the tree's as stupid speed carving the trail, then the traverse (or Hafod Faith) as the sign now calls it... cautious at first due to the drop on your left, but fast as fuck on the return leg, passing Weesters famous running dismount spot! Proper buzzing at the bottom of this, then the long old climb to the final descent. Touch cautious at first as I binned it here last time, but was into it in quick order. Faaaaaaaast and swoooooopy... I could NOT stop smiling at the end.
I love this track. It always baffles me why it is not as well known as CYB, Climachx or even its close neighbour, The Marin... but to me it just fits my "perfect trail" description. Fast, flowy and a bit rocky.
Looking forward to the return on the 13th with the lads.