The Diary of a mountain bike guide, route researcher and guidebook writer
Epic scenery, epic riding. Llyn Cowlyd: Snowdonia at it’s best
There’s usually a moment when a new year ‘starts.’ An imaginary switch is flicked somewhere and suddenly we’re back on the road, riding and shooting the route guides; and more recently guiding and instructing too.
This year was different.
It was never going to be easy coming back from a 7 month layoff, and the seldom-seen cautious side of me didn’t want to start shouting from the rooftops that I was back riding and working and all was OK, only to trip on an early hurdle.
I’m optimistic we’re through that stage now. And March has been business as usual. If this business ever actually does ‘usual.’
It started with some private instruction in the Gwydir Forest, where myself and Annie and Gaynor dodged showers and soaked up sunshine, working on confidence, corners and the odd rocky drop.
I then sneaked a spot of solo route research (at least that’s what I call it) in the Lakes before my guiding program kicked off. Global MTB, a North West based Facebook group, provided me with a real baptism of fire, testing both my riding skills and ever-improving fitness with 2 huge and amazingly sunny days. Snow prevented us taking in any real tops, but there’s so much good, technical riding down low in the Lakes, we couldn’t have been in a better place.
A family visit south provided a quick opportunity to explore Farley Mount – west of the South Downs – and then it was guiding again. This time in my home hills of Snowdonia, where snow once again kept us off the tops. We did manage a great spin around Llyn Cowlyd though – just love that final descent from Crimpiau. And then soaked up more sunshine on the Sunday as we cruised around Pont Scethin.
It was back to Cowlyd 3 days later – this time for a photo-shoot for Singletrack magazine. The weather was awesome, as was the company and the riding, though this always feels a lot tougher with a camera strapped to my chest and the paraphernalia.
Another trip to the Lakes started eventfully, with a broken mech hanger (me) and a broken chain (Steph), in the first 5km. Good job we carry spares! Then it was another legendary Lakes weekend of guiding – more big days, more technical riding, more great company – thanks Luke, Dan, Sue, Phil, Lee, Rich, Steph and Dom – and more sunshine.
Good Friday provided the final outing of the month – a real monster around the Berwyn Hills. We headed here knowing it would be quiet while the rest of North Wales was teeming, and we weren’t wrong – we saw less than a handful of others in 50km… And the sun shone again J
Now we head into April with our Sunshine Guarantee still intact. Can’t wait…