This was the 13th (or so, everyone’s a bit vague by now) running of the Dyfi Enduro, sponsored by Howies, and it’s accurate to say that it was the biggest year ever. There were over 1000 entrants (up from 800 last year), but even so, it seemed there was room for everyone among the endless hills of this corner of westest Wales. The traditional Bank Holiday event kicks off the riding season for many riders and can be the first big test of the legs.
In addition to the event, which is a 45km and 55km way marked loop around the Dyfi forest, there was camping, a great bar, music and a live band. In addition, Machynlleth hosts a comedy festival that weekend and plenty of riders had turned up early (and stayed late) to enjoy some of the many performances around town. Luckily the event doesn’t start until 11am, so there was room for the few beers the night before to wear off.
There was the traditional ride through the closed streets of Mach and past the clock tower – and then, after a pleasant five miles or so on the road, the event starts off on its traditional, epic fire road climb into the hills. Depending on your fitness and hungover state, this can either be a sociable (though endless) spin, or soul destroying. Luckily there was distraction and entertainment at the top, in the form of various performers, cheering on the hundreds of riders.
Despite a bit of a queue at the first singletrack, the next climb soon evened everyone out and the trails flowed smoothly after that. Many riders were back after previous years and knew what to expect: a day of steady fire road climbs and narrow, tricky, slatey descents. Everyone seemed in a good mood and there was plenty of banter on the climbs – and a few forum members spotting each other by their bikes.
With the exception of a suspected broken collarbone, it seemed that most riders survived intact, with punctures and cramp being the biggest issues of the day. Those who pressed on to do the extra 10km loop at the end weren’t entirely sure if they were happy about the enormous extra climb, but at least they got another descent in over the regular 45km lot.
The biggest descents, like ‘World Cup’ were either enjoyed immensely, or feared greatly, depending on how much steep slate there is in your regular riding day. There were huge amounts of sausage rolls and sweet, sweet flapjack at the feed station and then the traditional section of puddles that ensured that all bikes went home uniformly concreted… And for riders in need of refreshment, there was a bar right near the end of the 45km loop. Free beer never tasted so good.
So far everyone seems to say that they’ll be back next year, so we hope there’s room for us all again. Don’t forget that the same organisers also put on the Coed Y Brenin Enduro on the first weekend of October. Get in for more of this.
You can catch up on the forum thread
and the results (not that it’s a race) are here: http://summit.smartdata.co.uk/results
Thanks as always to Joe Hayward and the Summit Cycles/Beics Brenin crew for a fantastic event – and to the people of Machynlleth who do a great job of making a thousand mountain bikers very welcome. And thanks to Daisy, the expert poodle-sitter.
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