George checks out the new trails at Antur Stiniog – there’s more than ever before, and more to come.
Antur Stiniog Trail Launch – Saturday 14th September 2019
Coming into 2019 it’d been a good while since I’d ridden at Antur Stiniog. It’s one of the UK’s most popular uplift destinations, famous for the speedy uplift (rumour has it someone once managed 26 runs in a day) but I’d fallen out of love with the place. The reds and blues were a bit too ‘samey’ and the blacks, whilst being great practice if you want to get sharp for Fort William had become a bit too harsh on the bike for a fun day out. It needed something else…
Enter the Welsh Government and enough grant funding to build almost 5km of new trails. This includes the restructure of the old “Draft” trail, turning it into a jump line with over 30 jumps (it’s now called “Meehhh” after the noise a sheep makes); “Plug and Feathers” a new 1.5km green trail to encourage novice riders to give the park a try and “Detonator”, a new red run which the trail guide describes as “Natural, unsurfaced with plenty of ‘airtime’”. In reality, it’s 3 minutes of pure grin factor! Starting on the opposite side of the hill to all the other trails and crossing the uplift road it’s certainly different, primarily because it’s made from dirt!
Saturday saw the official launch of the new trails with a jetlagged Steve Peat cutting the ribbon before a “it’s definitely not a race” race down “Detonator” with a Le Mans start and Peaty leading us out. There wasn’t really anywhere to pass but that didn’t stop people trying. Check out the helmet cam here and the dude trying a sneaky line just after the 4-minute mark!
Throughout Saturday I was riding with YouTube Vlogger Tom Caffrey who won the “definitely not a race, race” before being disqualified by Peaty himself for taking a ‘French line’ at the start so keep an eye on Tommy’s YouTube channel for that.
Work is about to start on a new Black section called “Re-Powder” which will link off the Black Powder trail in 2 areas totalling 850m in length. That will take Antur to 14 sections of trail with something for everyone. Next season they’ll also be adding kids’ bikes to the hire fleet to try and encourage more families into the park.
As for me, well Saturday marked the sixth time I’ve been to Stiniog this year which I think means the romance has well and truly been rekindled. We’re not mutually exclusive but I’ve definitely swiped right!