Blade @ Afan – Quick Question

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  • Blade @ Afan – Quick Question
  • psychotext
    Member

    Thinking of Blade @ Afan tomorrow with a friend, but he’s really not good with technical descents, specifically very rocky / rooty stuff.

    I’m wondering, vs say… Y Wal, is it more technical, or about the same? (not so worried about technical ups, only downs)

    Thanks. πŸ™‚

    creamegg
    Member

    Id say last part of blade is more techy than anything on the wall

    bigbloke
    Member

    I am fine on all Afan trails, however I did find myself well outside my comfort zone on last bit of Blade and walked a fair few bits on last section can’t remember what it’s called I think the Rock and Happy Place basically all berms n rocks n drops, I found it too much (prob made worse by perspective of the hillside). I am sure others will find it ridiculous I found it too much. Rest of Blade was fine for me.

    Premier Icon CheesybeanZ
    Subscriber

    Personly I found Blade more technical and exposed that Y Wall .

    psychotext
    Member

    Hmm… balls. That’s not good then.

    Thanks all.

    Edit – Is it my imagination, or are there alternate endings for Blade? Seems to be Peregrine Ridge vs The Rock and Jetlag vs Happy Life.

    superfli
    Member

    You can do skyline descent instead of Blade final descent, which is where you are getting muddled up. Both do Peregrine Ridge, but the split just after. The old skyline descent (Jetlag) maybe a better option if rocks arent to your liking

    bigbloke
    Member

    Must be where I messed up then, riding buddies got down quicker and less fuss than I.

    Premier Icon oldnpastit
    Subscriber

    As superfli says, it’s easy enough to bypass the last bit – when you get to the fireroad, turn right instead of left.

    But if you keep your nerve (and speed) it’s actually all fine and a lot of fun, if a little bumpy.

    psychotext
    Member

    I see, on the map it shows a split for both (and doesn’t really indicate blade vs skyline there), just sort of has them linking together.

    But if you keep your nerve (and speed) it’s actually all fine and a lot of fun, if a little bumpy.

    Though it *is* possible to completely mince down the last section and roll all of the drops at less than walking pace as I proved last time I was there when I burped my back tyre, remembered I’d not topped up gunk, and rolled it down with it completely flat.

    Premier Icon Fat-boy-fat
    Subscriber

    Must admit, I don’t think I’d ever ride Blade again. The only bit I actually liked was the last descent with the rocks and I am just an average mincer.

    Horrible trail with no rhythmn. I know you guys in Wales have some problems with moto cross bikes but the whole gate thing at the start of every bit of singletrack was pretty blinking annoying.

    Not pleasant at all.

    psychotext
    Member

    Yeah, I’ve heard mixed reviews on it. Still some of my favourite trails have been called shit by some, so I always tend to try an give them at least one go.

    What’s got good rhythm or flow at my speed can obviously be horrible at a slower or faster pace.

    Premier Icon citybs13
    Subscriber

    If you don’t like rocky/rooty stuff the only bit you need to avoid is ghost train you can do this by going from beacon view71 to resting place 78 , you will be ok on both descents, like the posts said earlier. I don’t understand why people complain about the gates when they no the reason for them, enjoy

    P-Jay
    Member

    Blade’s got some great sections but as others have said I think it lacks flow, it’s frankly all a bit of a slog for lots of it, like Skyline but not nearly as bad.

    It’s just my opinion but I really hated blade total waste of time. About three short sections I’d describe as fun the rest was just boring.

    As above, I’ll not be rushing back to Blade any time soon. Poor, poor, trail, IMO. Felt like it had bee dropped in, rather than thought about. By comparison;
    Y Wal – Classic old school winch up, plummet down trail.
    Whites – Simply the best climbing singletrack I know, then in to some sweet sections that all seem to flow together. Even the gates aren’t annoying as they come at a convenient cut off point to regroup, and laugh about how you nearly crashed!

    Meanwhile on Blade, every time you felt you were about to get your groove on, and had dropped your post and got ready to schralp teh gnar to teh maxx, it was either a climb, or a gate. No flow to it at all.

    superfli
    Member

    Where as I think blade is excellent. Climb is just as good as whites too πŸ˜‰

    deadkenny
    Member

    I quite enjoyed Blade and that considering the marmite reviews and a lot of the favourable ones being from those obsessed with climbing, which is not my thing really (even though I can cope fine these days). I was expecting to hate it.

    I wasn’t bothered about the gates. I don’t expect one endless long flowy trail, but maybe that’s because I generally ride in the South East and our trails are over in 30 seconds πŸ˜€

    The descent was an excellent reward. It makes up for Whytes having lost its charm with the trees gone and Whytes descent just not feeling so fun any more.

    Premier Icon oldnpastit
    Subscriber

    I like Blade as well. It’s a bit of a guilty pleasure.

    wrecker
    Member

    I like blade. It’s a bit more challenging than the normal stuff. A strawberry ripple in the sea of vanilla shite such as Cafall. At least I feel justified having suspension on it.

    I’m obviously not that fussy about my riding. ‘s all good man.

    Cafell has a very different feel to Twych and means riding both you can now get a decent length ride at Cwm Carn without repeating yourself.

    The anti-MX gates at Afan are real pain but they’re a necessary evil – the MXer’s have done/do enough damage to the trails there as it is so I can’t see a better solution. I can see the mix of climbing and descending could be a pain without a dropper post but that’s what they’re for.

    psychotext
    Member

    Ha… bit of a farce in the end.

    Decided on White’s Level. I figured I’d have time to go off and do the black loop, but it seems my friend was closer behind me than I realised and had not only forgotten that I was going to do the black bit, but had forgotten we’d decided on White’s in the end… and went off into Blade.

    I stormed through Whites thinking he’d got past me somewhere, but it was only when I got back to the car and grabbed my phone that we realised what had happened.

    In the end I went back up the technical climb to find him. Ended up doing Happy Life. Holy shit, that descent really doesn’t mess around does it?! 😯

    Premier Icon oldnpastit
    Subscriber

    Holy shit, that descent really doesn’t mess around does it?!

    It’s quite fun isn’t!

    psychotext
    Member

    I’ve not really done much that’s technical for a while… and I was on a hardtail… so fun might not be the word I’m looking for.

    But it certainly got my attention (oddly, I found it far harder than the “black” section). πŸ˜€

    We ended a two day trip to the west with a Happy Life and I liked it so much we went back up after lunch at did it again. Best I have ever ridden, love how at speed all the rollable rock features turn into fair sized drops.

    We saw loads of MX/enduro bikes at Afan and even met a pair coming up the singletrack we were descending so it seems those gates are more than justified. I liked Blade a lot but to be honest I think the only new place I’ve ridden and not liked was Swinley after two days of uplift – just seemed flat and pedally!!! πŸ˜‰ The climb at Blade confirmed that the BB on my full-sus does not need to be any lower!

    Interesting comments. You do know there’s no law preventing you mixing and matching this stuff? We’ve been a few times, and stopped following the route markers pretty quickly.

    psychotext
    Member

    Talking of speed, my poor friend took 13:53 to get down it, vs my 3:37.

    …and yeah, I’ve seen MX bikes on Skyline. πŸ™

    wrecker
    Member

    Best I have ever ridden, love how at speed all the rollable rock features turn into fair sized drops.

    They’re rollable? I honestly wouldn’t have guessed, I have been telling all my mates that it’s not rollable! 😐

    P-Jay
    Member

    wrecker – Member

    Best I have ever ridden, love how at speed all the rollable rock features turn into fair sized drops.

    They’re rollable? I honestly wouldn’t have guessed, I have been telling all my mates that it’s not rollable!

    Every obstacle of every official XC trail in South Wales is rollable, it seems to be part of their design mantra – it’s might not be the easiest method or the smoothest, but you should be able to ride everything, even on the few little black sections with both wheels on the ground.

    Gunz
    Member

    I am a HT mincer and I can confirm it’s all rollable (although sometimes I roll onto my face).

    wrecker
    Member

    That’s interesting, thanks P-Jay.

    Every obstacle of every official XC trail in South Wales is rollable, it seems to be part of their design mantra –

    and a very good one it is too – it means you can ride the trails with a group of mixed abilities and gives a path of progression for your riding.

    I’m not sure if any repair work has been done on the lower section of Blade but I think there was an issue when it first opened that meant the bottom of the drops got quickly hollowed out and they were getting a lot of OTB’s from people rolling them. I remember them being very cut out when I first rode it (and was flying off them) but they were fine to roll when I minced down them this time.

    ferrals
    Member

    I’m surprised at that too – I was convinced bits of the last blade descent weren’t rollable on a bum in the air xc hardtail. I’ve only done it once but there were a couple of drops I walked around 😳

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    I loved Blade tbh though there was a bit in the middle where the trail had become a bit out of grade imo just because it was falling apart- big holes and exposed terram and that and a bit of a stream running down it… Can’t remember names of trails but from about peregrine ridge on I remember a lot of fun… And the first climb’s class too.

    How’s the waymarking in the middle now? When I was there the windfarm roads had just ****ed it, the diversion signage was absolutely useless… I got diverted by a windfarm dude around the top of Skyline for no reason at all then eventualyl found my way back to blade by pure guesswork after lots of trial and error and wrong turns. Turned out there was literally one sign to get you out of the windfarm works, and it was A4 sized and completely covered in mud. Then even once you were back on the diversion there was an unsigned Y junction where I just happened to guess right. Was not amused.

    P-Jay
    Member

    ferrals – Member

    I’m surprised at that too – I was convinced bits of the last blade descent weren’t rollable on a bum in the air xc hardtail. I’ve only done it once but there were a couple of drops I walked around

    Not the same as “uncrashable” of course, but that’s the idea anyway – there are a couple of things that cannot be rolled, but there is an easy to spot less hard “chicken run” to the side of it to maintain the rollable thing.

    It’s worth also noting that all the tricky sections now have a sign saying “drop your saddle” at the start of them, I can imagine it being really hard to roll some of them, if not impossible with the seat up.

    psychotext
    Member

    How’s the waymarking in the middle now? When I was there the windfarm roads had just ****ed it, the diversion signage was absolutely useless… I got diverted by a windfarm dude around the top of Skyline for no reason at all then eventualyl found my way back to blade by pure guesswork after lots of trial and error and wrong turns.

    My friend is clearly a bit of an idiot… but it seems he managed not to get too lost on it.

    It’s worth also noting that all the tricky sections now have a sign saying “drop your saddle” at the start of them, I can imagine it being really hard to roll some of them, if not impossible with the seat up.

    Yeah, there’s no question that I’d have had a number of offs with my seat up.

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