Polaris, Trails

The Right Way Around

The cat is out of the bag now. The intended location of Spring Polaris will be Llanwrtyd Wells, and the event planner is none other than, erm, me. Though the location of the event is kept quiet until a few weeks before hand, clues were threaded through this blog in the riding stories I have told. This will be my second Polaris as a planner, the first being an uncharacteristically warm and sunny weekend in the Brecon Beacons in March 2005.

The thermometer said minus-nine on Sunday morning as I wheeled my bike out of the garage. A cloudless sky heralded the promise of a good days riding, not least for the fact we were bound for Llanwrtyd Wells with the aim of correcting a few wrongs. A couple of weeks back, Al and me planned a challenging and slightly exploratory route through a load of trails neither of us were familiar with. We found ourselves pushing our way up several long sections of bridleway, all the time thinking “We should be coming down this…”. They weren’t entirely without reward of course, as we enjoyed some eye-watering descents on the other side, like this one:


The first long climb of the day through the forest afforded spectacular views across the Irfon Valley, over the Sennybridge Range and beyond to the Brecon Beacons. Soon, we left the bright sunshine and disappeared back into the trees to find the target at the end of our gravelly ascent. The bridleway turned out to be a surprisingly technical descent with short sections of exposed rock making line choice critical. Eventually the path opened up enough for it to become a full on blast down through trees. We re-emerged in the valley bottom, which was still thick with frost, and began our climb out again.

That was very much the flavour for the rest of the day – fireroad climbing beneath crisp blue skies, followed by exiting and nicely technical bridleway descents threaded through trees and over rocks. Over 60km and 2200m of climbing later, we arrived back at the van with four excellent descents under our belts, this time completed the right way around.

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