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Penmanchno Trail Centre, Betws-y-Coed, 18th Feb 2012

What a great trail centre this is and with great views of the Snowdon range as an added bonus. Worth at least 9.5 out of 10 and only losing half a mark as some of the tracks share their journey with fast flowing streams.

The weather forecast said "Cold, icy, windy and wet." Snowdonia in February. What else were we expecting? Stockport and England were left behind in drizzle but on entering Wales it was lashing it down. This probably had the effect of putting off most visitors and we had the tracks to ourselves, only seeing a few other bikers in the car park.

Isn't it great when your worst fears for a miserable day come to nothing and the rain stops? Not only did the rain stop, but for quite long periods we were dazzled by a big warm orb shining in the sky. Fantastic!

The Facebook page said there would be 7 attendees and 2 maybe's there were just the 5 of us: Mark, Maggie, Davor, Ollie and Martin.

I'm not used to singletrack and it took me about half an hour to tune in to riding the narrow tracks but despite a number of near calamities I managed to keep the bike upright and pointing in the right direction, just not as quickly as the others. Mark and Davor disappeared, Ollie gave chase for the first half and Maggie, very politely, asked if she could go in front of me.

Both loops were completed in a reasonably leisurely 3 and a quarter hours which didn't feel like anything special but probably was when compared to others out on the tracks on the same day. Next to us in the car park there were 3 blokes in a fully kitted out VW camper van with posh bikes, posh kit and generally looking like pro's. We left the car park at the same time as they did and we arrived back together. They only managed one of the loops prompting Ollie to comment that "We are Stockport Clarion. We are hard." Not quite hard enough to say it to their faces but hard enough to say it in the Conway Falls cafe afterwards.

Some videos on MTB Britain.
Penmachno_traverse.wmv Crash at very end

  Report by Martin Pigott