Mentro 6. Great Day, Rubbish Surf, Rhossili, Gower 24th May 2015.

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This #Mentro21 project, logging all my surfs this year is proving useful. All the recent trips to Rhossili, Gower are blending into one. The van is becoming a common site at the newly acquired National Trust Carpark, spot the bulldog.

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We have had surf too small, surf too big and Goldilocks just right surf but this weekend was too small and totally blown out.

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I went in anyway in the DimExcuses spirit of the #Mentro21 project, but it was impossible to get a stand up ride.

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It was a fantastic day though and I got some great shots of Rhossili Bay, Molly and the van.

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Molly loves Rhossili, she is a proper Gower bulldog.

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She loves having a nose out of the passenger seat of the van.

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Apart from when Sharon gets her out for a cradled pose.

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It is a picture perfect venue at Rhossili with a cracking view in any direction. Here for example is the imposing Wormshead.

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So the surf was awful, but a day at Rhossili is never a day wasted. The water is slowly getting warmer, and it maybe time to lose the boots and swap the winter suit for a summer one, DimExcuses.

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The Old Oak. DimExcuses MTB Ride, Derwen Trail, Brechfa.

Raven's Wings

This is just a glimpse of my favourite and trusted trail, ‘Y Dderwen’ (Welsh for ‘The Oak’) trail in Brechfa, Carmarthenshire.  It is only a glimpse as I forgot my phone and couldn’t map the trail on GPS for you.  The trail is situated in the Brechfa Trial Centre in wild west Wales and can be found on the Cognation website.  The trail centre also hosts the Gorlech red trail and the famous Raven black trail.  The Raven shares the same car park and linking fire roads as the Derwen trail we were riding.  The Gorlech trail can be found further up the road with its own car park at Abergorlech.  The fantastic Raven’s Wings sculpture is in the carpark for weekend warriors to get their facebook and blog photos (above), ahem…

The Derwen is in two parts and is ideal for entry level rider or a family.  The first part is the green loop that is 9 km long with some moderate climbs and descents.  At the midway point in the green loop you can opt for the more challenging blue  route.  This adds an additional 5 km to the ride, a challenging climb and incredibly fun rollercoaster decent.  A group of differing abilities could split into two at this point with some doing the blue run and the others waiting further on at one of the picnic benches and shelters provided.  Below is one of the much needed bench stops.

Bench stop

Here we are below at the summit of blue trail.  Myself and first time DimExcuses riders Sam Donaldson and Paul Jones.

us brave few...

We were lucky with the weather, but I would class this as an all weather trail for the hardy rider.  Obviously the wetter it is the more technical the riding becomes, especially over loose stone sections and areas where puddles develop.

Bench

It is a great ride, designed and built by Rowan Sorrel.  He has a great understanding of trails, and I find is green / blue routes designed to really flow.  A slower rider can easily follow the track, while a more experienced rider can get a lot out of the berms and table tops along the way.

Post ride

I find the 15 km of both trails combined  a perfect length for the less regular rider looking for a day out.  We were around the trail and back at the carpark in less than 2 hours.  It was then a case of heading up the road to Abergorlech for some home cooked local food in the Black Lion Pub.  We must be charmed because just as our food was being served along with a well earned pint of IPA ale, the heavens opened and in came the weekend’s heavy rain showers.

Rain at the Black Lion

As the Derwen is my favourite route, and one I like to share with people new to trail centres, I will soon be back and this time I may remember my phone, DimExcuses.

It is official, tomorrow is the first day of Autumn.

Swansea Bay Sun

Right, how exactly was it decided that tomorrow is the start of Autumn?  It all began with this year’s enthusiastic seasonal rangers in Bryngarw Country Park, Helen & Robin, asking me if they could borrow a marquee for the park’s Autumn Fair tomorrow (Sunday 15th September).  If you would like to go to the fair details can be found on their facebook page.

Earlier in the year I talked about do the seasons start at the start of the month or on the equinox on the 21st?  The DimExcuses definition this year was decided as the equinox.  So I joked with the rangers that Autumn hasn’t officially started.  They replied that you can’t date a natural process!  Hmmm… …some research needed…

It turns out that meteorologists count the 1st of September as the start of Autumn.  Astronomers count the equinoxes as the start because this marks the exact quarter points of the year.  And finally today is fantastic summer day, and tomorrow is looking like a storm and gale force winds, the perfect natural transition.  Therefore we are all right and I officially declare tomorrow Sunday 15th September 2013 the start of DimExcuses Autumn.  So what to do with the last day of this glorious summer?  Get down Gower for the 29 mile Gower Bash bike ride?  I might leave that one for Ade and Paul, good luck guys!  No I decided to dust my bike off and ride down Clyne Valley and onto Swansea Promenade.

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And what better to stop for a Latte than the 360 Watersport Centre?  It was absolutely glorious down there, it was like being on the Med!  What a great way to end the Summer, and I invented a whole upside down bike rack without a bike rack thing.  So what will you do with the first day of Autumn?  Why not get your waterproofs on and get down Bryngarw Park for their Autumn fair?  It is covered, I lent them a marquee.  DimExcuses.

Second Ride. Darren Fawr Mountain Bike Trails, Garw Valley.

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I was so impressed with my first ride of the new Darren Fawr mountain bike trials, I just had to get back there with bigger tyres, an idea what to expect and my video camera (now helmet mounted.  I also had to bring along a couple of friends,  long time DimExcuses rider Matt Seager and new to the DimExcuses experienced but accomplished rider Matt Bailey.

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It was a lovely sunny Wales day (I am beginning to think is there any other sort of day in the Garw Valley) and warmer than predicted.  I guess I am just lucky.  The car park was full of riders who had come into the area for the day, they must have read my blog.  There was a really friendly atmosphere and the local kids were whizzing about on their bikes in the car park asking lots of questions.

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So we set off up the blue loop which is quite a pleasant climb.  This time I remembered to GPS the route.  You can see the map here.

The black climb was as hard as I remembered and according to the map we climbed to 1300 feet (the carpark is at 600 feet, so only 700 feet of climb)!  This time I got a photo at the top.

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I was determined to get some better video footage than last time, so I had moved away from a chest camera to a helmet mounted one.  The video I took is of the black / blue decent.  It has been more cut than Jessica Ennis’ abs, and is edited down to 5 minutes.  Keep an eye out for small dog that nearly got run over halfway.  Luckily Matt B herded it out of the way.  Music Crystal Method.

It really is a great ride.  It was then back to the car park to dump my heavy rucksack and mount my camera to the handlebars.  A quick chat with the other guys in the car park and it was back off for another 2 laps of the blue loop, or 3 in Matt B’s case (we like is DimExcuses attitude).  Here is my handle bar footage of the blue loop set a bit loudly to Skrillex ‘Weekends’.

All in all a great ride that is a welcome addition to Wales’ MTB Trails.  DimExcuses.