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Monday, 7 May 2012

Dyfi Enduro 2012 Review

So the Howies Dyfi enduro was with us yet again, (11th year of the event running), this years 800 places sold out in an hour, which shows just how popular the event has become!

I hadnt ridden my bike for nearly 2 weeks, which was quite unheard of for me, so I was feeling a tad worried about having not trained enough. I had put in some good miles all year though, so was comfortable doing the distance, but not  in an especially good time.

Having a full suspension and a hard tail 29er bike to choose from I was undecided, especially given the terrain of the down hill sections, but I decided to take the 29er, hoping that what I lost on down hill speed compared to the full sus, Id gain on up hill sections, which there were plenty of!

Three home made- walnut and fig flap jacks, a bowl of porridge and a bottle of powerade later and we were off! As with most years, the whole of Machynlleth had come out to see off the eight hundred or so riders.
The first and dreaded 2 mile fire road climb went well an I managed to gain back a lot of the spaces I'd lost by starting right at the back of the pack; this all came to a halt however when the riders started queuing at the first bottle neck; a steep and loose descent, know locally as the 'elephant'. Ive never seen so many people crash in such a short amount of time, but the descent split up the riders and after this everything flowed really well.


The next major climb, up the field section was a killer as ever, and really pushed the legs as far as possible. Luckily it was dry which made things easier, and I was glad to have energy gels at hand to give myself a much needed boost at the start of this section.

The field section runs for about 2 miles and pretty much looks like this most of the way, gruelling! 

From here on the ride runs a 'up a hill down a hill' kinda feel, with mile or so long fire road climbs and loose rocky slate filled down hills that are without a doubt as off piste as any riding gets. The course was full of all the usual Dyfi enduro treats, which this year included, a harpist, cheer leaders, starwars re-enactment, council stop Go sign's and more. 

For once I found the dreaded 5 kilometre climb up to the feed station pretty easy, I'd ridden at a pace I was happy with rather than totally destroying myself, so had plenty of energy left, and was still buzzing form the epic 'world cup' down hill section as well, which probably helped. Of course the thought of sausage rolls at the top was a boost for moral, and I scoffed a load down as soon as I got there :-D 

From the feed station onwards was the Home loop as far as I was concerned. Heading towards the finish line rather than away from it is always a bonus on this kind of ride, and the down hill sections ahead where awesome. The start of the Goshawk section is steep, rocky, loose and has a stream running down it, every thing I look for in a down hill section, squeezed into one epic descent. The climb which switch-backs from it however is much the same, and saw ant like rows of us pushing up it, and riding occasional sections. 
A typical rocky down hill section

From here it was more single track and fire road climb before the dreaded last climb; where cramp started to show its face, but I managed to hold it off! A quick slip on my saddle saw me sit on one of the two parts of my male anatomy; that I won't name, but the pain from this was greater than the pain from my now aching legs. This served to take the pain away from legs and gave me a boost in a masochistic kind of way, to get up the last hill. 
Riding down 'Dicko's' the last 3 section down hill was as ever a delight, made even better by a real ale waiting at the bottom before the final sprint along the road to the finish handed and sipping a beer. 

I crossed the line, somewhere under four hours which I was really pleased with, and from what I was told in 170th position. I didnt make the punishment loop of an extra up and down that the top 200 riders do, so realistically I was somewhere in approx the first 250, a result I was more than happy with. Official Results to follow later in the week. Of course, the Dyfi Enduro isnt a race ;-), more a personal achievement and for me, something to keep me motivated for training throughout the year, what also makes it unique is the amount of fun and support along the way to keep riders motivated and get you up that next hill! 

After a brisk 5ish mile road ride back into town, it was straight to the Cafe Seren bar and onto the real ale, before a quick freshen up and then an evening in the tent listening to some seriously funky tunes and catching up with everyone's unique and fun ride stories...did I mention the Plumb and chilli 6% real ale? 

Yet another great Howies Dyfi Enduro, with perfect weather great company and even better trails, bring on 2013...and hopefully a place in the top 200. 

Heres some one elses GPS route tracker, thanks Dave Reed--


  1. nice mate, very good reveiw...see you next year

  2. Thanks, any one in for coed y brenin?

  3. You have shared the whole story of the Dyfi Enduro 2012 Review.Thanks for posting.I am looking forward for your next review.

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