XC Racer Blog Post

Cheeky trip to Afan

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BY: Oliver Richardson - Giant Twickenham

Published: 18th May, 2015

Living in London it can be difficult to quench the thirst for riding some great trails. An hour out of London you can enjoy the likes of Swinley Forest and the Surrey Hills but there’s nothing quite like a trip to Wales for something a little more brutal such as Afan Forest.

This was my first chance to take out my new Giant XTC Advanced 29er kindly supplied by the Giant Store in Twickenham. (http://www.giant-twickenham.co.uk) 

If you’ve never been to Afan then don’t expect to be eased in gently. We started with the Blade trail, which starts with a 3 mile climb called Whites Level. This is quite a technical rocky climb that I love. There’s something about the concentration needed for a climb like this that distracts you from the physical pain of actually getting up it. Being my first time on a 29er I was amazed at how much easier the bike skipped over the rocky terrain shaving a good 2 minutes of my previous efforts.

Any Strava bashers among you will see a few top Elites in the top 10 so it’s always good fun seeing how close you can get to their times. Happy with getting up it under 25 minutes I’ve still got a fair way to go it seems with the top spot at around 22 minutes. : /

After making our way up it we then proceeded with a mix of the Blade trail, which has some great technical descents through the woods such as the Helter Skelter and Hokey Cokey. Be prepared to pick some smooth lines if you’re on a 100mm XC bike though as it can get a bit gnarly in some spots. Again the Giant XTC seemed to take these sections in its stride engulfing whatever the trail threw at it. The difference over the fast rocky sections on a 29er I found very noticeable and only really struggled with turning into a few of the tight switchbacks. A cheeky dab of the front brake to chuck the back end round soon solved this!

After this we tackled The Wall and Penhydd trails racking up 45 miles and a good 5 hours in the saddle including a stop to have some fun on the tabletops on the Energy trail! Maybe it's just me but the bigger wheels are just as much fun in the air!! All in all a good training trip and ready for more Welsh terrain at Round 2 of the Scott Marathon series next weekend in Rhayader. See you there!

Route and ride stats below......

Click any of the images below for a larger view / slideshow

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Oliver Richardson - Giant Twickenham

Expert XC Racer and occassional Roadie for the Giant store in Twickenham.



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