It is a long time since I have been to Wales for an event and so it is with a strong sense of anticipation that I cross the border and head into the hills of Snowdonia. El Macey has organised the weekend and although it isn't a competition, he has found hills I haven't done before. As I drive towards LLanberis, I can't help but marvel at the scenery. The sky is blue, the temperature is high and life feels good.
Everyone is meeting up at what has come to be known as the lost road to Atlantis. It was built to supply an industrial estate that never happened. Not open to traffic, the road surface is in fantastic condition. However, off the road, everything is overgrown - creating a surreal feeling of being on a post-apocalyptic film set.
Camp is set up at the top and people drift in over the day. The run down starts with a straight moving to a slight right kink. and followed by a long left sweeping corner. Next comes another straight and then a right sweeping corner before hitting 'mossy straights' where the trees have shaded the road, creating some slips and slides to contend with, especially for the downhillers amongst us. There is a right kink and then a full right turn. Riders can then choose between a left turn or carrying on to the end of the road. The roads are not amazingly fast and technical - they run about 35 miles per hour - but the long, sweeping bends coupled with the amazing scenery make for an awesome afternoon.
Unfortunately there is no uplift van, but there is a path straight up the hill overgrown with wild flowers. I embrace the novelty of it all, especially the hot weather which gives a real holiday vibe to the day. By late afternoon, everyone is a little jaded and so it is time to grab the swimming gear and head to the local quarry. Again I am struck by how beautiful the area is.
Later, some go off to do another spot – there is plenty of choice around. Others, including me, decide to stay at the top of the hill and just hang out - with a few beers of course.
The next morning, we drive 50 minutes to Heaven (aka a dam access road). This is a long bendy road with multiple hairpins and new tarmac laid down a couple of weeks ago.
It lives up to its name, especially for downhill. My photos do not do it justice. On my luge I get speeds of around 20-25 mph around the hairpins and 40 mph on the straights. It is not amazingly fast but it is technically challenging with relentless corners. It takes two and a half minutes to do the entire run (followed by an extremely long 50 minute walk to the top). We park at the bottom and although I do the full walk up (with my light wooden mini-luge), others just do their favourite bits.
By the end of the day I am exhausted. Driving back to Leeds I reflect on what has been a fantastic weekend. Thank you El for organising. I have my fingers crossed that there will be another one soon.