Llyn Alwen and Llyn Brenig Trail Ride

I was supposed to do this route the day I smashed my ribs in. However a mate of mine persuaded me to go to a different place where I bit off more than I could chew. So it was great to finally get out to these 2 beautiful bodies of water tucked away nicely behind the Denbigh Moors in North Wales.

I got up early and the temperature was reading minus 2 centigrade. The last time I went up to these hills in the winter I got my van stuck on an icy track. I had nothing to fear it was a dry cold with no wind. Perfect conditions. I parked up near the Alwen Dam and set off in an anti clockwise direction around the reservoir. I was the only bod about at this time of the morning and I soon had a massive grin on my face enjoying the riding and the spectacular views. The route takes me north and when I start a descent we head east towards Brenig. Passing a track between the 2 lakes are some really muddy icy puddles that extend for half a mile or so. I was giggling like a little school boy as my bike slipped from left to right with every peddle but at the same time I was making steady progress.

Alwen

I arrived at Llyn Brenig and followed a new man made path around the northern part of the lake. As you rise up to this tedious stretch you are rewarded with the most spectacular view of the water and the hills. I paused to get a banana down my neck and some fluids but more importantly I was savouring this moment. The route then meanders along the shore of the lake and sometimes through little wooded areas. I then crossed the actual dam and hit the main road that then loops me back to Alwen.

Brenig Mountain Bike

This is a fairly easy route I would say blue all the way round. Some parts, if it’s wet are muddy but easily passable. Some slight ascents that had me puffing but I’m out of shape at the moment but above all it was a pleasure.

Going to be doing this again in the spring.

 

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First Ride

First proper ride on the mountain bike since the rib break. It was great to get back out in the hills on the bike and in the wet. The first mile or so was a bit twitchy but I soon settled into a rhythm and started to relax. Wet, muddy and very windy. Perfect conditions. When I got my bike out of the back of the van and the familiar wind coming off the Clwydian range hit my face I then had a big grin on my face. I have missed riding my bike so much. I didn’t realise how much until this moment.

It’s going to take a lot of riding to get back in shape. I’m off to Llandegla for some black route rides in a week or so. The crash has done me good in that I am more cautious with what I attempt. I’m not in my 20’s anymore where I once thought I was indestructible. I am very destructible, fragile and bitter. I mean happy.

 

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Rib Recovery Ride

It’s been 3 weeks since the ribs got smashed. I can sleep almost lying down but still wake up in the early hours in a lot of pain. I’m starting to get fatter with this inactivity so my daughter and I went for a gentle ride down to the beach. Curbs are the main problem and any bumps. Whenever I hit these an uncontrollable yelp comes from deep inside. It’s tolerable and great to get outside again. I’m going to try an exploratory run tomorrow

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4 Broken Ribs

I went to Gisburn Forest to do some mountain biking with some mates from work. The route is quite technical and I was actually having a great time up until 6 miles in. We had just climbed a steep hill to set us up for a jump section. Off I went. After a couple of turns the downhill jumps started. After about 3 jumps it was clear I was going to fast and on the final one I went to high had the wrong line and bailed out. I landed on my right upper back and was severely winded for about 5 minutes. I have never been winded like that before. I couldn’t breathe and I started to panic when no air could fill my lungs. When I did manage to get the slightest wisp of oxygen it hurt like hell.

I could feel a crunching sensation just under my right shoulder and knew I had broken something. Luckily a doctor was out on her mountain bike and stopped to help. She checked my spine etc and told me to get my arse to hospital. I went and had an X-Ray and they found multiple fractures on my right rear ribs.

So here I am typing this and thinking about recovery. I have been told it can take up to six weeks to fully recover but I can see myself getting back on the bike within 2 weeks or so. The healing process after a couple of days seems to be going well.

 

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Llandegla Black Route.

This place is a mountain that has many tracks carved into it for the pleasure of mountain bikers. It’s also a brutal cardiovascular workout. If you think you are running fit (which I thought I was) then try this. I was invited to go here by some mates at work after getting my new bike but before that I put in some mileage in the the Snowdon Mountain Range with a good friend last weekend. We did a 30 mile/hilly/wet ride and I loved every minute of it. So I prepared well for this course. There is a choice of 3 runs just like skiing routes blue, red and black with the latter being the most challenging route in terms of technical and physical ability. The lads after seeing me do a bit of the red route said I should be OK on the black so off we went. Brutal! Is a perfect word to describe how it was. Thoroughly exhilarating and completely physically demanding. It was fantastic. You can go at any pace but it is safer to go at good speed so your tyres just fly over the numerous rocks and boulders. The steep turns and unrelenting bumps and humps keep you focused and alert throughout the ride. If you ever find yourself in North Wales and have a mountain bike this is a must.

 

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