It seems to be fashionable to start these entries with some comments about the weather, so I'll just mention that it we experienced a monsoon while loading up the van and minibus. The forecast lead us to expect a damp weekend so we were pleased to discover that this was the last significant downpour we experienced.
14 club members travelled up to join 2 old friends in our usual accomodation for the traditional first weekend XC trip of the year. Our riding plans were slightly disrupted by the closure if the Penhydd trail, so instead of starting at Afan we kicked the riding off at Glencorrwg on Saturday morning with a lap of White's Level. After lunch at the Drop-Off cafe we headed back up the singletrack climb for another descent of the black run followed by the shortest 'July' version of Skyline. A misread turning on a trail diversion saw us navigating a bog (some with more success than others), then sent us down an unexpected natural trail complete with running water, a pedal width rut to follow and rock steps. Great fun, challenging to ride fast and a change from all the manmade trails on offer. This brought us out at the bottom of the last fireroad climb on Skyline (a real grinder) and when we reached the top it dawned on us that we were back at the mid-point of the diversion. Still, the final three sections of singletrack descent more than made up for it.
Saturday evening saw a change from the traditional pasta to rice and chilli for dinner. XC Captain Rob ate way more of it than his stomach could hold down, while the rest of us were a bit more sensible but compensated by rehydrating with beer, cider or whisky.
On Sunday most people undertook a single lap of The Wall, following it up with a relaxed lunch while the keener (fitter) members went out for a second lap.
All in all a successful trip, and we took away from it a new name for XC Rob, a new song penned by Fresher Rob for Rich Hebb and greatest of all the experience of feeding Manbearpig as we left.