The Route

We have put together 3 great days’ riding for your enjoyment!  Our primary aim is to find trails that are rideable, fun and challenging. We have linked together some of the best trails this region has to offer to ensure that every rider comes away happy.  Keep your eye on the Bearded Man Blog for updates and more information about the route. (Due to some of the trails requiring permission for use in this event we reserve the right upon request of land owners to modify the route to preserve our good working relationships in this area).

If the weather is kind to riders and the rain stays away then expect some great hard pack riding on a mixture of terrain.  Riders will traverse moorland, forests, valleys, hilltops and scale steep cliffs both ways!  There will be some ‘hike a bike’ sections – the fitter the rider is the less of this there will be.

It must be made very clear – this is a cross country endurance event – so please read the route details carefully to understand what is in store for each day’s riding.  Don’t expect to spend all day on well-manicured singletrack, because you will be disappointed – there is a mix of singletrack, fire roads, forest roads, bridleway trails and a small bit of tar.


Stage 1 route description

Distance:                             Between 12 – 15km

We kick the weekend off in style with an early evening time trial around the Myarth Woodland in the Glanusk Estate. The course will test your singletrack skills and fitness alike, with steep climbs and twisty singletrack winding through the woodland.  The varied terrain adds to the fun of going crazy around a private woodland on some well worked in trails and some pretty rough stuff.

This time trial is a great opportunity to test out your bikes before the two longer days that follow.  Riding will start at 5pm and the last rider will leave by no later than 8pm.  The start is literally right at the tented village so there is no neutral section to get to the start.  Once you’ve laid down your time you’ll be able to relax with your fellow riders and get ready for the challenges to come.

You get 1 chance so make it count!


Day 2 route description

Distance:                             70.4km

Elevation gained:             2300m

Starting just outside of Crickhowell, riders leave the tented village and cross over the ancient bridge leading into the village before crossing the A40 in the direction of Llanbedr.  This initial section of riding is on tar, but once through Llanbedr the trail appears and it’s a stark reminder of what’s to come.  A short, sharp drop is followed by a similar climb, both on rocky terrain.  The next three km’s is a trail sandwiched between farm lands before riders are shot out close to Fforest Coal Pit.

2km’s on tar gets riders to, what can only be described as a beast of a climb.  Yes it’s short, but it’s steep!  15km’s in and at the top of this climb, riders make their way towards Mynydd Du Forest, which is currently being felled in many places – however, we have permission to ride some super fun trails, including a cheeky climb (which is mostly rideable) that enables riders to get to the North of the forest – giving just under 10kms of sweet descending along the Mynydd Du Forest ridge.  Once riders get to the bottom of this descent it’s 32km’s down and 38km’s to go!

Feedstation is at approximately 35km’s before the endless Hermitage climb ensues.  This grassy climb is littered with little kicks, ruts and the odd stream.  It is sandwiched between two massive mountains (Mynydd Llysiau and Waun Fach).  The scenery is spectacular and can be enjoyed if you have a tailwind!  Once riders crest the gap there is a great section of trail that tests the rider’s technical ability – rocks, ruts and speed all play a part in making this section so much fun.  As soon as the steepness levels out,  more singletrack keeps the adrenaline pumping along the contour of Pen Trumau.

Between 45km’s and 55km’s the terrain is unforgiving – lots of up and down, mostly steep and if riders are fit enough to enjoy it, this section can be swallowed up pretty quickly.  A new section over Llangorse offers some great singletrack and it’s mostly down, although some might argue that undulating is a more appropriate word.  After a short climb to get onto Llangorse’s ridge it’s a great 7km’s descent that is pretty quick with good visibility for the most part.

One small graded section at about 61km’s through a small forest will raise a few eyebrows but it gets riders onto a short bit of road before entering The Myarth Woodland – the location of the time trial the night before.  A last section of really fun trail and it’s all over!  An epic day is an understatement!


Day 3 route description

Distance:                             75.8km

Elevation gained:             2055m

Leaving from the tented village, riders head towards the now familiar Myarth woodland for a short climb to thin the field out and warm up the legs.  Exiting the woodland there is a short bit of road before entering another section of forest and again getting across the same piece of graded terrain!   A short stint on a trail that runs parallel to the A40, in the direction of Brecon, riders then join up with an old tram line that is now part of the Taff Trail.

Once at the top of this steady, rocky climb, the day has already eaten up 20km’s.  The descent is furious, with rock ledges, water, trees and quite often vegetation obstructing the trail.  The altitude gained over the previous 6km climb is lost within a couple of really fun minutes.  Crossing over from the South side of the forest to the North, there is a really interesting climb that keeps the mind off the hurting legs and popping lungs!  Once at the top it’s a twisty forest road to the base of another climb, which is again pretty steep and short, but is all on tar, so at least traction is not an issue.

Once you get to the top the scenery will take what breath you have left away – views of the Talybont reservoir are spectacular from this side of the forest.  Now at only 27km’s riders are given a bit of respite with 7km’s of descending  – this includes a mixture of fireroad, forest track, singletrack and even some boggy stuff thrown in for good measure.  Once at the base of the descent riders are able to stock up at the feedstation, which is 34km’s into the 74km ride.   After the quick stop, it’s time to leave the forest with a steady forest road climb to Dolygear, which is currently being felled by the Forestry Commission.  This should offer up some very interesting traversing as forestry machinery is brutal!

At 46km’s there is a nice little descent that leads riders onto the infamous GAP route heading North, which requires a steady 4km climb to get the amazing views towards Brecon!  This is where the fun begins – initially a rock garden, the track terrain varies as more altitude is lost (400m altitude in 5km’s).  From quick hard pack riding to loose rocky terrain riders have little opportunity to gaze at the surroundings and will mostly be concentrating on finding the best line to keep up the speed and momentum.

Once at the bottom of the GAP route, we call it ‘the trail of doom’.  This wheel smashing section of trail is littered with big rocks and shrubbery that impedes any smooth flow.  There are however fun sections of this mad trial.

Now at 54km’s, there is a short bit of tar as riders make their way to another section of bridleway that cuts through farmland and shoots out at Llanfryach.  Another section of respite is offered up along the canal between Pencelli and Talybont-on-Usk (flat, smooth terrain in serene surroundings).

From Talybont-on-Usk (10km’s to go) riders do a reverse of the way out, heading through a small forest in an Easterly direction.  One last kick around the Myarth Woodland before it’s back to base camp for well-deserved celebration – and rest!

If you like what you see then register now.

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