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The Frozen Devil 2015 - Coed Trallwm, Llanwrtyd Wells 4th January

Discussion in 'Pictures' started by Greg, Jan 6, 2015.

  1. Greg

    Greg MTB Rider Staff Member

    More details below:

    Finding new limits... not quite, but thats good.

    While sorting out events for 2015 I saw The Frozen Devil and it immediately grabbed me. Brecon Beast was tough (for me) so I expected this to be a challenge - less miles but cold, wet, killer climbs and muddy with a chance of snow & ice. The Frozen Devil didn't disappoint!

    Really wish I'd got there a bit earlier, running a little behind (mostly due to stopping on the moors to take some photos and due to the ice making driving very slow) I could have done with a warm up, that first climb from the start was hard on cold sleepy legs. I was blowing by the time I got to the top, not the best way to warm up at all. The route dropped straight in to a nice trail centre descent (where I nearly OTB'd) before heading out in to the country side, off in the distance I could already see riders cresting over the hill to Trallwm, whilst it took me another 15 minutes to ride up those slippery rocks running with water.


    Not the best start I've had to a ride and by that point I was feeling a bit rubbish, burned out from the first climbs and with a achy knee from whacking the top tube when I nearly crashed. Dropping down to the road I saw another rider in front who was also employing the socks & freezer bag method of keeping feet dry. We had a good chat whilst heading up the Abergwesyn climb which got me back in to a positive mindset, the steady climb allowed my body find its rhythm and properly warm up (It wasn't until a few days later that I found out it was Tom from MBTom.co.uk I was chatting to <- click the link for Tom's great event write up).


    The route dropped dropped sharply into the Tywi Forest for a fun all be it short and slippery descent and then on to a road section along the Llyn Brianne before climbing back up through the Cefn on a fire road. After a little boggy hike-a-bike there was a great descent across some moor land, fast with some techy sections if taken at speed (pulled a 3rd and 4th on those segments, short lived positions though) before another road link up. Then on to the Maesybont Climb, 774ft of mind numbing fire road, part of me wished I had a granny gear ... most of me wished I hadn't forgotten my water bottle with some energy gel in it. The cold and wet and lack of energy getting me a little bit. At the top me and a chap from Preston (sorry I forgot to ask your name!) found some motivation in each other, being pretty evenly matched on this ride, chatted away until getting suddenly arriving at the Drovers Rest.


    Having read about the Drovers near legendary feed station spreads I wasn't sure what to expect from a cafe... they didn't disappoint though with a choice of tea or coffee and a fair sized portion of hot pasta and a warm bread & butter roll, not to mention the welcome warmth of the cafe. Once re-heated and re-fuelled we set off again ... the cosy feeling lasting all of 2 minutes before the bitter cold sucked all the warmth from my soaking clothes. Heading off around Garn Dwad its not too long before heading up another steepish over Pen-y-banc and off towards Cefn Crug.


    Cefn Crug presented a first time experience for me; cramps. The Frozen Devil de-tours from the fire road for a little while and instead the route ascends a fairly steep rocky trail, half way up a new and not very nice pain quickly forms in my right quad. I'm not sure why, I used enough electrolyte tabs in my water and even put a extra helping of salt on my pasta. A quick stretch and much needed walk to stretch our legs and we're on the bikes again to finish the Cefn Crug climb. Shorty after the peak we had to the most disappointing part of the route, a scenic forest trail, with gnarly boulders, slippery rock, deep puddles all in the shade and eerie silence of the forest ... sounds great doesn't it? And it would have been if we'd been riding down it instead of up, such a shame as in the other direction its a fun part of the Real Ale Wobble route. Maybe next year the FD route will go down instead of up! Only a little fire road to go, some fast fun whooping descents, a couple of which are gravity enduro stages, and we're back at the start where we go our separate ways and unknown to me at the time I chat with Tom again for a bit.


    There were more deciding factors to this ride than just the weather for me. I tried to get lots of sleep in the days leading up. The day before I decided to try loading up on carbs to see it that would help me push through those big climbs. That's one place I struggled at the Beast, despite eating and gels, energy fast ran out then. Expecting poop conditions and plenty of rocky sections like the Beast I decided to swap the skinny Dirty Dans out for Mountain King II's with a lot more volume. This was also my first proper ride with the 70mm stem and my new shoes, "new shoes" you might think? They have shorter thread blocks than my old M088's = very floaty and easy to unclip.

    So how did all that work out for me? Good and bad really. Normal pre-event excitment/nerves left me with roughly 4 hours sleep the night before. Carb loading work a treat, handy that as I left my gels in the car by accident, so I'll be trying loading again for sure. I quickly regretted my tyre choice, the MK's are heavy and wallowy, add a longer stem and a fast jumpy descent early on the route with a large dash of enthusiasm and extremely unclippy shoes and it was the near perfect recipe for near disaster. Very nearly an OTB followed by a near miss with a mud bank, I managed to stay on and proceeded with a little more caution the rest of the ride.

    When I got home from the ride I said to myself I'd not go next year ... but I'm already thinking I might... ;)




    Panorama 3-Edit.jpg
    chris obrien likes this.
  2. chris obrien

    chris obrien Active Member

    some of them names are very familiar to me having ridden the wobble for many years , this years route is 22 miles , either they are going soft on us or is very severe

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