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coed y brenin dragonsback -my review

danlightbulbdanlightbulb Posts: 701
edited November 2012 in Routes
First off, i cant believe this is only graded red. Its much tougher than cannock red and llandegla blacks.

To say its rocky is a huge understatement too, its incredibly rocky. Some rock features looked really tough, and as your landing on sharp looking rocks as well it makes it look very daunting. Needless to say i walked a few bits.

The climbs were relentless, and i didnt really feel there was much descent to reward for the huge amount of climbing there is.

I would definately say this is the toughest ride i have done, and if im honest im not sure i really enjoyed it that much.


  • Id say it's a Red, simply whats been happening at places like Llandeglla etc is they have been
    overgrading the red routes as black to keep people who should not be on them off. Years ago the blacks at Coed Y Brenin were graded red but they have been regraded black to keep people off the more difficult sections
    but they are still classical reds. (e.g. MBR / TARW used to be red and were tougher in places.. now they are black)
    Personally i'd say that the Dragons Back is only graded red because it's a resonable long distance not because its that technical really.
    If they graded DB black when it doesnt need to be what do they do with the current more difficult routes
    grade them 2X Black and have no red routes?

    Many modern routes are only black at high speed (Llandeglla) but Coed Y Brenin is more classical (though it has been tamed down)
    and there is proper tech difficulty that results in the genuine red grading.

    Grading is subjective to some extent - but there are many tougher reds out there IMO (Gisburn / Innerlithen /Ae / Kirroughtree / Wolf ridge etc etc )
    so Coed Y Brenin grading it Red isn't too bad especially when they have a short "qualifier" rock section at
    the start to warn people that its more rocky than some of the newer designed courses... thats why its there.

    Overall you can't expect your experience of 2 highly designed modern routes define what Red grade difficulty
    equates to as they are the exceptions in my experience. Id say Cannok is the easiest red i've ever done
    and its where i used to take new rider m8s for their first experience due to this, its not technical and
    the climbs are insignificant.

    I remember when i first started riding - a few weeks after starting i rode Coed y Brenin MBR and found it tough going
    technically and i did walk some sections.. rode some of the same sections again this year and actually
    chuckled and told my m8s -- i walked this bit years ago - or fell off on these rocks.. cant belive it now though
    but i can see where your coming from and do understand your feelings... been there but i just kept it up
    and kept going back now its pretty tame but still a great course imo and i love the place.
    I suspect riding less rocky trails you've been baffled by people wearing pads... I never wore them..
    now i do even on Llandeglla as i started using em for rocky trails and nasty Lakeland rides so i just
    wear them all the time now.

    Personally you'll enjoy it more next time as sometimes its not knowing whats coming that adds fear.. one things
    for certain your usual routes will seem alot tamer and you'll start yearnig after the bigger thrills.

    It sounds like you were on your own but if you go with someone whos better than you and see them ride
    stuff your having issues with you suddenly realise its significantly easier than it looks. If your wearing cleats
    try some flats but practice on them first as they require more bike skills to ride well than cleats do
    but give you "bailability" which boosts confidence.
  • Yeah I see what your saying.

    TBH i wasn't feeling at all confident that day. Plus I didn't see another soul the whole way round (went on a Monday).
  • What Rocket said,

    I find alot of courses in wales particularly are upping there rating, with out providing the experience. but IMO Dragons back is one of the great XC trails, for me a perfect length for a ride with some great sections with speed.
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