Howies Dyfi enduro

The howies Dyfi enduro is a relatively small event when looking from the outside world, it’s not a gravity enduro, it’s not a xc race it is an endurance challenge hosted every year by the village of Machynlleth.

I had heard of the dyfi enduro around 18 months ago, talk of brutal climbs and incredible steep technical descents, at that point just a dream but fast forward to the beginning of February this year and a 17:59GMT I was poised to get myself a spot. You see in the uk among many mtb forums/groups/clubs (however you wish to refer to them) the Dyfi is an event on a majorities calendar, the atmosphere created by the organisers is one of great fun, smiling faces all around whatever the Welsh weather will bring. So 18:01 I get my confirmation email, I’m rider 199.. 199 yes that’s right of the people entering 198 were quicker at typing! The tickets for this year’s event sold out in a ridiculously quick time, 6 minutes I’m led to believe! 6 minutes to sell a thousand entries! 

So that was February, I’d agreed to ride an event on then 3rd of May in Wales, 57km and 1900m of ascent! Oh my days what have I done?! You see up to now a big mtb ride would involve maybe 20-25miles and somewhere around 800-900m of climbing. I knew I would be able to complete the event but what state I’d be in would be another matter!

May 2nd comes around all too quickly, I’ve loaded the van and prepped my bike and I’m off to Wales… Should be great at home in Somerset it’s 20 degrees Celsius, should make for a lovely warm ride the following day. That’s the thing with riding in Wales you can never predict the weather until you’re actually  in Wales! I got over the second Severn crossing and that was it.. Rain. Oh. Well I’m heading there and the event isn’t going to be stopped because of a bit of rain (we’re not made of sugar or some sort of football pre Madonnas as mountain bikers!).

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Parked up at the venue and it’s all very low key and everyones smiling regardless of the weather, meet a few like minded riders and have a quick chat before sorting some food and fluids.

There’s a real social atmosphere in the main tent where you sign your registration, there’s a bar, a dj, some old sofas and a table football game all regularly in use. Outside the Luff bus is there cooking up some lovely smelling food and making teas/coffees. Just off of the site is a co-operative supermaket. You don’t need to go far for whatever you may need/want during the weekend.

I get an early night knowing I have a big day ahead. The only thing to disturb me was.. Yea you guessed it..

Rain in Epic proportions! It began at around 4am, or at least that’s when it woke me. Oh well, I’m not made of sugar… Am I?!

The morning light soon comes around and people begin to surface, I make myself a brew and look out on the misty drizzle.

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Riders begin to gather at the start and I head over to join the queue. Bit of a rookie mistake, supposed to be there for 10:50 I get there at 10:40 and I’m considerably closer to the back than I ideally would of liked. Not to worry I’m out for a good ride and under no illusions of being quick compared to some of the riders.

The event begins and as the leaders disappear through the gates the rest of us shuffle through. One of the great things about the dyfi enduro is that the whole of Machynlleth get behind the riders, as you ride towards the forest the streets are lined with people out of there houses clapping and cheering everyone on, it can’t help but give you that warm fuzzy feeling. I managed to find a video on YouTube of the start showing the procession of riders.

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Full video is Here

As we leave the roads and head onto the first fireroad climb of the day I get into my own rhythm, I have to back off though as there’s alot of riders just spinning up at a very steady pace. I can live with that though, no point being a hero with over 50km to go! I stop 3/4 of the way up to take off my jacket as are many others, body definitely warmed up now! I round a tight right hand corner thats 400m of ascent done and the first climb over to which we are greeted by music.

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They were giving it there all to encourage us.

That was the last picture I took during the ride. What came next were amazing descents on reasonably wide trails but plenty of wet flint/slate to keep you focused. After around 20km I met up with Paul who I had met through the Mtbmeetup,  we agreed to ride together and helped each other through the course. We relished every descent and endured every climb. It was tough, brutal at times your legs get tired on the climbs then you come to a descent that means no resting on the saddle but up on your legs as your calf’s tighten begging for a breather.

My only regret was not taking my go pro (I seem to do this quite regularly and should be making use of it).

Paul and I crossed the finish line both elated bit exhausted. As we gently rode back to the campsite we chatted merrily knowing the hard work was done.

Mug collected and thoroughly exhausted.

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We weren’t fast but had a great time, and surprisingly in the days after my legs felt pretty normal, would I do it again.. Well despite destroying a pair of oakleys if I’m lucky i may get an entry again next year! If you’ve not ridden the dyfi enduro it should definitely be on your bucket list.

Since the event I’ve managed to get a couple of photographs of me riding.

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