The previous day had been spent walking up Snowdon via Allt Maenderyn then back down via the Rangers path. I've ridden the Rangers before so was, as usual, spotting lines as I descended despite not being on a bike! This walk combined with the subsequent night in the pub left me feeing somewhat knackered as I set off from the car park to commence the Marin Trail the next day. Weather wise it was a cloudy and slightly misty day with the temperature just above freezing. The trails were damp with some minor amounts of ice where the sun had not managed to warm things enough.

I was riding my Cove Hustler and it initially felt strange as I have been riding my hard tail for every ride since last October. This is pretty usual for me: I prefer the hardtail for the winter months and the woods we mostly ride in them.

I wobbled my way up the first section of singletrack before the long fireroad slog that this trail starts with. 20 minutes of sweating out pints of Spitfire and burping fried eggs later I reached the top. A good climb always clears the system! ;)

I very rarely ride alone. I usually prefer the company of other riders: the banter, the egging on, having people to pace yourself against and the general social side of things are a big part of mountain biking for me. There is also the safety aspect to be considered I suppose? If you stack it in the middle of nowhere who's gonna help you? With this in mind and still getting a feel for it too; I rode the first fun singletrack sections at a fairly steady pace. On the next long fire road section I came across some other riders: a club by the look of things? Hello's were exchanged and their front guys matched my pace up the climb. When they stopped to re-group I carried on. They were the only riders I saw on the trail all day despite the car park being reasonably busy.

I was feeling much better for the rest of the trail and took it all at a steady pace without stopping much. The unusual situation of not being flat out with a rider in front and a rider behind on the singletrack sections had a strange effect: I was riding smoother! My line choice and the corresponding flow of the trail was really good. I don't know if this is because loosing that little bit of speed maybe gives you more time to pick a line or if not "sheeping" a rider in front was doing it but it seemed to be working? On the last (and best) descent  the previous day's walk took it's toll. My calves were killing me as I stood for the duration!

After two hours and 10 minutes I was back at the car and packing up for the long drive home. This was the first time I've ridden the Marin Trail for several years. It was enjoyable but seemed easier than I remembered it? I think it also maybe needs a bit of work to bring it up to date? Maybe I've been spoiled but the newer trail centres all seem to have a lot more singletrack? There is a lot of fire road on the Marin. I don't mind a plod up a fire road to be rewarded with a good singletrack descent but at one particular point on the Marin (where it runs parallel to the A5 above Swallow falls) there is a very long fast fire road descent. Also maybe some short black options would spice things up? It's still a good trail and worth riding and I had enjoyed this ride but I did ponder these thoughts as I was riding.