I can't remember the last time I rode Llandegla prior to the weekend? It had been years. There were lots of new trails and as my memory of the old ones was sketchy at best it was like on-sighting new trails for most of the day apart from a few sections.

The weather was pretty good for Wales at the end of November. There was a bit of a head wind on the open section of the main climb and a threat of rain which didn't hit until we were finished.

We did a lap of the black route to start then stopped for a bite in the cafe before what was supposed to be another lap with a few variations. Unfortunately it ended up being a bit shorter than intended but was still fun. We did the first blue descent which saw Big E get the rubber chicken added to his bars for a comedy off and several of us taking the last corner too fast and ending up flying off piste to the fire road.

Llandegla seemed smaller than I remembered it even though it now has more trails? The trails there tend to be fast and flowy and the black graded sections are graded harder more for the speed and potential air rather than much in the way of technicality. It was fun to visit again but it's still missing something to get up there with my favourite trail centres? I'm not sure what though?

When we finished riding we drove to Betws-y-Coed to stay overnight. It absolutley p*ssed it down that evening. Fortunately we were enjoying the dry interior of several pubs whilst it did! Steve and I were in different digs to the rest so we missed the drunken singing of Happy Birthday to Phil by the lads in collaboration with the entertainer in their hotel!

The next morning saw the grey skies slowly clearing to blue. Another cracking day for Wales at this time of year. Our next destination was Penmachno.

Again I haven't ridden Penmachno for quite a while. No new trails there though; it was all as I remembered it. The heavy rain the night before had emphasised the main problem with the trail design at Penmachno - drainage, or rather lack of it. We were soaked by puddles early on which actually prepared us for some sections of trail that were actually temporary streams! I guess this is an indication of how trail building has improved over the years. Newer trails seem to not suffer from this?

However that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy the riding. Penmachno still has some excellent singletrack. We did both loops. I've heard people moan about loop 2 being too pedally but I actually quite like it. Technical singletrack that requires some pedalling effort can be as much fun as the down hill stuff in my opinion.

On loop 2 Mick had an off and luckily missed all the rocks and landed in some thistles instead! The chicken didn't really get handed over properly though as Big E went for a proper "comedy off the side of a big wide wooden boardwalk into a bog" not much later!

By the end of loop 2 Dave was struggling and we had a few re-grouping moments before each of the final and probably best sections of singletrack. It was a proper sunny day with blue skies by the time we were doing so.

Another cracking weekends riding. Probably the last "away" trip of the year though?