Having been back to complete it since, I was keen to give it another ride, with less of the pressure of getting it right on my shoulders. This time a new variation to the ride from a guide kept things interesting and offered a new starting point at a carpark by a dam to the reservoir, which even featured some fairly horrible loos.
We kitted up and rolled out across the dam and onto a steadily climbing track that took us round the lake and up through the woods. At the top we turned onto a fast wide descent dropping us to a small chapel. Here it got interesting, as the route took us up a loose climb. However we were confronted with barriers and signs telling us that the road here was closed to all vehicles with no alternative. After some discussion we decided to take the road anyway and find out why it was closed at the least. From the point we were at there were very few options short of retracing our wheeltracks entirely so risking the route seemed sensible.
A loose, mostly ridable climb flattened out over the top of the moor and we started to get the first hint at why the road was closed as huge deep puddles crossed the track and meant taking to the reedy grass to the edges and carrying the bikes past the floods. Later it became even clearer why the closure was in place as the gradient tilted down and erosion from running water had cut deep wide channels covering up to half of the width of the road. As a byway open in theory to everything from four-wheel drive cars to walkers it was perhaps hard to see how anything but mountain bikers or walkers could get through.
After the excitement of the effects of erosion we turned left through the gate to the valley and began the singletrack treat. The valley starts in a way that makes you question the status of the trail as it ploughs through boggy land which had been added to by being torn up by cows. Pushing through bracken the trail does start to brighten up into narrow firm-based path, high above the river, dropping in and out of stream crossings and stepping up over rocks in a fantastic technical challenge.
The ride works its way along the isolated valley with wide views and fun riding, getting smoother and smoother and faster until you shoot out onto a farm track. From there it was a quick hard climb back over to the reservoir and back along the edge of the water to the dam, and then to the carpark ready for a quick drive to lunch on the Brecon Beacons.
Another classic welsh ride knocked out and more challenging trails bagged with some wide grin. There was one day left and a bit of a fun treat to finish the week.