A Mid Wales Classic, The Rhydoldog Circuit

Contributor: Roland Palmer-Jones

An excellent ride featuring a challenging climb and a storming downhill (one of the best!!).

Rating: Medium - nothing too technical, easy to push up the one or two tricky uphill sections.
Time: Allow 3 hours
Start and Finish: Rhayader at the junction of the A44 and the A470 Maps: 1:50,000 and 1:25,000 are both suitable.
Facilities: There is a good car park behind the Community Centre, a decent MTB shop, loads of Pubs, Takeaway, B&B etc. etc.

Route:

1. Ride out of Rhayader on the B4518 towards Elan Village.

2. After about 1 mile the road dips down and there is a crossroads, to the left is a bridge over the river Elan. Turn right at this crossroads. NB you can also get to this point from the edge of Rhayader via the Elan Valley Millenium cycleway, the start of which is on the left as you get to the edge of the village.

3. Follow the minor road, it bends to the left and starts to go up hill. At this point straight ahead is a long straight track, and the road forks to the left. Take this track (sign posted as a bridleway). It's a good tough climb.

4. After passing a small house on the left you go through a gate. Here take a rest, and then follow the clear track up the hill to the right. This is the main climb of the ride and has a couple of rocky sections to keep you on your toes.

5. As you approach the top of the hill there are some marshy sections and there are often deep puddles across the track. Wade through these, going around the edge causes erosion!!

6. Coming to the top of the hill the track forks, keep to the right. From this point head north along the ridge, the path is clear. From here you may be able to see some of the reservoirs of the Elan Valley to the west (left), supplying drinking water for the Brummies.

7. Up a bank and you come to a tee junction of sorts, turn right. This track follows the contours for a while, with lovely views across the hills to the east, before dropping into a small valley via an entertaining little downhill.

8. Cross the stream and climb up to the road. Turn left and ride up the road for a short distance to where there is a bridleway on the right which double back up the hill. This bridleway joins a green road along the ridge. There is one last short climb until the start of the downhill.

9. As you get to the top, stop to catch your breath, enjoy the view, eat a chewy bar, and get ready to pedal like mad. The downhill is long and fast, with big ruts, rocky sections, jumps, corners etc. There are a couple of right forks in the track, ignore these, and have fun.

10. At the bottom the downhill. Go through the gate, and turn right. This takes you down to the road that runs up the valley, turn right here if you want to do the downhill again, or turn left to get back to Rhayader and the tea shop!