Some photos and a bit of reflection on a special weekend in wales!
Woah! What a weekend - thank you to everyone who came along and made it such a special time. We've written a little recap and put some of our favourite snaps together for your enjoyment.
that was really, really, really awesome
We knew that Hangingheld farm would be an extraordinary place to host a gravel cycling event. From the generous and welcoming Degmo family hosts, to the endless trails surrounding it and the gorgeous riverside campsite - we just knew this had all of the core ingredients to make an extra special event possible.
Walking down the steep grassy descent to the campsite, we couldn't help but envisage event flags, bunting, lights and a load of lovely people with bicycles gathered around fires under a setting sun.
So that's what we did - and it worked! After a solid year of planning, recce'ing routes and fine-tuning the set-up, we were definitely pinching ourselves a bit when you all rocked up to ride your bikes and enjoy a weekend away in the Welsh hills. A true dream come true and validation of an idea that we had a year ago.
Friday night set the tone for the weekend with people arriving late into the evening and setting up camp, cooking and sipping some cold stohk's by the fire with old friends and new. We were blessed with some beautiful weather as everyone gathered around to chat about what the next day's riding might bring. Clouds turned pink and then red as the sun set over the valley behind the farm, ushering in a new and exciting day on the bike.
day 1 - smiles not miles
We've trademarked the term "smiles not miles" now after having ridden in this area for the last year. There's not a flat surface to be found within 75km, the landscape is punctuated with a copious amount of epic gravel climbs which make any route out of the farm both challenging and rewarding. For our riders this June, we had three route options available; 30km with 2500ft elevation gain, 45km with 3000ft elevation gain and 70km with a whopping 5000ft ele!
it's quite hilly in wild wales
We were absolutely chuffed to have such a mixed group of riders turn up, from seasoned gravel event goers, to some who'd never set tyre on the rough stuff before. Having ridden the routes the week prior to the event, we were slightly apprehensive about how riders would handle the technicality of the terrain and difficulty of the routes. Everyone surprised us however, taking it at their own pace and gently rolling around the course while taking in scenery and wildlife or absolutely hammering it around.
For a part of Wales that is less known for riding, the Radnorshire area absolutely knocks it out of the park with scenery. Wide open green valleys stretch out as far as the eye can see, with pristine gravel and tree lined "hills" at every turn, it's a cycling paradise that needs riding on! We're super chuffed that everyone enjoyed the routes so much and were able to experience this incredible part of the UK on gravel!
The aftermath and evening celebrations before day two!
Our favourite part of any Wild Cycles adventure is witnessing the aftermath of the ride. Riders returning from a day in the hills with endorphins soaring and stories pouring. There was no shortage of this at Wild Wales, with the skies clearing and beers cooling - the post ride glow was real!
Tales of adventure, from punctures to lost bottles, views and high stohk areas soon spilled out as our riders returned from an extraordinary day out on the bike. It's why we do what we do!
Live folk music from Angus, Forbes & George with Blu Ernest from brighton
An epic set from Brightons own Blu Ernest followed by 3 hours of straight folk music, dancing and celebrations ensued after copious amounts of pizzas and stohk. We were awestruck by the brilliance of local band Angus George & Forbes, who's passion and talent were massively evident as they took us on a journey with their own written music. Our personal favourite favourite was "boot the dog", a controversially named song about George's dog named boot.
day 2 - the sunday bimble
Riders for the Sunday bimble turned out in force after a night of celebrations with a smaller group than Saturday but still enough to ensure high stohk was had. Today would feature a wonderful gravel loop punctuated with epic sections like a natural pump-track, waterfall and steep climb out of camp.
till next time!
We want to say a massive thanks to all that came along for the inaugural Wild Wales festival this June. We're absolutely chuffed with how it went and so glad that everyone enjoyed their time here both on the trails and off. Our mission is to bring people together in incredible places of beauty through cycling and we feel like Wild Wales did exactly that. Keep an eye out for dates for the next campout this summer - 16th to 18th September.
Another massive thanks to Hamish and Nell at Degmo - who own this spectacular farm and have really been instrumental in facilitating Wild Wales. We'd like to encourage donations to the Degmo Foundation which provides Somali families from inner cities throughout the UK with the opportunity to explore their nomadic roots, language and customs. Read more about Degmo @ http://degmo.org/. We're delighted to be supporting such a great cause.
Also we'd like to thank Olly at Gravel Union who unfortunately couldn't be there but was in spirit. Olly played a pivotal role in designing the routes for Wild Wales and really pulled out all the stops for this one.
To our other partners at komoot and Muc-Off - thank you for your ongoing support. Thanks to Neighbourhood Gravel for bringing the good vibes.
Finally to stohk who provided plenty of beverages, games and good times, as well as some rather good drone footage. It's always a total pleasure to ride with the brewing bro's.
Save the date
16th - 18th sept 2022
We'll be back on the farm in Wales for the 16th-18th September this year for a very special edition of Wild Wales with some incredible partners. Stay tuned for more and save the date! It's going to be epic.
the degmo foundation
If you'd like to support Hamish & Nell at the Degmo Foundation please feel free to donate as much as you can afford to the bank details below.
Download photos here
We're bloody genius and have set up a google drive with all the good camera pics from the weekend. Help yourselves and tag us if you do post to the gram!