TREGARON FREERIDE : Words by Ry Swanton & Photos by Will Edgecombe

Tregaron Freeride in Wales went down a bomb, amazing photos from Will Edgecombe, A dissertation of culinary experience by Phil Wood and an amazing video by Andy Thackery! 

T R E G A R O N    F R E E R I D E 

Video by Andy Thackery

Tregaron Freeride went down last weekend and it will almost certainly be the biggest and best closed road event of UKDH 2015 with over 70 riders attending. Hosted in the deepest darkest Wales, home of downhill in the UK, lack of signal and big supermarkets may come as a shock to some. The hill, like any Welsh hill, contained 2 hairpins and had speeds of up to 40mph on the straights. The fresh surfacing made for a smooth and grippy ride with no bad pavement from push to shutdown. The only real issue encountered throughout the weekend was the rate the bottom dried compared to the rest of the hill after wet weather.

The weekends skating was constantly alternating between wet and dry at several hour intervals, making for a diverse but not too miserable skate. With the two uplift vans working flat out both days riders were able to achieve over 15 runs a day! Uplifts became slightly faster after switching the direction of the uplift route late on day 1, keeping van time low and skate time high. 

The end of day one's riding was marked by heading down the the pub - Y Talbot - for food and drink, to really shed light on this establishment we asked the well versed food critic Skateboard Phil for his opinion:

Now, whilst consensus will conclude that Tregaron Freeride was a great event (it was a cool track and the villagers were very welcoming to us) I have been tasked with evaluating the various sources of food available during the weekend. This puts me in an interesting position. My expertise (and the high regard to which I am held within the culinary world) lies in reviewing chip shops. There’s nothing I don’t know about chips and I can certainly tell good fish and chips apart from the average. However, Chinese takeaways food and pub grub are confidently outside of my comfort zone and this review is going to prove my greatest challenge yet. 

After arriving at the event on Friday evening, myself and UKSketch’s very own super Grom Johnny PB headed for the ‘Dan I Sang’ Chinese takeaway. A little different from the usual grotty shop front tucked into a row of terrace houses, the Dan I Sang was a stand alone stone building 100 yards from the Skateboarders campsite. Venturing inside, and the waiting/reception area was very spacious and pleasantly (if minimally) decorated. There were two large leather settees for us to sit and relax whilst we waited for our food. I ordered the king prawn curry and chips, Johnny PB ordered the chicken chow mein. I set my watch and expected the traditional long wait, however, we were pleasantly surprised when our food arrived in a little over 5 minutes. I have to say portion sizes were very large and made up for the seemingly expensive price we paid for our meals. The king prawns in the curry were comfortably the largest prawns I have ever seen, I’ve had smaller Langoustines. I don’t know where they are getting their prawns from but these m’thafkas were huge. Now, sometimes prawns lose the intensity of their flavour the bigger they get. Not these beauties. The flavour was a taste sensation, perfectly complimented by the delicious (if a little generic) curry sauce and the addition of a plentiful addition of mushrooms, peas and onions. The generic curry sauce was very good, not too salty or swimming in oil. It made a delicious “dip” for my chips. The chips were also lovely. Again, a little generic in flavour for a Chinese takeaway, but good quality. I enjoyed the meal very much and couldn’t finish all of it as my portion as it was a little too large. (ooh err ladies). 

Johnny enjoyed his chicken chow mien, stating that the quality was above average and he couldn’t finish his either due to portion size. We were joined by fellow UK Sketch team rider Dan Gibbs who had bought a special meal deal, including rice, sweet and sour sauce, prawn balls and stuff. This was a good start to the weekend. 

On Saturday we skated all day in rain and sunshine. We were taken directly from the hill straight to the function room of the Y Talbot hotel for our evening meal. All sweaty and damp from our exertions, we left our soggy pads and skateboards in the corner and made our way to the table. There was with a hot buffet of pasta with a tomato and basil sauce. Only the only choice on offer which was a little disappointing, but completely reasonable considering the whole thing was done on a budget. My chums at the table (amongst others who have asked not to be named for confidentiality reasons) were Speed Ace Tiago Fanha (one of the hot favourites to win the event), Cameraman and freeride wizard Will Edgecombe and Slalom legend Mike Stride. Although the pasta dish was a relatively simple meal, it certainly hit the spot. The tomato and basil sauce was nice. The basil was fresh and the tomato sauce was rich, tangy and had an air of sophistication. At least 3 of us at the table went up for second helpings. The pasta had a reasonable texture, it’s very easy to get pasta wrong when it’s served in this way. It often ends up gloopy and stodgy. This dish wasn’t stodgy at all. It tasted pretty “fresh out of the kitchen” and although rich, the sauce was fresh tasting with a “delicateness” which is sometimes difficult to achieve. The fresh basil was a nice touch, and illustrated the attention to detail. We were then offered chocolate brownies for dessert which again, were very nice. They too had an air of “richness” and quality about them. I was looking forward to my breakfast on Sunday morning.

Breakfast was served again in the function room of the Y Talbot hotel (which was very posh incidentally) and consisted of Bacon cobs and cereal. Now I don’t eat bacon so couldn’t personally comment on it but reports suggest it was nice. I opted for cereal and was staggered by the choice on offer, Coco pops or Frosties!!! I guess maybe the hotel thought we were all aged between 7 and 15, being skateboarders. I chose the slightly more “adult” choice of Frosties and accompanied it with fruit juice and cafetiere coffee. Now, coffee is another of my special interests. I love a nice cup of coffee. Unfortunately this coffee tasted like someone had wrung out Andy Thackray’s vest. It was as bitter as a cyclist. So overall, breakfast for me was disappointing, however if I was an 11 year old carnivore who didn’t drink coffee maybe it would have been great. 

The hospitality from the hotel and pub was great though, the staff were very friendly and welcoming, and the venue was lovely. 

Now, on our way home, following a further day spent skateboard frolicking, we decided to look for a chippy. Dan did some googling in the back of the car (I had to give him a stern warning as I was sure that this was still illegal in Wales) and he found a likely chippy in Newtown called Genies. They had a customer car park (I love a chippy with a customer car park) and they had a “restaurant” attached for us to sit down and enjoy our meal. I had mini cod, chips and mushy peas, which tends to be my standard choice for review comparison purposes. Dan had a battered sausage (the Saturday night party was hectic), curry sauce and chips. Cuthbert (name changed by request) had a battered sausage (too much googling) mini fish and chips. I also had a Latte whilst the boys had fizzy drinks. Now this was much more like it. The food was very reasonably priced, mine with the coffee was £5.50, the portions weren’t the biggest there has ever been, but the food was lovely. Not up to “Riverside” standards, but certainly very good. Nice bit of fish and great chips. Nice to have a proper coffee in a chippy as well. The staff were very friendly and the restaurant was spacious and clean with nice tables. This was a lovely way to round off the weekend. I would give Genies chippy a green rating. Next time I’m in Wales I’m gonna aim for it on the way home. 

BACK TO THE EVENT

Timmy Peters then put on a late night impromptu dance/flatland jam in the car park, with the Greenwich Groms skating hard and claiming the top prizes of Sugar and Pocket Money. Everyone hung around, skating the public toilet in a loop in packs (which got awfully fast and competitive towards the end). Beer, fireworks and balance boards kept everyone entertained until bed sounded better than a dark and cold mid Wales car park.

Day two's riding was much much faster, with mostly dry weather and everyone looking far more comfortable on the hill. This meant better lines and bigger crashes, the medic left his post three times that day; once for Dale Goodwin, once for Alan Bajalan and most importantly for Mo Mohamed. Mo took a simple but painful crash on the luge and bust his leg. Heal fast buddy !!

Racing was fierce, with lots of keen racers on the hill it led to some great heats and ambitious skating. Racing was of a seeded format, with three heats generating a 64 man knockout competition. A few unexpected results saw some great racers knocked out early on and a few fairly new faces getting 1st/2nd throughout. Being the first race of the BDSL league people were keen to rack up some points. 

S t a n d u p 

1st Cam Deegan

2nd Ras Sarunas

3rd Alex Clark

4th Ruben Loosmore

L u g e 

1st Ben Bewley

2nd Jamie "Winnie" Winn

3rd Ian Martland

4th  Martin hull

 

One of the people most stoked to get into the final was Ruben Loosmore so we had a little chat to him; 

4th Place ? Happy or horrified ?

Happy as hell to be honest! It was so tight and I ended up crashing out from second to last but I am still happy to have made it so far and race with the top UK guys!

What previous racing had you done ?

Just hog and return of fumble

What's next ? A podium at Kozakov 2016 ? 

I wish! But yeah I might be hitting up Euro tour next year and try and do as well as I can, but I doubt I'll get that far, it is a whole different level of riding!

 

Overall, everyone seemed to have a rad time. Lots of runs, a smooth operation and happy faces all round. With happy locals too, I'm very keen to see this event happen again. Good work Brianne Collective for all the hard work and organising that goes into running an event of this scale.

Special thank you to the marshals, Especially thoses who couldn't skate!

Special thank you to the medic, for standing about and helping on his weekend!

Remember when driving in Wales to keep your car on the road, otherwise you mind find yourself in a ditch, on a 2 mile skate and hitchhike to the nearest town!

Thank you Ryan, Phil, Will and Ruben for contributing to this article.

Congratulation to Cam Deegan taking 1st place!

And thank you to all you skate legends who travelled great distances to be with your community!

 

These photo will be on our facebook soon for tagging!

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