Bike-mad Chaz Greenwood from Manchester explains why Antur Stiniog is her ultimate downhill destination.
My love affair with Antur Stiniog started approximately three years ago. A friend recommended it to me, so I booked on. The morning arrived, and with no small amount of nerves I got myself ready and onto the uplift bus. Surrounded by blokes on big downhill bikes, all seasoned riders, my nerves grew worse. At the top, one of the riders seeing my nervy state rode to the start of the trails with me. He was amazingly encouraging and said ‘take your time it’s not a race, relax and enjoy’. With that he set off. I sat there getting my nerves under control, took a minute and looked out across the slate mines. I was totally blown away by it. The gritty raw landscape has since never failed to make me pause and admire it, whatever the weather. On that sunny morning it was just stunning, so I set off, picking my way down and watching the trail. I arrived at the bottom, feeling pretty accomplished indeed. Three runs in I was starting to fly, the sunshine, new trails and the friendliness of the other riders and uplift driver set me totally at ease. I couldn’t stop, it was addictive. Good thing there was a lunch break!
After that first time, ‘Stiniog has become a firm favourite downhill centre for me. Over the last couple of years, I’ve progressed myself up from the blues and reds, and found myself at a point of stalling. I booked myself onto a course with Adrian Bradley, the pro who runs Antur Stiniog. He was nursing an injury so I had to wait a little while, but it was absolutely worth it! The morning was spent going over basic techniques, tweaking any bad habits that had been previously picked up and starting a good working communication for hitting the trails after lunch. It exceeded all my expectations. By the end of the day I was nailing the black trail with confidence, learning so much and carrying pointers from the morning session out onto the trails with amazing results. Adrian’s style of coaching, amicable personality and sense of humour was totally spot on. I came away with exactly what I wanted and more. Perfect, an absolutely brilliant day. The best thing about ‘Stiniog is that I can ride there guilt free, as my husband and daughter love the other experiences on offer in Snowdonia too! Bounce Below and the Titan Zip Wire have proved a huge hit, and my adrenaline junkie nine-year-old daughter is eagerly waiting to go on the underground zip wire. She’s also earmarked a trip out kayaking after spotting them on the ride around the Trawsfynydd lake, something I really want to do too!
For more information, visit the Antur Stiniog website.