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Old 11-08-2010, 02:36 AM   #1
ECKS-Man OP
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Clarence Therapy

ther'a-py

noun \ˈther-ə-pē\

Definition of THERAPY

: therapeutic treatment especially of bodily, mental, or behavioral disorder

After 5 months off the bike I was in pretty dire need of some therapy. Sure, I could have paid a professional to sit in a muted room and listen to my problems, unload my dark thoughts on a stranger, before writing a cheque and walking away, now feeling mightily pissed off at spending money on something so metro-sexual! But my preferred method of therapy usually involves a dirt bike, a mate, and several kilometres of single-track through the Australian scrub.

As it happens, my mate JRD is of a similar mindset, so when a few things coincided and the stars aligned, a day of therapy was arranged.

Now, the few things coinciding were JRD?s old Gas Gas selling, his buying a brand new Berg 450 and having annual leave - all while I somehow wrangled a day off work to play! We couldn't get any other mates to come at such short notice, and we were upset about that (for at least 3 seconds) but we managed to get over it and move on!

Monday morning is quiet at Zig Zag, and we were the only occupants in the carpark as we pulled our vehicles in after arriving at exactly the same time. We exchanged greetings and had a quick catch-up and a brief drool over JRD's new bike (Mmmmm? bloody nice!). In short order we had our gear on and the bikes running, barking those soothing 4-stroke rumbles at the bellbirds and kookaburras.

My bike had not been started for about 5 months and fired up second kick.


JRD was excited - and looking at what's in the background, who wouldn?t be!?!


The new bike had been thoroughly christened before today but still has that new bike look and feel - oh so nice!


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Old 11-08-2010, 02:38 AM   #2
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The weather was perfect, with the sun gently filtering through the trees and a gentle breeze whisking the dust away almost instantly - where there was any dust at least! After such a long time off the bike it took me a while to get the mojo happening again, but before too long I was comfortable with my WR250F, sweeping through the moist single track hard on the exhaust pipe of JRD's Berg.

Neither JRD nor I are especially familiar with the Zig Zag/Clarence area. We have both been before, and logged GPS tracks, and that's how we planned our trip today. Chopping together several tracks we had ridden before, we designed a loop of about 80km and basically hoped for the best! JRD was in front all day, navigating on the fly, and I followed, giving him some input when we were a bit unsure of which fork to take. The pace was relaxed, smooth and flowing. The tracks were unoccupied, with the exception of two bicyclists and occasional startled wildlife.

JRD gives the big thumbs up to a Monday Therapy ride at Clarence!


I had to agree, it was great!


The tracks were in such fantastic condition, just nicely moist without being sloppy, no dust to speak of. Couldn't ask for better!
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Old 11-08-2010, 02:39 AM   #3
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After a fairly quick run from Zig Zag, we just hit the primo single track we had been aiming for when I felt that horrible squishy feeling at my rear wheel. I had run over something unpleasant and that tyre was FLAT. 16km in to an 80km loop - well it could be worse!

The culprit was a nail, which led to 'snakebite' damage to the tube - which was a write-off. We quickly jammed a front tube in and hit the trails again!

The nail didn't look all that big when it was in the tyre:


However, this was the size when we pulled it out:




Our race stand is patent pending


While we are no pit-crew mechanics, the bike was soon back on two wheels and the single-track beckoned?. Who were we to argue, single-track beckons, we ride!
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Old 11-08-2010, 02:43 AM   #4
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What followed was about 40km of sweet flowing single through the forest. Creek crossings were navigated without incident, hills were climbed, logs were turned into momentary distractions. This was what we had come for, and we pushed on with huge grins on our dials.

At one point we swapped bikes and I got a brief ride on the Berg. Not enough to get a real taste for it, but enough to notice a few things - like that comfy comfy seat! Ooo la la! My buttocks were thanking JRD each time they made contact with the lounge-like cushion! The suspension was nice and plush. I didn't have a chance to see how it handled the bigger hits, but from my time riding behind it with JRD at the wheel, I suspect it works just fine!

I did notice the extra width near the footpegs which is caused by the engine sitting at that 70 angle, and it means your ankles and feet are against the sidecases of the engine. That was quite disconcerting for me, as I usually grip quite tightly with my ankles on my bike. The bike also felt quite wide between my knees in comparison to my little 250. There was something about the pegs/seat/bars ergonomics that would take me a bit to get used to if I rode one.

The power was lovely, always there in that typical 450 fashion, rolling on from idle to some revs way more than I bothered to try! I also loved the tyres, given the poor state of my rear Dunlop 756.

All too soon, JRD stalled my 250 on a hill and handed it back!

Heading north and west, we threaded our way until the breakfast we had enjoyed some 6 hours earlier was spent. We had a quick lunch break and headed for the Spanish Steps.



Pretty things these blue bikes!


The route now became a bit more vague, as our GPS tracks led us to dead ends. It seems things change in the bush with the passing of time.

Somehow we found our way to some of the best single track we have ever seen, let alone ridden. Winding through huge sandstone cliffs, around tree ferns, over logs and rocks, this track had everything - except a way out at the end! So you can imagine our disappointment when we had to backtrack (aw, gee, do we have to? )



Check these mugs out - happy? Hell, yeah!


We went 'off-GPS' and started following our noses. We had a couple of false starts, but ended up on some more flowing single which led us back to a powerline and eventually to the main road. At this point, lack of fitness in general and lack of bike-fitness in particular were biting, so we took the road back to the cars.

We got back, completely satisfied with our lot and swearing blind that we would do it again in the near future.
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Old 11-08-2010, 02:44 AM   #5
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So, those of you who spent Monday in your office, sweating over your tools, computer or workstation, those of you who couldn?t make it on this ride for one reason or another, I have this to say:

Sucked in!

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Old 11-08-2010, 03:02 AM   #6
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Ya lucky bugger Ecksman (but after 5 months off the bike, I guess you probably deserved it )

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Old 11-08-2010, 01:41 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by holmesie
Ya lucky bugger Ecksman (but after 5 months off the bike, I guess you probably deserved it )

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Cheers Holmsie, you can only imagine how good it was to be back in the saddle after so long!
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Old 11-09-2010, 05:28 AM   #8
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Fancy someone leaving a nail all the way out there... at least you came prepared to fix it
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Old 11-09-2010, 01:19 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tompee
Fancy someone leaving a nail all the way out there... at least you came prepared to fix it
We don't ride without our toolkits - I'm allergic to pushing motorbikes! Brings me out in a terrible rash!
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Old 11-11-2010, 04:08 PM   #10
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Just called to order a new tyre and tube... Tyre $115, HD tube $34

Jeez, I remember when you could get a good tyre for under $100! I know this is just wear and tear on a bike, but holy cow!

In truth I shouldn't complain, the local guys want over $130 for the same tyre and over $40 for the tube. Shame about the damage to the tube with the nail, otherwise I could have kept the old one (which wasn't very old at all really).

(ECKS thanks his lucky stars he rides a 250 not something bigger!)
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