|04-25-2012, 02:17 AM||#1|
Joined: Sep 2011
Location: Brisbane, QLD
ANZAC Day - Bellthorpe SF, SEQ; and a couple of other rides
This is my first ride report, so I'll start with a bit of background - which means it will actually be about six ride reports in one.
About 6 months ago I got myself a KTM 690R. Having only ever had road bikes before I sold my last one about 4 years ago when my wife fell pregnant. Anyway, the urge was back and I figured dual sporting looked fun and if I'm lucky I might one day get to go dirt riding with my little boy if he wants a bike too.
Ride#1: Mt Mee SF
So I picked up my new bike, rode to a mates place (who knows what he's doing) he grabbed his KTM 625 SXC and we headed for Mt Mee. I asked if there was anything I needed to know given I'd never ridden on the dirt before. "Don't fight it, let it squirm about a little, try to stand up it's easier" and off he went. I followed slowly, feeling very uncomfortable as this dirt and stones stuff didn't grip like my old fire blade on the tarmac but I made it up the range. I got up on the pegs and was hooting along on hard packed dirt - all was good.
It was only a short trip so we doubled back out the way we came and headed off down the range. I stood up on the pegs again, cranked the throttle accidentally as I did, pulled the biggest wheelie I've ever done, and about 2 seconds before I slammed in to a rock wall I grabbed everything I could lost control and threw the bike down the road. So with less than 100km on the clock, I had twisted up forks, smashed mirrors, a busted hand guard, gouges down the swing arm and a slightly worse for wear owner with bruises and torn muscles down one side from my armpit to my knee.
Ride#2: Condamine Gorge
I kept riding the bike to work and around town and slowly got a few more farkles, and some better riding gear. Determined not to let a fall put me off I wanted to ride on the dirt again and learn this dark art. I was doing a recce on a campground at Goomburra so I took the bike and rode the blacktop up Cunninghams Gap to Gordon Country.
I decided to come back via Warwick and through Condamine Gorge. Still not confident on the dirt this was a real nervous trip particularly through some of the rocky creek beds with water up to my knees. I was cursing the fact I was on my own as soon as I made the first crossing, but I kept on and made it through all 13 crossings to spit out the other end a very happy man! The views coming down the range after coming through the gorge were beautiful.
Ride#3: Rainbow Beach
I had some friends camping up at Inskip Point so decided to take a ride up there and stay the night.
I packed up the bike and took the tar up to Noosa then jumping on the beach. Sand riding was a new experience for me and was fine on the hard packed stuff but it was hard work when it was soft. The beach up to Double Island Point was a great ride and I stopped at Red Canyon for a bit of a snack and to look at the rock formations.
I rode on to the Leisha track which had hundreds of 4WD's lined up to cross, with 4WD's stuck everywhere. The sand was soft and chopped out from all the vehicles. I chose discretion over valour and got off the bike to walk it through the softer stuff rather than entertain the crowds with a fall. Once through the soft stuff I rode on, only having to stop briefly to let the tide go out and free up some beach to ride on.
In the January heat and wearing all my road gear it was hard work and I enjoyed a good few cold beers that night at camp. The next days was torrential rain and storms so I had a pretty miserable ride home on the black top all the way.
Ride#4: Brisbane - Coffs Harbour
This was a predominantly black top weekend ride from Brisbane to Coffs and back with some old work colleagues. I was on the KTM but all others were on BMW's, riding in relative luxury.
I was just a follower for this ride and can't recall the route but the backroads from Byron Bay to Casino, then on to Dorrigo and down to Coffs were fantastic to ride and the KTM stuck to the road pretty well given the tyres.
The route back saw us take similar twisty black top roads before two of us split off from the main group and rode the Lions Road back over the border and to Bribane while the others took a route to Killarney and back to the western side of town.
Ride#5: Glasshouse Mountains
More dirt skills were definitely needed so I did a couple of days of training in the Glasshouse Mountains with Todd Smith of Adventure Rider Training. Todd taught me a lot of theory and techniques, and was an excellent instructor - I thoroughly recommend the course. Now, whilst I went through the exercises and practice drills in the carpark I was still very tentative on the dirt, but we hooted around the fast dirt roads, spent some time in the sand and generally boosted my confidence and skills. Thoroughly enjoying it all we were wrapping up the course with a ride through Range Road back towards Peachester when I tackled one of the climbs in the wrong gear, subsequently stalled, and went to put my foot down - but unfortunately there was an offing big hole there so over I went. Todd came back, picked up the bike for me and let me get my breath back before we headed on through the rest of the track - which I was really pleased to ride as it included clay ruts, mud holes and some little rock steps to finish.
Ride#6: Bellthorpe SF
OK, so now it's about 4 weeks after the training, and I really need to keep getting some practice in to make sure it sinks in and I improve. Why didn't I go sooner? Well I've still got 2 fractured ribs, and a bruised liver from the fall 4 weeks ago which have been playing havoc with normal day to day stuff, including sleeping!
I figured I could ride some hard packed major dirt roads alright so I put on the new body armour with kidney belt and rib protection (just in case) and set off for Stony Creek Road at Bellthorpe SF. Fuelling up at the BP on the Bruce Highway I met a bloke called Chris who was trailering a KTM 525 EXC and looking for someone to ride with, and he'd ridden Bellthorpe a lot which was perfect so we paired up and he led the way.
We parked up at the Stony Creek Day Use area, Chris unloaded his bike, I let some air out of my tyres but without a gauge I didn't know how much (turned out to be 12psi when I reiflated them later), and we set off. Taking Branch Road we climbed the range, Chris racing ahead and having some fun and me plodding along behind trying to put some of the lessons in to practice. Chris gave me a few tips which I tried to put in to action as well. I struggled a bit on some of the rocks, and bounced way off line putting myself in the bush and dropping the bike gently - no injury I got it back on the track and caught Chris up.
Once back on the main road (which was my original intended ride) we headed generally North and then took Beacon Road out to the lookout. I could tell Chris was keen to be venturing off on to some of the gnarlier stuff we could see on the side tracks. Taking a break at the lookout a local guy rode up on his 450. I needed to get back home to do some dad duties, and the other two clearly wanted to hit the bigger challenges so we parted company there and I took the main road back to Woodford, put some food in me, some air in the tyres and took the blacktop home. Had a great day and got to ride some more challenging stuff than I originally intended. The ribs hurt a bit but generally all was good.
Looking forward to the next ride on the dirt - hopefully the snail trails ride on Sunday.
'11 KTM 990 ADV
'13 'Berg FE 350
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