With Dualsport Australia Volume 2 finally finished it was time to get away from the computer and go riding. Having roughly made plans for a Sunday (my birthday) ride with Craig, it was up to Mean Dean to finish off the organisation with a general location and time.
Quality time with my granddaughter and a swing session that she did not want to end meant I wasn’t geared up when Dean and Craig arrived. Wandering out to greet them I was wished, “Happy birthday!” by Craig handing me a Wild Turkey while Dean growled, “Hurry up,” followed by, “Can you put my beer in the fridge?” then, “Are you sure the beers are in the fridge?” and finally, “Oh yeah. Happy birthday.”
Where Mean Dean gets his nickname from is anyone’s guess, but he sure has his priorities sorted.
I’d planned to add a leafy back loop to Dean’s plans of Bello Range to try to keep the dust down, but Dean was strangely keen on a dead-end corner. Feeling surprisingly mellow and relaxed for the start of a ride, I agreed, but offered to lead to Raleigh.
Taking advantage of a good crew, we dropped straight across the road to 20 minutes of super-tight single track that was just a perfect way to start the ride. The DRs lapped up the tight stuff chased by the ever-present 690. Slipping in and out of the trees. flicking the ‘bars to fit…if this wasn’t adventure riding, what is?
A couple of kilometres of open dirt roads later we dropped down a grassy sidetrack and turned onto a trail that hadn’t been used for ages. The lantana tugged and grabbed at our arms as we flicked through fallen debris. I just love this style of riding, although there was no mystery about where the track led. There was a nice big hill.
All too soon we were back on clear roads, and after a short tar transport I handed the lead over to Dean.
With the fun, flowing Fernmount Range a bit dusty, Dean suggested no regroups to the end because, “We all know where we are going”. So we agreed. Past the houses and down Lookout Trail, we spread out and cruised along relatively dust-free. Dean sure wasn’t kidding about no regroups, so despite him not being on the corner, Craig and I picked our way down the challenging downhill to find there was still no Dean.
By the next intersection we knew something was wrong. Sure enough, Dean answered from the Lions Lookout behind Bello, not Lookout Trail, with, “I thought you guys knew where you were going!”.
No worries. Lookout Trail was even more fun on the way up, and we were soon reunited with Dean waiting patiently in the shade.
Sunny Corner must have been living up to its name if the dust was any indication and with regular regroups we all stayed together. While Dean waited on a corner, Double Top Trail became too much of a temptation and we took off. The small trees, heavy in flower and leaning in, gave an almost tunnel-like effect as we worked our way toward Double Top, a massive hill that’s a challenge on an enduro bike. The adventure bikes clawed their way over impressive rock steps before finally meeting our match in a heavily rutted area about three-quarters of the way up the hill. I’d done such a good job blocking the trail we were all were stuck in the same section, laughing at the attempts to turn the big bikes around on such a steep hill.
Dean again took over the lead and soon had has back on a flowing downhill across to a heavily logged ridge. The powdery dust had us well spread out as we explored many new logging trails.
Dean soon had us back on dark, rainforest trails that linked us over to a nice ridge. He pointed to the left, so naturally I went right, a nice downhill leading us to the steeper section of Razorback Trail, a steep rocky goat-track that screamed for attention.
Again the DRs clawed their way up the steep, loose hill, skipping over rock ledges before discretion overcame valour and Craig and I manhandled the DRs around before picking our way back down. Dean was smart enough to pick an easy turn-around spot further down the hill, as he knew we wouldn’t get up.
Dean once again took control of the ride, which wasn’t easy when the second rider kept on pissing off down every sidetrack. He seemed hell-bent on a certain direction which, to be fair, was great riding.
We were roosting along a loose, dusty ridge with impressive views when Dean finally pulled up smiling and pointing. Blakes Trail! So that’s what he was up too, taking me to my trail namesake for my birthday. He really is right. Maybe we’ll have to call him ‘Not-mean’ Dean. It’s a shame it’s so long to type.
While exploring another dead-end track the DR made a familiar cough and stopped. What I had thought was three-quarters of a tank this morning was now dead empty in the middle of nowhere.
Craig once again came to the rescue and joined up the two fuel taps, sharing his fuel. Despite some stern faces and a bit of a ribbing, we were soon on our way home.
Cliffs Trail was an unexpected bonus, not only a brilliant grassy trail with a creek section, it’s also my middle name. Not-mean Dean scored again without even realising.