It’s Sunday morning, bright and sunny, and I’m back from a run out to Birdsville – which is why I missed last week’s blog.
The ride was supposed to be across The Simpson Desert and back again, but I bailled just west of Poeppel Corner. It took me four days to ride from the coast across to that point – about 180km west of Birdsville and about 30km along the French Line – and I was pretty much terrified the whole way out there. I hate riding sand, and I thought a Simpson Crossing may teach me some much-needed lessons.
It did, too.
By the time I arrived at ‘Camp A’, the point I mentioned earlier, I was in far better shape than I’d ever expected to be. Cutoff for closing the camp was 2.00pm and I rolled in there between 11.30am and midday, feeling good, surprised it wasn’t as tough as I’d expected, but still, I wasn’t enjoying myself at all. I learned a lot about riding dunes and sand, but I didn’t learn to enjoy it.
The next day was scheduled to be around 180km of the same terrain I’d just ridden, and I couldn’t see the point. I was still looking at three day’s hard riding to get home from where I was. The thought of grinding through three more days of The Simpson just so I could say I’d been across didn’t grab me, so I stayed the night in a really fantastic camp drinking fresh-ground coffee, listening to the experiences of other riders, eating a particularly good beef hotpot, staring at stars in the incredible desert nightscape, then set off for home the next morning.
It was a great experience and I’m glad I did it, but I don’t feel I missed much by not going all the way to Mt Dare. I’ve been to both Mt Dare and Dalhousie Springs on other occasions, so I’m not feeling shortchanged.
A couple of things stood out for me on the ride: the Husky 701 is an incredible bike. Really exceptional; and the Ride ADV people did an unbelievable job in setting up and running a very challenging ride.
I arrived home in time to wave off Craig Murcott as he and his crew headed out for their Simpson crossing. I’ve no doubt they’ll sail across and love it. Craig is always saying how much he loves the desert.
I spoke to Marty HC this morning and he’s excited about his upcoming New Zealand ride, and I see Dave Ramsay is out and about, as usual. Gav Gill is prancing about on bikes in Europe somewhere, so there’s some great riding going on.