Unchained

 

UNCHAINED

I think everyone knows what it’s like to not being able to ride and to be finally let off the chain, this example was caused by a new business before Corona shut down earlier this year and the urge is building again.

 

Early starts

After opening a new business time had become scarce, early starts and late finishes had become the norm. With wet days and roadworks had slowed trade a planned few days off for a wedding anniversary turned into a week with a two day leave pass to go riding.

Strangely instead of dragging out of bed, 430 came and I literally bounded out of bed, had breakfast, geared up and strapped the gear to my bike and was gone well before 6am.

The tight dirt road I live on is full of rain ruts and loose gravel but knowing it so well the darkness barely slowed progress. Thick fog through the Promised Land proved a little challenging but nothing was stopping me now.

Cool man

As I climbed Dorrigo Mountain the sun began to rise, the early morning light sparkling over a sea of fog hanging between the coastal ranges looked magical and made the early start worthwhile.

The cool crisp air was very refreshing as I settled into the tar transport, Ebor was on the cold side of refreshing and I shivered to Old Ebor Road. Back on the dirt warmed my spirits, if not my body. The recent month of rain had made the area lush and green, with crystal clear creeks and new life in an abundance with lots of joeys hopping around, not sure which way to go.

Guyra was a quick refuel, scoff a sausage roll and scull a V, gone in under 10min. I was keen. Baldersleigh Road looked unreal, the long green grass hid some of the rocks I had bounced through at Marty’s Mistake (named and shamed by Tom Foster) where I previously broke my wrist and set a personal best for a bike fling and bounce, man those rocks hurt.

Up and down.

Making good time the narrow undulating Peris-Linton road was bliss, the yellow gates glowed in the early light. The huge rock formations called for a photo stop but this was just too much fun, the urge to ride overwhelmed me. The tight sandy corners with a new barbed wire fence hugging the road demanded attention, no overshooting corners now.

As we dropped down in a series of steps, wedge-tail eagles circled above looking for a tasty breakfast. As I got closer to Barraba the roads opened out, still sandy they screamed for a throttle on approach and in the cool New England air the DR willingly obliged.

A lookout close to town had me doubling back for a look,,I have been past here so many times but had never stopped, the advantages of riding by yourself.

Pit stop

Barraba was a quick refuel, a mystery roll and another V, another lightning-quick stop as riding beckoned.

 

I had wanted to explore a new trail but it still closed because of the fires so I headed Spion Kop way, poking around a few side trails and was rewarded with a nice ridge track with rock steps and lots of fallen timber in charred surrounds, fun.

Lookout

The closer I got to Narrabri, my planned overnight the hotter it became a detour up Mt Kaputar for the lookout made for a change of plans.

After gazing out over the charred remains I decided to backtrack to the tablelands cooler riding and as it was only around 1pm the idea that if I wicked it up a bit I could make home besides I had riding to do and 500km wasn’t scratching the itch.

So wick it up I did, Maul Creek had a series of dry causeways and floodway’s, I would slow on the rise only to find them dry before having to get up to out west cruising speed again. After a few I decided stuff slowing down and as I crested the rise I was greeted by a full floodway, breaking hard wasn’t having much effect so a downshift to 4th and held it on, woomp, as the water parted and soaked everything, Moses would have been proud and I was cooler too.

Making time

Pushing on through the switchbacks and opened her up back into Barraba. Another quick refuel, scoff a sausage roll and scull a V and I was gone before 3pm.

The road to Kingston was fast, sandy and loose, with the odd tight turn and steep sharp causeways kept me on my toes. A few front-end trying to tuck at 100km/h had me puckered up real good. I would slow for a while then the thought of roo-o’clock had the throttle back on. A few bigger rocks just before corners had the bike catching air at the wrong times but more throttle in the sand seemed to work.

By the time I got to Armidale just before 5pm I was well and truly pinging. A quick refuel and another V  ensured the heart rate didn’t drop as I carved up the tar back to the base of Dorrigo then flat home on the dirt as the sun was setting.

A very satisfying 865km for the day and a well-deserved cold Bourbon.

Two day leave pass

Next morning I suited up and headed for the Horseshoe, I wasn’t wasting a two day leave pass. Tighter ridge tracks were the order of the day, a 280km loop finished the ride off nicely with more technical riding that scratched that riding itch nicely.

That should keep me sane for a day or two, as I struggled through wet clay on the way home I noticed that I had completely destroyed both tyres, it is amazing how heat and speed eats tyres, no wonder the front wanted to tuck.

One Comment

  1. Marty(Hardcore)great job on the ride report and photos both those loops are always great fun no matter what the weather,makes you feel alive and as you say ” scratch the itch” even just for a short while.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *