Cain had finally seen the light, adding a new VSM DR650 to his stable of KTM’s. Apparently he has never been on a ride with me without swearing at me inside his helmet. The DR must have given him confidence and he asked for a snotty ride south and can he bring some mates.
Mean and nasty
I seem to have issues with trying too hard to show our best riding and end up making it too hard. Being asked to make it hard had my mind racing, snotty singletrack, impossible hills, slippery clay, and deep crossings.
Little lumps were starting to appear on my head as I laughed uncontrollably as I planned hours of fun, fun for me anyway.
Meet and greet
On a cold Saturday morning, we all shivered and shook to the servo at Bellingen for an early start to the ride, despite this spirits were high. The guys, Mark on the Tanami with the red bag on back, white helmet. Craig on the Blue DR, Johnny on the DR with the orange Aero helmet (That should save time on captions) arrived early keen to go.
They seemed like nice guys, one mentioned he recently broken his leg. Not sure why Cain wanted them tortured but feeling guilty I decided to be nice and take out the snotty singletrack and deep crossings. To be fair the deep crossings only came out because it had been a bit dry and there wasn’t any.
To make up for that I added to my plan every tight trail we went near and kept the steep nasty hills and slippery clay.
More for less
Cain arrived his normal ten minutes late on a gleaming brand new DR with twin running lights in the headlight and a catalogue full of goodies. We started straight into a jump invested ridge with an interesting climb up and fun wind down. It might have been 15km in the wrong direction but it warmed the guys up nicely and cut out one kilometer of tar. Well worth it.
A steepish rutted climb onto another narrow tight ridge turned warm into overheated, so at a small log they shed layers, so far a great first 30km.
Up, up we climbed for ages, a touch dusty but nice and clear upfront. The views were breathtaking (especially if you were choking on dust) with nothing but forested ridges as far as the eye can see.
The trail leveled slightly onto flowing ridges before plunging down to a crystal clear crossing. We then climbed back onto Bellbucca ridge. More easy going flowing ridge track gave the guys a reprieve for ten minutes then back down a narrow sidetrack.
Dark with steep erosion mounds, the odd rut, Kelly’s twists and turns down onto farmland and across the headwaters of the Nambucca River, which unfortunately was low and easy.
Glad this is here
A short run on slippery tight corners to the end of the road followed by a half a dozen more river crossings through a remote farm. The crystal clear crossings and a blissful leaf mulch covered climb onto the horseshoe are really something special.
This track gets so little use it is always a joy.
The horseshoe is fast with a few well-shaped jumps, this area missed the fires and is green and lush, much better than most of the horseshoe.
Out of my league
The league scrub is dark, always damp, and full red clay. I thought I had it with a nice and easy flow. Without warning the bike snapped violently to the left, as I tried to correct the front slipped into the right wheel track flicking the rear to the right and pitching me forward with the feet of the pegs.
At this stage I was sure I was gone, the only reason I didn’t give up was that I was carrying too much speed and I know from experience the ground is hard through here. As I was hanging off like a flag we drifted into the ferns, this triggered some violent headshakes but at least sort of heading in the right direction. My feet came back to the pegs and 30m later I was stopped and still somehow upright.
I turned around and pulled out the camera and franticly gave the slow down signal. It still nearly took down Craig, lucky I slowed him down but I missed a good crash photo.
Goats and horses
With the clay continuing on MacKay’s Road it was gently, gently picking my way through. Cain asked for snot so Billy goats it was. Overgrown with the odd log and lots of leaf mulch as we weaved through the tight corners, so good. We then plunged down off the ridge, rocky and snotty in places and seemingly never-ending steep downhill.
We stopped at 2nd 3rd gear creek for a few minutes (I blew my second 3rd gear here years ago). Back through farmland, a couple of friendly horses later, then a blast on a freshly graded springs rd and along Kosaki. As it was lunchtime I thoughtfully bypassed The pub with no beer to save time and avoid a mutiny.
We headed for the freshly bulldozed ridges to the east. The first climb had a tricky steep pinch on a corner which caused a bottleneck. Eventually, the crew made the top to be rewarded with a steep long loose downhill, followed by an undulating narrow ridge that’s brilliant.
A bit more trail through rainforest then another steep loose climb that everyone clean sheeted.The trail might be good Friday but it’s great anyday, a bit dusty but still some of the best riding anywhere.
With time running out I abandoned Willawarrin and turned down Knife to head back towards Macksville. I knew we turned left off knife the first turn which turned out to be Spoon. I made a joke about hoping we don’t end up forked.
At that time I didn’t realise this was the wrong trail and we were halfway down a ridiculously steep downhill that was getting worse. Turning the crew around, we were almost forked.
The right left turn was another 100m down Knife, still steep and loose but at least went somewhere. We jumped along Algomera, hit the range and I tried to turn the crew back into the hills but they were having none of it.
It was 3.30 by the time we hit Macksville, the boys ate quickly, refueled then I took a long way home because it cut out ten kilometers of the freeway. It was almost dark by the time we got back, it was a successful ride and everyone enjoyed it, Cain said he never swore at me once.
This meant that I failed bitterly, always knew I was too nice to be mean. I will have to try harder next time.
I am back to work in two days so this site will go quiet again for a while. I will now have an extra day off so I should be semi-regular with rides. This COVID crisis will live long in my memory as being full of riding and good times.