Wednesday, November 28, 2012

2012 Snowy Mountains Ride Part 3

It was decided after a great discussion on which way to go from here that we would not go over Mt Hotham but rather ride around the road to falls creek. I would have liked to do both but only one option was do-able so Falls Creek it was. And it did not disappoint. This road was the most fun of the weekend so far. I love this road and it's only the second time I had ridden it.
It's better than I remember it the first time. Today's efforts were a marathon compared with the previous days.

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We had a bit of a late start out of Omeo on Sunday morning. There were quite a few bikes going through town this morning, it was a great day to be out for a ride. Here's a shot of all the bikes lined up outside of the Golden Age Hotel in the morning.

Here's the view from the balcony of the hotel. Looking up the main street it was a quiet but beautiful morning.

Below: Looking out to the west towards Mt Hotham. To many roads not enough time.

The road out of Omeo towards Anglers Rest is an absolute cracker, I didn't put my gopro on whilst in Omeo as all the others did but I deliberately hang back near the back because I knew I'd be kicking myself if I didn't get any pictures or video of this great road so when I saw a good spot I pulled over. It was only about 10-15 minutes before I had to stop and get the cameras out.

The road winds its way up through lush valleys up the side of hills and mountainous terrain here, with spectacular views. Eventually the road follows along next to Big River. Any road that follows a river is usually a great biking road.

I managed to get some great shots of the guys along this section, first by stopping to photo them. Then I got going again with the video running. After a while I stopped by the road side to film the other guys having some fun. So I never got to run with the fast boys up the front but I was still having an absolute ball down the back of the group but I was not travelling slowly, in fact I passed a few guys then stopped to photo them then passed them again.

Here are some photo's of the boys at play.

It was now time to get back on the bike and chase everyone as I was now right at the back and far behind, but this turned out to be really good because I got to film some of the other guys when I caught up.

I'd decided to pull over again and get some video footage of the guys as they came past, as it turns out the footage turned out pretty good. As you can see at the start you don't want to get it wrong on this bend.

Big River

Finally its been made official, York has been declared hazardous.

Here's a video I've borrowed from bushpig, thanks mate you should have had your new Sony camera on not the old contour its a bit outdated now. Here is Yorks Wombat encounter. Quality here is a bit average but you can still see them ok.

There is always one person on a trip like this that never seems to make it on the one set of tyres and this trip it was Kingys turn. Both me and Bushpig had to laugh back at the very start of day 1 when we'd seen the rear tyre on the blackbird, it looked like it needed changing then. At the start of the day leaving Omeo it was very heavily shagged with rubber peeling off. I took another photo 41Kms later and it was just starting to crack in the centre of the carcass. Then I took another photo at Walwa 230km's later and it was really starting to get badly cracked. It only lasted a little over 1000km from Sydney, but had lots of hard riding. He sure got his moneys worth.
Omeo on Sunday morning.

41km's later at Angler Rest - Just starting to get cracks

230 km's later at Walwa - Badly cracking

We climbed up and over the Bogong High Plains road which wound its way up into the mountains and then out onto the plateau like high plains and across the rooftop of this countries snow fields. The roads surface had lots of grit and gravel tossed in and I had a few front end slides so I decided I'd take it easy after the madness on the way up here. It was a good chance to stop and take a couple of pics. There was still a few snow drifts up here in places.

I noticed that the go pro had run out of battery along here and also the lens had fogged up so it was time to forget it for the day and press on now. You can see the fogging in the following video.

The road comes out around this huge lake in the mountains near falls creek. The views up here are spectacular, I'd really like to come back up here and spend some time to have a really good look around maybe do some bush walks etc. 

After coming down from Falls Creek we regrouped in Mt Beauty and fueled up for the trip out to Khancoban. There was talk of going through Corryong but I much preferred going through Granya Gap and around the river road. The others agreed so we went that way. It was on this 20km winding stretch of road that I found out just how good the BMW S1000RR really is.

The Gopro had gone flat earlier so no chance of any video footage through here. At the turn off to Granya is was starting to get very windy and blowing quite strongly. The was a lot of leaf litter on the road and all over the bends, it was a cautious start(like the first 5 bends). You'd have thought that they would have swept the track clean for us. Bushpig pulled up next to me on the BMW and then it was on. I noticed that he was following me quite closely so I upped the pace. Normally if I'm going as hard as I can I'll drop him off after a bit but not today and not on that bike. After awhile I thought he might actually come round me and I really had the hammer down, but to no avail I couldn't shake him. At the end we came into granya and pulled over only to hear his maniacal laughter coming from under his helmet and him saying "Fuck this bike is good". Shortly after Lost Boy said that I could have a go and I didn't say no. I was straight on it.

First impressions was like 'wow', the back end is hard and it feels like a race bike. It reved out more freely than my R1 did. That engine was oh so good, SO much power and it reved like a maniac. This thing is a rocket ship. There's only one word to describe it. "In-Fucking-Credible".

I was riding it like my bike initially which was not the way to ride this thing. I'd remembered near the end that I didn't need to back the throttle off on up shifts as the electronics would do that for you and a lot better than I ever could. It was a weird feeling holding the throttle open and just changing up without bliping on-off. The thing just accelerated as it changed up gears like a rocket. WOW.
The bike was in full race mode and it was thoroughly enjoyable to ride on the twisty roads. It was very harsh on the suspension especially the back. Might need some tweaking here and there. It looked like a killer on the straight boring roads home though. The brakes on this thing are absolutely phenomenal. They have so much power and feel, I'd braked as I normally do for one bend that was approaching at warp speed only to go into the bend to slow because of those stoppers.

After I got back on my R1 I thought that my bike feels like a sports tourer after riding the beemer. As we headed around to Khancoban for a late lunch I stopped at this little lookout over the valley. You can see the rain coming down in the mountains ahead right where we were headed to.  

Tom Groggin

There was still a small amount of snow on the slopes at Thredbo and there was a chill in the air, that didn't stop bushpig from wearing his thongs out though. 

The final day was a bit of a non event. It was really just the long boring ride back to Sydney on the highway patrol infested roads to Canberra and Goulburn then onto Sydney. It was a foggy morning that greeted us in Thredbo with clouds sitting on the hilltops and it was wet. We had a late breakfast and then headed out just me, Bushpig and Lost Boy. Lucky we didn't see any police on the trip home till nearly into Sydney.

I'd gotten home late in the afternoon and immediately washed the bike, cleaned the chain with kero, re-oiled it and stored it away ready for the next ride. I'd done 2019km's on this trip. I can't wait for the next one. What a fantastic weekend away, I didn't want it to end.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

2012 Snowy Mountains Ride Part 2

I'd awoken this morning at 6:30am and immediately thought "oh god today is gonna hurt". Getting back from the pub late and drinking till 2:15am seemed like a good idea at the time. Luckily I'd been drinking pretty slowly and not with Bushpig otherwise I'd have been completely wrecked. I was just feeling tired and thanks to bringing my camelback I stayed fairly well hydrated during the night. We rode back to the pub in the morning and had some breakfast. After that I actually felt pretty good considering, no hang over just tired from being up late. Thank god because last trip in 2009 I was wildly hung over and the next morning on the Bonang Hwy was like a living hell. This road we were about to embark on - famous for 1038 curves in a 90 km stretch from Orbost to Delegate NSW. thanks for that spiel Tarsnakes. It was a long ride planned for today to at around 500kms with at least 250kms of this in winding roads of 35 -65km corners. Now that's what I call entertainment.

Due to my initial laziness I'd not even got the camera out to take any photos until we got down to the 105km sign on the Bonang highway. Our route had taken us down until the turn off near Bega then we turned up towards Brown Mountain. I really wanted to ride Brown Mountain as it is such a good bike road,  but we actually turned off and headed down through Candelo then Wyndham and onto Bombala. I actually think we made the right choice as there are many more twisties through here like about 60-70kms worth compared with about 20km on Brown Mountain. Following York through here was quite a lot of fun, with bushpig following me. Bushpig has some video of us riding through here I'll have try and prise it off of him.

We refueled in Bombala which had a bike show on in town this weekend, unfortunately we didn't have the time to go have a look although we did see a Honda CBX 6 cylinder pull into the servo where we stopped for fuel. It was 12pm by the time we left here which is very late in the day seeing as where we were going.

First stop on the Bonang Hwy was at the 105 Km sign in the pic below. See that painted marking on the road. There is a big dip in the middle of that which I hit whilst heavily braking to stop for a pic by the sign which I'd nearly thrown it away on.

Here's a short video at the start of this great road. I was taking it pretty easy down here. I didn't even see the lizard on the road until I watched it back on the gopro, i think I remember seeing what I though was maybe a stick but as you will see it was no stick I nearly run over.

Here's my lizard encounter.

There were all sorts of bends along here and no straights which was all great fun. Only spoiled by about 20kms of dirt. Then it was back into it again. We stopped to gather at the rest stop about 50kms from Orbost. I was quite tired by the time we got here and so was Bushpig by the look of it......
We gathered and regrouped and everyone had ear to ear grins this road is that much fun.

The last trip here in 2009 I was badly hung over and it was like 36°C and I went down to the little creek at the back of here and dunked my head in the cool mountain water to cool down. Lucky I wasn't feeling like that today. The rest break here was good and I'd felt a lot better after the stop than before so I decided I'd up the pace and have some real fun which I did on both counts. I caught up to York and Jeremy at the front and waited and filmed Jeremy. I could see him leaving tarsnakes on the road exiting the bends. This is what its all about.

After some lunch (2:30pm) in Orborst we headed out for Omeo. By this stage me and Bushpig just wanted to get there without any side diversions, which is exactly what happened just out of Orbost most of the Group split off and headed up to Buchan, but I was thinking Fuck it, I just want to get there plus there are still a lot of twisty roads to ride on just to get there.

We headed straight to Bruthen then up along the Tambo river. This is also one of my favourite pieces of road. I was having to much fun and only remembered to stop for one photo. Wish I'd taken a few more.

We arrived in Omeo late in the arvo somewhere around 4:30-5pm I think. I went to get petrol from the only 2 servos in town and found that both were closed no fuel. Yep this place really is in the boon docks when you can't even get fuel on a Saturday afternoon.

I don't normally put pictures of myself on my blog because I don't want to scare the bejesus out of my readers, but I had to just show how buggered I was by the end of the day. By the way the reserved sign on the seat next to me was Wayne's seat, the poor bastard couldn't make it we missed him but I bet he missed us more. It was funny to see the other guys roll into Omeo an hour or more later than us and they all looked absolutely stuffed.
We finally hit the sack at about mid night as by then we were totally knackered. The next day was going to be the shortest day but had just as many twisty roads. I was getting ready for a big day which turned out to be the best of the whole trip. Stay tuned.....

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

2012 Snowy Mountains Ride Part 1

The start of our annual snowy mountains ride and before we'd even left there was an incident. Wayne's Ducati was leaking fuel from under the tank. Turns out it couldn't be fixed in time and he had to pull out before a wheel was turned in anger. Bushpig and I were to meet up with the others at the servo at Richmond. At which point it just started to bucket down with rain. What a great way to start the trip, not!

Our trip out over the Bells Line across the Blue mountains was in the teaming rain with one or two heavy spots. The trip was slightly shortened here due to the weather and we turned down Mt Victoria and headed straight out to Oberon. Unfortunately for us the local council decided to rip up the road in several sections and the rain had turned it into a muddy clay mess. I really felt for Lost Boy here on his brand new BMW S1000RR with only 1700kms on it. It'll never be the same now.

After a breaky stop in Oberon we continued on and lucky for us it had stopped raining and had started to dry up. This made for a much enjoyable run down to the Abercrombie River. It was funny to hear the other guys talking of a brown trouser moment when they had crested the hill on a right hander only to find only half a road where before there was 2 lanes, exactly the same spot that I did 11 months previous on this trip.
Lost Boy giving the thumbs up despite the earlier rain. This piece of road is quite a bit of fun.

Bushpig was just cruising like he always does.

We had pressed on from here and rode down through Taralga and onto Goulburn. We stopped here and picked up a couple more members on the ride and for coffee. From here we continued onto Braidwood and stopped in at the bakery for a pie/sausage roll. We picked up another rider here(Jeremy) before heading down Clyde Mountain to Batemans bay. Usually this is a fantastic biking road that I was looking forward to getting some pictures of or a gopro video but the rain gods came down on us with a furious vengeance, at which point I could hardly see more than about 2 cars lengths in front due to the rain and fog. This didn't stop Jeremy on his PR3's from disappearing into the mist.

We stopped in the Bay but the rest of the crew were still an hour behind so we didn't hang around as by now the Pub at Central Tilba was now beckoning. We headed straight down the coast which it was raining on and off and arrived at the Dromedary. We'd be staying at the farm a few minutes away at this amazing little cottage with fantastic views of the surrounding country side. We had undercover parking here to.

The photo above has Lost Boys BMW S1000RR. Mate what a spectacular looking bike and at some point in this weekend I would actually get to have a test ride.
This is the road out of Central Tilba, the landscape around here is very beautiful with plenty of winding roads to be found. We had a quick look around town which is all it took and then was back to the pub for beers and diner.
The Dromedary is a very old pub and one of the smallest pubs I've ever seen. I don't think you could have even swung the proverbial cat in there. Here's bushpig standing out the front in his element and even despite his best effort couldn't drink the place dry.

The boys arrive in Tilba and Stacker tries to run down bushpig.

There wasn't that many photos taken today as it was raining quite a bit and I'd also found it hard to stop for photo's when group riding, I end up getting to far behind and I also don't want to inconvenience the others and make them wait for me.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Ready to Rumble

I'd replaced the rectifier and damaged wiring from a couple of weeks back and then went out for a test ride. Geoff came along with his new Sony video camera, its a great little unit. We stopped after about 20 minutes for fuel at which point I checked on the rectifier, boy it sure gets hot I nearly burnt my hand on it, so I checked the rectifier on Geoff's bike and his was the same - bloody hot. It must be just how they are designed. I got home and it was time to give the bike a good wash ready for the snowy ride in a couple of weeks.

I decided to take off the tank bag cover from the tank to give the bike back its natural look. The painted tank looks a lot nicer than the plain red tank cover. I still had the 2 original stickers on the tank, I'd never removed them. In case your wondering that there's only one sticker that's because earlier in the day I removed the UNLEADED FUEL ONLY sticker. I'm in the process of removing the other sticker.

After washing the bike and a brief inspection I remembered that I'd seen this big scrape on the belly pan before so I thought I'd take a pic. I've never crashed this bike(touch wood) so this can only have happened whilst riding along and being cranked over in a bend. Its a bit scary what could have happened.