Wiggy’s High Country Ride 2014

Written By Wiggy from the Old Bull Trailriders Forum

What a great ride that was.

They do get better and better.

Jindabyne to Omeo was a blast. Barry Way as usual a pleasure to ride. Then some more great trails and some steepish downhills. But on to The Hill Top Hotel (Where The Hill Top Hoods were discovered) in the early afternoon. Plenty of time for some R and R before dinner.

Second day things got a bit interesting weather wise. Blue Rag was off the agenda, but the ride up to Mt Hotham was about as adventurous as it gets on the tar. It reminded me of my 30 mile commute to work back in the day during one of the coldest winters in the UK. No heated grips on the CB200. I had just moved out of home and was bunking with a mate at his house, where the only heating was a fireplace in the lounge, which is where we kept our barrel of home brew.

I can’t ever remember being cold back then, but clearly I was a better man then than I am now because I was bloody frozen and couldn’t tell whether it was the visor or the glasses fogging up, or whether it was genuinely bad visibility. It was all three, but to ride with the visor open risked frostbite of the bugle.

But coffee and the best sausage roll I have ever had restored things, and the Dargo Rd was fantastic as the clag began to lift a bit. A bit of pace was had on the more open sections (or so I thought until a 990 went past me) and on to Ensay where the feed at the Little River Inn would have to rank as one of the best in Australia.

Day three dawned. Usi and I had signed on for all three “special” sections but word came through from the imposing figure of Chicken (is there a less aptly named bloke on Old Bulls?) that the special was off due to the conditions, unless your first name was Chad and your second name was Reed. We were advised to hook up with a group that had the standard route on the GPS.

Somehow we got tangled up in a group of Reed look alikes and before we knew it we were mired up to our nuts in the special.

And this was a very different special than any thing I had done before due to thick layer of red mud that covered everything. The first steep hill I almost got up but stalled out near the top. Usi went passed and crashed right in front. We had an epic getting the bikes over the top (all captured on film by Josh, who being a true pro urged us to go faster so he could record more carnage).

Well Usi duly obliged as at the first steep downhill he charged off only to come off again twice. I took a more pragmatic approach and got down slowly but in one piece.

I resolved to ride with a bit more aggression and it seemed to work on the hills and the Tenere was brilliant as it tractored up them in second , sometimes first gear when it was really steep. I think I could have been in trouble on the Tiger but was really enjoying myself on the Ten.

More tricky and very slippery trails had Usi off again a couple of times. He was getting a full body pump going! We came to another loooong steep down hill and the plan was for me to go down first and then park up and wait for him.

I waited for a while but no Usi, so I climbed all the way back up (thank god I’ve got a bit of bushwalking fitness, it was still knackering though) to find him pinned under his bike. The nearly full 30 litre Safari tank was working against him and it was an effort to get him out from under it.

We certainly were having an adventure. Moose and Troy swept up and urged us both on and we finally hit Buchan after a very challenging morning.

The first bit of the Barry Way was very slippery and I rode quite tentatively, not wanting to spoil my record of no off’s so far. Then it flattened out towards and after the Pinch river and speed was back up. The tarmac sweepers back to Jindabyne were fantastic and I gave the Ten her head as a reward for looking after me. Bliss!

So a brilliant and most enjoyable ride. Thanks to Lefty who noticed my rear pads were low and changed them. You are a champion Sir!

Of course a big thanks to all the drivers and sweeps. You are all legends and these rides couldn’t happen without you.

And another masterful planning exercise from TB, especially with what he had to contend with weatherwise.

Great to catch up with The Old Bulls once more. Bring on the next one.

Wigster