Sunday, November 22, 2020

Herbertville Trail Ride

 This may take me a little while to type as I'm still sore - actually, my fingers are ok, it's the rest of my body...

Yesterday I attended the annual Herbertville Trail ride so that started early with a drive of around one and a half hours to the site of the ride, just out of Herbertville.

Once there, the yellow bike was unloaded pretty quickly and I started to gear up for the ride while watching all the other riders turn-up.  There were bikes and quads of all sorts, and I was surprised to see a number of big side-by-sides also - I wasn't too keen on getting run over by one of them travelling at pace...

Look at all the ramps...

Might need one of these one day...

While waiting I was joined by a fellow RMX rider who had seen my bike and popped over to say gidday.  Rob had just got his one RMX and had driven down from Napier and during the ride he rode with me and waited if I got delayed for some silly reason or other...

Two Yella Terras!

Clean too

Just before 10 we were given the ride briefing and it was good to see that the side-by-sides were given a decent talking to about keeping an eye out for bikes and everyone else also got warned about riding on the road, cliffs, hairpins etc...Then we were off.

The first bit we tackled was a 3km loop that took us on a decent climb up a hill before dropping back down to the car park.  You can see it as the small loop to the right of the car park on the map.

This got us warmed up and introduced to slippery grass, steepish climbs, farm tracks and a couple of little muddy bits.  Yet again I was happy that I'd bought a torquey 450 rather than a rev-happy 250.  You can get away with murder on the RMX.  A gear too high for that climb?  No problem, we'll just grunt up it without breaking a sweat.  Mint.

Back at the carpark we rode up the road a little before turning off into a paddock and straight up a really steep, grassy hill.  My nerves were for nothing - power!

But, on the other side I made my first boo-boo and discovered how slippery the grass was.  I stalled the bike dropping down the hill and the rear end promptly went out from under me.  No harm done and I was up and at 'em again straight away.

Back down the hill we had to ride through a few muddier sections along with the odd small climb.  It was a little more tricker to pick a line with lots of bikes all trying to find the way.  One small creek crossing and then that was another 5km loop over with.

Next up was the big 35km loop which involved a short bit of a gravel before charging up a steep, rough section and getting right into plenty of steep hill work.  The route took us over a lot of grassy hills and some farm tracks, often with some steep drop off''s if you missed a corner...The views were pretty damn good too.

Looking down on Herbertville

Most of the loop was like this with plenty of hills to climb and then drop down.  In a few of the lower places there were a few boggier bits but nothing the knobblies found too hard to deal with.

Back at the ute it was time for a breather, a sandwich and plenty of water.  The bike even got some fuel - about 3L or so for the 40 odd km...I think it likes gas...

Lunch break over, Rob and I fired the bikes back up and made for a repeat of the morning's loop.  I think by now I'd got my eye in a bit and that first section seemed to be over pretty fast with just one little scare...

Unfortunately there is no video of it as I had forgotten to turn the camera on, but this still from when I did turn the camera on after the event will help tell the tale.

You will observe that I am quite close to a fence whereas there is the spine of a hill to my left.  That spine is where I should be.  While it had been a bit windy in the morning, the wind had really got up as we left for this loop and crossing that spine I get hit my a really decent gust.  The wind and slippery grass meant that I was just blown off the hill.  Luckily I got out of the wind before the fence and I managed to get into some sort of control and stop to wonder what had just happened...

The rest of that loop was uneventful but when we got back to base we discovered that the 2nd section had been shut off - perhaps the muddy bits were getting a bit too churned up after a couple of hundred bikes, quads and side-by-sides had been through.

This meant we were into lap 2 of the bigger loop and it was good to be repeating it as I think that maybe I remembered some of it and kept myself pretty much out of trouble.  We did have one quick breather and I managed to get a few more snaps.

Team Yella

My only whoopsie on this loop was because I was being nice.  As we were dropping off a hill into a muddy section before a quite steep climb up the next rise I noticed a guy stuck in the mud at the bottom.  Rather than do the sensible thing and fire the bike down through the mud and then up the hill, I stopped halfway down to wait and then had a stab at it.

Unfortunately, I just didn't have the momentum I needed and got it all wrong climbing up the hill.  This resulted in me being stuck sideways across the hill on some really slippery stuff.  I eventually got the bike up and out of the way and then tried to get going again.

This wasn't to be as when I took off the rear tyre just couldn't get any grip and the bike went out from under me with me being thrown down the hill and the bike toppling over so it was upside down too...

Well, at least I wasn't on the Tenere or even the WR.  It took me quite a bit of muscle to get the bike upright while trying not to slip over in the slipperiness.  After some deep breathing, I fired up the bike and walked it up out of the slippery stuff and then leapt aboard and fired it up the hill to chase after Rob who was waiting for me a bit further along.

A bit more unadulterated fun and we were back at the carpark where I loaded up while Rob went to see if he could get a ride in a side-by-side.  Another sandwich did a disappearing act along with even more water and then I was outta there.  What a fantastic ride - much better than some of those other slippery enduros - and the views were a great bonus.  if you read this Rob - cheers for keeping an eye on me!

She doesn't look like this now - I did managed to clean it despite my broken body...


  1. Oh yes! Even from my off-roading a couple of decades ago, I remember all the pain on the day after :-) . I'm surprised that they allowed the 4 wheel classes on the same course but at least there was a talking-to in the briefing. Your RMX is a really sweet beastie - light too.

    1. Yeah, we stopped to let them through a couple of times. They're impressive machines but there were some places where we could catch them ;)

      The RMX is great: something like 20kg lighter than the WR with probably double the herbs! Plus it has suspension and brakes...