Thursday, April 29, 2021

Bush Riders Trail Ride

On Sunday the Bush Riders had arranged another trail ride just out of Pahiatua and as I'd missed another ride the weekend before I had to be there.

We had a bit of rain the night before so I was a wondering what the day would be like and perhaps of more concern, how slippery things would be.  In the end the forecast mentioned showers but they didn't happen.

It was actually a very nice day on a really nice farm with some great wee rolling hills.

Somehow I got there fairly early but over the next hour or so plenty of others arrived including Steve S who I'd met on the TT2000 and a mate of his, both on KTM 2 smokes.  Steve also had his old XR350 on his ute which he'd raced in a Vinduro on the Saturday.  I probably should have taken more photos...

Eventually it was time for the ride briefing and then we were into it.  A muddy gateway led us out onto a big paddock with some really neat little hills to charge up for the warm up.  Then we were into some more bumpier stuff with some tracks cut out for the ride, some steeper descents and climbs, a couple of mud bogs and a slippery bridge before one last climb and descent back to the pits.

I think that they said that they were about 17km loops (I may be wrong) and I have to say they really did lay the ride out well with fantastic signage at corners and descents.  There were a few more optional technical bits for the guns but this time around I gave these a miss.  I've been to a few rides where I thought that the rides were pretty difficult considering that these are not competitive events and are open to all sorts of bikes and skill levels.  This one was spot on (plenty of kids on small bikes, families and interesting bikes), well done the Bush Riders!

Here's the map I made from the camera GPS file.  As per usual, I don't think it is terribly accurate as there's too many straight lines and my maximum speed was 353km/h...

Here's some video of lap one.  Unfortunately I didn't have my normal mount on the helmet and the camera pretty quickly got knocked around a bit.

After the first lap it's safe to say I feeling fairly confident and was definitely enjoying the ride so my pace went up a notch as I went out for lap 2.  About half way through I ran into Steve who was airing down his rear a little and I ended up doing the same for more grip on the greasier sections.

That done, Steve led off and gradually disappeared off into the distance as I stuck to my pace and concentrated on picking decent lines and improving my riding on the steeper downhills sections (I think I definitely improved there).  Loads of fun.

Anyway, as I said, my pace was up on the first lap and that and maybe a poor decision led to me having a really good off.  

I was coming down a hill (not a steep one) in fourth with a fair bit of pace on when I came across a group of slower riders (Mum, Dad and kids I think).  I pulled to the right to pass and tried to give them plenty of room but when I crossed back I clipped a shallow rut at what turned about to be the wrong angle and pace and was flung into a fence that was running parallel to the track.

The bike stopped immediately as it got hooked up in the fence and I was fired into the air at probably 60km/h.  I was in the air for what seemed like weeks (plenty of time to decided that this was going to hurt) before I finally slammed into the fence.

Surprisingly, I was up on my feet straight away and didn't really feel too sore anywhere.  I think I was damn lucky!  Not sure if my chest protector wore any of the impact (no apparent damage) but I did come into contact with a batten which left a bruise from my right armpit down my side.  Other than that I had a couple of really minor scrapes and a knock to my left index finger.  Strangely, one of the fingers of that glove was torn completely off but there was no damage to that finger.  My repaired helmet peak was torn off and who knows where it is now.  Very lucky!

Bike wedged in fence pointing back the way I'd came...

Gloves for sale, going cheap...


Anyway, what you really want to see is the video eh?

Action all over, another rider gave me a hand to extract the bike and it fired up straight away so that I could ride it out of the grass and back onto the track.  Another dip in the muddy bits and I was back at the ute to have a wee breather.

I gave the bike a very quick look over and all seemed ok (maybe I'll need to readjust a bark buster) and then I removed the remains of the peak off the helmet as they looked fairly sharp and dangerous.  I then had my breather and dug out another set of gloves before heading out on Lap three.

This time around I had a nice run with only one issue at the bogs where I got tangled up in a rope someone was getting ready to use to tow someone out of the bog.  I never saw it and had attacked the bog with a bit of vengeance so did a good job of wrapping it around the rear wheel.  It took us a few minutes to sort that out and then I managed to get out of the bog without any issues.

At the pits again, I stopped early for lunch and was looking forward to a few more laps in the afternoon so I did top the tank up - partly to make sure I had enough fuel but more importantly to get some idea of how much I'd used so I could work out how to judge the level in the new tank.  I think I put around 3 litres in so yeah, there should have been nearly 7 left in it.

Lap four started off really well.  As I took off up the first couple of rises I let the 450 off the leash and got to enjoy a few careful moments of weightlessness.  Editing video later it seems that the camera had worked out where I'd been weightless and a couple of times when I'd been properly airborne.  I dunno how much I trust this but the yellow circles below show zero g for around 0.2 seconds at a time (no idea what sort of maneuver generates zero g) and the green ones show jumps of around 0.5 seconds.

One thing about lap 4 is that some of the slipperier bits had dried out and were easier to deal with.  But, the boggier bits were the opposite after hoards of mud-caked demons had been churning them up so lines that had worked earlier were now potential traps for everyone.

When I hit the first bog I took to a route that had seen me right twice and promptly got myself sunk in deep.  Four of us managed to lift the bike out and I rode it out via another line.

On the next one I took a line that I'd watched a few other take but the greasy climb out got the better of me and I toppled off the side of the bike.  While extracting myself I then had another chap lose it and fall onto me knocking me over the other way and sliding back down the hill.  We then helped each other get unstuck which wasn't easy as we could barely stand on the slope.  It was a bit easier for the young fella but this old geeza was working hard...

Arriving back at the ute I decided to call it a day.  I could probably have done another lap or two (although my legs were starting to tire) but I didn't really want to get stuck again.

Anyway, even with the big off the day had been fantastic - it really was a neat ride.  Can't wait for the next one...

It took half an hour with the water blaster to see to this mess...

Yep, I even water blasted my boots...


  1. Damn you, and your shoddy camera angles.
    Glad your ok though.