Putting Skills into Practice

Still feeling it a bit after yesterday it was time to fill the Camel Back and the Super Tenere and head back to Dargle Farm for today’s organised Adventure Ride and day two of the Adventure Riding Course.  I also took some time to drop the tyre pressures to 28 psi.

A fantastic crisp morning ride through Pitt Town and down Sackville /  River Road to Dargle arriving in time for a coffee and the ride briefing. No GPS routes or route maps were provided we were running the corner man system. We left Dargle heading north on River Road then too the ferry across the river.

A bit more tar and then a right turn on to gravel. I was feeling clumsy, not quite being able to adopt all the lessons of yesterday, it wasn’t quite feeling right.  But I soon worked out I was still trying to lean into the corners instead of tipping the bike in, once that set in it got better and I started to practice using the brakes, dodging potholes and practicing what I’d been taught yesterday.

During the ride we stopped a few times to discuss lines though corners, how to tackle off camber corners, what nasties to expect on different parts of corners etc and Stephen Gall took some time to show us how it could be done.  Including this neat trick on a 660 Tenere.

I didn’t follow him up that on the 1200!  With some of the reminders along the way the ride got more technical but easier.  There was a gnarly hill section that you could choose to have a crack at or not. I chose not to, I wasn’t game to test the strength of the Yamaha bash plate on some of the rock ledges in the hill.  A few on the smaller bikes had a crack, one guy on a 990 Adventure made it look easy, another on a Super Tenere made it look very messy and was looking for oil leaking out at the top.  Thankfully his Altrider bash plate was up to the job.

At the top of this hill however was this view, well walking up for.

After this more gravel with bits of tar here and there as we wound our way back down to the Settlers Arms pub at St Albans.  What a great business that one is, it was packed! The bangers and mash were OK too!

From there we had choices.  The southerners and others were heading back to Wisemans Ferry on dirt and back to Dargle.  We northerners were heading out on the Old North Road to Bucketty.  I rode out that way with a new friend who was riding a 950 Adventure.  It was this part of the ride with just one other bike, no pressure and no interruptions that things really started to click and confidence, not to be mistaken for speed) began to really build.

We stopped at the end of the dirt and agreed that the value of the course was now completely confirmed. The 950 was heading to Maitland, I could have turned right to Kulnurra and gone home via Yaramalong and Wyee but decided to lead off toward Wollombi, a bit happy to be back on rar and attacking some corners.

We parted company at Kurri and I took the easy option home down the Hunter Expressway, very happy to kick back and use the cruise control.  I hadn’t used three bars on the tank today but I felt like I’d done an Ironbutt ride.  All smiles.