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Dirty Steeds Done Dirt Cheap!

12 September 2011

12 September 2011

Dirty Steeds Done Dirt Cheap!

2011 marked the second running of the Back Yamma Bigfoot, making it’s home near Parkes, which isn’t too far from half the TriHards’ stomping grounds. Engine, always being one for efficiency, thought he could kill two birds with one stone: see his father on father’s day (albeit it for about five minutes early in the morning) and squeeze in some adventure.

Engine, McFly and Cyborg ready to ride.

Naturally, being the TriHards with an all for one and one for all disposition, he managed to rope in McFly, who’s skinned knee had recovered enough for him to jump back on the bike, and the Cyborg, who had just cleaned the mud off his bike following the Husky, replaced his broken Ayup mount and was ready for round two!

Fortunately, with Engine being a local, the TriHards were welcomed with a lavish meal at his parent’s house prior to the event, then slept in luxurious beds before having even more fine dining for breakfast! From there it was a 45 minute drive to Back Yamma State Forest, home of the Sasquatch; the Back Yamma BigFoot!

Cars driving on dusty road.

The drive into the headquarters provided a preview of what was to come, with fine dust kicking up behind the cars as they drove in; it almost seemed as though the place was enveloped in a brown fog! With plenty of parking available, the Trihards quickly stopped and headed down for coffee, oh, and to register, passing through some very organised campsites on the way (the bikes looked to be more pampered than their riders!) In no time at all, the boys were geared up and ready to ride in the second Back Yamma BigFoot.

There were no waves in the start field, just a pack, and the TriHards enthusiastically made their way forward to near-ish the front (no doubt overestimating their abilities!) Word had it the course would not be very technical, and not involve much climbing, which would probably be much more suited to their riding styles than the Capital Punishment or the Husky!

Riders on a dusty road.

Then they started! McFly made his move right away, and headed off for the front of the pack, quite literally leaving the Cyborg and Engine to eat his dust! They continued in the main pack, taking on a Back Yamma tan early in the piece as testing the handling of their bikes on dusty road, then some dusty single track. A bit of a line formed along the first single track, but that was soon sorted out on the next firetrail, where the TriHards forged ahead, cruising at a speed much more reflective of their commuter pace, rather than cross country.

The race wound on in this fashion, fast, flowing single track followed by faster firetrail, with the Cyborg and Engine averaging about 20 km/hr and enjoying a very friendly field. They passed through the halfway mark, where they had planned to stop for food and a rest, without so much as a pause, and headed down to Kangaroo Alley.

You see, just to make things that little bit more interesting, when you enter the Back Yamma, you don’t just race other mountain bikers. No, that would be far too easy. Real regional riders race roos. And race they did! First, a mob of roos tried to flank the TriHards, running fast alongside before crossing the road. Then another just kept pace; hiding back in the treeline as they hopped. But the boys pushed on, and managed to hold the roos off.

Kangaroo on track.

So far the course had some nice, smooth fire trail, some flowing single track, some roos to race - what more could a rider ask for? Why, a pump track of course! At around the 30km mark the course rolled up some high mounds surrounding a dam which, after climbing onto it, formed an excellent pump track!

Riding around dam walls

Then it was back onto some more pristine single track, and one of the larger climbs of the day, through switchbacks winding their way up a hill. And by this time the field had thinned quite a bit, and the TriHards made quick work going up, then began to really cut loose going back down the other side when they halted for a moment while Engine very generously donated his only spare tube to a rider on the side of the track (and prayed he wouldn’t get a flat!)

Then they rode again, with some more climbing single track, some more climbing of fire trails, and more downhill! Though, nothing incredibly steep, or technical, so the TriHards maintained their pace of 20km/hr, until about the 40km mark where they encountered (for the first time since the start) a bit of a line! But everyone was very friendly, and the dynamic duo were ready for a bit of a rest anyway, so just cruised in the line for a while.

The TriHards, now rested, took advantage as the track opened back up on to some uphill firetrail, and pushed harder upwards; then down, and back on to single track - with nary a sign of other riders about. Familiar ground (and Cyborg’s GPS) had them nearing the end of the line - around 45km, when the Cyborg realised: he hadn’t fallen off the bike once!

Then came the gulley! A deep gulley as high as the Cyborg stands, and they dropped in, rode along the bottom, then climbed back out, before doing it all again, then, a steep drop and climb which stumped the Cyborg; it wasn’t a technical, or incredibly difficult; he just froze on the spot, thinking of his unblemished record for this event, and dropped off his bike - only to see the Engine fly through with a “Woot!”

Riding through a gully

By this time, the two and a bit hours of riding was starting to take it’s toll on the TriHards, and they slowly ascended the last climb, with very few riders around them, causing them to wonder if they were on the right track! Then the track wound its way down hill. The last eight or so kilometres was single track, and whether it was the tired TriHards, or perhaps just their eagerness to get to the finish, this is where slips and slides began to creep into their ride. Both the Cyborg and Engine, however, managed to stay on their bikes. Little did they know that around this area, just a quarter of an hour before, McFly had come off on this very section of track, skinning his knee again!

Riders at end of race.

Engine and the Cyborg crossed the line together, then hosed off their Back Yamma tan at the adventure truck using the handy garden sprayer - with no signs of McFly. Naturally, they decided to look for him, via the food tent! They found McFly patiently waiting by the track, fresh bandages on his knee, ready to let them know that he’d beaten them by a quarter of an hour, and wondering how the other two managed to get through the ride looking so clean.

All in all, it was a fantastic race, which we’d highly recommend. The fast, flowing track, without too many technical challenges makes a great course for a beginner (even the Cyborg managed to stay upright the whole time!), or maybe a first 100ker, yet provides plenty of entertainment for more experienced riders as well. Add to that the fantastic atmosphere, and you have a great event. Big thanks go out to Sasquatch and the organisers of the race, and all the volunteers helping out!

Cleaning up with a garden sprayer


The TriHards have some pics on their Facebook page.

Race Stats

Date: 4 September 2011
Location: Back Yamma State Forest (near Parkes)
Rating: (3) Excellent Adventure
TriHard Time Overal Position Category Position
McFly 2:28:45 32 12
Engine 2:44:02 72 35
Cyborg 2:44:02 73 36
Event website: Back Yamma Bigfoot site