Alpine Rally

Where to go, where to stay and how to get there. Share your touring tips and ask for advice here.

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Falcopops
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Alpine Rally

#1 Post by Falcopops » Mon Jun 07, 2010 12:20 pm

A mate in Sydney called me and asked if I fancied meeting up about half way on a bike rally this long weekend (we get a day of for Lizzie's birthday).

Quickly cleared the decks with the social secretary and I'm up for it.

Now I've just figured what the hell I'm letting myself in for.

http://maps.google.com.au/maps/ms?hl=en ... d0912b&z=8

Half way is apparently an estimate so it's 300km for him and 600km for me. The last 30km on a dirt road, in the mountains in the middle of winter, in a field with no bar or cafe, 80km from the nearest town.

The icing on the cake is the comedy steep hill (muddy if it's wet) into the area we'll be camping. Still at least my ambulance cover is up to date!

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#2 Post by BikerGran » Mon Jun 07, 2010 12:39 pm

Sounds like fun. Rather you than me!
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#3 Post by Samray » Mon Jun 07, 2010 1:56 pm

Enjoy Pops. :smt001
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#4 Post by Viking » Mon Jun 07, 2010 10:49 pm

Hmmm...

I hope you have lots and lots of warm clothing. It gets very cold up there. We're talking about brass monkeys wandering around in search of a welder.

However, I see that you've planned to take the Hume Highway - the highway of death by boredom. If you're after a slightly more interesting road, head east along the Princes Hwy through the Latrobe Valley, Gippsland and up the Cann Valley / Monaro Highways.

The road east of Orbost is great on a bike - lots of corners, and the Cann Valley Hwy is even better.
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#5 Post by Falcopops » Mon Jun 07, 2010 11:01 pm

Cheers Viking,

I was thinking of taking an alternative route, but I'm keen to get there before as early as possible to avoid negotiating the dirt road in the dark and roos at dusk.

Might do a different route back though.

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#6 Post by fastasfcuk » Tue Jun 08, 2010 7:32 am

remember your comments during our winter,hope it snows. :smt003


enjoy.

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#7 Post by DavShill » Tue Jun 08, 2010 4:20 pm

Sounds like another epic trip Dale - looking forward to the report. Stay safe.

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#8 Post by Viking » Tue Jun 08, 2010 10:11 pm

I've done the Melbourne to Canberra run (via Gippsland) and it took most of a day, leaving at about 6am and arriving at about 4-ish.

I'd forgotten about the wildlife out there. If you do take the route I mentioned, watch out for the buggers. Kangaroos may be stupid, but wombats are both blind and stupid.
It's the V-twin thing. There's just something about it that inline-4s don't have at all, and V-4s don't have enough of.

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#9 Post by Falcopops » Tue Jun 15, 2010 9:14 am

The Alpine Rally has been going for a while now this was No. 41.

A mate (Grumpy) who lives in Sydney called and reckoned we should meet up at this years rally as it’s about half way between us, so I agreed and $20 entry wasn’t going to break the bank either, so I started to do a bit of planning.

It turns out that my trip from Melbourne would be over 600km, whereas Grumpy’s trip would be about 300km. Still I’m on the Falco and Grumpy rides an old BMW R80GS, so I can live with that.

The Rally is in Brindabella in the mountains near ACT and the organiser reckons that the 30km of dirt road will be fine for a road bike . I was starting to have second thoughts so I called Grumpy for his opinion. He reckoned that the dirt roads would be fine too, but the dirt slope into the campsite might be more of a problem. I’m not sure if my fears were completely allayed by this, but feck it I’m in!

So what facilities to expect at the camp site? Well there’s another little surprise from Grumpy, the use of the term “camp site” actually relates to a bit of a farm that’s useless for anything else apart from hiding Wombats and making hairy motorcyclists cold. Facilities were limited to mud, a river, many Wombat holes, a tin bath, lots of trees and a shit house that nobody was brave enough to use.

Well I’m not one to change my mind in the face of mild adversity so I’m still in.

I had a look at the weather forecast for the weekend. Rain in Melbourne, but clear to the north and east, so probably a wet start, but fine after that. Then I had a look at the temperatures and Canberra is getting below zero at night and it’s way lower then the mud bog that I’m camping at, still that’s where the -10 rated sleeping bag will come into it’s own, so I’m still in.

So packed up tent, sleeping bag, air mattress, food, warm clothes and booze. Mrs Falcopops pointed out the tent poles on the kitchen floor, so I packed them too, they did come in handy. I forgot to pack a lighter, spare batteries for my torch, a puck for my side stand or an industrial sized blast heater, all which would have come in handy especially the heater.

The trip up was wet in the morning getting out of Melbourne as expected, but I was well insulated and waterproof, so all’s well, then the rain stopped and the skies cleared and life was good. At the Vic/NSW border another bike joined up (Bandit 1250) and we travelled together until a fuel stop where it turned out that he (Laird) was going to Brindabella too, so we rode together for the rest of the trip. We topped off the tanks at Tumut, the last time we were likely to see anything remotely resembling civilisation for a while, and headed off. I was leading and missed a turn, Laird thought I knew what I was doing and followed for 10km down a dirt road before he figured I’d made a mistake and turned us back. That was an extra 20km’s of dirt riding that I could have done without and about 30 minutes lost. We didn’t want to be riding on the dirt in the dark, so that was a big error and I’m glad Laird spotted it.

Laird lead the way to the correct road and what a road into the mountains, fantastic sweepers and some tight stuff too, but all too soon it turned to dirt again, sometimes mud, sometimes loose gravel, but always bloody bumpy. Laird takes to it like a duck to water and he’s off at about 60kph so I followed, but a couple of slides made me slow a bit. 30km or so later and we’re nearly there, but it’s dusk and a fecking huge roo (about 180cm/5 foot 10) appeared out of nowhere, bounded across the road about 5m in front of me and disappeared into the trees. I didn’t react at all, probably numb from the long ride, but just as well really as a big handful of front brake would have had me on my arse.

Still nearly there now and only a big muddy hill to get down. Wrong. Imagine my surprise when we encounter a small river that needs to be crossed, without the aid of a bridge or safety net. It’s only about 3m across and less than half a metre deep, but as Laird crossed his bike was bounced all over the place by the loose stones in the bottom. I gave it some beans and shot through before I could think too hard about it. Still nearly there now and only a muddy hill to get down, but of course to gown one must first go up a bloody great grassy field then ride across the slope at the top, then came the down hill, which was less muddy and more grassy than I expected.

However, this was a mere teaser as around the corner was the big muddy bastard! There was a collection of expectant faces at the bottom that all lit up at the sight of a twat on a road bike attempting to negotiate the slope of doom. So I stuck it in first and let the clutch out and aimed at the smug bastards. Piece of piss, couple of little slides, but no biggies and I’m in.

So I meet Grumpy and shake him warmly by the throat for neglecting to mention the variety of hazards involved in arriving. Then set up camp, eat, put on all my clothes, eat some more then start drinking and chatting with other cold and muddy people. The general rule is that when you go into the woods for a pee you have to bring back a massive branch for the fire, so as the evening wares on the fire gets bigger and bigger. Just as well ‘coz the temperature was plummeting.

I managed to get a reasonable amount of broken sleep, but it was bloody freezing. At 8:30 someone announced that it was -6, deep joy.

Image

So up, coffee, breakfast stumble about, build a fire that won’t light, stand beside someone else’s fire and Grumpy announces that he’s too cold to stay the second night and he’s going home. I wasn’t too surprised or disappointed really. I nearly stayed, but decided to go too and that’s when it occurred to me that I’d have to ride up that bloody great muddy mountain.

I watched 4 people fall off road bikes on the hill and the only other Falco do massive powerslide across the face of the track and be saved. Then a girl who was standing nearby said that she'd fallen off three times on the way in and wasn’t looking forward to the run out.

So bike loaded kit on (summer gloves for better control in the shit) first gear and we’re off, short shift into second and a massive wheelspin, all momentum lost, back to first, huge step to the left and just save it. A little push from a helpful bystander and I’m off again and bugger me I made it all the way. Only the grassy bit to go, but it’s all wet from the melting frost and slippy as all hell. I managed to get proper stuck in a shallow rut couldn’t get enough grip to go forward, couldn’t turn out, so backwards it is then. Unfortunately once moving backwards pulling the front brake just locked the front and didn’t slow the bike at all, still at least I slid far enough to get out of the rut and onto some gravel that stopped the slide and gave enough grip to get moving, managed to keep the momentum up this time and made it all the way to the top.

The remaining hazards were negotiated without incident and the surfaced mountain road was ridden with great gusto. I got home 9 hours later, just in time to get a shower and head out to a party, damn those beers tasted good.

So next year? Fuck it, I’m in!

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#10 Post by Samray » Tue Jun 15, 2010 9:34 am

Great stuff and great writeup Pops. :smt001

I'll move it to the "epic journeys" forum in due course. :smt002







That bike looks almost as mucky as Aladin's used to. :smt003
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#11 Post by D-Rider » Tue Jun 15, 2010 9:43 am

Great report Dale

...... I see that someone's Christmas list is going to contain:
  • Spare set of Falco wheels
    Set of nobblies
:smt003
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#12 Post by mangocrazy » Tue Jun 15, 2010 9:43 am

You mad bastard! More balls than I have, matey...

The bike looks good, even covered in frost and shit. I never knew Ohlins made off-road USD forks...

Excellent write up!

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#13 Post by Viking » Fri Jun 18, 2010 12:38 am

FP, is there a history of insanity in your family? Willingly subjecting yourself to that is just bloody insane.

(Says he who rode into the middle of the Aussie outback to watch an eclipse...)
It's the V-twin thing. There's just something about it that inline-4s don't have at all, and V-4s don't have enough of.

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#14 Post by HisNibbs » Fri Jun 18, 2010 9:44 pm

Good on yer!
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#15 Post by Samray » Fri Jun 25, 2010 5:30 pm

Moved as promised. :smt002

Interesting to note that 1/3 of the posts in this forum are by the same intrepid voyager. :smt003
In spite of the cost of living, it's still popular.

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