Author: Tadhg MacCarthy
July 7th was an opportunity for RTRA members to sample some Hills'n'Thrills courtesy of the crew at Westcoast Trailbike Safaris.
This tour was pitched at the more experienced rider after the RTRA/Westcoast Intro tour run earlier in the year. Further on I'll dispense some invaluable trail tips for the inexperienced riders amongst you.
A motley crew turned up to a sold out tour - we had all types of bikes from KTM two-smokers to a go anywhere Suzuki DR650. Same bill for the riders - from new to dirt, or returning after many years to a few Bear Grylls on Bikes and a lone female Tania amongst a sea of testosterone.
The conditions were no less than perfect, and as usual Staino tailored the tour to cater for all.
Pommy Pete was having his last Westcoast ride as trusty sweep - before heading over to Melbourne to further his career as an international poet - so it was a bittersweet farewell for the bard from Essex.
The customary pre-ride talk was dispensed with, followed by a quick word from RTRA prez Pretz. We then waited the customary five minutes for the bike of a certain colour to be kicked a hundred times to re-fire into life and we were off.
Out the gate - and immediately into some hilly single track to blow out the cobwebs and pre-ride jitters. From there we were served with a smorgasboard of the finest trails in the Blackwood - before rolling into Tathra Winery for some hearty soup & rolls to prep for the afternoon.
The hills were tailored back a bit to cater for all the group.
One memorable one was Stig Hill.
Tip #1: When tackling a difficult hill; stand up and well forward - select the right gear. Keep the revs smooth and pick your line - and remember momentum is your friend.
I know this tip because that's exactly what Tania was doing as she passed me as I lay under my bike having speared off into the pine trees half way up the hill.
Tip #2: While climbing a hill remember to be ready to change lines quickly if required.
Tania learned this when Pat did a swan dive off his bike into her line on the next section of Stig Hill. Pat is available for lessons if required - contact his agent.
The afternoon brought out the rain with a nice shower as we traversed the rocky mountain trail.
Tip #3: Carry a spare pair of gloves on a ride so you can have dry & warm hands once the rain passes.
Remember to bring a left and right glove - unlike me who had a left and another left glove. Mmmm .. super toasty left hand.
The afternoon had us tackling some nice water crossings.
Tip #4: Water crossings are deemed nice when you don't fall in.
All too soon we were rolling back into Westcoast base for the trek back to reality.
Many thanks to the RTRA and the Westcoast crew for an(other) awesome day on the trails. Let's make next year a two (or three!) dayer.