Sunday, September 27, 2009



They reckon living in the ACT means you always have to be prepared for four seasons in one day.

Dr Phil and I ventured south to the national capital over the weekend just gone to join Peter 'El Presidente' Daley and the boys from the Dual-Sport Motorcycle Rider's Association for the fourth annual DSMRA Canberra to Tumut trail ride. 

The route takes the pack up and over the Brindabella Ranges at the northern end of the Snowy Mountains and with fond memories of ripper rides in the Brindabellas in years gone by, the Doctor and I were toey as two Roman sandals to get back down there ... until we saw the weather forecast for the weekend!

A quick check of the web site the night before the ride showed Tumut as all set to have a temperature range of four to seven degrees, with high winds and snow flurries predicted at high altitudes. Hmmm.

Luckily I managed to convince Dr Phil to dig out his old Welsh ISDE Goretex wet weather gear and stash it in his Zacspeed SP3 -- just in case!

Well, you guessed it. It was pissing rain and blowing a gale as the 46 rider pack (for real!) congregated for the start of the ride at Cotter Dam just west of Canberra. And us we went uphill from there, the weather just kept going downhill.

It kept raining all the way, then it started hailing, then it started snowing ... and kept on snowing!

Now, snow riding is fun for about 30 minutes, but after that your fingers and toes start to freeze and it all gets as much fun as taking a snooze a Kelvinator freezer.

We were out in the snow for hours, including a lunch stop deep in the Brindabellas covered in the white stuff. 

While some of us were well decked out for the cold (I was wearing five layers of gear, no kidding!), plenty of other riders were doing it tough. 

Hypothermia was very much on the menu, so trail bosses PD and Royce Flanagan started cutting the guts out of the ride to get us back down below the snowline and on the road to Tumut, where the cosy confines of the Riverglades caravan park awaited us. 

Honestly, those cabins couldn't come fast enough!

That night as we thawed out and chowed down on a Chinese banquet at the local RSL in Tumut, it was clear some riders weren't keen at repeating the ride on Sunday -- and come the morning a local school bus was chartered to ferry a dozen or so riders back to Canberra to pick up their cars. 

The Gun and I have seen splinter groups form on trail rides before, but this was the first time we'd seen a school bus involved.

Anyway, the rest of us suited up and headed back out into the elements, on a much revised route home via Wee Jasper that would keep us down lower and out of the worst of the weather.

A lunch stop at the Wee Jasper Hotel was welcomed by one and all, and from there it was just another 60km back to Cotter Dam and a dry set of clothes at the cars.

It certainly was a memorable weekend -- the full story of which will be published in TRAIL ZONE issue #27, so make sure you check it out.

In the meantime there's a pic at the top of this post of Dr Phil piddling in the wind, but by this stage of the day, the last thing we were worried about was piddling on our trousers -- truth be told the piddle was warmer than the snowflakes!

-- Clubby,

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