July 2011 – The Sunset Riders

23 July 2011

Greetings and welcome to July’s newsletter.

This month has been very busy with our annual Charity Bike ride and also the second Guided Ride of the year. This newsletter will be dedicated to “The Sunset Riders” weekend which was from Friday 22nd July to Sunday 24th July. All the Joburg riders arrived at 2pm on Friday and after a brief unpack we were out on Kevard having a short ride.

Here is the group of merry men at Ellesmere. From Left to Right: Brad Kevin Mike Ryan Russell Jono Andy Jason Steve Dave and Bryn.

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After a great breakfast on Saturday morning, the group left for Ellesmere and about 08h45 . 11 riders all fired up especially after a night in the Boma full of banter and war stories.

There is the most awesome single track section on the way to Cell Phone. It was just after this that “Gertie the snake” was handed over to the first rider whose handlebars touched the ground. For the uninformed Gertrude or “Gertie” is a rubber snake with Velcro straps which gets strapped onto the handlebars of the bike whos bars touch the ground and stay there until the next deserving candidate earns her. Garry Franks wrote a very amusing article when the “Gertie” tradition first started way back in 2008. (See Enduro World No 59. 15 Sept 08 and 14 Oct 08) To quote “… poor old Gertrude was starting to feel like a cheap prostitute already being passed from rider to rider with gay abandon!

The first challenge the riders faced once at Ellesmere was Rocky Road. No prizes for guessing how it got named. Dave and Russell did some “roof” training while the rest of us had a quick break.

This rocky section is very interesting changing from very slippery in the morning to nice and dry after 12. Please don’t try this if you and your swing-arm are close!

From Rocky Road we moved on to no. 10 which was so easy now that it has been hoed and all the stumps and rocks are visible. This is another new break which has a great 10 foot climb around a wild banana tree and then this lovely foot path around the natural bush. After that we moved onto more technical stuff and after a lovely rocky downhill the route crossed a muddy section before moving towards “Chicken Run”.

It was arm pump at chicken run and then a great loop up Happy Button to our newest break yet to be named! It is nice and soft peppered with stumps and off-cambers. Just what most riders love to test their skills with.

Ellesmere is an absolute treat with such a variety of terrain a rider will experience everything from plantations to rocks to mud and did I mention rocks and oh yes, our famous 69! Riding is slow with one or two breaks where you can really open your bike up and the rest is really good technical riding. A typical day will be about 7 hours long with lunch, but we only cover 70km.

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Above Mike and Ryan ride one of the easier parts of the new break.

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Rocky Ridge is such a favourite! Some guys just take it lying down.

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Ryan gave us a great cover version of “Tie My KTM around the Old Gum Tree!”

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For his efforts, his dad Mike was only too keen to hand over Gertie.

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Mike busy strapping Gertie onto Ryan’s handlebars.

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From here it was on to 69 the best break at Ellesmere.

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The beginning has some nice big rocks, “ I normally walk my bike through while some tough riders also take it lying down!

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Below is Russell blasting up the final section of 69.

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We enjoyed a great lunch and plenty of laughs before attacking 70 – only named because it is one after 69.

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That is the best way to have a break – holding up a gum tree.

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Ifafa Cliffs is behind the riders with the Ifafa River in the foreground.

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Here Russell wheelies up the first part of Ifafa Cliffs, little did we know that this was the very easy part. Ellesmere is very weather specific with some breaks changing from very dry and crumbly to wet and slippery with only 5mm of rain! Today was dry and the second half of Ifafa Cliffs was tough.

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And that was the last break we tried. Uncle Steve could hear Mr Miller calling him from the top of the hill and so we took the scenic route back home.

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Sunday saw us riding part of the track for the 2 man team event before coming back to an awesome breakfast ably prepared by Gio and Winnie. Sadly then it was time to pack up and head back to Joburg. What a great weekend with great friends.

Until next time ride safe.

Cheers,

Kevin.