2015 Simpson Desert Bike Challenge

ozzybmx

Likes Bikes and Dirt



THE SIMPSON DESERT BIKE CHALLENGE

Each September, competitors, support crew and officials gather at Purni Bore, South Australia, on the western edge of the Simpson Desert for the Annual Bike Challenge.

At 6am from Purni Bore, riders surge off into the heart of the Simpson Desert. By the end of stage 1, they know they will need to dig deep to achieve the goals they have set themselves. When riders arrive at Birdsville they know have experienced something of major importance in their lives. A huge achievement, great camaraderie and a new found appreciation of this amazing environment.







THE FRENCH LINE – THE ULTIMATE FATBIKE CHALLENGE





The shortest distance between two points is a straight line…. so we thought we’d try it. Purni Bore -> French Line -> Birdsville. Oh, also….1200 sand dunes, with some up to 30 metres high!
Just when you thought it couldn't get tougher, the 2015 Simpson Desert Bike Challenge will traverse the French Line, cutting straight through the heart of the Simpson Desert. (The largest parallel sand dune desert in the world.) Not for the faint hearted, this adventure is the ultimate Fat Bike Challenge and will be THE RIDE OF YOUR LIFE.


Basically the route will involve, 100km per day, 60 in the morning and 40 in the afternoon, for 4 days. Sweep speed reduced to 10km per hour to allow for the extra dunes.
On the final day, 4 lap pure sand criterium along the dune crest between Big Red and Little Red. Final stage along the gravel road into Birdsville.


Stages.

1. Dune Resurrection - 68km. The big dunes return after last year. Easy riding to Wonga Junction then fun riding in big dunes along the French Line to the Colson Track.

2. Swanky Swale - 40km. Hugely fast out-and-back course south along Colson Track.

3. The Belly of the Beast - 54km. Huge dunes on the French Line.

4. Sandy Sojourn - 35km. Sandy trails twisting over smaller dunes on the French Line.

5. Gnarly Knolls - 70km. Out and back course south on the Knolls track to the WAA junction. Swoops, bends and dips. Only a couple of dunes to cross.

6. Poeppel Crux - 40km. This last bit of the French Line will be the hardest stage of the race. Demanding for riders and drivers alike. Lots of dunes and complex dunes with multiple crests. Soft dunes with opportunities for vehicles to get bogged. Eases over salt lakes later in the stage.

7. Racing Snake - 80km. Long and fast. Hard surfaces for the first 20km on the K1 line. East on the QAA; big dunes separated by wide Swales.

8. Nappanerica Dreaming - 50km. The Swales get wider and dunes lower as you head for the campsite under Little Red. A free beer to anyone that can clean Little Red.

9. Look to Windward - 20km. 4 laps, Little Red to Big Red return along the dune crest. Find your own line.

10. Birdsville Bar Blast - 35km. Follow the road from Little Red into Birdsville for a well earned beer.



[video=youtube;R0I5QVr-tVM]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R0I5QVr-tVM[/video]

All information can be found on the website.
http://desertchallenge.org/
 
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gcouyant

Farkin Advertiser
OMG my quads cramped up in fright when I saw the thread title.

This year should go down as the "real" Simpson Desert race and none of that clay capped track in the main photograph. I reckon that Stage 9 will be a memorable one too. Riding along Big Red on top of live dune sand with the world at your feet - and no trail - is just beyond words.

So jealous.

Thanks for posting Billy. It'll be a pisser!
 

ozzybmx

Likes Bikes and Dirt
I've been wanting to do this for awhile now... Maybe this is the year!
Get on it, I promised myself I was going to do it 2015 about 3 years ago. Ended up doing it 2014 and now back in it for 2015, very excited about this years track.
 

ozzybmx

Likes Bikes and Dirt
OMG my quads cramped up in fright when I saw the thread title.

This year should go down as the "real" Simpson Desert race and none of that clay capped track in the main photograph. I reckon that Stage 9 will be a memorable one too. Riding along Big Red on top of live dune sand with the world at your feet - and no trail - is just beyond words.

So jealous.

Thanks for posting Billy. It'll be a pisser!

Would be nice to fill all the spots, 40 riders Max each year due to the vehicle entourage.

This years is going to be a good one, looking forward to it !

A bit shorter than last year and the sweep speed is down from 12kph to 10kph but this is to allow for the higher/softer sand dunes.

Tyre choice is going to be a big concern with this years course, got a set of Schwalbe 4.8" JJ liteskins on order... now if they just made a 4.8" Black Floyd.
 

gcouyant

Farkin Advertiser
got a set of Schwalbe 4.8" JJ liteskins on order... now if they just made a 4.8" Black Floyd.
I'm not confident that they are the right choice for the French Line Billy. We can take this off-line if you like - email me.
 

4dabush

Likes Dirt
Are any Rotorburners entering this year?
Any of you done the classic line and have any inside knowledge they'd like to share?
Just passed medical, so looks like I might be up for a big ride...
 
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gcouyant

Farkin Advertiser
It's looking like a balls-out tough one this year. 51 Degrees C in the afternoon stage.

That's the sort of riding where you learn a lot about yourself..... Four crusty days to go..... Bonus - the wax in your ears melts away and runs down your neck.

todays wrap-up...
yesterdays promise of temperatures in the high 40's was smashed as officials recorded 51 degrees during the afternoon stage.
In the words of the race directors trusty sidekick... it was hot. bloody hot. But the good news is that the riders were rewarded with glorious tailwinds (but they were also... you guessed it... *hot*), and plenty of green covering on some of the dunes.
... two riders fell victim to the grubby paws of Snowy the sweep this morning and three this afternoon.
this years event is looking, after only two stages, like it just might be a ride of attrition...
currently Eckart Altenkamp is leading Graham Hancox by just on half an hour with Adam Gowlett in 3rd.
We currently have 8 riders still on 100% with Ian and Mark Roberts working together and crossing the line at the same time.
Congratulations to all riders on dealing with a very warm day and very hard conditions.



Modern remote communications brings us regular updates from the Race Director on https://www.facebook.com/SimpsonDesertBikeChallenge
 

ozzybmx

Likes Bikes and Dirt
Only 5 left on 100%, brutal temps out there this year... last year, they were wearing beanies and hoodies at the afternoon break, this year its 50°C.
 

gcouyant

Farkin Advertiser
Only 5 left on 100%, brutal temps out there this year...
We're not selling it really well are we Billy....

Did you catch the comment about the mixed double entry this year? Nice....

It looks like Graham is putting the hammer down to claw time back of Eckart with Adam on his 3"-wide pizza cutters over the line third in this morning's stage. It's interesting this year to see what looks like serious individual effort to get ahead.

Quite a race this year.

And what's with the weather. They've gone from 51 degrees to a chilly high of 30 with temps in Birdsville forecast to be in the mid to low 20s over the next few days.... With a gentle SE breeze to boot.

I love desert riding!
 

gcouyant

Farkin Advertiser
And what's with the weather. They've gone from 51 degrees to a chilly high of 30 with temps in Birdsville forecast to be in the mid to low 20s over the next few days.... With a gentle SE breeze to boot.

I love desert riding!
And it's bloody well started to rain!

Bring on the "glue"..... where bike tyres grow and the bike puts on a few extra kg..... of mud. Those that have experienced Simpson desert glue will no doubt have taken a sudden deep breath through clenched teeth and involuntarily let out a little bit of wee when they read that.
 

gcouyant

Farkin Advertiser
And it's bloody well started to rain!

Bring on the "glue"..... where bike tyres grow and the bike puts on a few extra kg..... of mud. Those that have experienced Simpson desert glue will no doubt have taken a sudden deep breath through clenched teeth and involuntarily let out a little bit of wee when they read that.
Just beamed in from the race director somewhere in the Simpson Desert....

afternoon update: never thought I'd be saying this but...
The *mud* (yes... I said "mud"...) is causing casualties.
... 3 riders swept so far this afternoon. Sweep reports that the riders are fine, but their bikes are so jammed up with mud that the rear wheels wouldn't turn.
Oh and the Race Director is currently wearing a raincoat made from a garbage bag. Apparently it's a new fashion accessory direct from the South Of France...
and currently it's 16 degrees...

It's been too busy in the factory to take time away so was feeling all sooky.... Now, not so much.

The last time that there was a big wet in the race was the late 90s - when CrMo and Alloy frames ruled. Now, carbon frame seat and chain stays "self adjust" tyre clearance. OMG it's like taking a grinder to carbon fibre...
 
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4dabush

Likes Dirt
Well, I wish I was 100% fit. It was one heck of an experience. I did a lot of training...wasn't sure I did enough, but 250-300kms road commuting on the fattie plus weekend mtb riding and climbing a few hills was perfect.

Yep, it was hot on days 1 and 2. We were lucky, we didn't have headwinds of past years. I had tried to train for it, and was ok...the drinking 45degree water was the worst...and yes I had been training with hot water, but nothing prepares you for THAT hot. Then it only got to 15 degrees on the arvo of day 3 in the mud. I took A jacket...didn't think I'd need one in the desert let alone 2!...morning of day 4 was the killer. Was 17 degrees at lunch. Graham and I worked together and put about 30minutes into the bunch but neither of us could get warm. Graham lead me in for about the last 10km in the morning. I was frozen. Graham was more comfortable then me (Cairns local)...we pretty much resolved the positions that morning...My jacket dried finally at lunch and I was finally warm for the last 2 stages. The mud was unbelievable. Some of the bikes had over 20kgs of mud on them! Slabs of mud th size of $5 notes were flying off the whole time.

As for my 3" pizza cutters, they were 'alternative' wheels...I was supposed to be on 4.8 Jumbo Jims... The Mt Dare track was very rough...rough enough to shake out my thru axle, locknut, then hub end cap. All in less than an hour from Oodnadatta. At Mt Dare I had to swap dropouts, pack them with washers, remove the rear brake, and using tools in their workshop, rethread a 12mm spare axle I had. That put me on 50mm x 27.5 with 3.0 Rocket Rons. I'm pretty light, 70kg on race day, so the 3.0's were OK in the sand and probably better everywhere else - especially the mud.

In the end I came 3rd, 10 mins behind Graham, and about an hour and a bit behind Eckart.
It was an awesome event. Great environment, great experience, great people, great racing. Would thoroughly recommend it to any masochists out there! For me, it was nearly a 2 week adventure, covering 5000kms by car and the 593kms across the desert. My being sick the whole ride caught up with me on the way home, resulting in a chest infection that was probably the sickest I have ever felt and took about 2 weeks to recover from.

Would I go back? In a heartbeat. But working in the construction industry only leaves me 2 weeks leave per year so was a selfish endeavour leaving the family behind. Hopefully I can get a couple of photos up for you (iPad)
 

4dabush

Likes Dirt
Here are a few shots! On the last day, a few of us took turns in 'helping' Rock finish his first stage. In fact, getting him to to 20km water stop was the furthest he had made it over the whole event!...We got him into Birdsville...he made the whole 80km stage... that gave us all the warm fuzzy's...
 

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slowmick

Eats Squid
that is next level masochism. nice work on racing rather than surviving. hope you get back in the future. Cheers for the pictures.
 

ozzybmx

Likes Bikes and Dirt
4dabush, your link is a mobile link...

[video=youtube;J_uFx1BkXw4]https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=J_uFx1BkXw4&app=desktop[/video]
 
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