Thursday, September 18, 2014

Back Yamma Bigfoot

Back Yamma Bigfoot had always been one of those events we had heard about but just hadn't gotten around to checking out. So when Rod from RocketOn2Wheels, the event organisers of the Ginja Ninja 250, reminded me early in the year the BYBF was on, I snuck it onto the calendar, locking in our trip to central NSW.

Parkes township. Photo: CrummyMTB
And so it was we headed away from the coastal rainstorms and precipitation in Sydney for the sparseness of the countryside, clearing skies and wide-open roads. Parkes is the closest township to the Back Yamma State Forest and is home to two main themes, Elvis and the radio telescope now commonly called "The Dish". Just once a year midst the travelling trucks, caravans and locals, mountain bikers converge on the picturesque town for the BYBF.

A short dusty trail brought us to the event centre, plenty of parking and plenty of people had taken the opportunity to camp on-location. Kids were on bikes, Rotary were warming up the BBQ and there was a leasurely vibe before the start of our BYBF challenge.

The exciting thing about getting to an event, new to us, are the unknowns, but I couldn't help myself and visited Ed McDonald's blog to see what the past events have been like and what I might be expecting. I wasn't expecting "the rules", but then you get a little wackiness from Ed's glorious reads.

RocketOn2Wheels promised the fastest marathon in Australia, along with vivid images Ed painted and words from those who pre-rode sections of the course, it was suppose fairly flat, fast and mostly single-track.

The Back Yamma Big Foot was this plus more. A hard, fast start and long fire-trail opening section sorted the field out. The trail was dry but somehow we found the mud and it was sprayed, moto-style, all over us.

We lead Steve through the 50km transition. Photo: CrummyMTB
The dry creek lines we had to negiotate were a surprise and the single-track was better than expected. Fast, flowing and they seemed endless. We would eventually bust off the back of what seemed like the second pack a good twenty minutes or so into the race and then joined by two riders who we would spend the rest of the race with (Steve and Brian).

Out in front James Downing was making his own race and you can read about it on his blog. We were some way back rapidly finding ourselves on no-mans-land, some where between fast and steady. Just us and the trail.

James pinning it. Photo: CrummyMTB
Pivot's 429 was the ride of choice for us at Back Yamma, making the trail a magic carpet ride even through the rough and raw new sections of single-track. It was great to see such diversity of riders all enjoying the trail, managing to catch and encourage some 50km riders on our second loop. While we were out on trail the 27km event was started and completed, with plenty of juniors giving it a good go. A couple juniors commented how it was a "sweet run" and to "bring on Back Yamma 2015", competition looks fierce.

Magic ride. Photo: CrummyMTB
The Back Yamma Bigfoot is a great ride, we couldn't believe there was so much singletrack in what seemed like the middle of nowhere. If your looking for your first 50km ride, if you want a personal best or first time 100km, the Back Yamma fits the bill. Get off the coast and enjoy country NSW's fine trails.

Keep an eye out for RocketOn2Wheels' next event the Ginja Ninja 250 and catch you on the trails soon.

Result Summary of our 2014 Back Yamma Bigfoot.

Brian from Sydney XC Racing - 7th Open - 4:23:49
Steve from WSMTB - 2nd SS - 4:24:31
Crummy from JetBlack Racing - 8th Open - 4:25:51
Ian Anderson - Who we thought was way ahead - 9th Open - 4:26:32

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