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    Simpson Desert Bike Challenge 2015






    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.








    All information can be found on the website.
    Simson Desert Bike Challenge
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  2. #2
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    For International entrants, contact the race director from the website to arrange a support crew.
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    I'd love to do that one.

    I think I'd end up resident in the sweep vehicle though.
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
    Latitude: 57º36' Highlands, Scotland

  4. #4
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    Come on Velo, anyone who made an effort to come and do it, would be belting the training at home ! No one comes here to 99% it
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    Well guys, we are 10 weeks out. My training for this year consists of hills, hills and more hills. 1200 sand dunes needs hill stamina so I am trying to make every ride 2% or 3% elevation, so a 50km ride needs to have 1000m of climbing for 2% or for 3%, 1500m.

    I dont have a road bike but I do have a CX with road wheels and tyres fitted as it only scrubs expensive CX tyres riding tarmac for training in the winter (wet).

    I have been given the #2 plate this year as I came 2nd last year, I have no intention of grabbing a podium again this year, only a 100% finishers medal... though if the stars align, then all well and good.

    I have a fundraiser for the Royal Flying Doctor Service which is a free service to all Australians bringing the finest care to Australia's furthest corners so that anyone who lives, works or travels in remote and rural Australia can enjoy the best of health.

    An awesome charity https://www.mycause.com.au/page/8959...de-french-line

    I have made a shortened vid of the one above, enjoy.

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  6. #6
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    Looks to me like your shadow is doing all the hard work...
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
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  7. #7
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    My bloody shadow was going harder than I was... didn't know I was putting that much effort in until I seen the bloke that was projected by the sun.
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    A video made by the race director when they crossed the desert a few months ago, surveying the route and planning out the stages.

    Its going to be tricky for the support crews as well as the riders this year.

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  9. #9
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    Hmm, no mention of this race here this week, the race is on. Looks like the first stage the leaders almost caught the lead caravan and were held back at a water stop to give them time to advance, must be some brutal deep sand and or massive dunes slowing down the vehicles.

    I've always been fascinated with this race, first read about it long before fat bikes became popular. Nowadays most of the racers doing this race are on them.

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    Such an awesome race. This year sounds extra nuts. Looks like Ozzy's just toying with them at this point.

    Aaaand, the leader is riding one of those antiquated steel relics...I think they used to call them Pugsleys.

    Go figure, eh. Doesn't everybody know by now you can't ride fast on a "heavy" bike??!!

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    Go Ozzy! Have a great race.
    I would advise not taking my advice.

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    Pugs

    Quote Originally Posted by frozenmonkey View Post
    Such an awesome race. This year sounds extra nuts. Looks like Ozzy's just toying with them at this point.

    Aaaand, the leader is riding one of those antiquated steel relics...I think they used to call them Pugsleys.

    Go figure, eh. Doesn't everybody know by now you can't ride fast on a "heavy" bike??!!
    Bonus points if he's still using Endomorphs, still one of the best sand tires I've ever used.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Balogh View Post
    Bonus points if he's still using Endomorphs, still one of the best sand tires I've ever used.
    I still have a couple pairs for that purpose alone.

    Subscribed. Go Ozzy!

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    Straight up badass!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Balogh View Post
    Bonus points if he's still using Endomorphs, still one of the best sand tires I've ever used.
    You must have missed his other thread. He cut the knobs off a 4.8 Jumbo Jim. Many of us wept.

  16. #16
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    Yep, they fell like angel tears. He gathered them and offered them to all the children suffering at the hands of carbon users.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by bme107 View Post
    You must have missed his other thread. He cut the knobs off a 4.8 Jumbo Jim. Many of us wept.
    You're referring to the wrong "he".

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    Quote Originally Posted by bme107 View Post
    You must have missed his other thread. He cut the knobs off a 4.8 Jumbo Jim. Many of us wept.
    Looks like Billy is holding steady around sixth, not leading so far this year, but you never know, the race isn't over yet. I knew about the knobectomy, looked factory made afterwards. Last year he used Black Floyds. Love the report again today, seems there's a side race going on, 4WD lead convoy vs Fat Bikes, and the Fat Bikes are winning.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Balogh View Post
    Bonus points if he's still using Endomorphs, still one of the best sand tires I've ever used.
    Cheers guys ! Just did the 1250km drive back to Adelaide, first 700km of that on the gibber ridden Birdsville track.

    Will get a write up sorted in the next day or two.

    Pretty stoked with my 5th place (joint), was out for survival and did better than I though... it was a very tough event this year.

    And yes, the winner was on an original purple Pug with the original 3.7" endomorphs (same bike he also won the event on in 2011). He even said he had "modern bike envy" and struggled a bit on the soft dunes, but he was a very strong rider and made up for it every where else. If he had been on 4.8" and a 10-11kg bike, he would have won it by a week !!!
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    Ozzy, well done on the placing.

    Quote Originally Posted by ozzybmx View Post
    Cheers guys ! Just did the 1250km drive back to Adelaide, first 700km of that on the gibber ridden Birdsville track.
    As for driving down the Birdsville track, that's cheating.....I just rode up some of it after cutting accross from Innaminnka en-route to Alice.....fun fun fun....NOT......

    Al.
    It seemed like a good idea!...... at the time......

  21. #21
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    Well done Ozzy
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
    Latitude: 57º36' Highlands, Scotland

  22. #22
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    Awesome job Ozzy. Were you happy with the surgery you did on the Schwalbes?

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    Thanks guys. Have a look at the video for chopped JJ's freewheel speed, I can tell you that even the 2 blokes running Black Floyds couldnt believe my lack of rolling resistance.

    There is some awesome footage from the camera crew that they had this year, including the drone they filmed from, cant wait for that stuff ! So I wasn't going to do any GoPro stuff... until day 3 when I felt a bit more in the swing of things, I bolted up the mount to the bars and took some... see the quick edit below. Got another shorter one of the Sand Crit to do at a later date.

    1080 HD available.



    Well, this was a tougher year than last. I had footage of 50-100 dune climbs but tried to make it semi interesting. Of the 10 of us that got the 100%, only 2 were noobs, one being the current MTBA Aus marathon leaders jersey wearer and the other an Ironman competitor.
    The big difference this year was there was no pivotal stage, usually they say something like "If you are 100% after stage 4, you are likely to finish 100%", this year it just got harder as it went in, the dunes got bigger, the sand got softer, then BOOM... day 4 headwinds.

    There was mutterings that after stage 6 (day 3 afternoon) that things would probably get easier with the soft sand out of the way, day 4 morning (stage 7) we had a 80km stage with the first 20km run up a salt lake and all seemed great, we then turned east into an increasing hot headwind for the next 60km of big dunes on the QAA line which took out half the field and stole the 100% medals from 2 more, leaving only 10 of us on 100%. Stage 8, afternoon, hot and more headwinds, big dunes and soft sand. Some didnt start and others were pulled before the start by the race doctors.

    The final day was cruisy, we had a 20km sand crit between Big Red and Little Red across the top of the dune crest, then the 35km Birdsville bar blast where all 22 riders finished the flat 35km stage into a nasty headwind.

    A lot of the desert virgins are already planning next year, armed with all the information and experience they need to make that 100% easier, second time around. None will be taking it lightly though, there is still an element of luck with the weather every year at this event.

    It's an awesome event and I'll miss it next year, but I'll give it a break (maybe) and go try something else, I'll definitely be back though.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Simpson Desert Bike Challenge 2015-12068558_10155269143978644_6804150463497158883_o.jpg  

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  24. #24
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    Ausome ride. Full of admiration for anyone who attempts this.
    Your opinion of me is none of my business

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    Ozzy

    A wonderful achievement again. Thanks for taking the time to post all of this.

    Tim

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    Great ride Billy!

    I though I'd share my experience of the race here as well.

    I competed last year but didn't get the elusive 100% finish and medal. So, like an idiot, I came back.

    I stepped up the training a lot this year and lost a few kgs. I was expecting the course to be a lot tougher this year than it had ever been.

    I rode very conservatively for the first few days this year, having learned from my experience last year (I blew up hard trying to get away from sweep on stage 2).

    Day three was supposed to be the crux of this race. The dunes were bigger, closer and more relentless than they'd ever been. I was feeling good at this stage and I'd been saving myself for this day - I pushed hard on the afternoon stage.

    Day 4 turned out to be a killer however and I'd done my dash the afternoon before. Headwinds, bringing in fresh, soft sand on the track and bastard corrugations made progress really slow. It was also the longest day in terms of kms - 130km in total. This stage was ridden in 2013 and the race winner that year averaged 26km/hr I think. This year he averaged just over 13. I finished less than 15 minutes ahead of sweep as the sun set. But I finished the f**er and kept my 100% prospects intact.

    Day 5 - the morning stage was visually spectacular - a crit race (3 laps) along the top of the biggest dune in the desert. We were riding knife edge dune crests and dropping steep descents. Billy thought outside the box and took the stage win.

    I finished in 10th place and finally got my 100% finish. Only 10 people got 100% this year (out of 22 riders). That's actually a pretty good ratio, surprisingly.

    You can check out a few pics here:
    https://www.facebook.com/benno.hew/m...5826231&type=1

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    Awesome ride Ben !!!

    I was so glad you got the 100% too, it was a harder year than last year for fitness rather than the weather and body smashing corrugations from last year. If the blindside day from hell (wind) had came earlier, it might have been different for all of us.

    BTW everyone, Ben (cageracer) did volunteer medic for a couple of years till he had a few ales in 2013 and won the auction for a Meru Ti fatbike frame and forks donated my Wayne of Meru Cycles for the Simpson Desert Bike Challenge auction in Birdsville... the seed was planted, turning him into a rider in 2014. Now he has his 100% "Dune Rider Medal", he's a happy man, as we all are.

    A bit of history, the SDBC was first run in 1987, it was a crossing of the French Line like we did, without the 2 detour stages, no one finished it on their primitive MTB's and even a BMX. Fatbikes were 100% this year and this was the first year since the inaugural 1987 route which ran the French Line.

    Well done to all who competed and awesome riding to the 9 others who got the 100%.

    Big Red to Little Red crit vid to follow in a few days.
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    Congrats Ozzy! Those uphill tracks filled with windblown loose sand...

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sand Rat View Post
    Congrats Ozzy! Those uphill tracks filled with windblown loose sand...
    Cheers Sand Rat, wait till you see the sand blown crit between Big red and Little red !
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  30. #30
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    Here's the stage 9 video, this sand dune is called "Big Red", its the last dune in the desert and very popular with tourists. There's 2 routes over it, one called Little Red where we rode up and the other bigger sand hill at the turn around point.

    We had 3 laps of this to do, very scenic indeed. The only tracks in front of me was the race Director's recce the day before.

    1080 available.

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  31. #31
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    That is beyond cool. Looks like riding on the moon, great stuff. And you won this stage?

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    So jealous of you guys....sigh.

  33. #33
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    That was great Billy
    The red version of the dunes I get to ride. Interesting seeing the Corellas flying around, means there is water nearby.

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    Can you make some general statements on desert sand conditions along the lines of: Better(firmer) to ride on the windward or leeward side of the dunes? In the ripples or on the smooth? Closer to vegetation? First tracks or in someone's groove? Total crap shoot?

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