Rusjel's first SS1600, or how to not distance ride.


Premier Member
A couple of years ago chatting with Myemee we were laughing about the trials and tribulations of our first documented IBA rides. This morning reading Bobthekelpy's ride report I was impressed by how well his run had been planned and excuted, completely unlike my first. I couldn't find my original report anywhere in GTR AUS where I first posted it, so here it is, reconstructed for the newbies and for the sage head nodding of the old hands.

It was all Davo's fault, Like a lot of things back then. We'd met on Bikeme and been exchanging PM's about distance riding. I was very impressed by his initiative to put together the first FarRide at Moree, but couldn't get down from Darwin for it. Then Thommo, Davo and I all finally met on the first Longride to Darwin in 2007. Thommo and I helped Davo prepare for his first centreline run and watching the two of them gibbering and gesticulating over maps and ride spreadsheets got me interested in doing a documented ride of my own. I think however, that it was the 1000 mile stare that slowly took over Davo's dial as the ride approached that really sold me.

Going to sea meant it looked like it was going to be a while before it happened. Davo kept pestering me over the interwebz though and finally virtually told me to do an SS1600 while we were pounding through the ocean on our way to Vladevostock. O.k then, challenge accepted.

How hard could it be anyway? I'd done 1600k days before with my tried and true 'jump on the bike and let's see how far we get' method.

So I wasn't worried sitting up at my friend Arnie's place in Lethbridge, Victoriastan at 9pm, 3 hours before kick off. I've got this, a little nap and I'm sorted.

2 hours later, staring at the ceiling. I've got this!

Two hours later rolling into Shepparton for my first fuel stop, I did. The ff50s were throwing good light down the road ( oh how innocent we were), the mighty FJ1200 rolling nicely and I was feeling good. Hmmm, might have that last lonesome pie sitting in the warmer.

Nek minnit, down the road at Jeriderie, the nods arrived like a brick wall and I had to check in at the IBA hotel, a nice covered park bench at a rest area. Which would have been fine if not for the dozen or so truckies that chose that exact spot for a rest stop over the next hour. and the rain.

Telling myself I'd got some rest, I pushed on to Narrandera, so buggered I just collapsed next to the bike 50 or so meters off the side of the road. 30 minutes of sleep later a well meaning tourist nudged me to make sure everything was alright. I had just enough time to feel annoyed before realising I'd set up camp over an ants nest. Awesome. Scratching probably kept me awake Over the next couple of hours.

From there to Dubbo we played everyone's favourite game, wets on, wets off. Just enough rain to make you don the wets, just warm enough to make the wets unbearable when the rain stopped. Tired, covered in bites and pissed off with the 'wets on, wets off' game. I got this.

Coonabarabran and it's time for some more shut eye. Progress to this point was on track, but hardly confidence inspiring. That's o.k, nothing else will go wrong. Then the stomach cramps. Thankyou dodgy Shepperton pie.

WARNING!, some readers may find the following sentences disturbing. Imagine if you will, you are at the 'wets off' stage of the game on a warm day in Narrabri, but now it's a race to peel the wets off your sweaty body before you can no longer hold off the jet squirt waiting to issue itself from your cramping bowel. You win the race, just, but now as you lean against the corrugated iron side of the roadside thunderbox sweating and shivering like a mongrel dog you start to wonder if this is all worth it. Nah, I got this.

Moree and the clouds are gathering again, swirling and teasing with their dark potential. Nah, I got this, I'll ride around the outside of this. Cue Biblical downpour.

Stubborn and pissed off I refused to stop and don the wets (it'll stop in a minute, it didn't) but it wasn't all bad news. Apart from traversing about 500 meters of peg deep fast flowing water crossing that is. But it was so warm it didn't take long to dry out. Emptying out the boots and taking stock in Goondindi we'd covered 1399ks in 19 hours. 280ks to run, 5 hours. Yeah I got this.

Fatigue,soaked clothes, insect bites and squirts not shown

Riding out of Goondiwindi in the last of the magnificent golden light was the nicest riding of the trip. What I was really looking forward to was the run down through Cunningham gap, one of my favorite rides in Southern Qld. Yeah that'll be a hoot. Cue Second Biblical downpour. Riding around the landslide halfway down the gap didn't slow us down much, but coming across the grey nomad spun out with his caravan across the lane kinda did. A couple of truckies helped us decouple the caravan and get every thing lined up again and off the road. 40 minutes lost.

2100 now, 3 hours 160k to run. The stars are out again and there's little traffic as we were front of the que to get past old mate grey nomad. Nothing will stop us now! A blown low beam might make things awkward though. Run on high beam, car coming the other way, switch to low beam, blackness. Slow down, crawl along at 50 or so, wait until clear, high beam, accelerate. Eventually I hitched onto the back of a fast moving road train and followed him into Brisvegas central. Where I promptly took a wrong turn.

Want to finish an IBA run with a minimum of stress? Ride through the centre of Brisbane on a Friday night. Awesome. Final fuel docket at Bracken Ridge at 2330, 1760ks in the bank. Relief, just relief. I suppose you could say on the strength of the results that the cunning 'get on the bike and ride' plan worked, but a little attention to route planning, bike, preparation, fatigue management, nutrition and a little less hubris might have made things a bit easier.

So to all you budding distance riders out there, you might be better off using Bobthekelpy's experience than mine. It's probably also fair to say that I haven't learned as much from that experience as I should of, but that's part of the fun innit? Which rides do you remember best, the ones that went like clockwork or the ones that went a little pear shaped?

The little spreadsheet says IBA # 33180. Davo was happy to award me Farrider #61 and I could hang around Nambucca the following February looking all experienced and stuff, but the numbers don't always tell the story, do they?


Thanks for that Russ. An excellent warts and all type of report :D, glad I had finished breakfast before reading your race to get the wets off ;) There is a lot of great information wrapped up in this.


Well-Known Member
Yep, you got this!!!! LOL

A fabulous report Rus. Wets on, wets off (wax on, wax off...ha ha ha) ....yep think we have all played that game at some stage.


Premier Member
Well written and very funny ,thank you Rusjel . My first SS16 was to the Cooroy Farride a couple of years ago, out of Armidale with 6 hrs to check in,
my GPS took me thru the centre of Brisbane . Stress factor, Maximum.


Premier Member
That's a great read Rus. I tend to enjoy them more when they're about places I've been.

Like inattention, unplanned, ill prepared, fatigued, mismanaged, malnourished and hubris. Been to all of them. :rolleyes:


Premier Member
Plan the ride, ride the plan. Well you did have a plan, planning that you could do it!

To right, some rides are more memorable. Heh heh, laying down on an ant's nest, reminds me of my first ride to the Darling River near Menindee and failing to see the inch ant nest. Boy, I can still feel those pincers!

Thanks for the read mate.


Premier Member
Laughed all the way through this one. :D Always thankful that the Creator gave me the ability to laugh at other people's misfortunes o_O
Great yarn Rus. Love your style :)