Tour report on the Holland Track for Aushiker

alanm
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Tour report on the Holland Track for Aushiker

Postby alanm » Thu May 05, 2016 8:53 pm

He is a trip report of the Holland Track for Aushiker, sadly it's minus the pics as they don't copy over from the original .DOC document. Sorry about that, I'll work on finding the pics.


It seemed like a good idea at the time…..

My riding partner, Phil, was off on some ship floating around PNG and wouldn’t be back until bloody November, I had planned to do this ride from the beginning of September, because the wild flowers would be out and the weather fairly cool……..

So, I rode around Albany a bit, not enough to get too fit mind you, whilst I waited for November.

We, of course, were going to do the scenic trip from Coolgardie to Albany…..via the “Holland Track” a must do trip for anyone with a death wish….

Phil finally shows up, looking bloody chippa and relaxed after 10 days on a cruise ship, wasn’t looking so chippa 3 days later, neither, come to think of it, was I.
Day 2 was 47 C and shade was scarce, road was sand and there were 600 million flies. Things could have turned bad…but I digress, lets start from day one, the 6/11/06.

We had everything packed in the car for an early start. We’d drive to Coolgardie, 800 odd K’s NE of Albany using back roads, this would enable us to drop 20L of water off on the track near the old Bounty gold mine.
There was Phil and I, and Kathleen, who would drive the car home.


We arrived in Coolgardie around 2PM and unpacked the bikes and gear, we had to clean the bikes down with CRC as we’d done a lot of dirt road roads and they were covered in dust, it would’ve become an excellent grinding paste.

Temperature was very pleasant, <28C, had a bite to eat and waved Ta Ta to Kathleen who was to drive home via Merriden, jumped on the pushies and were off…



Looking like, well, we do this all the time….

So here’s the deal,
Phil, the big bloke, rides a Mongoose, fairly standard setup, dual suspension, front panniers, towing a standard BOB Ibex trailer. Water on board is 15L. Trailer weighs in at 32Kg. He’s using one of my Hookworm tyres on the rear with a Specialized knobbly on the front due to space constraints.

Alan, the little bloke, rides a Specializes Epic with a Rolhoff 14 speed hub, Hookworm tyres front and rear, some flash crankset he can’t remember the name of but cost 600 bucks, which he’ll never forget, front panniers. The trailer, a BOB Ibex, has been modified to take a Surly endomorph 3.7 tyre for floatation. On the trailer is an external car phone CDMA antennae, a 20W solar panel to charge the 18AH battery for the toys i.e. laptop, gps, sat phone, cameras etc. Water on board is 26L. Trailer weighs 52Kg, go Al…..


Day 1.
Left Coolgardie at 3pm. Road is good and temp was very nice. Phil is getting used to pulling a trailer, something he’s not done before, not too mention the fact he’s neither done this sort of touring but hey, he’s adaptable. His bike fell over because the weight caught him off guard when we had a pit stop. He developed a bit of a problem with chain skip not long after and I realized the fall must have contributed to it, sure enough the derailleur had been twisted marginally and once twisted back all was good.
We did 24Km and called it quits for the day.


Camp 1, Sat phone comms.



Day 1 track.

Day 2.
We were keen to move, got away about 0800, both slept really well, in 15 minute stints…roll left…sleep…roll right…sleep, you get the picture.
We were on gravel road all day and there were a lot of sandy sections. Getting up the long undulations was a bit tedious at times but we got some good downhill runs, mind you, towing 56 Kg in the sand at speeds of up to 40 kph got, well, interesting.. Took a tumble, my first of many it turned out, in actual fact I became quite adept at exiting left, or right for that matter, landing on my feet and running to a stop, much to Phil’s amusement. We stopped for lunch, now this should have happened at 10am but for one reason or another didn’t and at 1200 it was so bloody hot we had no choice, we found some very meager shade and shared it with the 600 million flies, had lunch and lay around until 3pm. The afternoon was tough, we had 11 Km to the start of the track and I tell you it was purgatory, we had a couple of stops enroute and 1300m from camp I seriously though Phil was going to collapse, he was in a bad way, I suggested we camp there and then but he wanted to carry on, which we did. Upon arrival at the camp site I put his tent up and got him to lay down with plenty of water beside him, it was 5 pm and after having a good drink he was out of it until 5am the next morning. I slept and rolled, rolled and slept, you know the story…We covered 52Km today. Temp hit 47 C.



Doesn’t it look great, a bloody loose
sand base is what it is……


As we pulled up for lunch, the wheel fell off Phil’s trailer; it obviously needed a break as well.


Phil at our first water hole on Victoria Rock.


Camp 2 with Phil practicing dying…


Day 3.

Prior to going to sleep last night I discovered I’d left my Silva ADC behind at yesterday’s lunch spot, it’s a sort of portable weather station. Pissed off… Upon waking this morning I decided to ride back and get it, it was only 11 Km back, took an hour return but I overdid it a bit considering yesterday.

We were up early and Phil felt good, he packed the camp while I was gone. When I got back I had a quick bite to eat consisting of packet veggies, the thought of them still makes me sick. The track was in great condition with very few sandy sections and no hills. We saw a Thorny Devil and took some shots. On the map there is a water hole just off the track so we walked in the 2 odd Km’s to have a look, found it but it was as dry as a bone. We were becoming a little alarmed at what may lay ahead in the way of water, we were carrying a proper filtration unit but one needs water to filter and if these temperatures kept up we could be in strife.

The start of the Holland track proper.

Thorny devil, traveling a little lighter than us !!


We’d been on the road a bit when we came across a puddle and after dismissing it decided it prudent to return and fill our empty bottles to filter if no water was to be found at Thursday Rock.
I started to feel a bit off and after riding for a while things started to deteriorate badly, I pulled over to have a rest, Phil asked if he should lean my bike against a tree to which I replied “If you take it
away I’ll %(AT)# collapse” after which I promptly vomited the contents of my belly all over the rear of the bike….It was hot so I found a bush to stick my head under and just lay there. Phil put up his fly tent and I dragged myself into it, seemed a nice place to die…no flies…

Water, water, cool clear water….


Die..? me, never, just napping.

We figured we were no more than 5 Km’s away from Thursday Rock and as Phil was feeling good he’d ride through to have a look, I’m fairly experienced in the bush and felt there’d be a chance of water there from all signs we’d seen, at least there’d be better shade. Phil returned not long after, nothing ever takes long when one’s lying around comatose. He had no trailer and reported fields of lush green grass with streams of cool clear water flowing down the rock, I was sold, ….jumped on the pushy and peddled with gusto into the distance, thank Christ it only turned out to be 3 Km’s, I nearly died. Phil towed my trailer in and set up camp. I lay around until 5pm or so. During this time we discussed our options, if the temperature was to stay this high we’d be best to turn around and head back to Coolgardie, a bit of a bitter pill but we figured the track would be here next year. We decided to filter water later in the day, see how and if I recovered, I was suffering a delayed reaction from yesterday’s heat, and take things as they unfolded in the morning. After filtering water to completely replenish our supplies we phoned out and warned our respective partners of an impending retreat.

Phil, beside the sweet flowing stream…

Lunch anyone ?

Day 4.

We both woke having slept very well and felt we could carry on. It was early and we were on the road by 6am. Life was sweet!! The temperature dropped to mid to high 30’s and for the following 4 days we fell into a routine of early starts and 10am to 3,4pm breaks finishing the day around sunset.
We were disappointed with the fact that the track has been rerouted in quite a few places and there was very little wildlife or wild flowers, the latter however is probably a product of the time of year.
The ride became an endurance test as there was a lot of sand and the country wasn’t particularly inspiring, however, this tracks original and primary purpose was as a short cut to the Goldfields at the turn of the century and not a scenic route.
Having said that it can be very nice in spring if the rains have been good.


One memorable moment springs to mind, we had got used to stripping down to our jocks when stopped during the middle of the day, hey it was cooler.., So we’re laying under the trees when we both heard a motor, I was up, sandals on, running like hell, burst out of the bush in front of a motor bike (Day 5, hair poking everywhere, stubble all over, in jocks and sandals, got the picture…) This poor bastard near fell off, anyway he recovered enough to turn around, we just wanted to know the track conditions, he just wanted to know which loony asylum we’d escaped from.
I bet we get wilder every time he tells the story at the pub. If you hear of two hairy 10ft wild men wearing jocks as hats and chewing on sandals, you’ll know where the story originated from.
When we hit the junction of The Holland Track and the Hyden Norseman road. Phil could smell Bacon Burgers and there was no stoppin' him. We were still 85 K's out of Hyden mind you, but breakfast the next day was a ripper.

Phil's Mantra, Bacon Burger, bacon burger bacon burger....

From Hyden it was all back road bitumen and quite pleasant although the temperature was high the whole trip. My knees started playing up and we ended up quitting 120 K's North of Albany. The knees were due to leaving the big tyre on the trailer - a stupid thing to do in hindsight, especially as I had taken a skinny tyre for the bitumen section. Live and learn.

Al with the Stirlings in the background.

Fly proof Phil.

We saw two specs in the distance.


We saw two specs in the distance. "Whats that?" said Phil. "Two sheep maybe" I replied. No it was a couple on trikes, pedaling to Melbourne enroute to the USA. I greeted them with "What are you crazy bastards doing out here!" To which the guy replied "I was going to ask you exactly that!" They we going to get it tough for the next few days, high temps and strong head winds. The guy was pulling a BOB with his trike and they''d done a fair bit of dirt since Rockingham, their starting point.

Phil eating. How unusual!!


In summary, waiting until November was a huge mistake, the temperature difference between September and November can be massive. Doing the track in winter would have the advantage of riding on firm sand but one would encounter a lot of mud and deep puddles. It can also get very cold in this part of the world.

Taking a seriously modified trailer without having first done a maiden trip was a huge mistake and has since been changed back to a standard swing arm. However the basic concept of a fat tyre on the trailer works. The tyre worked well in regards to flotation. The centre of gravity was too high on the bed of the trailer, and caused far too much flex that pushed the bike around in an uncontrollable way. There were times we were concerned the frame of the Epic wouldn't take the lateral flexing but it's well built and made it through unscathed. I've since studied the swing arm setup and will have a go at modifying it again.

We probably overdid the water, but hey, we're here to talk about it. We ended up using far less than we anticipated. Sand touring is tough work and requires a lot of concentration, a Surly "Pugsley" is the only way to go in these conditions. The Hookworms on my Epic are 2.5" wide and whilst they give good floatation its inadequate compared to the 4" of an Endorphin. All in all the trip was purgatory but we lived to tell the tale. Well that's all folks, maybe we'll bump into you on some obscure back road.

Happy pedaling, A & Phil.

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Aushiker
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Re: Tour report on the Holland Track for Aushiker

Postby Aushiker » Sun May 08, 2016 6:45 pm

Thanks Alanm, that is really informative and it is particularly interesting/good news to hear you had access to water in November.

Having lived in Kulin (just down the road) for about five years I am familiar with November temperatures. The problem for me is work restricts my touring times to either Easter or thereabouts (way to many 4WDers for my liking), July (they can close the track at this time) or October (only have a week which needs to tie in with buses) or November.

My bike of choice is my Salsa Mukluk which runs 4" tyres.
Andrew
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Re: Tour report on the Holland Track for Aushiker

Postby RonK » Sun May 08, 2016 8:22 pm

I was thinking as I read, at what point does carrying so much water become self-defeating.

I can understand why in the face of uncertainty you would make that choice, but every litre weighs a kilogram, so it's a huge impost on bike and body.

And then I reached Alan's closing comment where he concedes they overdid the water.

But of course the question remains - how much is enough?
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Re: Tour report on the Holland Track for Aushiker

Postby Aushiker » Sat May 21, 2016 11:38 pm

RonK wrote:But of course the question remains - how much is enough?


Enough to survive :) My experience is six litres a day ... each day the load is reduce by six kg. Not that hard and all part of the experience of this sort of remote touring.

This excites me; maybe not your thing I know.
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Re: Tour report on the Holland Track for Aushiker

Postby Aushiker » Sat May 21, 2016 11:46 pm

Andrew
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Re: Tour report on the Holland Track for Aushiker

Postby RonK » Sun May 22, 2016 8:48 am

Aushiker wrote:
RonK wrote:But of course the question remains - how much is enough?


Enough to survive :) My experience is six litres a day ... each day the load is reduce by six kg. Not that hard and all part of the experience of this sort of remote touring.

This excites me; maybe not your thing I know.

Yeah, 6 litres per day - for both drinking and cooking would probably allow a good safety margin. I would use less than 5 litres per day if the temps were reasonable.

The question remains - how much is enough? Phil is carrying 15 litres, Alan 26 litres. How much will you carry, and how?

Hehe, but you are not wrong there Ollie. I have no love of deserts.

The Holland Track does look interesting though, and I've been out as far as Hyden. At least the landscape not red.

The start of the video reminds what the roads were like around Corrigin, where I used to go to plough many years ago.

And I can see why a fat bike would be a good choice on the Holland Track.
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Re: Tour report on the Holland Track for Aushiker

Postby Aushiker » Sun May 22, 2016 7:14 pm

RonK wrote:The question remains - how much is enough? Phil is carrying 15 litres, Alan 26 litres. How much will you carry, and how?


The how is the easy part ... will have to make use of the Extrawheel trailer. The reality is that I may have to use the Extrawheel on a few rides I have in mind or come up with another way to carry two to three days of water if I am going to use the fatbike.

The amount is still to be finalised. Will really depend on the time factor ... maybe five days and assuming good winter rains (off to a good start), hence water at two significant rock outcrops, I will probably carry three days worth of water for a October ride. Still need to sort out the details.
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Re: Tour report on the Holland Track for Aushiker

Postby Aushiker » Sun May 22, 2016 11:15 pm

From Matt Donaldson on Facebook ...

Hi Andrew, I got back from riding the Holland Track on my fat bike on Friday, we did Coolgardie to the Hyden - Norseman Rd via the Woodlines Track and Victoria Rock Rd then into the HT in 3 and a half days, bush camping. We ran 26" fat tyres ranging from 3.8" to 4.8" and we averaged around 20kph. Not much sand but there is some, a few big holes but on the bike the centre was rideable. It was great fun. If you ride a MTB get the fattest tyres you can run on your rims. Most of the trail is hard pack and pea gravel. I recommend camps at Cave Hill, Thursday Rock, Sandal Wood Camp and Emu Rock. Hope that helps, photos on my home page.
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Re: Tour report on the Holland Track for Aushiker

Postby Aushiker » Wed Oct 05, 2016 3:43 pm

Image
Andrew - Holland Track Ride - September 2016 by Andrew Priest, on Flickr

A quick and dirty update on the ride of the Holland Track which I had to write for my personal trainer's Facebook page. I will write it all up in my more detail ASAP and post the link when it happens. Anyway this is what I wrote for the Facebook readers:

My ride was of the Holland Track [4WD] from the southern end at Emu Rock [started at Hyden] to the northern end of the Track at Coolgardie and then with an extension via the Goldfields Water Supply Scheme pipeline to Kalgoorlie. Approximately 400 km in total all on 4WD tracks and dirt roads, of which ~ 85% was in remote country. All food had to be taken from the start and I had to rely on gathering water at rock outcrops which was a bit hit and miss at times as they are shallow water holes which where showing signs of already drying-up up as I got closer to Coolgardie. [1]

As it turned out, the misfortune of dropping my food bag [that cost me a couple of hours riding] [2] and having to ride for an hour back to collect it turned out to be a blessing in disguise as I camped that day at a rock outcrop, Krakourer Rock, that had water but which I initially rode on pass without stopping thinking there was water about 20 km further along the Track at Thursday Rock, my planned camping point. I was wrong!

Anyway all end well and for those interested you can see the ride route at https://share.delorme.com/aushiker [Password is Bodyshop].

Oh the bike in the photo is fat-bike, a Salsa Mukluk which I built up to my own specification from the frame. It worked a treat on the ride; my backside not so much :)

Lessons learnt (or remembered):

(1) Don't leave your puffy jacket at home! Minus 4 degrees is cold!
(2) Always top up your water supply when passing good water sources. Getting low on water does nothing for the blood pressure :);
(3) We have amazing bird life and country to enjoy. Get out on your bike or shanks pony and enjoy it :)


Additional notes for here:

[1] We had good winter rains this year in the area but even so north of Mt Holland the Track was noticeably drier compared to south of Mt Holland. There was good water at Emu Rock, Krackourer Rock and Victoria Rock but pretty patchy in-between. I did manage to get some water at Sandlewood Rocks but it was a struggle and a pre-filter of some sort was really needed as I was scraping up sediment.
[2] I tend to stop every hour for a quick stretch, to eat a few nuts etc and a general check of things. I clearly didn't check the food bag well at that the previous stop as I lost it off the bike within 10 minutes or so of starting off again. That little bit of fun did nothing for my blood pressure :)
[3] If using dry bags in place of the Salsa Anything Bags use dry bags with ladder locks (and/or tether the dry bag well). Now matter how tight I got the Anything Cage straps the Exped dry bag I was using was always working loose and trying to escape (successfully once). That said as the food levels in the bag dropped it became easier to secure it. In future I will only use dry bags when I have to and only ones that have ladder locks on the side so I can thread the Anything Cage straps through them; most likely Sea to Summit's Big River dry bag.
[4] I have the Revelate Designs Harness and Pocket. My preference is to use my own dry-bag. I initially tried a dry bag from Sea to Summit made with Ultra-silicone type material. Initial testing at home show it as being way to slippery to be able to get it really secure. I changed out to a old-school dry bag which wasn't as slippery but still not the best. It needed to be tethered and re-tensioned regularly over the day. I will be going over to making use of a Sea to Summit Big River Dry bag as these have a ladder loop on them to make use of the centre tie down on the Harness.
[5] The Pocket was a pain to get tight enough to stop it dropping down to the front wheel. Tethering was needed to keep it in place.
Andrew
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Re: Tour report on the Holland Track for Aushiker

Postby eldavo » Wed Oct 05, 2016 4:04 pm

For anyone wanting a summer setup for this sort of thing, fat bike with 3rd fat wheel for panniers is for sale or inspiration.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/2528794 ... 2607054006

Well done Andrew on the long build up and successful execution. Now the longer build and anticipation must end soon Ron's NZ trip.

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Re: Tour report on the Holland Track for Aushiker

Postby RonK » Wed Oct 05, 2016 6:24 pm


Skinny man, fat bike.

Not so long ago a similar pic would have shown the opposite. :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: Tour report on the Holland Track for Aushiker

Postby Aushiker » Wed Oct 05, 2016 6:32 pm

RonK wrote:Not so long ago a similar pic would have shown the opposite. :lol: :lol: :lol:


:D So true and boy I noticed the difference on the ride ... less food to carry, faster and felt much better at the end of the day. Even had fun climbing some ascents :)
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Re: Tour report on the Holland Track for Aushiker

Postby RonK » Wed Oct 05, 2016 6:33 pm

eldavo wrote:Now the longer build and anticipation must end soon Ron's NZ trip.

You'll be waiting a bit longer - pressures of work mean I've had to defer my trip until the new year - likely until March.

I will still have a few days off at Xmas so I plan to tackle a Brisbane Valley Gravel Grinder Mini Tour as a full dress rehearsal. I'll use suburban train services at each end to avoid riding through the 'burbs.

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Re: Tour report on the Holland Track for Aushiker

Postby Tim » Wed Oct 05, 2016 7:19 pm

RonK wrote:Skinny man, fat bike.


The quiet achiever.
Well done, on the body and the bike. 8)
Looking very healthy.

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Re: Tour report on the Holland Track for Aushiker

Postby eldavo » Thu Oct 06, 2016 4:21 pm

He may not have needed the puffy jacket with the built in insulation before.

Andrew, was it DUCK (quack) tape you got from Bunnings, or DUCT (air duct) tape?

My Stache with factory Sunringle tubeless tape job has leaked through to rim strip on first tubeless use so needs going over.

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Re: Tour report on the Holland Track for Aushiker

Postby Aushiker » Fri Oct 07, 2016 6:24 pm

eldavo wrote:
Andrew, was it DUCK (quack) tape you got from Bunnings, or DUCT (air duct) tape?

It is a Scotch product, Duck Tape. The transparent version of this one
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Re: Tour report on the Holland Track for Aushiker

Postby eldavo » Fri Oct 07, 2016 8:43 pm

Thanks. I had less than 5g Sunringle tape on these factory set up rims, rear held so far front failed from get-go.

Tried my own tape bead seat to bead, not instantly working some micro leaks past rim strip, a bit like your 2nd attempt that failed I tried the good luck hope ;)

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