|10-28-2012, 10:53 AM||#1|
Joined: Sep 2002
Location: Southern Ontario, Canada ( Niagara Peninsula )
Corduroy Enduro 2012, 1st time at the Cord for some GA boys
Where do go on your next adventure? This is a question our regular riding group talks about all the time. So, being that SuperCanook is from Canada, he suggested we run a race up in Canada. Interesting... but its a long drive to do a hare scramble or just one event. So Frank sent out some feelers for suggestions to his old Canada riding buddies from Ontario Hydro. One of Frankís buddies came back with the idea of the Corduroy Enduro. Supposedly Canada's toughest race. It is a three day enduro (for Pro's. Two days for amateurs) in a similar format to an ISDE event. It is organized by Canadian offroad legend and Canada Motorcycle Hall of fame rider Blair Sharpless. I know most of us southerners have not heard of Blair, but he has quite an impressive record. See the link.
Pretty strong credentials. Anyway, the reputation of this race is about a 50% attrition rate. That was enough for us to take up the challenge. Corduroy Enduro it is.
So Don (Dr Don), Frank (SuperCanook) and myself (smithpa68) started doing our normal some research and planning. Location: Gooderham, Ontario. Distance from Atlanta ~1000 miles. Weather: Normally rainy and temps in the 40s. Milage 150km per day which is about 90 miles. No hotels nearby. No gas stations nearby. Passports required. Check, check check. Etc. Along the way Ryan (RMoore) also threw his hat in the ring to go thousands of miles with us old dudes again. And David Heath expressed an interest in doing something a bit different as well. Frank made the connections with the orgainzier in Ontario to get us registered and iron out that sort of detail. David graciously volunteered to use his motorhome for the trip. And the trip was born.
So figuring about a 20 hour drive, we decided to meet up at David's out in Rome on Wednesday after work, load up and hit the road. Traveling in an RV makes shift driving a snap. The plan was to drive straight through to Toronto with an ETA of early afternoon. Stop by and visit Franks parents. Franks Dad found an RVpark less than 5 miles away from his house for us to park David's huge white beast. Have dinner with Frank's old riding buddies that evening. Then after a killer breakfast at Mr. and Mrs. Raimondo's, press on to Gooderham the next day. Perfect.
We load up at Davids and hit the road.
It was a seriously long, overnight drive to Toronto and not much interesting to tell. Basic shift driving with a copilot to chat and keep you awake. Red Bulls rock for long distance driving.
Red Bulls power the drive.
We made it to Toronto in the early afternoon and checked into the RV Park. Nice place down by the river. We met up with Horst, Bob and,
Next day after a heck of a spread for breakfast by Franks Mom and Dad, we head for Gooderham. Rolling along in a small town about 30 miles from the race venue, the RV quits in the middle of an intersection. Tach bounced around and engine quit. Uh oh. Cranks but won't start. We jump out and start directing traffic around us since we are blocking the whole darn intersection. David starts troubleshooting. Then we figure since it is a slight downhill grade we might be able to actually push the RV and trailer out of the intersection. A local came out of his building and started pushing with us and we managed to roll the rig to the side of the road and free up the intersection. As luck would have it, the local came out of a mechanic shop. How lucky to break down right in front of a garage. hahaha. David starts troubleshooting and has seen this problem on other 7.4L chevy engines in his work trucks and figures it is the crank position sensor.
The local mechanic told us there is a NAPA autoparts about 3 miles away so I called them up and luckily they had the part. We were discussing taking my bike off the trailer since it is plated and head for the auto parts but David had already removed the sensor and was cleaning/checking it out. He put it back in and the RV fired up. We figured we should go by NAPA and pick up the sensor anyway just in case and managed to get the RV 3 more miles down the road to NAPA. It seemed to be running just fine now and we thought a clean up of the connection may have done the trick, but... a mile later... it goes dead again. David coasts off the road onto someoneís front lawn and we swap out the sensor. Just as we get it installed this woman comes out and we start to apologize for driving an RV and trailer up into her yard. She said it was no problem at all, but if we went down 3 more driveways, there is an RV repair shop. HAHAHA. Nice... huh? We couldnít see it through the trees. But... things seemed to be fine with the new part and David was confident this will do the trick. So we hit the road and finally get to Gooderham about 3pm.
A few more miles and we reach the venue in a very small town. As we pull in, there were a couple bikes riding by us throwing their arm up in the air. So we waved. Then as we pull up to some other vehicles a couple of folks come out toward us also waving their arms. Odd.. but we wave back. As we pile out of the RV they tell us we just drove on the course. haha. Looked like a dirt road to us! I guess they weren't waving. The stupid Americans are here. :-)
So... we figure if we can just pull forward into this field we would be ok. There is this guy sitting on a small two bike trailer behind a little car with a woman. So I ask them if it was theirs and if they could move it so we could just slide by. But no luck. I thought nothing of it even though the guy looked sort of familiar. Then Don walks over and says. Hi Chris. I am huge fan. Love the Romaniacs videos. I have all of them. It was Chris Birch sitting there. And dumb me just asks him to get out of our way so we could park. hahah. Derp!. Right? Seems like a real nice guy. David manages to get the RV backed out of the gate and down a road and pulls into the field for parking. And we start getting unloaded and set up.
From on top of the RV.
Props for KTMWorld.
These guys were also very serious about their sound checks.
My bike managed a nice quiet 89db. Sweet. But Ryanís new bike was king. 85db.
They had a riders meeting that evening and a bike set up clinic with the local pro's. One of the questions that came up was about what to do if you water out your bike. I am used to calling it drowning out your bike but itís the same thing. The Corduroy is known for deep water crossings. Infamous for it I should probably say. We had all read about this on the local GOR equivalent called http://www.offroadontario.ca. One thing they said was to reroute your carb vent lines. I asked around locally and searched on the internet about this. It seems pretty evenly split on whether it would make a difference or not. So I figured I would do what the locals do. Re-route. I hedged my bet by keeping the OEM set up as close as possible while adding a vent up high with a T. See below.
I figure it is the best of both worlds. 95% stock but with an added vent up high for the top two carb lines routed up to the steering head. :-)
Alan Lachapelle (http://www.lachapelleracingproducts.com) was on hand and gave some great advice. Brief summary below. Probably missing a few tips.
1. Kill the engine once you know for sure the bike is going under if possible.
2. Turn the bike upside down before you remove the sparkplug so no dirt and junk goes down in the cylinder. Upside down it all falls away from the cylinder.
3. Pull the plug and spin the rear wheel to pump the water out.
4. Remove the air filter and squeeze it out
5. Clean out the airbox as best you can
6. Drain your carb by removing the drain plug or removing the bowl if required.
7. Tip the bike up on the back tire to drain the exhaust of water
8. Put in a fresh plug and fire it up.
I listened to all this with some interest. You don't hear this stuff at most enduro rider's meetings. :-) But by this time, Don had dinner ready and we were starving so.. off the RV and get to sleep. It was a long and exhausting drive.
We woke up about 3am to a heck of a downpour of rain. It had been raining off and on for 3 or 4 days already so this wasn't a good sign. I woke up every hour on the hour and the downpour continued until about 7am. The forecast called for rain off and on all day both Saturday and Sunday. Great. But hey.... this event has a wet reputation. We knew it going in.
The race is run quite differently than a US enduro. This is more like an ISDE with long transfers and timed special tests. They had an endurocross course there on the grounds plus an MX section somewhere else that were also timed and part of the event. The scoring is very odd and I don't think we figured it out until after the event was over. :-) Even Chris Birch mentioned it when he was giving a short talk/speech. I quote " I have no idea how you guys are scoring this thing" hahah.
The start is cool. It is a three bike podium similar to what you see at ISDEs.
Great photo op for families and fans. Of course we were all suited up so... no photos of us on the stage. But.. finally.. we are about to get riding!
Don, Ryan and myself were off first. We followed the first few arrows and headed around the main building and toward the road. I guess I should have looked at the route sheet a bit more. I was already confused when it shot us down a regular paved road. Ryan saw an arrow and took the lead so Don and I followed. After a couple miles it turned off pavement and to a dirt road. Then to a wide path that was sort of like a logging road but really rough. Mud puddles and rocks everywhere. I come to a huge mud puddle stretching the whole way across the road. A bunch of other guys are stopped and looking at it. I see one guy on his bike on the far side, so I line up on him and roll into it on the gas. BAD MOVE. Half way in my bike noses down and it gets REALLY DEEP. I throttle up hoping to keep moving butÖ no good. Suddenly there is silence except for my cussing. The water is half way up my tank. I canít believe this!!! The first big mud hole and I drown it out. (or water out as the Canadians say) I should have had more patience and as Wattsy says on his video. ďLet your mates try it firstĒ. The bottom was fairly hard so I was able to push it out of the water with only a little huffing and puffing. I pulled all the tape off my airbox and looked inside. Only a little bit of water at the bottom of the box. Wow. Cool. Figured it would be full. So I kicked it slow a few times and it didnít seem locked up. I hit the button. It turned a few times and started up. Sputtered and backfired a few times but ran. It stalled a few times but seemed like it would run. We will see. By then the other guys had found the better line through the pond and were hauling down the trail. All the of my teammates stopped for me. Ryan and David took off down the trail earlier since 5 of us couldnít work on a bike. Don and Frank hung back with me. So.. I popped on the helmet and we took off again. My bike was running pretty bad. It was bucking a lot and wouldnít idle. I had to keep the revs up pretty high to keep it going. Not easy in the mud and rocks. A couple miles down the road I hit some bigger rocks and the bike bucked and just stopped. It wouldnít start again. I thought my day was done. Convinced of it as a matter of fact. I guess I should have paid more attention at the bike setup clinic the night before eh?
Frank and Don stopped and convinced me to do the normal routine. Spark, air fuel. Pulled the tank off and pulled the spark plug boot. It looked actually dry in there. Pulled the plug and gave it a slow kick. Spark good. Popped it back in. Pulled the air filter off and realized it was sopping wet. I should have paid more attention last night and just started doing this right off the bat!! I squeezed it out and a ton of water drained off it. So I looked behind the airfilter in the box and sure ensure there was a puddle of water in the box behind where the air filter mounts. CRAP! I wiped that out with a rag and dried the inside of the airbox. At this point, Don wanted to roll and since three guys couldnít really work on one bike effectively, We told Don to take off and be careful. Of course wise guy Don replies.. well.. I have seen what not to do so... I am good. Hahahah.
Next, we pulled the drain plug on the carb. It was ugly. Not only was water in there. But MUD. So much mud, I had to scrape it loose with a small allen key to get it out of there. Wiped it clean and put it back on. To my surprise the old RFS fired right up. It even idledÖ sort of. Hahah. I could NOT believe it. Frank is my hero!!! I thought I was done. I guess the water drained out of the airbox while I was pushing and I was too stupid to check thoroughly. This could have been MUCH worse.
We get our tools packed up and take off again being VERY careful in the mudholes. You never know what is under there. Rocks, logs, ruts, whatever. My bike is running decent.. but it does hesitate and pop a lot. Maybe the pilot jet is partly clogged up. It still runs good with a nice twist of the throttle though. It was a bit of a trick on the rocks and mud having to use so much throttle and keep the revs up. But it started to settle down and I got used to it.
A few miles up this ďtrailĒ which is still only transport section and not even a scored section, we see another nasty mudhole with some rocks and logs. A couple guys were on the other side with their bikes upside down. This looks gnarly. One of them yells over to aim for the three rocks on the right hand side, hit them and go up over them or you will water out. So Frank heads into the mud hole first. But the bottom of this one was wasnít exactly smooth. It was all larger rocks and as Frank tried to climb up over the three rocks sticking out of the water, he spun the rear tire, lost momentum and tipped over to the left. SPLASH! Frank and KTM under water. ( I think he even has helmet cam video of this. If we can find that we will post it). I parked my bike and waded in to help Frank. He had already picked the bike up by the time I had stumbled up to him. And we pushed and shoved his bike up over those bike stones and into the shallow water on the other side. We canít believe it. Two watered out bikes in the first 10 miles of the race. Offroad Ontario folks told us that the transport sections often knock out first time racers more than the test sections. I stumbled back across the water which was up to mid thigh is some places. I decided I was not going to ride across this one. I was going to push. So I hit the button and walk beside the bike and carefully push and spin my way to the big rocks. I am not sure how I got traction to get up over them but somehow it was there and I managed to get across without falling down or dropping the bike. I put it on the kickstand and went to help Frank.
After the experience with my bike, we figured we would just do the whole drill start to finish right off the bat. Pull the tank, flip the bike upside down, air filter wring it out.. wipe out the airbox, pull the plug, spin the rear tireÖ no water came out.. Thatís good. Back on the wheels, drain the carb, reassemble. And it it fires right up and seems to run fine except for a little bit of a high idle. We gear back up and hit the course again. The high idle became a problem and we had to stop again. Pinched the throttle cable.. fixed that and we are rolling again.
At this point, we couldnít be more than 10 miles into an 80 miles race. We figured we were done for the day and sure to hour out now. But we rode as quick and safe as we could to try to catch up. Each mud hole we tip toeíd through and tried to make up ground wherever we could. The actual test sections were mud, rocks and roots. They were constantly throwing your bike around. The odd thing was that there still seemed to be traction. It was certainly not like Georgia mud and rocks. If this type of trail was in Georgia after all that rainÖ it would be impassable. But here, somehow you got traction. Even on a muddy rock, if you kept a bit of momentum and hit things square, you could climb up over rocks that would be impossible in Georgia. Maybe the dirt here has enough grit in it to help. Or the surface of the rocks are grittier. Not sure. After a while, my paranoia about muddy rocks eased up quite a bit and I started to have some fun. After a few timed sections. We realized we had NO IDEA how this event was being scored. It is certainly different than an American enduro. We rolled up to a check and saw we were pretty far behind and instead of waving us through, they askedÖĒwhat minute do you guys want to leave on??Ē. We looked at each other like ďWhat??? I want to go now!!Ē. Hahah. It left us scratching our heads and hitting the trails. After this timed section we came out on to a really nice dirt road with transport arrows telling us which way to go.
The dirt roads were compacted gravel and sand. Very nice to ride on. This was a VERY NICE transport section compared to the first one. It would be a great dual sport area.
Frank and I rolled up to the first gas stop just as Don was strapping his helmet back on. We gassed up and hit the trail quick hoping to make up some time. It wasnít long before we caught up to a group of guys. Sweet!!! We are catching up. WaitÖ why is there a line of bikes here? Lol. It was a rooty ravine with a small creek with all sorts of rocks in the bottom. The other side is chewed up pretty bad and guys are having to team up to get their bikes up the other side. There were three lines. Two to the left were dug out pretty good with roots and a deep rut. The third line to right was a steep off camber with a tree root half way up it that guys were getting hung up on.
I figured I would try the center line. Itís the straightest, shallowest rut, and had the most dirt still left. I picked my way down to the rocks at the bottom and gunned it for the hillside. My back end jumped sideways on a rock just as I started up the hill and I lost momentum. I buried the back wheel in soft dirt and hung up on a root. I fell over to the left side and tried to pull the back tire out of the rut and over the root but no good . A few attempts with pushing and the magic button with mostly embarrassing results led me to pull the bike back to the bottom of the ravine. By now there were probably 8 to 10 riders piled up here waiting, helping or stuck. I pulled my back end around and aimed for the off camber line. Smooth launch, good dose of throttle and I aimed to the left of the tree. I had just enough momentum to get my rear tire over the big tree root that was getting dug out and paddled and spun my way to the top. Yes!!! Made it.
Next was to help Frank and Don. Frank went for the far left line but hung up on a root and went down. A few of jumped into the rut to assist as Frank picked up the bike and got it running again. Who says two strokes donít need a magic button. Sure helps in this case. We push pull, fall spin, curse and eat dirt but Frank makes it to the top of the ravine. Don then heads back to his bike. While Don is climbing back to his bike, a young woman hits the far left line on a KTM. She has the same results as Frank. But she and her bike hardly weigh anything so we drug her up the hill pretty quick. We helped a few more guys as Don lined up for the left side rut as well. He hit it and made it about 1/3 of the way before he hung up on a root. So we drug and pulled his bike up the hill as well. We were all breathing pretty hard at this point so we took a quick rest and hit the trail. There was still a line of guys pulling up bikes but we had helped at least five or six guys so we figured we put in our time on this hill.
All this huffing and puffing had my goggles fogged up bad. It was very wet. Slow going in the rocky single track and I just kept having to pull my goggles off to see where I was going. Not a great way to ride, but I just couldnít see and it was betting than crashing and tipping over every 10 minutes. I fired up my bike and thought I heard Frank behind me so I took off. I heard a two stroke behind me for a ways and caught up with some of the other guys from the hill. I passed 3 or 4 of them and went as quickly as I could trying to salvage my race. Then it started raining again. The sky was dark and if I didnít have a watch on my bike, I would have thought the sun was going down. It started pouring down rain. Then I saw 10 to 15 seconds of hail hitting the ground and bouncing off my helmet. Hahaha. I couldnít believe it. The hail was the size of small jelly beans. It only lasted for a few seconds though. The rain continued for a while and the trail just got more and more gnarly. Rocky and wet. Up and down small ravines and through some boggy areas. I even started to see some pink arrows. Pink arrows meant they were expert/pro section tests. I started to think that I somehow missed a turn and ended up on a Pro section. Then saw a few pink arrows with an orange arrow also. I caught up to a two guys helping each other through a small bog. They pointed out a better line and I made it through on my own. I stopped and asked this guy on a Kawasaki if we were on a Pro extreme section since we were on pink arrows. He said I donít think so. So he let me by and I kept going. The arrows turned back to orange so I assume whomever was helping to arrow this section just put up some bad arrows. The trail was just solid rocks and muck but it was passable. Not fun at all though. Front end bouncing and sliding around. Back end snapping back and forth as you hit rocks and roots. Gnarly trail for sure. There was one particular narrow wooden bridge that I remember that went over what I assume was a really soft bogg. It looked like it had a snowmobile track nailed to the wood. Haha. Good idea. That seemed to work pretty good. But the craziest/gnarliest spot of the day was this sunken bridge. It looked like some broken down bridge you would see in Russia. If you have seen Long Way Round with Charlie and Ewen in Russia, you can picture what it looked like. I wish I had a photo. I saw no way around it so.. I eased up to it and figure I would try to walk the bike across. The bridge itself was under water for most of the way. In some places it was so far under you couldnít even see the wood in the muddy water. I tried to pop my front wheel up on the bridge but couldnít get it up there. So I was stuck standing in knee deep water up against this thing. Across on the other side, there was a guy on a Kawasaki. I donít think he was a course marshal or anything but he saw I was having trouble and walked back over to help me. He pulled my front end up on the bridge and we pulled my bike up on it. I have to admit, I was pretty darn scared at this point. I had no idea how wide the bridge was. I couldnít see most of it in the muddy water. I was afraid I would slip or fall into a hole and have my bike pound me down into the water of which I had no idea how deep it was. But the guy that helped me said. ďNo holes. It will be ok.Ē My heart was still pounding as I walked it over. Each step careful as could be to make sure I had my footing. As he said, I was ok. But holy cow!!!! That was nuts!!! I am extremely grateful to whoever helped me. I never did catch his name. After I got across some more riders showed up and he was helping them too. So I rolled on.
After I came out from the timed section I realized it wasnít Frank behind me. So.. not sure where he was but knowing he and Don were paired up back there somewhere I pressed on to the next gas stop. After gassing up I hit the trail. At the last timed section scoring guys said I had about 3 minutes before I houred out so pin it to stay in it. But I just didnít have the skills to go fast enough on the wet rocks. I knew that I dropped too much time in the last section so I figured I would drop at least as much time in this one. My angle was then to just stay upright and save whatever I have left for tomorrow. My bike was still stuttering a bit but seemed to be running well enough to get me through.
Half way through the last timed section the sun came back out. Very nice!! That is one thing we noticed about the weather way up here. Sunny one minute. Dark the next. Cold and windy.. then the sun comes out and feels great. Then it rains. Seems like it does that multiple times daily. So I head off on the last transit section that brought me back to camp where the final test was a timed endurocross course in the sand. This was one of the most fun spots of the whole weekend. It was a nice wide sandy lane that was next to a creek. It was fast 5th gear stuff with perfect whoops for fun. Not too big but enough to make you pay attention. The sun was out. The water was clear. Leaves were falling off the trees and blowing around. Might sound corny but it was one of those scenes where you just think to yourself that life is good and it doesnít get better than this. Beautiful area.
I get back to camp and head for the final test. It was not too tough as far as endurocross courses go. The first log was pretty big and it was dug out in front of it since it was sandy but I had no issues getting across.
Found some pics of me from a local photographer at the event. Nice photo quality too. I bought them immediately. Honored to be two of 14 pics in the endurecross album on their site.
The next spot was a 180 corner with two logs immediately following the turn. I blew the turn and didnít get lined up well, so I backed up and hit the first log with a little too much throttle. I had the front wheel much higher than I meant it going over the first log. But managed to carry it over the second log in one fell swoop. Didnít look half bad I guess. Almost looked like I meant to do it that way. Hahah. . The rest of the course was more logs in the sand and a heavy equipment tire section. No problems though all of that and I exited timing. The 1st day is done. Finally. I think Frank figured it was 80 miles on Saturday. I didnít measure it with my odometer though.
As I mentioned before, this event is run like an ISDE. They impound your bike immediately after they take your card. So that was something different. The guy at impound looked at my card and told me that I had indeed houred out but it was close. He recommended since there was already some discussion of throwing out a section that I go ahead and impound it anyway. That way if any sections are thrown out, I might get that time back and not be disqualified. So thatís what I did hoping for the best.
I met up with the rest of the group at Davidís RV. I was the last guy to get back to the camper. David and Ryan had also completed the course and impounded. Frank and Don has been caught in that heavy rain as well and suffered many a long, rooty hill with another group of guys helping each other out just to get through the course. Frank and Don ended up lost when they missed some arrows but eventually found their way back to camp. I am not sure how far they went but they were back at the camper when I got there looking pretty whooped.
After getting out of my drenched riding gear and pouring about a quart of water out of my boots, we headed for the community center where the club was set up. Pre entering the race included a dinner.
Now I love the KTM spaghetti dinners at our enduros but this club put on a spread!! Wow. Ham, mashed potatoes/gravy, rolls, pasta salad, beans, cole slaw and I donít know what all else. They had a big cake in the shape of the Cord trophies too.
Those ladies did a heck of a job. I canít imagine how long it took to peel all those potatoes to feed a bunch of sopping wet,worn out racers. It was really nice. After a big meal I couldnít keep my eyes open much longer and headed for the RV to get some sleep.
2003 KTM 640 Adv-gone
2005 KTM 640 Adv-gone
1993 KTM 400 LC4 EXC (winter project)
2003 KTM 250/350 RFS EXC
2006 KTM 640 Adventure
2008 HUSABERG 550 FE
2008 Paris to Dacre, TEAM ORANGE KRUSH
5 KTM's and 1 Honda Circumnavigate Ontario's Algonquin Park
4 KTM's and 1 Honda Go North, to Abitibi Canyon & Beyond
3 KTM's, A Honda, A Husaberg, and a Jam Tart
4 Ktm's and a Honda go "NORD"
|10-28-2012, 10:54 AM||#2|
Joined: Sep 2002
Location: Southern Ontario, Canada ( Niagara Peninsula )
Morning comes quickly and the gang springs into breakfast and pre race prep like a well oiled machine. Stumbling over each other and searching for all the stuff we have stashed in various RV compartments.
Similar to an ISDE, here at the Corduroy enduro, your bike is impounded and you have a period to do some maintenance before your row starts. You are not allowed to start your bike during the work period. The first time you start your bike will be up on the box at the start of the race. Today, they have given us 30 minutes to work on the bikes for amateurs. 10 minutes only for the Proís. They let us into the impound area 30 minutes before our row was to start.
So we staged some tools, air filters, air pumps etc in the work area and waited for our turn. Don and Frank didnít impound so they were helping the rest of us out. I took my card and waited at the entrance to impound until I was allowed in to get my bike. I figured I would just cover the basics. Air filter, gas, tire pressures, tape todays score card to the fender, look over the bike for loose or missing bolts, try to scrape off some mud, etc. Plus I knew I had busted my kickstand spring on a rock somewhere so I was just going to remove the stand to be safe. With the extra help, it was no problem getting the bike ready. I was just hoping it would start after the dunking yesterday.
As the cards flipped, Ryan and I pushed our bikes up on the box. A mud covered 450 gets pretty darn heavy to push up on a box I tell ya. Haha. Turn on the gas, flip on the choke and wait. When our number came up, I hit the button and she fired right up. Letís roll!! So I roll down off the box and head around the building to the first road section to take us to the course. I kept looking back and didnít see Ryan so.. I figured he must have had a problem.
Todayís transport starts nearly the same but a turns off to the right instead of left so.. good news. No lake Ontario to cross in the first 5 miles. There are more tests scheduled for today and the course is longer. I arrive at the check at the first test and get in line to wait. Ryan soon shows up. He said he was just warming the bike up a minute before he took off. So the card goes to row 28 and I follow a faster guy into the woods with Ryan behind. The trail is tight and rocky. Ryan finds a hot line and passes me with a whoop whoop. Haha. I fall in behind and we start rolling pretty good. About a Ĺ mile in I see Ryanís back wheel jump side ways and WHAM!!! Straight into a tree. He didnít go down but he knocked it pretty hard. Pine needles came showering down. I pull up beside him and see if he is ok and he says yes. I take off as he is pulling his bike backwards and keep going. No major issues the rest of the trail. Standard rocky twisty single track.
The next section I can remember was a bit different. All the days and trails are starting to mix together so I am doing my best to remember everything. It had the standard rocky twisty stuff but also seemed to have huge shelves of rock. We took off with Ryan in the lead. He blew a rooty ravine climb and I paused as he is picking up his bike. I saw a big rock with a reasonably flat face right beside the rutted out line. No tracks on it but I figured if the traction was similar to what we have seen so far, I can use it to scoot right by. I gunned it up and over the rock and was clear of the bottleneck nice and quick. Hard to believe the traction you can get on the rocks up here. I am still shaking my head. So I haul the mail down the trail and make a left turn into a meadow that looked real nice.. but was really a bog. The ruts were DEEP. As I spun and gunned trying to get through I lost my balance and tipped over with my leg stuck under the bike still in the main rut while my backside was sunk in the mud and water of the parallel rut. COLD!! I didnít have any leverage to pick the bike up and was struggling to get free. I figured I would have to push the bike up with one foot and try to get the other leg free. I was hoping I didnít break the plastic seat pan but the Enduro Engineering seat held tough and I was able to slip my leg out after a few minutes of pushing and cussing. About this time, Ryan came along and asked if I was ok. I gave him the thumbs up and he roosted on past. Brappp!!! Would have been nice if you were a minute or two earlier my friend. Lol. I get fired up and through the bog and give chase.
After a bit, I caught up to Ryan and we came to another water hole bog. This one had a few guys pushing and pulling their bikes out. The water looked really deep and the embankment was seriously rutted. One of the guys pointed out a line to try. I told Ryan to go ahead. (See I learned. Hahaha) but he decided to take the opportunity to work on his dangling barkbuster from his earlier spill. So.. I hit the magic button and gunned it into the water and with lots of throttle and spinning I was able to get through the muck and water. It was good line advice. I headed on down the trail which then seemed to turn into an unusual surface. The trail was basically stones embedded in the dirt with roots occasionally snaking around and over top of the rocks. The path was clear almost like it was an old trail or maybe a railroad path or something. I found that if you went too slow, it just kicked you around and you wore out really quick. If you went too fast, you couldnít make a turn here or there. There seemed to be a sweet spot of speed that kept you flowing but still able to steer. Very weird. I donít know how to better describe it. Maybe one of the other guys will chime in. This wasnít a short section either. No. It seemed to go on for miles. Ryan caught me in this section and passed on by. I tried to keep up but ended up throwing the bike down in one turn when the back end jumped sideways in a turn. And I went into the brush in one turn since I didnít want to try and hit the brakes too much on this surface. Finally finishing into a transport section that was rocky but not too bad.
Next up was my favorite section of the day. I donít even remember if it was timed or transport but picture Sumter trail flow with black loam instead of sand. It was flipping AWESOME!!!!! 3rd and 4th gear single track that just flowed back and forth through hardwoods and pines. Great berms. The only down side was stumps. They donít mark them in orange up here. You just have to watch for them. I was railing along feeling like I finally knew how to ride a motorcycle. Big throttle and I passed a few guys in here. Then as I rounded a turn I saw a trail spear aiming for me Crud!!! Tried to cut hard right but the tree took me off the bike like King Arthur jousting with a renaissance fair flunky. I am not even completely sure what happened but somehow I was rolling backwards down the trail until I thumped into a tree. Ouch.. As it was in a corner, I wanted to get up and out of the way quick. I got up and headed for my bike but lost my balance and ended up falling on top of it instead. About that time a rider came up and asked me if I was ok. I told him yes but he didnít seem to believe me since he asked me two or three more times. I must have been a bit wobbly. Once I did manage to pick my bike up, he considered that good enough and passed on by. I did a quick limb check and everything seemed ok. No major pain anywhere. My side hurt a bit but other than thatÖ I got away with it. I found the offending spear still on the edge of the trail. Picked it up and tossed it far off course. It was a small tree about 2.5 inches in diameter. I guess it was cleared when the trail was cut and somehow dragged back on course by an earlier rider. Luckily it wasnít sharp. Glad I got the flat,cut part aimed at me. I get rolling again and slowly work up to my previous pace.
Somewhere in these trails was a gas stop. I donít remember much about it. I did see David Heath at the stop as he was pulling away. So that is a good sign that I am keeping a reasonable pace today.
The next section was more of the big rock shelves some of which are dozens of yards long. A new twist was also this thick mossy stuff on top. I think if you were the first guy across the moss it was decent but once the moss started getting ripped up, it definitely added challenge to the rocks. It made them much more slick. Today was also a humid cool day and in the tighter trails I was unable to keep my googles from fogging up. So I had decided to ride without them in the slower stuff so I was able to better see the rocks. Well, after a day and a half, this caught up with me and I took some debris in my eyes. Mostly my right eye. I couldnít seem to clear it out.
I had come upon a huge mud hole and figured I better recon this one. I propped my bike up and waded into the water. First I went down the left side about 4 feet from the edge. The water went very deep and the bottom was mucky enough to suck on my boots. So I walked back closer to the other side of the trail where I found it also very deep and with some holes and rocks. So I figure this one is not for me to cross. I didnít want to repeat day 1. So I squish back to my bike, hit the button and gun it off the trail into the brush. It was thick and there were a few down logs. I should have put my googles back on looking back but they were fogging up so quick I didnít. It was here that I got a face full of branches and something in my eye. I fought and pushed and knocked down brush and trees to go around this mud hole. I am about 10 yards from getting back to the course when I see a rider come up to that mudhole on the course and cross it about 3 feet to the right of where I first walked it. I canít say it was shallow there.. but it was maybe knee deep instead of the thigh deep where I was walking. Local knowledge at work obviouslyÖ.
At the next gas stop I tried to find any dirt in my eye and wash it out with a little water but no luck. I really had a hard time seeing properly for the next few sections. It was sort of like when water gets in between your tear offs. Thatís what it looked like with or without my goggles on. You have to be very precise with all these rocks and I wasnít doing a great job. I felt the time slipping and thoughts about houring out again creeped into my head. Plus starting to get tired now.
I came upon another water crossing that was intimidating. It looked like a 40 yard path of water about quad width in the brush. I actually doubled back briefly hoping there was an alternate line to go around this but didnít find anything. SoÖ I eased into the ďwater slotĒ and rolled forward. It was deep but had a decent bottom. I realized I was probably going a little slow so I gave it a little more gas and with very little style and grace reached the other side. I figured I cut it close on the water and figured I had better check the airbox. I pulled it off and sure enough some water had gotten through the air filter. Just a little though so I am glad I checked. I wiped it out and wrung out the air filter then remounted it all. I learned my lesson. I would rather take the time to check and prevent a problem if possible than rush and end up ingesting more crud into my engine.
The last transport section was just plain nasty. It was rocky as heck and just gnarly to ride. And it was long. After a while I admit to cussing the locals and wondering quite loudly why someone would ride this for fun. But all nasty trails do come to an end. The scoring pulled my card and said good job. I asked if I was still within time and they indicated I was in good shape. And at that point, the final test was ahead. This was an MX test. It was grass track and some huge stone piles with some wood single track in to remind you it was an enduro. This was run differently. It was timed and they sent off each rider 15 seconds apart. Rows didnít matter. Just funnel in, they wrote your number down and off you go. I was sitting there with David and Ryan. Waiting our turn when out of the blue Frank rides up. We hadnít seen him for hours. It was great to see him. He said Don was back there somewhere helping other riders. So the four of us get in the conga line for the MX test.
It wasnít a dead engine start so that was fun. I pinned it up through the gears in the swoopy grass track. Traction was great as you wound your way through the ribbons. Then they headed you back into the woods where my bike suddenly danced side to side like a drunk sailor. Why I didnít think rocks would be here in this special test I have no idea. I guess I was getting pretty tired at this point but wowÖ that was close. You couldnít see the big stones in the deep grass very well. I took it a little easier until I got back out to the field. A few more fun switchbacks and they ran us up on this big stone pile. The rocks were baseball to baked potato size. Hit it with some speed and you cruised right up over the top and down again. Then they aimed you up a gravel pile. Smaller stones like you would put down in a drive way. As I crested the top, they aimed the course to the left a bit which was a bit of a pucker to make that turn in the gravel. Down the other side of gravel pile and hook a 180 into scoring and you are DONE!!!
Found a couple pictures on Cecileís site of this too.
The four of us were pretty jazzed on the event and were sitting there telling stories for a bit. Then the course marshal walked up and said, would you guys mind sweeping this section for any riders out there? We think it is clear but are not positive. I guess the excitement and adrenaline was the cause but in half a second the four of us were turned around and roosting off chasing each other on the MX test one more time. We didnít find anyone out there but sure had a great time.
Now it was time to head on back. The sun was actually starting to get low in the sky so we head off on the final transport back to camp. It was a pleasant ride but pretty darn long and cold. Maybe Frank knows how long it was but I am guessing it was probably a bit over 10 miles. This is such a beautiful area and would be dual sport heaven.
We finally get back to the RV half frozen and still wet but glad to have finished the whole course. We find Don already back and has cooked up a hot meal. Chili cheese fritos were tasting awesome but Donís Italian creation was incredible. I love camping with Don. Hahahah.
Quick pic at the end as we returned to camp.
Another great feature of racing in Canada is that someone always has beer or liquor flowing. I am embarrassed to admit I donít remember this guyís name, but he has heard about us coming up from GA and wanted to have a finish line drink. He brought over some nice rum and proceeded to put it in cheap Styrofoam cups and toast the Corduroy enduro. Cheers!!
We start loading up bikes, dump the unused 4 stroke gas into the RV, somehow get everything stuffed back into the storage compartments and hit the road heading south. We didnít even wait for scoring since it was a long drive back. 20 hours or so later of round the clock driving and we were back in Georgia.
No major injuries. Just some bruises and scrapes. My right eye didnít have clear vision for two or three days. I was a worried about it but seems ok now.
Bike damage: The Cord is tough on equipment.
My bike ingested mud and water but seems to have survived. I will pull the carb and get it clean. Hopefully that will smooth out the low rpm stumbles. I will also do a leakdown test on it to see if that grit caused any serious damage to the valves or top end. Also broke my kickstand crashing on the rocks.
Frank poked a small hole in a side cover of his engine with his rear brake lever falling on the rocks. It is leaking a small amount of oil and the brake lever pivot point is moving in directions it isnít quite supposed to.
Davidís bike faired well and I am unaware of any damage.
Donís bike also faired well.
Which brings us to Ryanís bike. Hunter Williams was at Davids when we were loading up. Ryan had just bought a new 250XC-W two stoke a month or so ago. It was all shiny and sharp looking. Hunter said to Ryan. ď I will fix that pipe when you get backĒ. Haha. He was a prophet.
Not so shiny now and sounds Ö.. interesting.
And he only has one barkbuster left too.
This event was fantastic. It was full of highs and lows as any epic event usually is. In Ontario, their great trails were some of the best I have ever seen. Their nasty trails were probably some of the gnarliest I have ever seen. Rocks up there have traction us GA folks canít dream of but it has it limits. Hit things square and with reasonable momentum and you will be surprised at what you can climb even when muddy. But if you donít pay attention they will also throw you down in a heartbeat. Water crossing are never a sure thing and riding smart will get you much further than pin it and pray. There were times that I trail busted a new path through the brush to go around a mudhole. The people we met were incredible. Everyone was over the top friendly and fun. Two days of enduro riding back to back is tough. The first day was about 80 miles. The second day if you count the last transport was somewhere around 115 miles.
Great times with awesome riding buddies. Life really is good and I am not sure how it could get better than this.
2003 KTM 640 Adv-gone
2005 KTM 640 Adv-gone
1993 KTM 400 LC4 EXC (winter project)
2003 KTM 250/350 RFS EXC
2006 KTM 640 Adventure
2008 HUSABERG 550 FE
2008 Paris to Dacre, TEAM ORANGE KRUSH
5 KTM's and 1 Honda Circumnavigate Ontario's Algonquin Park
4 KTM's and 1 Honda Go North, to Abitibi Canyon & Beyond
3 KTM's, A Honda, A Husaberg, and a Jam Tart
4 Ktm's and a Honda go "NORD"
|10-29-2012, 05:03 AM||#5|
Joined: Jan 2010
Location: Huntsville ON.
Nice report of the event, now thinking of it for next year Thanks
The road less traveled is the road I travel more.
"I feel sorry for people who don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day." Dean Martin
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