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Old 03-10-2013, 04:11 PM   #196
joefromsf OP
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My thoughts on the crash

OK, Iíll post up my thoughts on why I crashed. Note that the reason I didnít cut the first 5 minutes of video before the crash was that I wanted to show I wasnít riding recklessly and we had a conversation about stopping and dabbing to get thru a hard section. FYI, Darrell and I had conversations before and during the trip reminding ourselves that we were on a very long journey, a long way from home and needed to ride conservatively to be successful.

At the bottom of this post I've quoted "crofrog" because he has written some good points about what he sees in the video. Unfortunately, the quotes he was replying to are not included, but you can click on it to go back to his post. I also quoted "3DChief" about the reality of long distance ADV touring. I recall Boon Booni, Lutz, sparklr, Queen of Spades, manfromthestix and Flying Dutchman also making comments.

GPS says I was averaging 12mph in the last 200 feet. I was standing in that section, and my guess is that I was in 2nd gear. As mentioned in prior post, I have upgraded both the front and rear suspension; and I am running a one-tooth lower counter sprocket.

After looking at the video, before the crash during the climb out of the canyon, most of the terrain to the left is pretty benign, just a moderate slope, but there are some short sections that could have had serious drop-offs. I do not recall having a heightened awareness of danger to the left, even as I approached the step. (my bad Ė poor situational awareness).

When I first saw the step, I knew it was a bigger obstacle than anything I had just cruised thru on the climb up the hill. I did go thru a quick decision analysis over whether to stop and scout or just run it. Boy, I wish I had a do over on that decision. (my bad Ė poor obstacle evaluation)

I was where I wanted to be when my front tire hit the step at the end of the 5:07 mark. I was trying to avoid that trough to the left of my front tire. In hindsight, with the benefit of the video, I think a line further right would have been better. (my bad Ė poor line)

From this point, thereís no memory of the rest of the video, except for a fleeting ďthis is going to be bad momentĒ. So the rest is just me analyzing the video.

Oh, as crofrog and others pointed out I was not covering the brake or clutch. I agree with 3dChief about why we may not be covering all the time, but I knew I was coming upon a challenging spot. As others have mentioned, covering may not have even made a difference. (my bad Ė poor riding technique)

The front makes it up the step, and doesnít look horribly out of place. It looks like the beginning of 5:08 is when the rear hits the step. And soon after things begin to go wrong and get worse. As it turns to 5:10 I am at the cliff edge. So sometime during the 5:08 second I would have come to the realization that me and the bike are no longer where I want them. And sometime during the 5:09 second I was too far along to make any difference. So I think I had about one second where the correct action could have prevented the crash.

I do have one more picture which shows a skid mark which is very likely from my rear tire. Iím guessing the rear was unweighted after popping up the step and never regained traction.



What did I do during that one second?

I think I saw a comment or two somewhere that mentioned whiskey throttle (I had to look it up). Before seeing the video, that was my first thought. I figured my front bounced up when I hit the step and I fell back grabbing the throttle. I donít think the action or sound in the video support that scenario though.

Crofrog suggests that ďno action was ever taken to correct the slideĒ. Got to admit itís kind of hard to disprove that. But if I had no situational awareness of the cliff hazard, why would I have froze in panic so quickly? Iíve had the rear kick out many times and my instinct would be to stay on the throttle, so itís possible my reaction was stay on the throttle until the rear hooks up. But then it bothers me that I see no counter-steering. (my bad Ė reaction to unfolding events)

Not sure if it was a contributing factor or not, but I think I sound tired in the 5 minutes of video before the crash. There's an occasional heavy sigh. We had only ridden 11 miles that morning and had taken short breaks at Swazey Cabin and under the I-70 bridge so it wasn't that day's riding. But three days prior during our layover days in Moab, I got pretty sick and took a day off and stayed in bed most of the day. I think it was a combination of exhaustion and a cold setting in. I was taking non-drowsy Benydril and ibuprofen during the subsequent riding days.

So what lessons have I learned. The primary lesson is that I need to ride more conservatively and not accept crashing as part of the game. I donít want to put my wife and riding partners thru this or a worse scenario again. This was indeed a wake-up call. Iím not getting any younger, but I love adventure riding and plan to continue. I also want to return and complete the TAT. Iíve got to remember the journey and overall experience is what is important to me, not whether or not I was able run an obstacle without scouting, dabbing, duck paddling or even walking the bike through.

What about skills improvement? Iíve taken several big bike oriented one day training sessions and have Neduroís DVDs. Iím not a noob. Iíve probably ridden 15k miles of dirt on my wee-strom and another 7k on the DR650. That said Iíd like to take the Jimmy Lewis weekend class one of these days. But my goals arenít really to ride harder terrain or ride faster or even get a smaller bike. I will look at covering my controls more, and unlearn the mantra ďwhen in doubt, gas it outĒ.

Thanks for reading.

Quote:
Originally Posted by crofrog View Post
It was 3.4 seconds from when the big sounded liked it started lugging. It was 1.7 seconds from when the bike slid sideways to going off the cliff. Either is well inside the reaction time.

It didn't look like he was in a good position to attack the terrain he was faced with both from a control input and riding style standpoint. So the terrain bit back. He very well could have just been relaxing and not expecting any problems when something unexpected occurred and the bike slide out sideways, but no action was ever taken to correct the slide.

Throttle stayed constant, brakes never came on and he never counter steered.

Had he been covering the clutch when the wheel started to spin up he could have cut the power and the bike likely wouldn't have oversteered nearly as much, same for covering the rear brake, and he wasn't travelling that fast so he likely would have been able to stop before going off the cliff if he had the brakes covered.




It's way way way more needed off-road than the track. On the track you know exactly where you're going to have to brake every single lap. Off-road is constantly reacting to what's happening and you need to be able to instantly manipulate and overlap all 6 controls (body position, handle bar input, front brake, rear brake, clutch and gear change). The faster or more intense the riding the more important it is to cover the main controls (front brake and clutch).



I'd hazard to guess you speak for a very small part of the ADV rider community that rides off-road. Every or damn close to every serious off-roader and racer covers the controls at all times. When riding fast off-road you are required to make hundreds of control inputs a minute to stay ahead of the terrain.

With the exception of some of the MXers because once again they know when the brakes need to come on.

If you can't cover your levers you need to adjust them.


My intention wasn't to be harsh to the original poster, although it will probably seem that way. Shit happens to everyone and we all get caught out.
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Originally Posted by 3DChief View Post
Yikes! Glad to see you are okay Joe! I watched the video and followed the thread for a while, didn't realize who the rider was until you came on here and claimed it.

For the people questioning technique or skills, I have a few comments. First, having ridden with Joe a few times, he is not just a casual rider and takes that bike places most would not consider taking any bike, let alone a loaded DR650. I don't think covering brake and clutch would have made much difference in the short distance to react, too much momentum between the bike and luggage. That really changes the dynamics of the bike and the braking system.

Second, riding on "alert" like that all the time is okay when you are out for an afternoon ride, but not something like the TAT. Not saying you are not paying attention, but you ride much less aggressively and your technique changes a little bit. You go into that "alert" mode when you think it is necessary, but it's not realistic to stay at that level all the time. Having my own TAT experience last year on the eastern TAT to the OK/NM border, I can tell you that day after day of 10+ hour riding days over all sorts of terrain wears on you. Most of us have done long day trips or weekend rides, but try putting those back to back for days or weeks and it really changes the equation. You have to manage your energy and evaluate the trail and decide how aggressive to be. If you have been riding through similar terrain all day without issue, it is pretty easy to misread a 50' section of trail.

Glad to see you doing well Joe, wish I could be at the Mendo Rally again this year so we could ride together. I learned a lot trying to follow you on some of those goat trails! If you find your way over to Montana, give me a shout, I've got a parking spot and a cold beer here with your name on it!

Tim
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Old 03-10-2013, 04:44 PM   #197
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I've been looking at this video over the last couple of days and just laughing my butt off--only laughing because you obviously didn't get seriously hurt and it did make for a great video.

Your video makes a good reminder of just how quickly things can go bad. Sometimes with no good reason.

I could tell that you weren't riding very fast and it looked like everything was going ok until about 2-3 seconds before you went over the edge. Just how it all happened you probably won't ever figure out.

How you managed not to land on one of the big rocks and get really busted up was way more than good luck. You should have bought lotto tickets right after leaving the hospital.

I do apologize for laughing and am glad to see you didn't get hurt as much as the video suggests. Don't you know you are too old to do that stuff anymore ?

I'm gonna go laugh at the guy that rides his bike off into the creek. Nothing like taking your bike for a swim.
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Old 03-10-2013, 06:54 PM   #198
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Joe, first off thank you. Thanks for sharing this experience with us all, and thanks for being around to do so.
Thanks for using this little experience to analyze yourself and teach us about your "situational awareness". It takes a big person to watch the video and then come up with the thoughts that were going thru your head and that ONE second that you had to decide on what was going to happen next.

Monday morning quarterbacking is always a pastime for some, but unless they have had their head inside a helmet and been knocked out, it's just speculation to me.
We can practice, take our classes, go to the clinics, and refine our riding styles over & over & over, until the green flag drops. And then... The bs stops.

After my accident, numerous people told me that was two kinds of motorcycle riders. Ones that had crashed, and ones that haven't crashed yet. It was the ones that had crashed that said things like "glad your OK", or "Man, that sucks doesn't it?" And a rare minority that said, "If had only taken the line that I wanted", or "I was setting up for the turn and WHAM!, it over just like that".

It's great to get the advice from those who have learned first hand, been there and done it, and then been around to share it with the rest of us so we can learn from it.

OK, OK, I'll get off my soapbox, and hope to see you out on the trail someday.

In a perfect world, we wouldn't need SPOT GPS's, pads, helmets, or any other safety equipment. Be careful out there and ride.
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Old 03-10-2013, 07:15 PM   #199
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Thank you!

I've never read a 14 page post completely through since joining ADV until I encountered this one. Incredible story and narration! Thank you for sharing the video and the follow up. There are a number of lessons to be learned from this and I believe your contribution will undoubtedly be useful to more people than you know. Congrats on surviving!
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Old 03-10-2013, 07:33 PM   #200
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kampfire View Post
JIn a perfect world, we wouldn't need SPOT GPS's, pads, helmets, or any other safety equipment.
I guess it wouldn't exactly be 'adventure' riding, though. Mitigating risk is one thing; not having any whatsoever is something else entirely. I prefer the former. :)
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Old 03-10-2013, 08:21 PM   #201
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Originally Posted by Trane Francks View Post
I guess it wouldn't exactly be 'adventure' riding, though. Mitigating risk is one thing; not having any whatsoever is something else entirely. I prefer the former. :)

Exactly! We have got to get out there and do it.
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Old 03-10-2013, 08:36 PM   #202
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joefromsf View Post
OK, I’ll post up my thoughts on why I crashed...
Most of the comments are about your riding technique, but I think larryboy's is the only comment that focussed on why you crashed ("you go where you look"). I'm looking at this hoping to learn something as well...

You didn't crash because of not covering the brake, not standing, etc-----from watching the video you crashed because you steered yourself straight over the edge, right? So now the question is why did you turn 90 degrees to the left? I've slo-mo'd through the video a few times and what stands out to me is that as soon as you clear the step it looks like you come very close to the right side wall, maybe even brush against it with your handlebar and immediately after the camera (your eyes too) begin to sweep left, and then the handlebar/front wheel follows.

Do you think you may have contacted the right side wall, maybe even a foot peg scraped or caught, and you were trying to maneuver away from that, or even just an over-reaction from coming too close to the wall?

Somehow that seems the key to this, figuring out why you turned to the left so suddenly...
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Old 03-10-2013, 09:22 PM   #203
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HardWorkingDog View Post
Most of the comments are about your riding technique, but I think larryboy's is the only comment that focussed on why you crashed ("you go where you look"). I'm looking at this hoping to learn something as well...

You didn't crash because of not covering the brake, not standing, etc-----from watching the video you crashed because you steered yourself straight over the edge, right? So now the question is why did you turn 90 degrees to the left? I've slo-mo'd through the video a few times and what stands out to me is that as soon as you clear the step it looks like you come very close to the right side wall, maybe even brush against it with your handlebar and immediately after the camera (your eyes too) begin to sweep left, and then the handlebar/front wheel follows.

Do you think you may have contacted the right side wall, maybe even a foot peg scraped or caught, and you were trying to maneuver away from that, or even just an over-reaction from coming too close to the wall?

Somehow that seems the key to this, figuring out why you turned to the left so suddenly...
FYI, to readers, LarryBoy's comments were on another thread and he said "I fully expected it, he'd been looking left over his shoulder looking for his buddy...you go where you look". I take everybody's comments seriously so when he posted it I checked the video again based on that info. I was looking left when I first turned up the hill because I could see the road below and thought I could get some video footage of Darrell going by. You can see me looking left and stopping a couple of times looking for a good spot. I even got off the bike and grabbed my regular camera. I got my footage and photo, then we had our short conversation. After I got back on the bike and took off, I was all business riding up the hill and don't see any more head turning in the video.

I also saw and can't explain the somewhat sudden turn to the left, and agree it's the key. If the skid mark is my rear tire, then I don't think I am close enough to have contacted the right wall.

I do think that when the rear tire cleared the step it hopped to the right and then the bike was starting to lean left. Look at my helmet in relation to the handlebars after the step.

If I stayed on the gas (my instinct), I would have been waiting for the rear to hook up and the bike would have stood back up. But the rear didn't hook up until it was way, way too late. You can see the bike stand up before I go over the cliff. That happened when the rear tire hit the small edge at the end of the skid mark.

If you and/or LarryBoy are suggesting a sudden target fixation with the cliff. Then I have to admit it's certainly possible, but the handlebars make a much more abrupt turn to the left than my helmet does.
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Old 03-10-2013, 09:39 PM   #204
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Joe, I'm going to join everyone else in saying, I'm so glad this didn't end up worse. But I'm doing it without having watched the video, I'm too chicken to even watch. That over the edge thing is one of my biggest fears
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Old 03-10-2013, 09:58 PM   #205
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Joe, I'm going to join everyone else in saying, I'm so glad this didn't end up worse. But I'm doing it without having watched the video, I'm too chicken to even watch. That over the edge thing is one of my biggest fears
Hi Cathy, thanks for posting. It's funny in a weird kind of way, but when Sherry use to explain to non-moto folks about my riding and the purpose of the SPOT unit, she always used the "in case he rides of a cliff" example.

I'm not encouraging you to, but if you or someone else wants to see the rest of the video without the cliff scene you can watch up to the 5:00 if you want to see the general terrain, or 5:05 to see the step up ahead. After the crash, maybe start at 5:20. Don't worry there's no blood, or twisted limbs.
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joefromsf screwed with this post 03-10-2013 at 09:59 PM Reason: spelling
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Old 03-10-2013, 10:26 PM   #206
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Thanks Joe

hope to see you around the campfire again sometime
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Old 03-10-2013, 10:46 PM   #207
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Originally Posted by joefromsf View Post
... I do think that when the rear tire cleared the step it hopped to the right and then the bike was starting to lean left. Look at my helmet in relation to the handlebars after the step...
Sorry 'bout confusing the threads, you're everywhere on the interwebs these days!

I don't see any reason for the rear tire to go to the right though. The step is angling off to the left along with the slope dropping to the left, so if anything I'd guess your tire would've tended to slide to the left. Maybe you instinctively countersteered left as the back end started to slip left--the classic flat track correction, it suddenly hooked up and you were aimed at the cliff edge with no time to do anything else but go fly.
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Old 03-10-2013, 11:08 PM   #208
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Originally Posted by HardWorkingDog View Post
Sorry 'bout confusing the threads, you're everywhere on the interwebs these days!

I don't see any reason for the rear tire to go to the right though. The step is angling off to the left along with the slope dropping to the left, so if anything I'd guess your tire would've tended to slide to the left. Maybe you instinctively countersteered left as the back end started to slip left--the classic flat track correction, it suddenly hooked up and you were aimed at the cliff edge with no time to do anything else but go fly.
Mmm. That theory sort of fits. Does it account for the skid mark? Note the skid mark may not be mine; could be from a quad. There's evidence of one at the edge of the step under my right handlebar that can't be mine.
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Old 03-11-2013, 01:54 AM   #209
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From my replays, it seems that a combination of lugging the motor a bit and the front end getting wonky over that step set you up for the big left-hand correction at 5:08 that represents the beginning of the end. You actually accelerate very slightly (out of lugging) from 5:08-5:09, at which point there's just nothing you can do to recover.

Had the engine been down a gear and not lugging or the front end responded just that little bit differently as you cleared that bit, the whole scenario would probably have played out differently. IMO and all that. I also would not presume to suggest that you could have done it differently. It's all too easy to armchair critique without having all the facts. And even you don't have those courtesy of memory loss.
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Old 03-11-2013, 06:51 AM   #210
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Originally Posted by joefromsf View Post
...t's funny in a weird kind of way, but when Sherry use to explain to non-moto folks about my riding and the purpose of the SPOT unit, she always used the "in case he rides of a cliff" example. ...
Classic! Well, the good news is, she can still use the exact same explanation and remain entirely serious.

Thanks for following up with your own interpretation of events, Joe. Good luck in your future adventures.
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