APC Rally - Preparations and Random Blather

Discussion in 'Racing' started by frenchy750, Oct 23, 2011.

  1. frenchy750

    frenchy750 Work work work work work

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    It started like most adventures for me usually start.

    First I realize that I am starting to get bored, then I get depressed, then something magical happens to snaps me out of the doldrums. This time, to help me through the descending funk, I tried what usually fixes me - reading on this site about various intrepid and/or foolish souls like Neduro that sink gobs of their own money chasing their dream of riding the Dakar Rally. As everyone that matters already knows, the Dakar Rally is without a doubt the toughest, most grueling contest known to man, and looks like one hell of an adventure. Stretching 9000 KM through Argentina, Chile and Peru, these intrepid/foolish souls race for 14 days in some of the most inhospitable terrain the planet has to offer.


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    Real Riding in the Real Rally

    To make the days drag by a bit quicker, I'd sit in the nearly defunct Frenchy's Rant Blogger Central HQ and daydream about one day being one of those intrepid/foolish souls.

    As anyone who does it a lot knows, daydreaming can only take you so far. It's been so long since I had a true adventure I've resorted to checking my pulse rate every morning to see if I'm still actually alive. It's not that I lacked motivation, it's just that I had no grand idea to chase after. Maybe this whole domestication thing has changed me. Then, in the end of August, my friend Dan from Australia sent me an innocent looking email:

    Hey..
    I just sent a deposit for a little ride I am going to do next July/Aug. Its called the Australian Property Center Rally. Take a look at it and tell me what you think... Make sure you look at the picture section when you get a chance... Hope you're well and are doing something fun... d

    I checked out the link, and immediately the little evil man in my head, the one that has been dormant for far too long whispered two simple words to me: "Do. It."

    I came up with a hundred reasons why I couldn't... why I shouldn't even consider it. First off, as the name-sake of the entire event states, the rally is held waaaay over there in Australia, about 83746422km from my home. I don't have a rally capable motorcycle in Australia, hell, I don't have one at all! Plus, there's the fact that the lovely and gracious Fiona and I are hip-deep in planning our rapidly approaching wedding, and all the little expensive expenses that go along with that. This rally takes place ten short weeks after the wedding. I'm sure that will go over well.

    Not to mention that while I recently acquired "Mid-Wife Crisis", my new to me Honda CRF 450x dirt bike, I have yet to actually learn how to ride in the dirt.


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    Mid-Wife Crisis and Me

    Though I daydreamed about it constantly way back then, as a little French Fry I was not allowed to own a dirt-bike. Instead, I made due with my little boy dreams and a Huffy BMX bicycle with playing cards in the spokes. My off-road ability can be summed up in one word - Nonexistent. And finally, if I am completely honest with myself, the only way I could consider myself in shape to ride 7000km in fourteen days is if round and doughy counts as a shape. Toasting every Best Day Ever with a large scotch is fun, but after a few years, it makes one a bit saggy in the ass.

    So I let all that noise echo around in my tiny skull for a while, then, to the little evil man in my head, I gave my four word reply: "Fuck it. I'm in."

    I told my soon-to-be better half my idea in the most general, vaguest terms I could come up with. "Yeah, it's just a little off road ride. It's only two weeks... Dan will keep me safe... Blah blah blah..." She's known me long enough to sift right through my bullshit, but she's also been around me long enough to know when she hears that tone of voice coming from my blathering word-hole that it's most likely already a done deal. She only had one stipulation - in NO UNCERTAIN TERMS would our honeymoon be in Australia.

    Period.

    Fair enough. Without giving it any more thought, I sent in some money, and a few days later I received this:

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    With that one little email, it is official, and everything changed, all at once.​
    #1
  2. frenchy750

    frenchy750 Work work work work work

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    With the Rally receipt in hand, I knew it was time to get serious. Even though a year seems like a lot of time, when your current state makes couch potatoes look fit, there's a long road ahead. First order of business? Drink a beer. My last beer for a long, long time. That's how I know I am serious. Somehow through my travels I have managed to inflate my skin to Sta-Puft Marshmallow Man proportions. That day I changed my diet to stop eating a ton of crap every day, cutting almost everything good out (except for the nightly Macallan toast - sometimes tradition is more important than fitness.)

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    MMMmmmmmacallan!!

    In addition to my radical diet change, I started an exercise regimen that I am still following to this day. Because I need a goal for motivation to exercise, my friend Pat and I have entered the Warrior Dash in December. According to the website, the Warrior Dash is: "A mud-crawling, fire-leaping, extreme 5k run from hell. Warriors conquer extreme obstacles, push their limits and celebrate with music, beer and Warrior helmets."

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    Evidently my next beer will be on December 3rd after crossing that finish line. Not sure what the hell a Warrior helmet is, but there will probably be a picture of me wearing one, hopefully not next to the dude grabbing his Warrior Helmet in the above picture. Before I got Dan's APC Rally email, I never would have even considered running a race, especially not one with flaming obstacles. Now it is a good interim goal on the road from fat to fit.

    So the fitness thing is coming along, and will continue to. That is half of the equation. The other half? Riding in the dirt.

    Last year, Fiona and I decide being responsible is overrated, so instead of saving responsibly, we blew all the money we were planning to retire with on a toy hauler trailer and two ATV's.

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    Mobile Desert Assault Vehicle with Retirement Busting ATV's.

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    The Mobile Desert Assault vehicle and assorted toys were the best investment we could've made, considering the economy spiraled right down the toilet, and the retirement fund we should have been contributing to would have lost at least the cost of all these fun vehicles. As my friend Scot once said, "For all you dumbasses that lost everything when the stock market crashed, I guess spending all my money on whiskey and women wasn't such a bad idea after all, was it?"

    Indeed.

    So my lovely bride-to-be and I started riding on four wheels. It was a welcome break from traipsing all over the world's pavement on Rain Cloud Follows, and we had (and still have) a hell of a time playing in the desert.

    Playing in the desert doesn't substitute for training for a 7000km rally. And, I'm just no good on four wheels.

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    I'm Standing On... A Yellow Submarine... A Yellow Submarine... A Yellow Submarine...

    Play time is over, at least for now. It's time to suck it up and learn how to ride in dirt. Other than my frequent wrong turn, off-road excursions on Rain Cloud Follows, I have exactly zero experience riding sans pavement.

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    Rain Cloud Follow Right Before Leaving The Giant Stranded At The Riverside.

    About a month ago my APC Rally dirt training began in earnest; we loaded the Mobile Desert Assault Vehicle with one four wheel vehicle and one two wheel vehicle, and the first of many, may training sessions began.

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    First Time Riding Mid-Wife Crisis

    The first session went well. I didn't stuff myself into a tree, I didn't need LifeFlight, and I almost had fun, once I relaxed and figured out how completely different a dirt-bike is from a street bike. I put 100 miles on Mid-Wife Crisis the first day, and another 100 on the second.

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    The second day we ventured onto the harder trails, and by the end of the day we were hitting the black diamond rated routes. I found that as long as I constantly told myself I could do something, I could do it. A huge hill? I can do it! And I did. A steep descent with hairpin turns and a giant cliff on one side? I can do it. And, I did. I only dropped the bike a few times, which I completely expected, with no damage to man or machine. Sleeping Beauty stayed behind me the entire two days with the first aid kit close by, just in case.

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    We never needed the first aid kit, at least not this time. I'm not jumping huge gaps and wheelying just yet, but I am getting more and more comfortable on my new toy.

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    The APC Rally covers a lot of dirt trails in Australia, but one portion in particular has my full attention - the 500km of giant dunes and fine sand of the Simpson Desert. Training for this part of the rally will take the Mobile Desert Assault Vehicle and company to the closest thing I've found to the Simpson Desert - Oceano Dunes SVRA for some sand riding and hopefully, a fair bit of crash-proofing.
    #2
  3. frenchy750

    frenchy750 Work work work work work

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    Sand.

    Even the word makes me itchy, never mind the idea of trying to ride a motorcycle in it. According to the site, the 2012 APC Rally will include a long-ish dash through the challenging, dry, and extremely large Simpson Desert. This is the first image that came up when I Googled Simpson Desert:

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    Notice the ripples on the dark side of this dune. That is called the danger zone. Get in there and steering will be all but impossible. The lighter side to the right is also called the danger zone. As far as I can tell, steering on that side will also be all but impossible. Ride in that fine powdery softness? What could possibly go wrong?

    Plenty. Even though I dreaded the idea, I convinced my lovely fiancee that some sand riding training was necessary. The closest ridable dunes to our house are located in Pismo Beach. Camping is allowed right on the beach, and the town of Pismo Beach is reported to be a pretty cool and laid back place to hang out at night, after getting all the sand out of my ears. Though we'd never been, it sounded perfect on all counts. So, after taking care of a few fun and exciting wedding details, we loaded the Mobile Desert Assault Vehicle with one ATV - complete with sand paddle tires, and one courageous dirt-bike - complete with no sand tires. I won't have them in the Simpson Desert, so why learn on them, I reasoned.

    As we finally found the well-hidden entrance to the beach, my anxiety grew. I said to Fiona, "You know what's going to happen, right? We're going to go out on this beach and immediately sink up to the axles in the sand."

    She innocently responded, "Why?"

    By my calculations, the truck and loaded trailer tip the scale somewhere north of 15,000 lbs. Dragging 7.5 tons of junk around a sandy beach seemed more and more like a recipe for disaster. Though the whole trip was my idea, it wasn't exactly too late to back out yet.

    The lady at the gate seemed friendly enough, though I detected the slightest hint of a smirk on her face when we started talking.

    "So, is this your first time here?"

    "Yep."

    Her smirk grew, then she suddenly displayed a face that I can only be described as being shocked with electricity. I'm sure she's seen this routine play out a time or two.

    "Ohhh... well.... do you want to... ummm.. maybe go down to the beach and... uhhhh... see what you might be in for? There aren't many people camping on the beach today."

    Fiona answered this one before I had a chance to speak. "No, that's all right. We drove all the way here, and we ARE camping on the beach tonight and tomorrow night!"

    I love that girl.

    The gate lady's face went from electro-shock therapy to a look of pity. With a slight shrug she said, "Suit yourselves. It'll be $20 for two nights camping. You can camp anywhere you like, as long as it is past the Mile Two marker."

    Jokingly, I added, "Two miles? What time do the tow trucks come though?"

    She didn't answer.

    Great. Only two miles of beach driving before we could camp. With a slight turn we left asphalt for the sand. "We're in it now!" I exclaimed. Then I thought, "Is this really going to work?"

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    As the sun slowly started to set, we crept out onto the beach, sticking close to the water where I assumed the sand would be more compact. To my amazement, we did not sink in the sand; all 7.5 tons just glided right over it. We passed Mile Marker One without incident. What was I so worried about?

    Just before passing Mile Marker Two we splashed through a water crossing, and suddenly we were in the clear. Camp anywhere you like! Woo Hoo! The beach was nearly deserted, with only a few trailers spotting the beach here and there. I found a nice looking space, and turned from the hard packed surface into the much softer sand. Within seconds we were no longer moving forward. Every touch of the accelerator pedal just made us sink lower and lower, shooting sand onto the roof of the trailer.

    Oh yeah, we were stuck, and stuck good.

    Within minutes, a ranger pulled up to our forward-momentum-challenged vehicle. Rolling down his window he said, "First time on the beach, eh?"

    I fought the urge to call him a dipshit, nodding quietly instead.

    Looking our ruts over, he said, "Well, it's not too bad. You can probably get out of this. I'll tell you what. You can borrow my shovel to dig your wheels out. Just stick it in the sand when you are done, OK?"

    "Thanks!" Every problem has a solution.

    Turning around to grab his shovel, he stopped then said, "Oh. Well. I guess this isn't your lucky day. My shovel isn't here. Where were you trying to get to anyway?"

    "Just out of this hole I guess. We're camping on the beach tonight."

    "Well, looks like you're home then. Good luck!"

    With that he drove off.

    I did call him a dipshit, only after he was out of earshot.

    Fiona looked at me, laughing. "What now, dear?" It's amazing how much 'dear' sounds like 'dipshit' in the right context.

    "I don't know. I guess we start digging."

    Before we could start the un-sanding process, a guy in a clunking and clanking Toyota 4x4 pickup approached.

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    I noticed his rear wheels weren't turning much until he nailed his accelerator. Suddenly we heard a loud BANG! His rear wheels started moving again, though out of sync with each other. I heard him laughing as he stopped.

    "You stuck?"

    What is this, National Dumbass Day?

    "Yup."

    "Did you air down yet?"

    "Did I what?"

    "Air down! You know! Let some air out of your tires! Ha! You have to let the air out in the soft sand!"

    It's National Dumbass Day, all right, and evidently I am the president.

    He jumped out of his Toyota, a small wisp of smoke coming from underneath. "Ha! Look at that! I thought it'd be funny to tow a Ford with a Toyota! Looks like that won't be happening today! Ha! Well, awesome! I was waiting for more stuff to break so I would have an excuse to fix this thing! Now I do! Ha! First, let's get you out of here!"

    In his hand he had a tire pressure gauge and a valve stem remover. Within minutes my tires went from firm to nearly flat.

    "There. Try that."

    The Mobile Desert Assault Vehicle was once again mobile, crawling right out of the sand holes that held us so firmly moments before. Simple! Air down! Ha!

    Learn something new every day.

    I turned us around on the beach so our door faced the ocean, which was all I'd been trying to accomplish anyway. Settled in our home for the next two days, I cracked open a brand new bottle of The Macallan, raising a toast to the beach, to my best friend sitting right next to me, and of course, to the Best Day Ever.

    I went to sleep knowing that even though I'd quickly mastered the art of driving in the sand, riding in the man-eating dunes would be another story all together.
    #3
  4. PackMule

    PackMule love what you do Super Moderator

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    Nice read! :lurk


    If you haven't already, get yourself a set of Neduro's Dualsport technique videos. :deal
    #4
  5. crash n bern

    crash n bern Long timer

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    You should take up writing, your a great wordsmith.

    As for the sand. Beach sand is harder to ride than desert sand. Grip the tank with your knees and don't fight the bars, let them flop around a bit. Speed is your friend. 50mph your wrestling but it's manageable, 60mph things get better, 70+mph you start floating on the sand and things are good. Under 50mph, forget it, you'll fight and struggle.
    Turning the fork compression a couple of clicks harder can help as well

    Forgot to mention, keep the power on all the time, if you have to slow down, downshift but keep the revs up. Don't back off the throttle.
    #5
  6. richo360

    richo360 Been here awhile

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    Excellent read Frenchy, will watch on with interest.

    However, one point.
    You say you drank your last beer until you complete the rally.
    Which is in Australia.
    Outback Australia (a lot of it)
    Where there are iconic outback pubs (hotels or bars you say).

    I believe, if you read the fine print of your entry form, it is a requirement you stop at each one to remove the dust from your throat.

    To do anything less is un-Australian.
    Get with the program. :)

    Please continue!
    #6
  7. frenchy750

    frenchy750 Work work work work work

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    Don't believe everything you read, mate!

    I meant last beer until I finish the Warrior Dash, where beer is the final obstacle. My kind of race!

    More to come... much, much more - including video of me floundering in the sand like... a beached flounder.

    Or something.

    Enjoy my folly as much as I am!
    #7
  8. APC Rally

    APC Rally Banned

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    In Australia we have pubs in places where Bear Gryls would not survive 5 minutes. In the rally I have actually marked the pubs on the rally track notes. If you make it you will deserve a beer.
    On a sort of serious note these pubs are where most of the blokes stay during the rally. They might camp out a couple of nights but a warm bed,big steak and cold beer is just to good to bloody refuse. To give some idea on cost a room is about $35 per night. Dinner starts at about 6-00 pm and finishes at 8-00 pm . Big steak ,chips and salad is about $20 .
    In the morning some pubs will have cereal and toast and coffe facilities where you just help yourself . Some will cook hot breakfast but usually we try to do about 150 km and then stop somewhere for brunch . This saves a lot of time. To do this you need to get filled up with fuel the night before. Sorry if this is boring stuff i just want to make sure you remember to get a feed it is very easy to still be in your riding gear at 9-00 pm having a little drink.
    #8
  9. Cummo

    Cummo Been here awhile

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    [​IMG]
    Marc Coma - First Name Spelled Properly - Beating Fellow Frenchman Cyril in the 2011 Dakar Rally

    Sorry, Dont want to be picky, but this picture is Jacek Czachor finishing 8th in the 2011 Abu Dhabi Desert Cahllenge, 1.09 minutes behind Coma.....its just very rare that you would see a picture of Coma with other bike tracks in front of him....good luck with your efforts.
    #9
  10. frenchy750

    frenchy750 Work work work work work

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    Apologies to Jacek Czachor. Image updated.

    Thanks.
    #10
  11. frenchy750

    frenchy750 Work work work work work

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    Instead of writing a bunch of nonsense about how my first ever day of riding in the sand went, I thought it'd be much more amusing to post a video of said nonsense instead.

    Enjoy!

    <iframe src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/9VD__ODYDDs?rel=0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" width="560"></iframe>
    #11
  12. frenchy750

    frenchy750 Work work work work work

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    The frenetic pace of work has slowed my on-bike training. Right now I am finishing up a string of shows in Liverpool. In the last month alone, I have flown over four quadrillion miles, with only fifteen quintillion more miles to go until the year ends.

    All that travel doesn't mean I have stopped training though. On November 1st, a few of my friends and I started a running contest called, creatively enough, 'Just Because.'

    Whoever runs the most miles in November wins the contest... well... just because.

    Full disclosure: I hate running. I would rather go to the dentist in a third world country than strap on a pair of Nikes and dart about on foot. I mean, that is exactly why motorcycles were invented in the first place, to stop all this senseless running around on foot, right? That's why evolution is a good thing.

    My other problem (some would argue one of my MANY other problems) is I am competitive. Highly. Though I don't like to run, I do like to win. Even a contest that exists... just because.

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    In the two months since I have been a 'runner' I have learned one thing about running. It's stupidly easy. All you have to do when you are running is not stop running. Simple.

    All this running around will have me completely prepared to shred the Warrior Dash in December. Yes, there will be pictures, videos blog posts, and all manner of goofiness on that day. Though it hasn't happened yet, in my mind I have already shredded that puny 5K race with puny obstacles, and already need a new, harder goal. So, while I was out running the other day, I decided my next challenge will be the Los Angeles Half Marathon in January.

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    Then, after that, who knows? Maybe a triathlon, if they allow water wings for the swimming part, and motors for the bicycling part. And possibly - though this one will take some finesse with the fiancee - an enduro race. Never raced a motorcycle before, so this idea is a little frightening, even to me. Surely the last place finisher receives some kind of trophy, or at least a booby prize, so I am assured of winning something!

    I've also been posing for pictures that make it look as though I have been working out. Here are a few photos from my latest photo shoot in Liverpool, UK.

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    Yes, I work out with tea kettles. All real men do!

    Thanks to Rob of Diverse Health and Fitness, Mark at Psycho Gym in Dallas, Dianne at Condition Kettlebells in Atlanta and of course, Pete at Bodyarmour Fitness in the Kingdom of Rhode Island. All these brave people have dodged flying objects as they attempt to train Mongo the Motorcycle Guy how to get stronger. It's a uphill battle for sure, but one that each trainer has fought courageously.

    In my tiny brain, all this running and lifting and swinging is my way of preparing for the stresses and endurance of the 7000+ km of off-road riding during the APC Rally in July. I've dropped thirty pounds since I started this regimen, and as much as I hate to admit it, I am starting to kind of like it. I haven't felt this good in years, and I can finally fit into my 'skinny jeans' again!
    #12
  13. troy safari carpente

    troy safari carpente Team f5ool

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    still no cookie... :deal



    [​IMG]
    Marc Coma - First Name Spelled Properly - Beating Fellow Frenchman Cyril in the 2011 Dakar Rally

    the photo (above) you replaced Czachor with is - in fact - a picture of Despres himself - on the KTM 690RR in the 2009 Edition of Dakar...

    here you go;:deal

    [​IMG]
    Marc Coma - KTM 450RR - victor DAKAR 2011


    Good luck with your preparation for the APC rally
    #13
  14. tehdutchie

    tehdutchie Long timer

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    Indeed, Nr 1 is number 2 and Nr 2 is number 1.This year anyway.. Next year chances are that Nr 2 is number 1 and Nr 1 is number 2.

    Right Troy?
    #14
  15. frenchy750

    frenchy750 Work work work work work

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    I give up.

    There, it's fixed.

    Back to regularly scheduled blather shortly.
    #15
  16. frenchy750

    frenchy750 Work work work work work

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    For some people, Black Friday means getting up at the crack of midnight to go stand in a ridiculously long line to buy Christmas stuff. As I learned on Thanksgiving night, my soon-to-be-wife is one of these people.

    I am not one of those people. My idea of shopping is Amazon.com. Besides, I couldn't go out at midnight to Occupy Wal-Mart and risk oversleeping, I had an appointment on Black Friday to drop my dirt bike off at Agent Smith Racing for some much-needed TLC.

    Always one to take advantage of opportunity when it arises (which, in this case was a disinterested, sleeping-in-late-after-surviving-Black-Friday soon-to-be wife) I decided before dropping Mid-Wife Crisis off at the doctor's office, I'd brave a different kind of Black Friday; Rookie Day at Hungry Vally OHV Park.

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    Mid-Wife Crisis


    Long weekends and holidays bring out droves of rookie riders, those people that maybe ride once a year. I have no problem with them directly, riding and family time are good and fun and important and all that, but tons of rookies clogging trails in their jeans, wife-beaters and skull cap helmets adds a certain element of danger that isn't present on a normal weekend.

    This ride would be my first solo adventure. Normally Fiona and I attack the desert as a team, fully supported in our Mobile Desert Assault Vehicle. There's nothing better than bringing all the comforts of home to the desert, but hauling the toy hauler to Hungry Valley didn't make sense for this one-day adventure. The fact that Sleeping Beauty is a nurse is also comforting, because I am still learning this whole riding in the dirt thing, and I do tend to fall off the bike more than I like to admit.

    I slapped all my protective gear on and headed for the hills, doing my best to dodge strafing runs from lunatic ATV rookies. I managed to break rule number one of desert riding - Always Carry Water - because my Camelback was safely packed away in the trailer, which was safely parked in the driveway. I also broke rule number two - Have A Way To Get Help If You Do Something Dumb - because my SPOT Tracker was next to my Camelback. Since I violated these important rules, I vowed to ride safe and slow (the slow part isn't really a problem for me) and stay close to my truck, where at least I had some bottled water.

    The trails were fun but packed, so after about thirty or so miles of near misses, I decided to take the track less traveled, and explore a black diamond rated 'motorcycles only' path that I'd seen a few times. Since Fiona rides an ATV, this trail is off limits to her, and since we ride as a team, the trail is normally off limits to me as well. However, my lovely betrothed was still sleeping at home, so this new motorcycle only route seemed like a good opportunity to test myself a bit.

    Sometimes I can be so dumb.

    The trail started off tight, and quickly climbed a huge hill. On one side was a cliff, on the other side were clawing tree branches trying to push anyone foolish enough to ride this trail down the cliff. Just to make things more interesting, giant boulders and deep ruts lined the trail at regular intervals. Five minutes in I had my only rational thought of the day - Turn Around - but as it always does, my stubbornness got the best of me. I soldiered upwards and onwards.

    I had my first good scare not too long after that epic decision. My front tire caught a jagged rock and nearly sent me over the edge. Once my heart rate slowed, I gathered my wits and continued following this goat path. The trail led off the sheer mountain face, directly into the next fun obstacle, a field of baby head sized boulders loosely strewn about. I set off to climb the rock field. It didn't take long for me to catch another big stone and before I knew what was happening, I was ass-over-teakettle on the ground. In my spectacularly graceful dismount, I managed to bash my knee on a big rock. I then learned I'd violated Rule Number Three - Wear Better Knee Protection. I also learned that hitting your kneecap really hard when you are all alone without water or a way to call for help can be a scary experience.

    The bike restarted, and I continued on this great adventure, quietly cursing myself as I rode forward and upward. When I started down this trail, I assumed - wrongly- that it would lead to the main OHV park in a mile or two. Yes, broken Rule Number Four is definitely Buy A Map! The tiny trail wound its way upward and onward, and I stubbornly followed it, tackling each obstacle as it came.

    I had another near miss when I hit a thick patch of mud. Mid-Wife Crisis ended up stuck in a thick bush, motor still running. I ended up on my back facing the sky, adding another bruise to my growing collection. "Buddy," I said to my ride as I picked it out of the thicket, "we've got to stop crashing!" The engine revved in agreement.

    One obstacle I wasn't prepared for was snow. After about an hour of splashing through puddles and bouncing over rut after rut, the trail simply ended in a blanket of white. I had no idea when I set out that I broke Rule Five - Bring Snow Tires Or A Sleigh. I rode through the snow, finding the trail again after about a mile.

    My odyssey lasted nearly three hours, for thirty seven miles, up and down and around I went, cursing myself for breaking all the rules and being lost like an Easter egg, worried about running out of fuel, knowing that Fiona would by now be wondering where the hell I was. Finally, to my great relief I spied a road below me. The trail worked its way down toward that road, and I finally relaxed a bit. That relaxation was short lived, because standing between the road and me was a very large, very locked gate. I knew I didn't have enough fuel or stamina to turn around and follow the trail all the way back to the start.

    Oh shit. I stopped to think for a minute. I realized that there had to be other dummies like me that had strayed off the beaten path, and I wondered what they did to get free. I followed the fence line, and sure enough, there was a point where someone (not me!) had cut the fence. I plowed through the gap and got on the road, breaking another very important rule - No Dirtbikes On The Road. This rule is a pretty serious one to break, but I had no choice. I cranked my CRF 450x into fifth gear and screamed down the road, praying that the rangers were too busy with the rookies to be out patrolling.

    My gamble paid off, and I soon found the back entrance to Hungry Valley. Thirty minutes later I was back safely at my truck, gulping water by the gallon. I called Fiona to put her mind at ease. Instead of putting her mind at ease, my call woke her up instead. Who knew midnight shopping could be so tiring?

    I took the now filthy dirt bike to Agent Smith Racing, where Paul, the owner, laughed at my miserable trail tale. Casually, he mentioned I should check out the U.S. Desert Racing Series, because they have a beginner's class which he thought I'd be perfect for. I miss the cutoff age by one lousy year, so if I made the bad decision to try actual motorcycle racing, I would have to run in the Senior 1 class. Bad decision? I am an expert at making bad decisions! Senior? I'd be the youngest senior in the field! And, the idea of racing a few laps on a well marked course does have a certain charm to it....

    In other news, the 'Just Because' running contest is nearly complete. With five days to go, it seems the very stubborn Frenchy has jogged his way to an insurmountable gap.

    [​IMG]

    The main reason for all this silly running, besides general fitness and overall fat loss, is I am competing in my first ever Warrior Dash this Saturday in Deerfield Beach, Florida. I think I am about as ready as I can be for this race. On Saturday I'll be armed with a video camera, and if all goes well (or, more likely, extremely badly) there will be a video posted shortly after the event.
    #16
  17. beechum1

    beechum1 Grimace Soup

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2007
    Oddometer:
    8,679
    Location:
    Not home in Tijuana
    Looking good. I'm starting from the same place in fitmess, but going for the baja 1000 next year. I'm following along....
    #17
  18. tdrrally

    tdrrally Long timer

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3,459
    Location:
    doing hard time in charleston,wv
    i do not have the cash for the dakar but the sandblast rally will do for me for now:D

    keep up the good work !!!:clap
    #18
  19. nry

    nry .

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,554
    Location:
    .
    :lurk


    Love the Dangerous parts of the dunes :D and your "blog" in general....

    Meanwhile as you prepare I'll sit here drinking beer and putting off my Prep till, Ooooooooo let me see, maybe till its way too late !
    I'll go back and reread your posts to see if you've mentioned it already but incase you didn't, where are you starting and what are you riding ?

    See you on the Rally

    Neil.
    #19
  20. richo360

    richo360 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2011
    Oddometer:
    935
    Location:
    Bottom of the barrel and still digging
    A month since last update and Frenchy is MIA.......
    Change of heart, bitten off more than he can chew, or scared? Lol
    #20