Dark Dog Moto Tour Part Deux

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by fredgilb, Nov 8, 2013.

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How long should video's be?

  1. Long, what's the hurry

  2. 10 min.

  3. 5 min.

  4. I have ADHD so keep it short

Multiple votes are allowed.
Results are only viewable after voting.
  1. fredgilb

    fredgilb Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    I'm back from another ... a little wobbly but still in one piece........ , so here goes the story of my second round of the Moto Tour. Part one is here. I had originally wanted to update this "Live" but the internet is pretty sketchy out there in "la France profonde".
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    I had some hard lessons last year. The weather had been awful too. So, I reasoned, what a pity to not put the lessons to use and hey, the weather could only be better right?

    Yeah, that was easy, talked myself into it no problem! Now, if you've followed this thread / story before, you may recall I went out and got what I felt would be the ultimate ride for this event. This year I was also armed with an indestructible GoPro mount from Unruly that was put to the test and I'm happy to report I have tons of footage to seriously strain your marital relations.

    So lets get rolling eh? [​IMG]
    Is all this necessary? Well, not the candles but I forgot the flip flops...

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    Roadbooks ready, check

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    Pre-flight, The choppers are going to China! This year I opted to ship from NY instead of Montreal. It seems you can now ship a bike uncrated from NY.

    I got to Paris 10 days ahead of the bike. But something weird happened in NY and the bike missed the flight it was supposed to take. Much nail biting ensues... I'm supposed to be at the start on Saturday and the bike only arrived Friday, wow, that's cutting it close guys.

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    This is the map of the AirFrance Cargo that's at the entrance . OK, go find your bike....

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    Everyone was nice as could be.. the customs people even took care of me during their lunch time, which if you know France is a BIG deal! I even got instructions on how to ride up the one way entrance ramp the wrong way to get fuel so I wouldn't run out like last year ("don't worry everyone does it"). Cool, off to the Fred Hotel.

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    This is the actual "fred Hotel" I'm very lucky to have a generous aunt in Paris n'est pas?

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    The tailor next door who has sewn the patches on every year.

    I had a week to tool around Paris before the bike got there. I kept in shape riding the rental bicycles around. It can be challenge finding one that works. Heading for the mother of all round-abouts!

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    Went to lots of museums, you know, even us gear heads need to broaden our minds occasionally?
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    The Egyptian sculptures amazed me. They seemed so modern. This one is 2000BC!
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    Is this how water taxis worked back then?

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    Beauboug museum, who say's bikers can't be cultured?

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    This my favorite place in Paris, the Jardin de Luxembourg. Magical. Hey, you thought this was about a motorcycle rally?.......relax we'll get to that. Soon.
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    Time for a little apperitif, non?

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    I came across this little shop near where I was staying. He's been there 24 years!
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    If you run out of floor space, why just use the desk!

    So it was finally time to hit he road for Saverne in Alsace. Four + hours of highway, wow, that was BORING even following Audi's at 100 mph.

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    Tech inspection. BTW, that's city hall.

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    The bike goes into Parc fermé after tech inspection.

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    Tunisian's! They were invited to experience the Moto-Tour ahead of the first Tunisian edition of the Moto Tour this year. Nobody was saying it, but, I had the feeling that they are looking into the (not to distant) future when it no longer becomes possible to have this event in France.
    Umm did U know France has the highest radar density in Europe:ksteve

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    Local color

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    Man in the middle is Marc Fontan the organizer of the Moto-Tour and an ex- motogp and endurance racer.

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    Opening ceremonies.........

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    Saturday Night, first briefing then party time!

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    A rare sit down lunch in the "solo's" tent. The guy standing in the back has ridden all 11 editions.
    #1
  2. IVAN38

    IVAN38 Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Veyrins , FRANCE
    I hope that you liked this adventure in "la France profonde"
    It's a pity that I was not able to come to see the race

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    The atmosphere in the dark dog is magic



    "
    #2
  3. fredgilb

    fredgilb Been here awhile

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    Rockland county, NY
    Salut Ivan,
    je crois que j'ai passé tous prés de chez toi en revenant vers Paris.
    yes, the ddmt may be addictive. It's unique.

    a un de ces jours...
    #3
  4. fredgilb

    fredgilb Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Rockland county, NY
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    Safety equipment check
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    Parc Ferme

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    Paddock in Saverne

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    Time to get this party started! But first a parade thru town. Glad I have a light clutch....
    #4
  5. GB

    GB . Administrator

    Joined:
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    57,519
    Location:
    Toronto
    Your first Dark Dog report was awesome!! I gotta do this, et je parle français courrament. Thanks for taking us along :thumb
    #5
  6. fredgilb

    fredgilb Been here awhile

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    Thank you!
    stay tuned....this one has some (i think)great video on the way.....
    #6
  7. fredgilb

    fredgilb Been here awhile

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    Well it's long but I hope worth it! Day one and two. Day two was a 760km. marathon.
    #7
  8. fredgilb

    fredgilb Been here awhile

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    This is the first Special stage. OK class, how many decreasing radius turns are there? I got an F on this one!
    #8
  9. NightShadow

    NightShadow Adventurer

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    This is really awesome.

    LOL - France doesn't have any straight roads.
    #9
  10. ricochetrider

    ricochetrider a certain something

    Joined:
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    Out There Somewhere
    :bubba

    SO in. Bring it.
    #10
  11. GB

    GB . Administrator

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    Good to see your little biff didn't cost you the bike or the rally... :lurk
    #11
  12. fredgilb

    fredgilb Been here awhile

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    Spoiler alert! See the preceding video first!

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    So far so good...........then....

    OK so I'm bummed. I mean jeezz crashing out of the first special stage. I'm up on the hill spectating. Chatting with one of the spectators. He's ridden the DDMT a few years back. We're grousing about how hard it is to go flying into special stages without seeing them beforehand which BTW is allowed. But most of us can't afford the time & expense. All the top guys do. There are videos posted that show the stage, but they are shot from a car. I've studied them but I've never found them to offer the slightest familiarity when the confronted with the real thing.
    I'm contemplating the possibility that I may actually not even be able to continue. He asks me what kind of shape the bike is in. I'm not sure as the marshals wanted me out of there for safety reasons before I could have a good look. Then next thing I know we watch another rider go flying into the woods. For a second I thought he had crashed into my bike he made such a trashing sound. The poor guy was a good 20 meters further down the hill and in real bad shape. He got a helicopter ride to the hospital. Since there was break in the action to retrieve the rider, he thought we should go and have a look. Next thing I know he's calling spectators over and they're dragging my bike out and onto the road. And damned if the thing fires right up and I'm on my way to a big round of applause. There's a good 75km to the check point and I'm almost two hours late, but hey I'm still rolling and walking too.
    The guys from the support station bandaged the front up, bike passed tech and my helmet was inspected, so I'm still in it. I think I can chalk this one up to over-exuberance, and not giving myself time to get into the rhythm of the road.
    Tomorrow is the day I was most worried about. 760km. As a result of my crash I now had a real late start time. 4:14 in the morning! First riders left at 3:00! Which means they got up at, well, you do the math:snore
    #12
  13. fredgilb

    fredgilb Been here awhile

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    My corner of doom. Here's a better way to handle it!

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    Post crash, local paper interview!
    Ahh, so I'm not alone! Some of the really experienced riders got caught out with this stage.

    The #1 has won it 8 times! The #405 Barbara Collet is super intense too!
    #13
  14. fredgilb

    fredgilb Been here awhile

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    Pre marathon prep
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    Ahh, le Roadboook. Can be a very time consuming exercise. And to spice things up, we are given the marathon roadbook only the night before. There's 15 or so pages to cut up, tape together, notate, and load.

    Saverne to Thonon les Bain. Leaving Alsace and going into the Vosges the Jura and Haut Jura. Fog is getting thicker by the minute. Ok, I can't really see where the road is going so I'll just follow the lines on the road. Wait, what did that sign say? "Absence de Marquage". Merde, you read right, no more lines on the road! OK, I'll just look at the edge of the road.......... Wow, I'll bet this area must look amazing if you can see it. I don't remember how long that went on for but as if emerging from a dream I found myself exiting the forest and arriving in St. Claude. Visually stunning setting nestled in a deep valley. Oh, and it was known as the goto place for handmade pipes, as in the kind used for tobacco.
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    The contrast to suddenly emerging from the forest to St.Claude was striking. Alright let's get going, still 350km to go!
    #14
  15. fredgilb

    fredgilb Been here awhile

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    They call it "scotch americane" I it looks like I'm gonna need a lot of it. That damage is the result of the bike starting to cartwheel and stopping against a small tree on the first specail stage. It looks like I'm gonna have to find some parts if I want to go home. The handrail that also supports the baggage is completely gone!

    When I was preparing the bike I modified the seat foam shape and I'm glad I did. I made it a little flatter. The wire is the original shape. I was able to sit there for 12 hours no problem.
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    More prep details;
    [​IMG] Full cargo mode and nice and shiney

    The bike is so easy to ride it really was a revelation compared to my old Monster. Just watch out for the seat height, my toes barely touch the ground! It's so, so embarrassing to fall over isn't it? The ABS works great. I could use it to gauge how slippery the road is....fun! Instead of tense........The Michelin Road 3 work great in the wet too. I never felt like I could just drop the bike right to the edge of the tire the way I could with the OEM Diablo Rosso's but then those are so sticky they're used up in 2K miles! Besides, Michelin is the sponsor so, that's what we had to use. My riding buddy Francois was on the Power3 and they definitely look like they had the edge in the dry. At some point he turns to me and says, we need to go faster because the tires aren't getting warm enough! Oh, OK, damn........The Haut Jura is really stunning. Beautiful mountain roads through dense forests. But the fog got pretty thick at times. Another skill I never get to develop in New York.
    #15
  16. fredgilb

    fredgilb Been here awhile

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    An observation. When I ride track days the control riders are always telling me not to waste my concentration quota on the back brake. What I learned this year is that on these kinds of roads it's VERY USEFUL to use the back brake. Here's the thing, when you enter a decreasing radius turn (which there are plenty of) too fast the tendency is to tense up and grab to much front brake. That just makes the bike stand up and your arms get too tense. BAD........(see video of special stage #1) it's much better to grab the back First. The thing you realize is that you were probably not going as fast as you thought, you were just taken by surprise. The back brake will help the bike turn and then if you have to, use the front.
    Merci François! :wave Sorry, I didn't know you guys all knew this, how come no one told me?

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    #16
  17. julesmt

    julesmt Adventurer

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    usually somewhere in Europe
    Nice write up. Eversince I saw the Moto journal clips I was intrigued by the ddmt (like you). Would it be possible to compete without speaking French? I speak german dutch and english, just no French.
    #17
  18. fredgilb

    fredgilb Been here awhile

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    Many speak enough English. You'd just need to learn a little French to follow the roadbooks. I found everyone to be super helpful.
    But beware, it's addictive!
    #18
  19. fredgilb

    fredgilb Been here awhile

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    The Marathon day went better than I expected. Aside from the thick fog in the morning the roads were pure joy. Fog is the worst because the water never beads up so it just stays there on the visor like syrup.
    After the last special stage, I got passed by Denis Bouan (8X winner) and Sébastien Lagut supermoto dude extraordinaire. I was finishing the first round and they were finishing the second since they had started much earlier. We're heading down this wet (as always) road:
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    I'm thinking, "wow, that's Denis Bouan, I should try and follow him. It'll be a master class with the best". So I catch up to them. I'm watching and I'm thinking "really? you can ride this pace on this WET a road?" He's sooo smooth steady and confident. Perfect lines using all the road when he can, never a mid turn correction, just locked in. Wow, we are freaking cruising! Just flying past everyone and everything. Then the turns start getting tighter and closer together and he's still going the same speed! Then I'm lying on the ground with my leg pinned under the bike. Class over. Another rider stops and frees me. Hmm...maybe after 700km. this wasn't the best time for an advanced class? Sorry, no video of this one. Back at the support station they are looking at me with a mixture of disbelief and wonder at how I manage to walk away from this stuff. My two shift levers are on repair rotation!
    #19
  20. fredgilb

    fredgilb Been here awhile

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    Part of the fun on the Marathon day is that you're required to do any repairs and maintenance by yourself. The tech's can give you the tools and instruction but the rest is up to you. Oh, and you have 1.5 hours max to do it.
    It's cool that they provided this cavernous gymnasium. The mats are strict enviro requirement. You can't have a drop of oil on the ground...ever! Must be hell on the vintage class.
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    The tech fellas are lovin' this. They get to watch us for a change.
    #20