finding religion in Gifford Pinchot

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by jesusgatos, Oct 27, 2008.

  1. jesusgatos

    jesusgatos fishing with dynamite

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    The people I ride with have been telling me about Gifford Pinchot ever since I moved to Bend. Everyone talks about GP with reverence, like it was a religious experience. Last weekend three of us from Bend hauled up there to ride with Tom Niemela and some of his buddies, and it was INCREDIBLE.

    For those of you that don't know him, this is Tom Niemela, of Black Dog Dualsport fame. He was our trail-boss for the weekend and lot of these are his pictures.
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    Two of us from Bend hadn't ridden with Tom before, and I wasn't sure what to tell him when he asked if we were up for this ride. I mean, I like riding tight, technical singletrack, but I didn't want to DIE out there. Mostly, I was just concerned about getting into a situation I couldn't get out of. Tom told me that we'd know within the first five miles whether I'd be able to make the rest of the ride, so a group of seven of us set out at about 10am on Saturday morning. From left to right, we've got: Matt Hockin on a KTM 300, Joe Fuller on a CRF450X, Brad Stevens a KX500, Duane Oakes on a CRF250X, Jesse Katz (me) on a WR250F, and Frank Noe on a Beta.
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    We burned through the first five miles and I wasn't having ANY doubts about this ride. The trails were awesome, dirt was perfect, the skies were clear, and we were all looking forward to the rest of the day. Here's a taste of what we were enjoying:

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    #1
  2. jesusgatos

    jesusgatos fishing with dynamite

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    First minor incident. Duane, why is your front fender strapped to your backpack?
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    By the time we stopped for lunch, we'd already ridden a ton of killer trails. In fact, the last section of singletrack we rode before we got to this spot was the most fun I've ever had on a motorcycle. It was a fast, flowing uphill trail (not quite a hillclimb) with these tight banked switchbacks and criss-crossing roots and... it was good. Real good.
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    View from the top.
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    Onward.
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    We ran into another group of riders. Nice bunch of guys. Looked like they were having a good time too.
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    Things got a little bit mucky as we descended. We ran into some snow-pockets and mud and runoff. Still having fun.
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    #2
  3. jesusgatos

    jesusgatos fishing with dynamite

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    Then I dumped my bike coming down/around a switchback and a few seconds later the guy behind me called out that my bike was losing oil. Shit, I'd cracked the oil-filter cover. So I coasted down to where everyone was waiting and set to fixing it. Tom was thinking that we'd need to abandon the ride, so he started looking at maps to figure-out how far we were from a road. Frank rode up ahead and told us that towing my bike out wasn't going to be an option. We might have to leave my bike there overnight and come back with oil the next day. But we were WAY out there and I wasn't thrilled about the idea of having to ride out on the back of somebody's bike, especially through the kind of terrain that we had just come through. I was determined to ride my bike out of there, and I was pretty sure that I would be able to fix it.

    Everyone was cool about waiting for me, but a few of the guys commented that I picked a cool spot to break-down. It was getting late in the afternoon by this point.
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    I had a tube of two-part epoxy (quick-steel or something like it) and was able to patch-up the hole pretty quickly. I used gasoline to clean the cases, and then used a hacksaw blade to score the cover before I applied the epoxy.
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    I waited a few minutes for the epoxy to dry and fired-up the bike so I could check to see how much oil I'd lost. I had only run the engine for about forty-five seconds to a minute, but nothing was registering on the dipstick. Uh-oh. Nobody was carrying oil. Someone suggested that the two-stroke riders were carrying pre-mix (so they could steal fuel from us). Oil's oil, right? Uh, right... What's pre-mix going to do to my engine? I didn't know. But I'd just done a bunch of maintenance on my bike to get it ready for this ride and it was running great. Pre-mix? Really? Well, I guess it's the lesser evil. OK, give it to me.

    SuperTech!?! FAWK. Adding insult to injury...
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    I put just enough pre-mix in there to get the oil level to register on the dipstick. Not leaking... yet. Will it hold? The next oil change isn't going to be fun (because one of the oil filter cover bolt-heads is under that epoxy). The last thing I did was check the weep-hole to make sure that the top-end was getting oil.
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    I transferred some gas to the two-strokes and then we were out of there.
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    Back at it, and still having fun. Bike's running fine.
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    #3
  4. jesusgatos

    jesusgatos fishing with dynamite

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    Starting to get dark.
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    Do you see a headlight on that KX500? We took turns riding behind the two-strokes to give them some light, and THAT was tough. I was getting pelted by the roost off that 500, and HAD to stay on his ass because if I dropped behind he was going to plunge into total darkness.
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    The 500 ran out of gas a few times, and after stealing a little bit at a time from Matt's 300, they finally both went dry. Still having fun?
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    Four of us waited out there on the trail, while the other three guys rode back to get gas. We were less than 10 miles from camp as-the-crow-flies, but you know how that goes. So we had no idea how long we'd be there. Things could have been a lot worse. Joe and Brad walked down to hang out with us for a while. Eventually they headed back to wait near their bikes and gear, and Matt and I made a small fire to keep warm while we waited for the guys to come back.

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    Three hours later, I was starting to get concerned that the guys that had left might be in worse shape than us. Matt and I agreed that if they didn't make it back, we should until morning and then double-up on the two four-strokes to ride out. We weren't all that uncomfortable, but I wish the trail was a little wider...

    Wait, who's that? It's Tom to save the day! Frank was filling-up the other bike.
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    All gassed-up and ready to go, but we still had to ride out. Joe had been a soldier on that 500, but he was worn-out so his buddy Brad offered to trade bikes with him. Brad VOLUNTEERED to ride a 500cc two-stroke at night without a headlight through Gifford Pinchot trails.
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    I don't know about the other guys, but Matt and I were having a blast. We'd strapped a flashlight to his front fender and Tom had brought back a Night Rider light that Duane had brought with him. We had to fight through a few sections, and there were a few of these:
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    #4
  5. jesusgatos

    jesusgatos fishing with dynamite

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    Eventually, we got back to camp and Duane had laid-out a righteous feast for us. He was cooking carne asada tacos and had rice & beans ready. Lots of food (and alcohol) were consumed and everyone finally crashed at about 3am.
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    Thanks for the grub Duane!
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    Thanks for the gas Frank!
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    These guys made a great team. Joe and Brad took off that night to drive home after a LONG day on the trail.
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    That's the end of Day 1. Four of us rode again on Sunday. Part 2 of the ride report still-to-come.
    #5
  6. Humunn

    Humunn Where Next?

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    Wow! Great report!!!:clap
    #6
  7. GB

    GB . Administrator

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    Fantastic action and carnage in the mountains!! Thanks for sharing your awesome adventure :thumb

    :lurk :lurk
    #7
  8. brad21

    brad21 We have a pool... and a pond.

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    :kumbaya
    :fyyff

    :dizave
    #8
  9. NewHampWoodsRider

    NewHampWoodsRider Tag Captor

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    Great ride report!

    Thats some Gnarly riding!
    #9
  10. wachs

    wachs just passin' through

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    Excellent!
    sorry I missed this one.
    #10
  11. IceCreamSoldier

    IceCreamSoldier suffering somewhere

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    Great report! Enjoyed reading about the teamwork. A fair amount of suffering is in order for a memorable time:clap.
    #11
  12. jesusgatos

    jesusgatos fishing with dynamite

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    Yeah, I'll bet you are...
    #12
  13. wachs

    wachs just passin' through

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    . . . sort of.
    #13
  14. jesusgatos

    jesusgatos fishing with dynamite

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    After Saturday's ride it would have been worth the trip even if we didn't ride on Sunday. But as tired as we all were, those trails were calling us. The dirt and the weather were PERFECT. Plus Tom's buddy Mike Law had driven all the way out there to ride with us on Sunday.

    My bike hadn't leaked a drop of oil and it was still running alright, so I threw-down an oil change and we all took our time getting ready. Our group had shunk by a few guys; Frank, Brad and Joe had all taken off, and Duane decided to hang around the camp because his bionic knees were blown-out.

    Tom told Duane that we'd be back in 2-3hrs and I was humming the theme song from Gilligan's Island as we set out for 'an easy 20-30 mile loop'. Riiiight.
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    Mike was riding a KTM 200 and he was fresh, so we let him set the pace.
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    That guy can RIDE. He was jibbing around and jumping all of the obstacles in the trail that I was trying not to crash over/into. Come to think of it, I've never met anyone with a KTM 200/300 that WASN'T a fast woods rider. Mike did mention that his last bike was an '03 WR250F (that's what I was riding). I'll bet that's it: He's not a better rider than me, I just need a new bike. Yeah...
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    More amazing singletrack. I knew that this was likely to turn into an all-day 40-50-60-mile ride, so I settled-in at a comfortable pace that I knew I could maintain indefinitely.
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    That turned out to be a good thing, because we ended up riding some more BURLY trails. We laid our bikes against the mountain here to check out the trail up ahead.
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    Tom asked each of us if we wanted to go on, and suggested that this might be a good time to turn around. The problem was, none of us knew what was up ahead and we were working our way up to a ridgeline. We all know that what comes up must come down, right? So we were concerned that we might get past the point-of-no-return and then have to come down even sketchier trails than we were climbing.

    We decided to walk up the trail a little ways to see what was in store for us, and we all agreed that we wanted to go on. So, that's what we did. We had to walk each bike through the first switchback, and then ride up the second one. Three of us spotted each rider, and all four of us were ready to jump out of the way if anything went wrong. It was a looong way down.

    Yeah, that's pretty burly alright.
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    Tom went first. Matt's chasing him because if Tom started to loop-it-our or lost traction and slid backwards we only had a few feet to catch the bike and/or rider before we'd lose them FOREVER.
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    Then Mike went.
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    Matt was up next and I followed last.
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    Yeah! We ALL made it and we each rode up the second switchback unassisted.
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    Great. We made it to the top. What's up ahead?
    #14
  15. 10guy

    10guy Been here awhile

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    Sounds like a great ride

    :lurk
    #15
  16. jesusgatos

    jesusgatos fishing with dynamite

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    We rode along the ridgeline for a little while and then started making our way down the other side of what we'd just climbed. We ran into a little bit of snow and muck, but the conditions really couldn't have been much better.
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    Tom snapped this picture of me riding over a log, but right after this shot my back wheel slipped sideways and I just about took him out. Ha.
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    We're in the middle of another GREAT ride, and then we run into this. There's a washed-out bridge, and we're NOT going back. Obviously other riders had found themselves in the same situation, because they had ripped up a couple of planks from the bridge and laid them across the creek.
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    Saturday's ride was all McGuyver (I used almost every tool, spare part and piece of survival gear that I was carrying), and Sunday we were on an Indiana Jones adventure.

    Alright, let's go check it out.
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    Damn, that looks COLD. Those planks aren't very stable on the rock where they overlap. They're not exactly level/flat either, and they're wet and slippery.
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    You do NOT want to get swept down-river.
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    Tom decided to walk his bike across. That was probably the smart thing to do.
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    But I had been warming my feet by a campfire on the side of a cliff the night before. There was no fucking way that I was going to get that wet less than an hour before it was going to get dark (and there's no telling how much longer this ride might last). Evidently Mike was thinking the same thing, and we both rode across.
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    Matt's the last guy in line this time. Why won't his bike start? He'd fouled a plug trying get his bike started while he was balancing on those planks. Shit. Now he's stuck out there.
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    Mike and I walked out and rolled him across to the other side, and then Mike helped Matt switch-out his plug real quick-like. Shit, it's getting dark again and the two-strokes don't have headlights. Wait, didn't we just do this yesterday?
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    After they got Matt's bike running we had to ride up the backside of the big rock that you can see in the background of some of these pictures. It was steep, slick, and off-camber, but we all made it. Onward and upward.

    That's all the pictures, but the ride went on. More good trails on the way back.

    Towards the end, I was on auto-pilot and I gooned-it while we were riding through a little ravine. Missed a shift. Oh-noooooo. I hit neutral and fell into a creekbed. The bike landed upside-down and I had to lift it overhead to get it back on the trail. Matt thought that was hilarious. All I could think was that if we had been somewhere else I would be dead. We'd ridden through a lot of these ravine's where the trail was washed-out and you had to wallride from one side of the ravine to the other. Super-fun, but man, the consequences...

    Duane was ready to mount a search party by the time we got back (right around dark). We sure made the most out of that weekend and Gifford Pinchot lived up to all my expectations. All-in-all, we rode less than 115 miles last weekend but we had to work for them.
    #16
  17. gunnr

    gunnr optimsm

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    EPIC ride, you never forget those. thanks:thumb
    #17
  18. CJohn

    CJohn Adventurer

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    Looks like you guys had a great ride.-lots of challenges around everyturn :thumb
    #18
  19. cedric

    cedric Been here awhile

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    Looks like some great trails. Wish I was there right now.
    #19
  20. WaywardSon

    WaywardSon Long timer

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    Hell of a ride in beautiful country. Looks like you guys had a blast.

    Thanks for the report.
    #20