Two Flat Landers, Colorado Mountain Passes on an F800GS and 640 Adventure.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by EnderTheX, Aug 21, 2010.

  1. child

    child poop is fun

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    OK I have some catching up to do!

    I pretty much have the same thoughts Oliver does on Telluride. It's very touristy and PACKED with people. ...if you need a t-shirt though, its the place to go; there must have been 30 t-shirt shops with in 10 feet of where we had lunch. I reckon they're priced pretty reasonable if the ole supply and demand thing really holds true. We were not t-shirt impaired however, so we never checked.

    We rode around in the rain at .0002 miles an hour yielding to pedestrians and cross traffic looking for food for a while. As Oliver mentioned every food joint has a line damn near. We hit the back streets hoping for holes in walls or fast food, but nothing jumped out at us. The result was slight satisfaction with smelling up a fancy place- though a 60 dollar tab made sure they had the last laugh.

    I had noticed prior to lunch that my side stand (which is AFTER MARKET, meaning KTM did not install it, meaning KTM is still perfect and I am to blame) was VERY loose, like 100 feet away from shaking the bolt that holds it loose. So because its an after market bit of kit, its got an allen head that isn't covered by the KTM tool kit. This resulted in a quick purchase at one ACE hardware and applying the correct foot pound of torque :p At that point, I figured i'd give it a quick once over and found a few other lose fellows here and there. All of these loose fellows were also last tightened (or not) by me, no fault to KTM. KTM is still perfect (if you're keeping score).

    We were a little worried about the Telluride hipster police kicking us out of town for mucking up their main drag with tools and bike fixory. We drew a bit of a crowd from the t-shirt tourists. I must say, I felt pretty badass sitting there on the curb dirty as hell playing with my dirt bike while fathers of 3 drooled from the side walk behind us.

    OK its time to go up Imogene... This is where the video Oliver mentioned starts, since I can't (or didn't...) talk you through the video, I'll write up my take on going up, kinda overlapping the video and filling in some holes. Since its late o'clock and the video is still uploading, you get to read first and watch later.

    So as the video starts I had stopped to turn it on to make sure I could hear the *beep* and Oliver had kept going, so I scoot a bit to catch up.

    Once caught up with Oliver we quickly get out of the trees on to some pretty serious cliffs. This is the longest most sustained cliffage we'd been on to this point. Most cliffs had been kind of fleeting, but here, we have steady cliff. Its pretty interesting to look over and see nothing. Early on Imogene doesn't throw too many ledges or tricky technical bits at you. The technical stuff seemed more spread out, especially compared to Engineer Pass. Engineer's technical section was fairly short and compact section over all. Imogene spreads technical bits out along its length. I'm not sure which I liked better.

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    Near the end of the video you'll see me have a silly fall. Oliver seemed to favor looser rock and keeping his tire spinning (always spinning!) instead of the larger amplitude (generally) fixed rocks on the inside. I liked the larger amplitude stuff, as it was fixed and allowed for a little wheel up action here and there. On the section where I fall I found myself on loose bits nearest the cliff (outside) and wanted the firmer section inside. As soon as I got up on the hard stuff my front wheel hit a loose premature baby head sized rock a little less than square. This caused my front wheel to bounce up and into the mountain side. I simply stepped off the bike and it was a light fall, a fall not unlike hundreds before it... except the hundreds of falls before weren't into rocky Colorado mountains. The tip of the shifter made contact with a rock and broke off. Fortunately there was enough shifter left that I could downshift easily and upshift with a little effort using my heel.

    Not shown in the video is a large amount of cursing and a small tantrum before I figured out the heel shift solution :p We still have DAYS worth of riding left! I must be able to shift!

    As I took off from my fall I quickly noticed my old "electrical" problem from day 1 had returned. Hell! I limp to a small flat area where Oliver and a few jeeps are waiting. We small talk while I figure out what on earth could be going on to cause my bike to stumble. I decide to remove the electric cables that I thought had previously been the issue from the equation with my knife. This didn't solve the issue, it was never electrical...

    So this next section of Imogene (still not on video) was rough, mentally on me, and physically on Oliver. The ledges are getting bigger and clean lines more technical. My bike keeps stalling, and Oliver has a few touch and go moments. All of this stress is amplified by our new jeep friends who are now behind us waiting every time we stop. They're not in a rush, but their friendliness and desire to be helpful isn't working on me.

    Oliver's biggest moment is going up a steep section with a few small ledges at the top, he hesitates 3/4 to the top, stalls and starts sliding backwards. All I can do at this point is stop and watch helplessly as my vertically challenged buddy struggles to keep the bike balanced in this awkward slide. After 6 feet or so of sliding, Oliver decides a little controlled horizontal action towards the mountain is much better than a lot of uncontrolled horizontal action away from the mountain; he dumps it mountain side. I immediately lay my bike down, it was too steep for any sort of kickstand action, and run up to Oliver to make sure he's OK and to help pick up the bike.

    Oliver is now officially shaken, rightfully so. In his mind, he almost just fell off a cliff. His head was doing the Oliver patent pending "what am I doing here" head shake.

    Watching the fall from behind, it was one of those "rookie mistakes" where you choose slow and steady over throttle and throttle. I watched him slide, and yes there was a cliff (really more a ~45 degree loose rocky mountain side), but he was a couple of feet from the edge; if he had fallen away from the mountain I don't think he would have gone over. I tried explaining that to him as he regained his composure, but for some reason he wouldn't listen, go figure :p At this point our jeep buddies pull up again and ask if we're OK. We are, Oliver is just coming to grips with if he should go on or turn around. The jeep guys used to ride dirt bikes in their younger years and start offering line suggestions. I start to get a little annoyed here, because I'm not entirely in agreement with them and I think they're kind of flustering Oliver's analytical mind as he's taking the situation in. Oliver decides to power walk the bike up and over the ledges, I walk along side to help balance and we get the 800 to the top of this little section successfully.

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    I walk back down to my bike I start back to thinking why oh why is my bike stalling. I pick my bike up and try turning the fuel from normal to reserve. I've still got more than half a tank, but maybe the pickup is clogged? I'm a little worried the bike will sputter as I go up the section Oliver just fell on and run into a similar issue. I start the bike, rev it real good to clear out any gremlins that may mess with me and up I go, bouncing over the ledges... waiting for stuttering... nothing happens! I cleared a rough section, no hickups! Fuel problem solved!!!

    We tackle some more technical stuff, with the video camera off (I've forgotten it in all the drama). I remember it on just in time for the final charge up to Imogene Pass!!! I flip the video camera on and we're gone.


    In retrospect, what I think (not confirmed yet) happened was fuel pickup issues in the tank while on a steepish sustained and bumpy climb. Flipping to reserve simply kept the fuel pickup buried while on normal it'd suck air from time to time as fuel was near the rear of the tank being sloshed.
  2. LittleWan

    LittleWan You can do it!

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    Haha, we had that happen with our rear axle nut and we didn't notice it until Moab :eek1
    Those Colorado rocks really bounce everything loose!

    I was reading your post to BigWan. He laughed and said that KTM is far from perfect, but you can lose half your bolts and still beat a BMW :evil
    (sorry, Oliver)

    Really enjoy reading all your thoughts and feelings as you go through the passes. Hope you were able to shake the friendly jeep people once you got through the tough stuff :D

    Great job, guys - I love that you didn't quit when the going got shitty.
    Make rocks your favorite!

    :lol3
  3. child

    child poop is fun

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    Haha, thanks littlewan (and bigwan). I'm pretty sure that KTM is perfect... let me get back to you on that :lol3

    Video is done uploading! Here you go!

    <object width="640" height="385"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/e9Bbi_QWVXI?fs=1&amp;hl=en_US&amp;rel=0"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/e9Bbi_QWVXI?fs=1&amp;hl=en_US&amp;rel=0" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="640" height="385"></embed></object>>
  4. Yooper_Bob

    Yooper_Bob Long timer

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    Excellent ride report! :thumb
  5. LittleWan

    LittleWan You can do it!

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    That video made BigWan late for work - we're kicking ourselves for missing Imogene!

    You guys look good :thumb
    nice helmet cam quality, too.

    Thanks for taking the time to make and post the vid.
    Man, don't you miss colorado??
  6. EnderTheX

    EnderTheX Dirt Rider

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    True, I am missing Colorado right now, especially since I should be writing a design review memo right now... Now you have something to look forward to when you go back! Next time we are there I will want to do Imogene again too.





    Nice video editing Chris! I'm gonna link it one more time in case anyone misses it from the bottom of the last page.
  7. Red Leader

    Red Leader It's The Wide Open Spaces

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    Nice trip u guys, its cool seeing a ride report like this and knowing the guys who are in the saddle or on the pegs in this case. Great RR.
  8. child

    child poop is fun

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    Copy that Red Leader! We need together some time soon, its been a while!


    Oliver's climb to the pass.
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    At the top.
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    Imogene Pass was a LOT of fun; this was the first pass that really made me (us) work for it. I really felt like we had accomplished something once we arrived at the top. Looking back, we had accomplished exactly what we came for, we were on an adventure!!!
  9. jefffrankphotography

    jefffrankphotography Been here awhile

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    I did most of what you guys did on two XL600Rs with my brother in 2003. It was the most scary and exciting time I have ever had. Black Bear Pass is not to be taken lightly. High altitude and those fricking steps! Anyone who is reading this...if you haven't done this trip DO IT. Don't wait for years and wish to do it just go out and have the time of your life. Thank you very much for helping me relive the colorado experience. I have a huge grin on my face.:D ...really, I do.
  10. EnderTheX

    EnderTheX Dirt Rider

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    Hey Cris! Good to hear from you, we should go riding locally soon!




    Hey Jeff, I totally agree!!! It is quite an experience. I think camping in the wilderness also adds a lot to the trip because you feel the weather, can stay closer to the passes and you don't have to pay for very expensive hotels. Next time we may try remote camping in the national forest instead of a campground.
  11. EnderTheX

    EnderTheX Dirt Rider

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    Here is another picture of the approach to the summit. This area was getting less rocky, the tough stuff was behind us. Still pretty steep in spots.



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    Chris is a little frustrated at this point, especially at his stalling issues. I think this is the spot where he switches to reserve and then guns it to keep going.



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  12. EnderTheX

    EnderTheX Dirt Rider

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    Further up still, I take a look back and can't imagine out luck. We are through the worst of it and the weather is amazing!!!!!!!!! :clap


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    A bit of snow lingers at the top. It has been a warm summer and we came at the right time to avoid all the snow. Honestly I would have enjoyed having to ride over a bit of snow just to complete the experience... maybe next year.



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  13. EnderTheX

    EnderTheX Dirt Rider

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    To catch up with Chris' pictures, this is my shot of him going up the last hill climb to the summit. We had been leap-frogging each other at certain points to get riding pictures and I think it turned out well.


    This is my favorite picture of the whole trip, the colors of the soil and amazing ride gave us a huge high as we approached the pass.


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    I take another picture looking into the valley from the same spot as the above picture. I can clearly see the trail in the distance... It seems an eternity from the time we hit the start of the trail till now, my sense of time is lost in the mountains, living only in the minute.


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  14. EnderTheX

    EnderTheX Dirt Rider

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    WE MADE IT!


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  15. EnderTheX

    EnderTheX Dirt Rider

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  16. OklaRider

    OklaRider Adventurer

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    Great RR. We rode some of the same passes in July. Reading your account of the trip makes me feel like I was there (again). The only pass we rode that you haven't written about yet was Stoney Pass, just south of Engineer and Cinnamon.

    Going back to Thoreau's Cabin east of Engineer Pass, according to the real estate add, it was built in 1994 and you can own it for only $649K.

    http://lakecitycoloradorealestate.com/15001-County-Road-20-a153865.html
  17. PDL

    PDL Adventurer

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    Oh Imogene you almost caused a divorce in my house. What a great video. I had my wife watch it and she started hitting me again!! She still questions my judgement. Thanks for the pics and video!!!:clap
  18. EnderTheX

    EnderTheX Dirt Rider

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    Nice, I bet July was really cool and there was no snow to hinder your ride. I'm still trying to find the perfect time to go where there may be just a bit of snow on the roads. According to the locals this is really hit or miss though...


    Believe me! Chris was foaming at the mouth to try Stoney Pass after I read the description in the book (it was rated a 5 difficulty when we did mainly 3 and 4 difficulty trails, only Black Bear was higher... a 6). We met a local rider on day 4 (still to come) who rode a badass bike, talked like a badass rider, and proclaimed that Stoney was a gnarly trail! They had also done the lost trail road (I think that's what he called it) and he had stories of large rocks and washed out trails.





    :lol3 I'm assuming your talking about the pass. It is scary at times but I usually concentrated on the trial too much to notice the "sure thing" death cliffs on the sides. Just tell your wife you want to start base jumping, or MMA fighting... maybe she will let you back to Imogene :freaky
  19. EnderTheX

    EnderTheX Dirt Rider

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    For now we need.... MOAR BIKE PICS!


    Facing North over the pass (direction we must go down).
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    Facing the way we came up.
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    Just a great pic...
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  20. Trl Rdr

    Trl Rdr Big Red Bird

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    Great pictures, I never take enough pictures when I ride. When I went over that pass last year it was raining and some lightning, I did not stop till I was half way to Oury :D