7 summits on 2 wheels...

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Gambito, Oct 23, 2019.

  1. Gambito

    Gambito Ecuador Bike Rental by Sleipner Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2018
    Oddometer:
    32
    Location:
    Ecuador
    The 7 summit project (highest summit in every continent) is on its own an expensive goal to accomplish for a common mortal, and is hard to digest to spend so much money for an adventure like this. This being said, the plan is to ride as cheap as possible. That means most nights camping (no hotels have been booked so far), motorcycle repair and maintenance by myself, logistically cheap in the mountains and when possible, self-guided to the summits. Basically following the advice of respectful adventure blog sites such us www.advrider.com and some friend’s advice on blogs like www.avvida.co.uk

    596B62FF-5A7F-4A93-A563-F4D94E4D981C.jpeg

    I sincerely envy the freedom that adventurers I’ve read have of just taking off. Unfortunately in my case as with most readers, time is a major constraint due to occupational responsibilities. Therefore, the adventure takes a different approach. Every leg has to be done in a timeframe, fixing all the issues on the way with limited resources.

    Let me tell you a bit about myself:
    My name is David Garces and my life wasn’t much different of many people. I come from an old fashion family in Ambato Ecuador, where my dad was the ultimate gentleman and my mom is an amazing woman, cherish, caring, lovable and, that swears when dad is not around. I graduated as a mechanical engineer in Quito, where, to do my wages, I used to work as a guide to tourists to the Ecuadorian Andes.

    1E45FCE6-3006-44A3-8665-82D51F3CAF66.jpeg

    At home, we had motorcycles since I was 14 which we could take out only on day time, helmets were optional. In 2006, an Oil company recruited me the same week I graduated to work abroad, starting like this my thirst for traveling. When I turned 30, I managed to buy my first motorcycle. A KTM RC8 of the first models. Back then I was living in Aberdeen UK, and driving for the first time on the left side of the road. With permanent rain on a motorcycle with 156 HP to the back wheel and fitted with semi slick tires, it was a crash course on riding skills.

    Whilst still working for the same company, I climbed 3 out the 7 summits and also started to race motorcycles. Finishing 3th in the nationals in 2014 and 2015, and first place in the Panamerican championship that same year in Peru with a Ducati Panigale 1199.

    893EDCCF-BB0C-4B19-8DA2-121665AF1C8E.png

    9FDCB139-93BF-4ED7-B07F-F0A21A9EB148.jpeg
    Later in 2016, tired of many things not going well, I decided to quit my job, got divorced and started to travel. Loving every day I could ride my motorcycle, in 2017 decided to fund with other partners Ecuador Bike Rental by Sleipner, as it was only logical to be driven by a passion, and that I still had to pay bills.

    This riding idea begun when talking to a good friend of mine, I told him I would love to join all three passions in my life: Motorcycles, travel, and mountains. The idea of riding far away and then climb up as high as possible to “see” where you came from and where you are heading was so appealing. Unfortunately, my friend passed away on a motorcycle accident, and his premature departure emphasized the urge to put a start date to this adventure. Life and death are so unpredictable not to take chances.

    My first leg of the project will take place to Aconcagua and Mount Vinson departing this end of November. Being the closest to my hometown Quito Ecuador, it seemed the smartest way to start, even though the logical ascending order in mountain complexness is not respected. It will start this November 25th and I just hope I’m not starting this thread too early. Preparations on the motorcycle (KTM 1290 Super Adventure R) has been ongoing for a while now and have some material to post. All my material I have accrued along the years in the mountains, so its a bit old, but reliable. The only thing new I’ll be trying is the riding suit, a reax ridge.

    I promise I’ll keep this blog with the bits and pieces of the riding mostly and if at some point, you find yourself at the throne with nothing to read, well... I hope this would do for you. Will try to keep it as interesting as possible.
    #1
    Foiler, Herman1, knight and 7 others like this.
  2. Gambito

    Gambito Ecuador Bike Rental by Sleipner Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2018
    Oddometer:
    32
    Location:
    Ecuador
    The motorcycle setup...
    So,

    I have to be really thankful on this one. . . the company sponsoring me with a bike allowed me to have a brand new KTM Super Adventure 1290 R. They knew I had to ride fast and long days to accomplish this goal in the required time, and so they had me going with one of the best machines out there. I would have been happier with a Suzuki Vstrom 650 xt or aim as high as a Honda Africa Twin from their fleet, but instead got this monster and all I feel is the responsibility and joy accumulating.

    The bike has it all, from bidirectional quickshifter to one of the most sophisticated ABS systems out there made by Bosch. When we got it out of the KTM dealer in Quito, I still couldn’t believe it.

    First things first. We had to do some stuff to the bike (not that it needs it). So this is a list of stuff we put on:


    Item:

    1 inch handlebar raisers to 2.5”

    1 x air pre-filter dust protector

    1 DNA washable air filter

    KTM dongle socket

    Kick stand platform

    Grip warmers

    5 mm thick skid plate

    Tyres:

    Stock Pirelli Scorpio Trail front and back (I’ll be taking a set of Continental TKC70 with me)

    Syrus3g GPS tracking device

    Headlight mesh protector

    4 Gallon gas Jug attached to the rack

    Custom made luggage rack

    View attachment 1957904

    With all this, the first thing to do was to take it to KTM del Ecuador workshop and work along with the people that really knows of the matter. Willy Malo, the owner, opened his doors and taught me everything I needed to know about the motorcycle repairs. We basically stripped the bike to place the GPS tracking device that the people from Ecuador Bike Rental by Sleipner uses normally in their units. The tracking device allows you to have all sorts of info for monitoring purposes, which is a relieve. It tells you if the bike has been pushed without ignition, if the bike has been dropped and you haven’t been able to pick it up after certain amount of time, (meaning that something is really wrong), and if the bike has been towed.

    To install it, we had to disarm the whole gas tank and under the surveillance of Willy and the KTM trained technicians. I took the opportunity for Willy to show me all the tricks and must-know about how to service the bike myself, from washing the air filter, to fully service the gas pump.

    The heated grips was a 10 minute job with a straight connection to the main computer.

    The handlebar raisers was a must. As riding standing up being over 6 ft can be quite tiring and made a noticeable difference.

    The catalytic capsule was also removed. The air filter and the pre filters were pretty straight forward to install. Despite the fact of having to remove the Gas tank, it was nice to see the cylinder heads and the injection body just on top.

    Then, we have to custom made the mounts for the saddlebag and an extra large luggage rack for the big duffel carrying everything on the expedition. The saddle bags decided for the run were the 35lt GIVI Gravel-T GRT709, and as for the duffel in the back, we went for a North Face of 80 lt. We made it in such a way, that it would fit perfectly with the GIVI frames to lock the saddlebags to the frame, and with reinforcements straight down to the passenger foot pegs to be able to carry more weight than normal.

    View attachment 1957914

    The whole system, including the supports in the back was made of 7/8” and the rack was done on 3/4” pipe 2mm thick and coated with electrostatic paint. The luggage rack was designed with extra room to hold the big duffel and the as jug to avoid this one to change place or to slide backwards. Harold, an experienced mechanic designed the whole thing welding every piece outside of the bike. Hard work but he managed to pull it perfectly taking advantage of the whole structure of the bike. He’s really talented and experienced on ADV big motorcycles.

    A 6” PVC pipe was allocated in the opposite side of the exhaust to house the 4 season tent used on the ride and up in the mountain.

    View attachment 1957919

    I’m only waiting the skid plate to be imported as the original one is plastic. For the time being with all the toys installed, is time to test the beast and smooth break-in its engine.

    View attachment 1957920


    Engine Break-in.

    Having to break-in a zero mileage engine is an honor. So I’ve been really careful about it. Not surpassing the 6500 rpm that states the manufacturer for the first 1000 km. Funny enough though, on 6th gear and at 6500 rpm, the 200 km/h mark was reached with no effort.

    View attachment 1957921

    Ecuador is a happy country with twisty roads across the Andes all the way from the Amazon basin to the Pacific Coast. And this is perfect to test the motorcycle’s overall. A bit more in detail in the next post
    #2
    chudzikb and DesertRatliff like this.
  3. DesertRatliff

    DesertRatliff Tinker Tinker Ride Ride

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,839
    Location:
    Durango, CO U.S.A
    Awesome! Good luck. I'll be following along.
    #3
    Gambito likes this.
  4. Ladybug

    Ladybug Bug Sister Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2005
    Oddometer:
    15,828
    Location:
    Spokane Valley, WA (the dry side of the mountains)
    I like your description of your parents. Your goal of the 7 summits is fascinating and I will be following along and cheery you on.

    :lurk
    #4
    Gambito likes this.
  5. Gambito

    Gambito Ecuador Bike Rental by Sleipner Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2018
    Oddometer:
    32
    Location:
    Ecuador
    Sorry for taking too long. Time caught up too quick to send updates, but here is the next one, project started.

    To do long rides, it means so many things to people. To most, is a space with no time where you have a life ahead to be involved with the history of this planet, its cultures and geography, and simply be in two wheels, taking the best of their lives to live a wonderful adventure. To me, attached unfortunately to a timeframe, it has to have another purpose, an objective, and an end. One thing is certain. From the riders I have met on the way, few of them with years on the road, simply there isn’t right or wrong way to do it, only different. Around 5:30 am, I was farewelled by my family. My parents decided to come up to Quito to spend few hours together and my girlfriend is always present. After a good breakfast that would last for quite some time throughout the day, we hugged and took off. There wasn’t much to say, as this has been around my head for almost 7 months now and everybody knew. But even so, I could see in my woman’s eyes a deep feeling of sorrow, but the bike is packed and warming up, and this Christian was not meant to be a tree to shade always the same place.

    B8AC4618-8A6E-4744-9CEE-811CE9130E6C.png

    I went over the list many times, but still while riding, doubts would assault my head every now and then, as I keep on thinking how heavy this lady’s ass had become. Overall, its about 40 kg of luggage in the rear axle and obviously the motorcycle’s dynamics feels so different. Even when hit the sweet spot setting up the suspension for compression, Rebound and Sag adjustments. The big duffel in the back seats almost entirely in the pillion seat rather than the subframe for better distribution creating a nice support for my upper body, and the saddlebags on the sides are evenly loaded. Still, a heavy lady to handle at low speeds.

    6AC72F5E-A590-4FC0-9E6F-71275E00C1CC.jpeg

    My route today started from the north in Quito, via PanAm route. We’ve been scouting routes for new tours for Ecuador Bike Rental the last three years, so its safe to say, that I know Ecuador fairly enough and my adventure would start few meters before the border between Ecuador and Peru. So decided to throttle it and arrived to the border in 6 and a half hours later. Yes, I was speeding a bit but was so eager to save time where I could.


    Crossing the Andes down south to Colta was a bit chilly but had the pleasure to see the shade of Cotopaxi sisters Illinizas still in the dark bathed by a full moon in a cloudless sky, i was allowed to see the early workers at endless plantations on the side of the road, and the fresh Andes air coming down the mountains. Descending to the Coast side with a day getting warmer, I kept on riding to La Troncal and el Triunfo towards Huaquillas, the border city. Once there, crossing La Paz (peace) bridge, made me feel funny just to remember all the wars that Peru and Ecuador have been involved in until almost the end of the 20th century.

    9CFF5AE9-C2DD-4440-A82F-E5B50E3C094A.jpeg

    At the border I was basically the center of attention. Feeling a bit uncomfortable with the unearned fame, I thought i would take pictures with the people around, but as I was walking away from the bike to start the paperwork, I realised that the famous one was her, not me. The paperwork itself was straight forward. First, you make a line to exit the Ecuadorean border and get a stamp on your passport, then another shorter line to stamp the entry in Peru. Once with the two stamps in place, an insurance called Soat has to be bought. Mine cost me usd 30 for 30 days in the country. Then with this done, you approach to the customs office to get your riding permit valid and sealed. The overall process took less than 40 minutes taking in account that Ecuadoreans don’t need visa to go to Peru. The long part of the line was due to the Venezuelan migration taking place down south. I humped on the bike thinking if it was the right move not to exchange US dollars (the local currency in Ecuador) to Peruvian soles with the people there. But i was correct not to. As I learned further down, if you use your credit card, you save money and don’t loose as much as with the crazy exchange rate services fee. So far, I haven’t exchanged once. And speaking of credit cards, the best way to go is to have VISA.

    1A86B273-389D-4A43-8D6E-16818345C325.jpeg

    The next destination was Mancora. No hotels were booked and my intention was to fully camp for most days to the end. So found myself a piece of land that in IOverlander stated people camped before, so made up the tent, cooked something and crashed. I didn’t know why i slept so well, but when i woke up the next morning, there was two other tents nearby and a slight smell of weed coming from them. I guess that breeze relaxed me a bit. Then I asked a place called Tito’s camp if I could use their shower and they allowed me. Also placed my sticker along with the people riding there.

    This is what my first camp night looked like:

    1CAE3C6D-AFC5-4372-A804-1988D7289D1B.jpeg

    8E0BB7C2-C29A-4D4F-90DD-9D81BB1D2028.jpeg

    I’m riding everyday, and try top catch up as soon as I get to have some wifi around.
    #5
    knight, td63, Amphib and 4 others like this.
  6. haystack

    haystack Just ride

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2007
    Oddometer:
    9,257
    Location:
    Jersey Highlands
    It might be a tough ride to Vinson Massif.:augie
    #6
    Gambito likes this.
  7. Gambito

    Gambito Ecuador Bike Rental by Sleipner Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2018
    Oddometer:
    32
    Location:
    Ecuador
    As far as I know, its either too complicated and too expensive to ride the motorcycle at the beach in Antartica. My idea is to leave the bike in Punta Arenas on the way back from Ushuaia.
    #7
  8. jeepmedic

    jeepmedic Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 30, 2017
    Oddometer:
    22
    Location:
    Cashton WI
    Be safe out there!
    #8
    Gambito likes this.
  9. Gambito

    Gambito Ecuador Bike Rental by Sleipner Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2018
    Oddometer:
    32
    Location:
    Ecuador
    Sorry for being too lost. Will update this one a bit. So after Mancora my rush was to reach Lima. I was running late for the climbing pre-opening season in Aconcagua. So PanAm it was all the way down the road. It has its perks though, having the Pacific Ocean on your side with those cliffs, so relaxing that sometimes is hard to keep focus on the road.

    344B6B39-A926-4E8D-A2AF-7326CE541790.png

    It was foolish to think that my asphalt Pirelli would do any help in the sand, but the itch in my neck had more weight, and got myself buried, twice. I simply didn’t want to unload the bike to get me out of there, so decided to push and make a use of the engine’s power which in this case it wouldn’t do much of a difference anyway. All the TC lights in the dash started to blink as Xmas tree but got me out of it. I was planning now to get to Chimbote, since I lost so much time playing in the sand.

    B6DC4177-3EA0-4EC1-81CC-15806DEFA31D.jpeg
    738A2655-E7BA-41C3-A13E-28B2D7C7D318.jpeg

    The ceviches in Peru are one of those things that can fix any bad day you had, and enhances by far any good riding day. Finished today too tired to continue riding. At this point I’m barely having an idea of how demanding this project might be. But still looking forward to see what tomorrow comes with. The only thing I would like to avoid if possible is entering Lima at traffic time, although i was told that starts at 7 am and ends at 10 pm :S.
    Also started with the laundry. Made the use of the hostal sink to wash things up and I got myself an offshore laundry mesh bag, so the idea is to put the wet clean clothes on top of the duffel to dry them on the way. Have few clothes and no time to wait for it to dry. With the use of IOverlander i managed to find a pretty nice place where to stay the night for 40 Soles (Around USD 13) bfast included!
    #9
    boristhebold, knight and chudzikb like this.