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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by PackMule, Jul 25, 2006.
Those are definetly Rossi's
Hummm all that story is pretty well documented by our host Packmule or Pakawamule, hummpfff Pawasakimov ahhhhh F***.
Just annoying you Packmule, people will certainly recognize a frenchy in that mud and water world that is yours. I was almost put in jail at the custom because of all the mud i was trying to pass without a permit
Saturday dawned with cloudy skies and the threat of thunderstorms later in the day. Ned left the house early, 950 perched at the back of the van so he could pick up the food for lunch (36' sub) and drop it off at the clinic site (henceforth to be referred to as the Wasteland).
Running a few minutes late, as I always do (I blame it on the baby these days), the crew were assembled at Dunkin Donuts when I arrived. I grabbed a coffee and a few croissants (seeing as we had french canadians with us, I even attempted to pronounce it correctly) and made sure that everyone's emergency contact info was correct.
We headed over to the Wasteland (curiously devoid of rednecks and quads at this early hour) and Ned got things started.
Most of the drills centered around body positioning and control control (if that's a phrase). Ned would talk us through, then demonstrate, then we'd give it a whirl.
The Day's Participants: (If you're in the witness protection program, lemme know and I'll change your name)
MP40Man (DL1k, Greg)
Beez (Brad, KTM RXC)
JMartin (Jay, KLR650)
Ciampa (Keith, F650 Dakar)
GetMeDirty (Keith, Big Bore Dr350)
And along to help were:
Airhead (Jeff, 640)
K2Ride (Daniel, 950 GO!!!!!!!!!, Disco Boots)
Mr Roboto (Ned, 950)
Just so you get the full effect of Daniel's ski boots and leather jeans:
One of these years we are going to have a "normal" Spring / Summer and you are not going to remember how to ride terrain that does not create a wake.
By the way, perhaps you should buy a fan boat and get it over with!
Good to hear from you again.
P.S. I presume you watched the Moto G.P. race the other day. Horray for Hayden!
Neduro's control over the KTM was impressive. And pointed out why I cheat and have a little bike.
At some point, MP40Man's shifter lever broke on the V-Strom. Jeff attempted a quicksteel repair, but the forces and lever design didn't lend itself to that type of repair. Thankfully, GetMeDirty lives just a few miles down the road, and Jeff, Greg, and I set off for a more substantial fix.
Just around the corner, we rode into a monsoon. Soaked to the bone in moments, we wondered if the same deluge was hitting the wasteland...? :huh
I ensured that Keith's german shepard didn't eat the repair crew, while Jeff and Greg go to work.
Mr. Fixit, and another satisfied customer.
We returned to the wasteland to find that indeed, they had gotten as drenched as we had. Good. Misery loves company.
After lunch, Neduro decided that maybe there was something to this little bike theory, afterall. Who knew there'd be a market for clapped-out KLR250's?
I shuttled the van over to our ending spot with Daniel, while the rest of the crew went to the sand track for a lesson. (If anyone's got pics from the sand, please post 'em up).
When we got back to the sand circle, we found Ciampa trying to perfect his alternative to the Camelbak...
And Greg thought he could get better traction by stashing some of the sand in his V-strom's skidplate...
I have a few from the sand pit although none of anyone riding. In fact I was too busy doing laps to take photos. Ned commented on how much fun I was having riding in the wet sand, my SoCal roots were showing through.
Ned buries the 950.
Then demonstrated how to un-bury it.
GetMeDirty and Ciampa practice their technigue on a sandy hill.
Ciampa emerges, blessed with new riding skills.
No, the halo is just from the 99% humidity.
Thanks for the sand track pics, Beez!
I know Greg will protest otherwise, but this pic well illustrates the difference in ground clearance between the V-Strom and the other bikes.
Throw in the suspension, geometry, and weight, and that bike becomes a real handfull on anything worse than a dirt road. Greg gets the hero-of-the-day award for muscling that thing around, and demonstrates the notion that you can get just about any bike just about anywhere (within reason). It's the difference in effort required that adds up.
(Again, I know Greg will dissent, and say that any shortfalls were his own, and not the machine's. Good riders always do.)
No sooner had we set out for the trail ride, than the heavens opened up in furious downpour. The safety glasses that I had selected today were doing better than the fogtastic goggles of yesterday, but looking behind me, others were not so lucky.
The first leg of the trail ride was class VI (discontinued) road -- turned river. Visibility was near zero, and partway through the stretch, Ned advised me that several of the group were ready to call it quits and head back for the van.
After a lengthy discussion, we decided to loop everyone to the van, rather than try to split the group and have the van escorts attempt to find the main body back on the trail. It continued to rain, like in the Bible, all the way to Raymond, where the van was parked.
We garnered bizzare looks from passersby as we stood around in the pouring rain shaking hands and swapping a last few tales of the day. When all was said and done, only 5 of us were left to return to the trail.
Beez, GetMeDirty, Ciampa, Neduro, and myself set out toward the slickrock section that we had hoped to use for the climbing/decending drills. WTF, I figured; we couldn't possibly get any wetter than we already were, right? :dog
At the first traffic light, I asked Ciampa if he felt comfortable on the Class VI we were just on. I love that stuff, he replied. Sweet. Instead of taking the pavement up to the slickrock, we trailed it most of the way, with a few dirt roads thrown in for good measure.
Even in the rain, traction on the rock proved to be excellent.
After playing around on the slickrock a bit, we hit a bit more class VI on the way to the powerlines. Since the group was small, and working very well together, I decided to check out a section of the lines that I hadn't been on yet; potentially disastrous with a group, but these guys proved well up to the task.
Parts of it were rocky knolls. Inbetween, it might have been a bit wet. Maybe.
Everyone made it through without trouble, tribute to our newfound skillz.
Ned and I contemplated what challenge to throw at them next...
We kept following the lines, toward the section that I'd been on before -- Rocky Hillclimbs.
I didn't get many shots from this section, because, well, I cleaned the whole thing and it was a long hike back down. When I did get back to the midpoint, though, Neduro was hung up on what looked like a nasty root. Only when I scrutinized it (wondering how a root could stop a 950 on the power), I realized that it was a 1/4" copper grounding cable from one of the towers. :eek1 Ned said that it felt like he'd just done a tail-hook carrier landing when it grabbed his bike.
A few pics from the general area.
Keith (Dirty Keith) had a spectacular "flying W" dismount (as Ned would say). When he popped up out of the brush, it took me a second to figure out what the hell he was holding in his hand...
The calvary was quick to help.
We looped around to another great water crossing (Neduro was starting to wonder what the hell we had roped him into -- ain't no water crossings like this where he usually rides).
GetMeDirty (or clean, in this case)
Happy to be on the other side.
A few more hillclimbs, some rolling ridges, a few ledge dropoffs, and we were outta there! The rest of the crew missed a great trailride, but I admit it would have been taxing with the bigger group, especially given the weather conditions.
It's miller time, baby.
Thanks for a kickass day one, guys. Day two still in the works!
There's no place to start but with how much I enjoyed being a part of the whole thing. Everyone was a blast to hang out with, and everyone had an unerringly positive attitude toward the whole thing that was great fun even when it was pouring rain, even when the water was over their front wheel, even when a blinker had just given its life for the betterment of learning.
So, cheers to that.
And, this would never have happened for any of us without PackMule's help. Nate- Thanks. It was a ton of fun for all of us, perhaps most of all me.
When I saw what PackMule had in store for the trailride, I was worried. This was some challenging stuff, especially for the big bikes. As it happens, I shouldn't have worried- people were very good about knowing what they should and shouldn't attempt and setting the bar at the right height for themselves, and I think everyone got an appropriate level of challenge.
Especially on Saturday, when the rain was coming down sideways, and the first portion of the trailride was more like white-water rafting than motorcycle riding. The group thinned out a little as the afternoon went on, and as our numbers grew less, we got into some pretty difficult terrain. Everyone was doing a great job, especially Ciampa on the F650.
Great pictures, Nate- I'll get my camera downloaded here shortly and you can steal from that...
you guys needed diving gear not riding gear!
I took your advice and got in contact with Tim Morton from Baja Bound and I'm booked for a pre-ride in December. If that goes well I'll do the 500 in June. They will set me up with a race ready XR650. Both Tim and Jen seem like real nice folks.
Lot's of work to do before now and then. I'm psyched though! I'm probably getting in over my head, but that's how I usually learn. I have been practicing all the drills you taught us, and they have really helped me become a better rider.
Breaking on all of those steep hills wore my brake pads to the bone. I went in to Max BMW yesterday to replace them and while I was waiting I took the HP2 on a long test drive. Man is that bike fast! I almost traded in the Dakar, but I'm not sure I'm ready to spend that kind of money. Now it's haunting me.
Nice ... looks like Ned's added "water crossing technique" to his class ... ?
Was this guy with you? Great report.
I'm glad to see Ned doing this now. I had the pleasure of being on his pit crew last year when he rode the Baja and he's one of the nicest guys I've ever met. Pretty damn good rider, also!!!