ZX6R VA Mountain Run and Volunteering at MotoAmerica VIR

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by beerand, May 9, 2016.

  1. beerand

    beerand Adventurer

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    I’ve been riding motorcycles for about 4 years. I took my first long trip on a 2012 Triumph Bonneville 3 months after passing the MSF course and riding away on the new bike. I did NC to VA, WV, PA through the mountains and then on to NYC and back to NC. It was an amazing learning experience.... both good and bad.

    This trip definitely isn’t going to compare in terms of mileage (and isn't exactly 'epic') but there are a lot of firsts in the works here:


    #1 I’ll be camping the entire time - I’ve only camped a handful of times and never with the bike.

    #2 I’ll be doing it on a ZX6R - I’ve taken it up to the NC mountains but that was just a one day ride where I stayed in a house and basically just did there and back to see if I could even do it. This’ll be the first proper multi-day ‘tour’.

    #3 I’m going to my first motorcycle race - The VIR round of the MotoAmerica season.

    #4 I’m volunteering all 4 days of the race (Thurs - Sunday) - First motorcycle race; first moto race volunteering.


    The Ride:

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    #1
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  2. beerand

    beerand Adventurer

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    What will fit in a Kriega 30L:

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    #2
  3. beerand

    beerand Adventurer

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    And after:

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  4. Tejas99

    Tejas99 Adventurer

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    Let's do it!

    In
    #4
  5. beerand

    beerand Adventurer

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    Yesterday I started getting really anxious about the trip. The plan at the moment is to leave Raleigh NC after work tomorrow and head to Staunton VA for the night so it’s getting close. A hundred things I don’t have or could have / should have done better or might not be prepared for started bubbling up in my mind. No GPS (actually have never had one on the bike), no phone mount or power (for phone to do GPS), S20 Battlax’s with 4600 miles on them (though the tread still looks good), do I need more clothes?, do I need different clothes?, I’m wearing a waterproof jacket that’s pretty heavy (3 season’ish) will I die of dehydration from sweating like mad?, will the tent leak?, no tire repair kit, wish I had a steering damper, wish I had different boots. But really the biggest stress was the weather. It’s calling for thunderstorms every day and the severity of the forecast seems to go up and down as the trip gets closer. I keep imagining riding through a downpour and arriving at a campsite to try to set everything up all while in the middle of a monsoon. I picture the bike falling over in mud b/c the kickstand sinks. I imagine the tailpack being flooded and the tent leaking. I’m no stranger to rain and I honestly don’t mind it that much (if it’s not the entire ride) but the camping part and the unknowns were what was doing my head in……..


    Then I woke up to a beautiful morning. Skies just a little overcast but the air crystal clear. Rode into work and the bike felt amazing. The day started with one of those rides where you feel like the bike is just an extension of you. And the anxiety melted away. It may rain, and the tent may leak and my stuff might get drenched but it’s gonna be an adventure and it’ll be a new experience and I’m gonna live it with that perspective (Doesn’t that sound nice? Let’s hope that’s the reality of it :) ). Motorcycling itself is a lesson in compromise. We compromise stability (2 wheels vs 4) and shelter (from the elements) to experience exactly those things. That instability let’s us experience the forces of leaning into a turn and the lack of cover let’s us experience the environment we’re moving through in a way that’s impossible in a car. You smell the road, you smell the tree’s (or concrete depending on where you’re riding) and you feel the bumps and imperfections in the road. You hear the road and the cars and the wind. The lack of 4 wheel stability makes your senses go into overdrive and that alone makes the experience of a ride different from anything else.


    31 hours til take-off
    #5
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  6. beerand

    beerand Adventurer

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    Forecast at the moment for Staunton VA tomorrow night (rain and fog - AWESOME!):

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    #6
  7. Miles Prower

    Miles Prower n00b

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    Nice RW&B tube sock.

    Subscribed.
    #7
  8. beerand

    beerand Adventurer

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    Been having the hardest time getting absolutely everything packed up. I still had a few 'necessities' that weren't in the Kriega that I didn't know what to do with. I have a 20L Kriega too but stacking that on top of the 30 would have been ridiculous (yes, I did try it anyway). I'm also trying to do the trip with no weight on my back. I'm taking a backpack but only for very lightweight things and so that I have something at the track to take smaller bits back and forth from the campsite if needed. I packed and re-packed 3 or 4 times and was getting super frazzled. My wife walked in and said "why don't you find a way to wrap the tent and tarp up and attach it to the outside of the pack?". My first thought was 'blah blah blah, ok, whatever'.........


    ..... then I actually thought about it for 30 seconds and realized it was a great idea. Can't believe I didn't think of it. Thanks Jill!

    Freeing up the space from the tent and tarp gave me just enough room to get everything in. Locked and loaded! Oh, and I also found out a great friend from Boston is gonna come down on Sunday and we're gonna run back through the mountains Sunday, Monday and some of Tuesday!!! Now that's a serious rider..... Boston to VA and back!

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    #8
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  9. beerand

    beerand Adventurer

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    Got out of work a bit early..... I'll make it to my campsite with daylight to spare :) (hopefully) Last minute checks and we're outta here

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    #9
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  10. beerand

    beerand Adventurer

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    Some jitters as I headed out. It was hot and sunny and I was sweating from getting all the gear on. The bike felt like it was sagging a bit with the extra weight on the tail so I stopped at the dealer. They firmed up the rear shock and the bike felt a lot better. It took a little time to get used to the gear on the bike and I had a little more weight in my backpack than I wanted. I had a few moments of panic about the whole trip!

    Once I got on the road the jitters went away. 10 minutes out and I’m already on rural back roads. Getting away from a city is instant calm. Its like walking out of a room where the music was blaring. Focus is easier and it can feel like you’re mind only then began to even work again. It’s a great feeling.


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    The obligatory fueling up shot:

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    #10
  11. beerand

    beerand Adventurer

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    #11
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  12. Voyager II

    Voyager II Been here awhile

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    Nice. You going to hit the “Tail of the dragon” and the “Back of the Dragon”? VIR should be great. Going there to see the historic sports car races later this month.

    Be safe!
    #12
  13. beerand

    beerand Adventurer

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    Yesterday I was having all these zen moments and was stopping every 10 miles to take pictures of the bike. The ride so far was super peaceful. Basically a bike photoshoot that just happened to be moving north. Since I don't have gps that I can see, I travel by memorizing the next three turns and then stopping to check for the next three after that. It’s a double edged sword in that its adventurous but also a gigantic pain if you get lost too many times. It definitely doesn't work well if you want to get somewhere quickly. I wasn't in a hurry exactly but getting to the campsite w daylight left was a nice thought.

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  14. beerand

    beerand Adventurer

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    After the 10th wrong turn of the day I stopped to check google maps again and re-orient. The tail pack was strapped down perpendicular to the pillion seat and one end was sticking out further on one side than the other. This kept making me think it was slipping off one side so I kept adjusting it and cinching it down when I’d stop. So I cinch it down this time and turn to look down the road. As I’m turning I hear a noise and turn back towards the bike to see it now laying on the ground.


    I’m confused and angry and stunned all in the same moment. I’m sure people handle it differently but I was devastated. It’s definitely an intense feeling of failure. I picked it up still in shock. The mirror casing got ground up a bit, the clutch lever got clipped, the fairing got ground a bit and the cover on that side got a few scratches. Nothing seemed major but in my mind I’d just destroyed it. The first intense emotions didn’t last long. I know bikes get dropped all the time and the parts are all replaceable and that people all just make mistakes sometimes but it didn't feel good……

    Then it started raining…..

    Then I hit fog…..

    Then I hit a traffic jam where people were actually standing outside their cars…..

    Then I passed my exit…..

    Then turned around to come back in the traffic jam the opposite way……

    Then I reached the lovely Shenandoah Valley Campground……

    At night…….

    7 hours for a drive that's listed as 4…..

    (no pictures yet of the damage, it’s still too soon)

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    #14
  15. beerand

    beerand Adventurer

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    Last nights dinner:

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  16. Buckee

    Buckee Scott

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    Had that for dinner before, not bad with the right beverage to wash it down...
    Good weather's coming!
    #16
  17. beerand

    beerand Adventurer

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    Not a lot of space in the tent but slept like a rock. It was the weirdest feeling when I finally laid down and closed my eyes. It felt like I still had all my gear on and I had the sense of motion. A pretty disorienting feeling. Not a ‘bad’ feeling but nothing I’d experienced before. Felt good that the idea of camping at all with the bike was actually working!

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    Woke up to a clear morning. After climbing out of the tent I saw a couple rabbits. Didn't think much of it until I saw a few more. And then a few more. And then a few more. They were all over the freaking place. There must have been 100 rabbits running around this campground. Rabbit apocalypse is coming to Virginia (a fitting post for friday the 13th)

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    #17
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  18. beerand

    beerand Adventurer

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    not bad at all
    #18
  19. beerand

    beerand Adventurer

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    Thanks! Not sure where we'll head after VIR to be honest. We'll see soon enough.

    The classic car races sound awesome!
    #19
  20. beerand

    beerand Adventurer

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    Another vicious furball

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    #20