Tony woke us at 9am. The local bikers had returned as promised with 1.5 litres of hydraulic fluid … and a cameraman from the local paper. With so much fluid Tony decided to drain the other fork and replace the oil in both forks. Terry and I went out and bought some fruit from the market. We probably havent eaten enough fruit and veg on the Sibirsky Extreme Project to date.
Here's a last look at the Vanino Port:
By 11:30 all was packed and we hit the road back towards Lidoga and then onto Komsomolsk. We knew the road conditions well - the first 80km from Vanino was asphalt, and had a petrol station at the end of that 80 km stretch. Then the dirt started. Down into big valleys and up the other side. It was very easy on the eyes and the only drag was getting the dust from behind trucks.
Every 20 km or so I would slow down and make sure everyone was still with us. 20 km before the half way cafe, and the boys were not behind me. I retraced 15 km where I found Terry with his second flat front tyre in 2 days.
Terry was pretty slick with flat tyres. He doesn't bother taking the wheel off, and breaks the bead with his hands. Tony and I were impressed. But despite all of that, it still took a total of one hour out of the riding from flat to all packed and ready to roll again.
After that hour delay I was keen to push on and get a drink at the half way cafe. I was attempting to catapult myself past a slowish car while on a wooden bridge and things went horribly wrong.
Traction on the wooden bridge was very different to the gravel. It was much slipperier. The back wheel lost traction on the wood while I was accellerating hard in 3rd gear and flicking the bike to one side to overtake the car as the bridge was ending. The bike fishtailed wildly from one side to another as I transitioned from the slippery wood to grippier gravel and it felt like I was riding a bucking bronco. After the first kick or two I realised I was going to lose it, and it was going to be a bad fall.
I went down on rough gravel at about 60-70 km/h. To my own surprise, I was able to pick myself up straight away and signal to Terry that I was down. The bike was facing backwards, and had a small oil leak from the generator cover. Sliding on the gravel had punctured the engine housing slightly. I looked myself over. My right arm ached around the elbow. The cordura outer of my jacket had been worn through at the elbow, but the inner protection layer had done its job. Similarly the motocross gloves I was wearing had worn thru but only just. I had nothing to show for it but an aching arm and some very light scratching on my right wrist and elbow.
Terry took out some epoxy metal putty and patched up my engine housing while I went back to the bridge and cleaned myself up in the cold stream. 20 minutes after the fall and we were all back on the way to the cafe.