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Old 04-28-2010, 11:11 PM   #134
Bluebull2007 OP
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Joined: Feb 2008
Location: Oviedo, Espaņa
Oddometer: 5,261
Things got a bit out of hand last night, only got back from the embassy late. Im pleased to report though that I excersized some self-control and drank iced water while everone else was This meant I was still able to hit the gym again at 05h30 this morning. Tomorrow Iīm riding training for 4-5 hours.

I must also just take the opportunity to thank Hoofseun who kindly posted me a copy of Charlie Boormanīs race to Dakar dvd all the way from South Africa. Youre an legend and inspiration, Hoofseun. A good DVD to watch if you want to do the Dakar. [size=7pt]Iīm toying with the idea of a 2012 Dakar but lets not get too ahead of ourselves just yet, nę? [/size]

The 2nd DVD I thought reflected the true grit required to finish. Hmmm good mental food for the 2nd longest rally in the world after Dakar in 103 days time....The Dos Sertões . Click on the link below for more info.

SANTA HELENA DE GOIAS, BRAZIL - JUNE 24: Brazil's Thiago Fantosi in action during the first stage of the 2009 Sertoes International Rally, between Goiania and Santa Helena de Goias, on June 24, 2009. The 2009 edition of the Rally dos Sertoes, as the most important off-road race in Brazil is locally known, will cross over 5,000 kilometers of seven Brazilian states.

Anyway as usual, I digress

Day 2 Continued

We sped off into a big flat plain with dirt roads set out in a large rectangular grid. The Roadbook began to take us through a series of turns left & right, it was going to be easy. Just keep an eye on that ICO and count down the kilometers to the next instersection. Ha! Scottīs roadbook writing wizardry caught us again with our pants down around our ankles - Well thatīs my excuse and Im sticking to it! It read something like this: turn 90 degrees right on a 270 heading at 21.23miles, then left onto a 180 cap at 23.32 miles right again to 270 cap at 24.23 miles... Easy enough. But try that at 140km/hr, negotiating the odd rut & hole while youre checking distances. The mind switches off because its easy and before you know it youre watching that ICO counting fast... ...turn at 23.24 and ...... again at 24.23. This is easy peasy! But we only found out we were wrong about 3 miles later when we had to turn right and there was no road, no track, nothing going right. It truely stumped us. The lesson I got was dont watch that ICO too much and remember the correct mileage on the roadbook. We turned and watched the bike & sidecar tearing up and down the correct route about three miles away from us. It was humbling allright.

The rest of the loop was straight forward and re rolled back to the start of the 4th Loop, another 30 mile quickie.

Darin at the start of his epic 230 mile loop in preparation for the Sertões. Too far for us n00bs, we needed to get navigation sorted properly 1st, so we did shorter routes with more closely spaced navigational challenges instead.

Yours truely.

Marcus, Darin, & Dave (another Team Wild West Dos Sertões member)

Loop4 was the famous one that had an extremley dangerous bird-related hazard to negotiate. We set off together (see my first video earlier). I overshot (again) left turn off the road taking us cross country for a mile or two to another fast dirt road. I missed Marcus turning off behind me and thought he had crashed or something so I back tracked looking for him, to no avail. After a lot of time wasted I continued on my own. Almost instantly I noticed my navigation had improved. Iīve found that this to be a re-ocurring problem; when riding with others I spend more time looking at what the others are doing or getting caught up in the moment and I pay less attention to the road book/ICO/CAP. I was determined to address this going forward. The navigation once on the dirt road was easy from there on until I got to this point:

This "NO LEFT NO LEFT NO LEFT" should have been marked a triple danger.

Looking left, this is what you see.

I had rallying to do so I turned right, abandoning the Chicken Ranch brothel and the big sign saying "Whoa Pardner, you just went too far past the Chicken Rranch!".

I never did catch up with Marcus, but the route stopped at a gas station in town before shortcutting back to the starting point for the loops near the bivoac.

After a quick sandwich for lunch and a refuel I set off alone on Loop 6, I think it was 70 miles long and went into California. It started out great and quickly took me into a little donga (thats a South African term for a deep wash). Just then a Blackhawk helicopter came by very low. Its jamming systems scrambled my GPS until it was quite far away. Pretty impressive. Getting out of the donga involved a steep climb which I hit without too much commitment. I ran out of steam on a short vertical bit and plopped over pathetically. Getting the bike rubber side down and then out of a deep slot took it out of me a bit in the hot desert sun. Im simply not fit enough yet, and I found wrestling the bike pretty exhausting. I thought about finding another maybe easier way up, no-one would know. Then I realised that I couldnīt live with the thought of sneaking the easy way out from this challenge. If I canīt man up and prove it to myself on this little jaunt, then Iīd be fooling myself to think I am finisher material in a big rally. So I bit my lower lip and hit it again. This time I got up but nearly flipped over the bars in the process, but I made it! I mentally patted myself on the back and pressed on, with a nice feeling of confidence to boot.

The route snaked its way out across the same plain we rode earlier in the day but continued further into and over a range of hills before dropping into a wide plain with nasty wash running in the middle of it. The road book said "Follow the wash for 4 miles". So I rode into the wash and thrashed along it ignoring the other tracks leading out if it onto easier ground. Riding in a narrow riverbed is exhausting, theres lots of holes, driftwood, rocks and sand all mixed up. It was exhausting and very very hot and no cooling wind. The bike started getting hot again, but I made it through without incident. Later everyone had a good laugh when I told Scott that there were no fresh tracks following the route as indicated, apparently I should have followed the wash, not ridden the wash! Ah well. Thats why Iīm a n00b

The route eventually joined and followed a couple of miles of asphalt before taking me up a faint track leading up a steep rocky hillside, in the distance beyond the road you can just make out where the wash ran. The rocky track can be seen in the foreground.

The view from the top was pretty spectacular. Wahoo, Im in the wild west!

The route from there was awesome, but included about 15 miles of asphalt thanks to the protection laws of Cali.

Then there was some great dirt that took me past this.

It wasnt long before I found myself following more pretty taxing riverbed and then a single track with occasional whoops and washes to cross. I got to that point when you are past being tired. After hours of riding, I was in the zone, I suppose the same as a runnerīs high. I was one with the bike, I had found that perfect balance spot where you are riding effortlessly, just hitting the washes and flying over the worst. Riding in the deep sand at high speed was exhilarating. I wish I had the camera running but the battery was long gone by then. I felt on top of the world, I was loving it. I had this bike riding thing down pat. No navigational problems either, although it had been tricky at times. I was riding well and I hadnīt crashed in nearly two days.

The track continued for 10-15 miles and there wasnīt much in the roadbook in between. "This is what it must feel like on a big rally at times" I thought. Eventually the track made its way up a hill and became less sandy and quite rocky. I slowed a bit, perhaps not enough, and enjoyed the front end bobbing and leaping over softball-sized stones and rocks. It still felt great, sliding through some corners, even on the small single track. A couple of sharpish turns slowed me bit more and then next moment I found myself running out of road in a curve and bouncing about to get back on it. The back wheel twitched and my steed threw me off like a blob of jelly being tossed by a spoiled, petulant brat having a temper tantrum at his 3rd birthday party.

The stones just off the right of the track, my overconfidence & loss of concentration were the cause of my demise. The WR was showing me who really was the boss. It wasnīt me.

I landed hard on my left side, resulting in A swollen hip and nice purplish-black bruise all the way down my thigh. My ego was also brought down big time - A good thing IMO.

Relieved that I was basically ok, I turned my attention to the bike after its little shakedown.

It really wasnīt too bad, just a little scrape on the fairing and some barkbuster and handlebar stuff. Nothing serious. That was lucky. But when I started riding, I noticed the whole tower wobbling about. Not so good after all. A closer inspection showed shear damage to the flanges where the tower is bolted to the frame, the 4 bolts had all loosened, one was useless and two were turning on the nuts inside the steering column. Holy moly! I was still 15 miles out, how the heck was I going to get this back in one piece?

More coming soon....


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Dreaming of Dakar
Everyone has a max speed, 90% of that max speed is much safer and easier, and if that 90% speed isn't fast enough at Dakar, you enter the snowball. - neduro

Bluebull2007 screwed with this post 05-31-2010 at 12:44 AM
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