OK I have some catching up to do!
I pretty much have the same thoughts Oliver does on Telluride. It's very touristy and PACKED with people. ...if you need a t-shirt though, its the place to go; there must have been 30 t-shirt shops with in 10 feet of where we had lunch. I reckon they're priced pretty reasonable if the ole supply and demand thing really holds true. We were not t-shirt impaired however, so we never checked.
We rode around in the rain at .0002 miles an hour yielding to pedestrians and cross traffic looking for food for a while. As Oliver mentioned every food joint has a line damn near. We hit the back streets hoping for holes in walls or fast food, but nothing jumped out at us. The result was slight satisfaction with smelling up a fancy place- though a 60 dollar tab made sure they had the last laugh.
I had noticed prior to lunch that my side stand (which is AFTER MARKET, meaning KTM did not install it, meaning KTM is still perfect and I am to blame) was VERY loose, like 100 feet away from shaking the bolt that holds it loose. So because its an after market bit of kit, its got an allen head that isn't covered by the KTM tool kit. This resulted in a quick purchase at one ACE hardware and applying the correct foot pound of torque :P At that point, I figured i'd give it a quick once over and found a few other lose fellows here and there. All of these loose fellows were also last tightened (or not) by me, no fault to KTM. KTM is still perfect (if you're keeping score).
We were a little worried about the Telluride hipster police kicking us out of town for mucking up their main drag with tools and bike fixory. We drew a bit of a crowd from the t-shirt tourists. I must say, I felt pretty badass sitting there on the curb dirty as hell playing with my dirt bike while fathers of 3 drooled from the side walk behind us.
OK its time to go up Imogene... This is where the video Oliver mentioned starts, since I can't (or didn't...) talk you through the video, I'll write up my take on going up, kinda overlapping the video and filling in some holes. Since its late o'clock and the video is still uploading, you get to read first and watch later.
So as the video starts I had stopped to turn it on to make sure I could hear the *beep* and Oliver had kept going, so I scoot a bit to catch up.
Once caught up with Oliver we quickly get out of the trees on to some pretty serious cliffs. This is the longest most sustained cliffage we'd been on to this point. Most cliffs had been kind of fleeting, but here, we have steady cliff. Its pretty interesting to look over and see nothing. Early on Imogene doesn't throw too many ledges or tricky technical bits at you. The technical stuff seemed more spread out, especially compared to Engineer Pass. Engineer's technical section was fairly short and compact section over all. Imogene spreads technical bits out along its length. I'm not sure which I liked better.
Near the end of the video you'll see me have a silly fall. Oliver seemed to favor looser rock and keeping his tire spinning (always spinning!) instead of the larger amplitude (generally) fixed rocks on the inside. I liked the larger amplitude stuff, as it was fixed and allowed for a little wheel up action here and there. On the section where I fall I found myself on loose bits nearest the cliff (outside) and wanted the firmer section inside. As soon as I got up on the hard stuff my front wheel hit a loose premature baby head sized rock a little less than square. This caused my front wheel to bounce up and into the mountain side. I simply stepped off the bike and it was a light fall, a fall not unlike hundreds before it... except the hundreds of falls before weren't into rocky Colorado mountains. The tip of the shifter made contact with a rock and broke off. Fortunately there was enough shifter left that I could downshift easily and upshift with a little effort using my heel.
Not shown in the video is a large amount of cursing and a small tantrum before I figured out the heel shift solution :P We still have DAYS worth of riding left! I must be able to shift!
As I took off from my fall I quickly noticed my old "electrical" problem from day 1 had returned. Hell! I limp to a small flat area where Oliver and a few jeeps are waiting. We small talk while I figure out what on earth could be going on to cause my bike to stumble. I decide to remove the electric cables that I thought had previously been the issue from the equation with my knife. This didn't solve the issue, it was never electrical...
Originally Posted by child
A Long time ago...
...I top off my tank with a splash of gas (thats some literary foreshadowing for you high brow folk; bmw owners, Iím looking in your direction... ) and hit the trails. I hit all the steep bumpy inclines that caused problems yesterday with fury and vigor, problems solved! Huzzah! I'm shocked that it was electrical...
So this next section of Imogene (still not on video) was rough, mentally on me, and physically on Oliver. The ledges are getting bigger and clean lines more technical. My bike keeps stalling, and Oliver has a few touch and go moments. All of this stress is amplified by our new jeep friends who are now behind us waiting every time we stop. They're not in a rush, but their friendliness and desire to be helpful isn't working on me.
Oliver's biggest moment is going up a steep section with a few small ledges at the top, he hesitates 3/4 to the top, stalls and starts sliding backwards. All I can do at this point is stop and watch helplessly as my vertically challenged buddy struggles to keep the bike balanced in this awkward slide. After 6 feet or so of sliding, Oliver decides a little controlled horizontal action towards the mountain is much better than a lot of uncontrolled horizontal action away from the mountain; he dumps it mountain side. I immediately lay my bike down, it was too steep for any sort of kickstand action, and run up to Oliver to make sure he's OK and to help pick up the bike.
Oliver is now officially shaken, rightfully so. In his mind, he almost just fell off a cliff. His head was doing the Oliver patent pending "what am I doing here" head shake.
Watching the fall from behind, it was one of those "rookie mistakes" where you choose slow and steady over throttle and throttle. I watched him slide, and yes there was a cliff (really more a ~45 degree loose rocky mountain side), but he was a couple of feet from the edge; if he had fallen away from the mountain I don't think he would have gone over. I tried explaining that to him as he regained his composure, but for some reason he wouldn't listen, go figure :P At this point our jeep buddies pull up again and ask if we're OK. We are, Oliver is just coming to grips with if he should go on or turn around. The jeep guys used to ride dirt bikes in their younger years and start offering line suggestions. I start to get a little annoyed here, because I'm not entirely in agreement with them and I think they're kind of flustering Oliver's analytical mind as he's taking the situation in. Oliver decides to power walk the bike up and over the ledges, I walk along side to help balance and we get the 800 to the top of this little section successfully.
I walk back down to my bike I start back to thinking why oh why is my bike stalling. I pick my bike up and try turning the fuel from normal to reserve. I've still got more than half a tank, but maybe the pickup is clogged? I'm a little worried the bike will sputter as I go up the section Oliver just fell on and run into a similar issue. I start the bike, rev it real good to clear out any gremlins that may mess with me and up I go, bouncing over the ledges... waiting for stuttering... nothing happens! I cleared a rough section, no hickups! Fuel problem solved!!!
We tackle some more technical stuff, with the video camera off (I've forgotten it in all the drama). I remember it on just in time for the final charge up to Imogene Pass!!! I flip the video camera on and we're gone.
In retrospect, what I think (not confirmed yet) happened was fuel pickup issues in the tank while on a steepish sustained and bumpy climb. Flipping to reserve simply kept the fuel pickup buried while on normal it'd suck air from time to time as fuel was near the rear of the tank being sloshed.