September 23, 2012
The primary focus of today was walking the remaining Special Tests. Days 1 and 2 are the same course and tests. Days 3 and 4 are new course and tests (but are the same for each of those two days). Day 5 is new course with its own Special Tests. Day 6 is the final moto at the Sachsenring race track.
We needed to go check out more of one of the tests on Day 1 that has a Trials type section and what is becoming known as the infamous mud section.
The start and finish is in a Trials park. At first glance, it looks kind of intimidating.
But the course weaves in and out of the obstacles so there really isn’t much of anything too technical. Josh was wishing he had his Gas Gas trials bike. It looked super fun.
I will admit, it was definitely one of the coolest and craziest looking tests. But this only the short part of the first section. The rest of the test weaves in and out of the deep woods (the same pictures I posted earlier in the week).
But the real part that has everyone talking is this mudhole.
The entire Finnish team was there checking out. Juha Salminen was giving them pointers and discussing strategy.
Earlier in the week, the ribbon on the right side was much closer. They have since widened it to try to provide alternative lines. They’ve also created an entire re-route. It circumvents the entire mud hole, but will of course come at the expense of longer time if you could otherwise get through the mud without issue. The U.S. team plans to have spotters there, to help riders on the best line selection. I was walking through one of the drier sections and easily sunk in over my boots.
I took a few pictures for the folks at home to see the types of course markings they will be following. Each day is identified by a color. Colored arrows indicate turns. Three arrows mean a turn is coming up, then two arrows means you’re getting closer, and a single arrow indicates the actual turn. A circle/dot of the same color means “straight”. A circle/dot with an X through it means wrong way. Riders have to focus on remembering what color dots/arrows they are following because after several days of riding, it is easy to get brain fade.
The arrows are posted on regular traffic signs, and on the side of the road, and right in town. It requires a rider to really focus and pay attention. They will be riding right on the city streets with other cars and traffic for a lot of the transfer sections. Then, around here at least, an arrow will all of a sudden send them right down what appears to be someone’s dirt driveway and then out across their corn field and into the woods.
We then drove to the other three tests for Day 5 (via the magic of GPS…..I seriously don’t know how anyone could navigate around here without one).
One of the tests is in a big huge farmer’s field again, but this one has huge fast sweeping corners. It doesn’t have a lot of off-camber, but is set on a hill. It looks like a ton of fun.
This was just outside the test.
Another test on Day 5 is set in a rock quarry (gravel pit). You drive right past the truck scales, into the gravel pit, and then it just weaves all over the place.
The dirt is total clay. It’s drying out nicely, but if it rains, it has the potential to be super snotty.
The final test walked is from Day 5. You really want to make it to Day 5 as the tests look super fun. Josh and I both agreed that this appeared to be one of our favorites. It’s a full-blown MX track, that then dumps right into a woods section that feels a lot like the Idaho City grass track (but tighter), and then out into a field for a grass track, and finishes at the MX track.
The jumps are kind of weird. They all have pretty abrupt faces, but they’re not very big. A rider will really have to scrub hard if they want to carry much speed into the jumps. The dirt is also a clay mix and will likely rut up really bad.
Then a hard left from the MX track into the woods.
The trees are tight so they’ve marked most of them right in the middle of the trail with these red/white markings. It looks like a sea of candy-canes and with all the criss-crossing ribbon it almost makes you go cross-eyed. Now go ride it at race-pace and don’t crash or hit a tree.
After the wood section is a grass track.
Then back into the track.
There was lots of nervous energy in the hotel tonight. Everyone was packing their Check Bags and trying to consume as much food as possible at dinner, despite nervous stomaches.
We were paid a visit tonight by a friend Robert who lives here in Germany. Robert read the blog about Josh’s ISDE experience on advrider.com (Robert goes by “Southest US Thumper” on advrider) and wanted to do something to help out. He asked what were some of the commodities we could use but couldn’t find here in Germany. He and his friend (John?...sorry) showed up with three cases of Gatorade, 4-5 boxes of Instant Oatmeal, and some other goodies.
The generosity and friendship of the moto community never ceases to amaze me. Thank you Robert! He and his friend are camping out and watching the ISDE all week long.
It’s time for sleep (if anybody can get some)!!! Riders minutes were posted tonight. Josh leaves tomorrow morning at 9:54. If you’re following any particular U.S. rider, you may be able see their times listed below.
Live results are available here, and should start tomorrow morning as soon as the first riders head out.
Oh….and for the record, a Renault mini-van tops out at 191 k/h (119 mph). The Autobahn is cool.