Year 2 of riding LAB2V on the big GS Adventure. Last year 3 of us rode our GS's together and 2 of us made it the whole route. All the talk was this year was going to be nothing like last year, it would be long days with lots and lots of sand. This news prompted me to go about prepping a little different; bike set up (take less shit, upgraded suspension, new 21" Woody's wheel) and lots of practice days riding in sand. Wow, I got more than I bargained for in the 2012 version.
The plan started with 4 riders, 2 GSA's, 990 KTM, and one 690 KTM. That plan aborted and now it was just me and Jnyrav and his 690.
The morning started out great, nice and warm, eveyone loading up roll charts
Johny Rav and I headed out hit the dirt and were hauling ass, light sand and some small whoops but nothing real bad. We made great time and pulled into the first checkpoint ahead of our schedule. Headed back out to the route and the sand and whoops got a little more testing and I pushed a lttle too hard ... got crossed up in a whoop and down goes the GSA. Windscreen toast and torsion strut bent to the tire
No less than 4 ADV FF's pulled up for a laugh as I had the real wheel pulled off and banging on the strut with a rock. CA Stu put out a "somebody help with a part?" message and John rode off chasing down the ADV crew with me limping it back to Cal City. Spent an hour in Cal City trying to convice the local tire shop guy to let me borrow a hammer and block. Finally banged the torsion strut off the tire and took the dirt super highway to Joberg and got back on track at Trona Rd. Pretty much rode by myself the rest of the way into Barstow, passed a few riders and got passed by several more but seemed pretty lonesome out there. Had no idea where my ride partner was and started getting real tired (should have stopped to eat more). Just about the time I was done with riding any more sand wash, poof, the course right turned into a 80' wide dirt freeway and was on easy street. Found my ridng buddy in Barstow, turned out he got turned around on the route around Jawbone and slabbed to Barstow.
The torsion strut fix in Cal CIty didn't hold, couldn't find a replacement anywhere so a nice young guy at the TA Truck Service center in Barstow applied a 5' slide hammer to it ... 3 solid shots and it was almost staight again.
Day 2 started out great, we rolled out shortly after 6 and were on the dirt while it was still somewhat dark, Up and over the first little hilll climb and missed the left, went off course and no John behind me. Figured he made the turn so did the cut across move back on track, thought I saw him and took off trying to catch him. Didn't see him again until Baker, turns out he got got off at the turn coming down the hill went down and got his bell rung ... slabbed out to Ludlow.
The next 2 hours were pure torture on the GSA, deep sand, dust, sun straight in my eyes. Ended up in the bushes a couple of times. Finally got into some hard pack and got on it again, right until I cut the side wall on my front tire. Again several ADV FF's (different than Friday) pulled up offered help, waved them off and got a tube from the SUPER sweep crew of my buddy Bill Jenkins and his partner Frank. Flat fixed and ride of Beemer hell continued.
By the time I got to section 7, I was happy to take the bail out to Ludlow, gassed up and took the Keliebaker ride to Baker. In Baker got hooked up with John again and the Baker check point said it's 12:30 take the EASY ways for the rest of the ride. Ha-ha, turned right on to the powerline sandwash laugihing ... there is no EASY way this year. We slugged it out for another couple of hours and at almost 3:00 we were hit pavement before the track into Sandy Valley, decided we had had enough and slabbed to Prim and on to the Orleans with a couple of other ADV riders. In the parking lot, and finally done
The great gathering of ADV FF's ... PBR courtesy of John Gil
Had originally planned to ride back with John Gil, but me and my bike were beat. Watching what he did following his spot, probably couldn't have done it anyway. Jnyrav made arrangements to get his truck to Vegas and I as happy to load my bike in and enjoy hte ride home in comfort.
This year's LAB2V was a very humbling weekend to say the least. Back to reality for me.