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Old 02-22-2013, 11:36 AM   #26
fredgilb OP
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Joined: Jan 2013
Location: Spring Valley, NY
Oddometer: 140
Sorry for the delay..........
OK, day six. MARATHON 511 Km. Just to spice things up a little, we are given the printed route sheets for the marathon only the night before. Which means everyone has a big cutting and taping job to do.....

And then you get to rip it all out to make room for tomorrow.......


OK, time to rip the 510km. of roadbook out, it was gettin' pretty tight in there.

Thonon les Bains to Alès and just so we're not faced with something unfamiliar, it's raining. It's 60 Km. to the first special stage; l'Observatoire. It's cold and slippy. During the wait for the start some nice people have set up a table offering everyone coffee. But a thick fog settles in and the special stage is cancelled. Super challenging road coming down the mountain.

I'm trying to stay with the father and son team from Switzerland who have the luxury of being able to slide on three wheels.

I can't for the life of me keep up with them. Wow!

And when their not sliding they might be doing this! Looks like fun, doesn't it?



As we head further south the weather improves and the sun starts to shine! I join up with Oliver again and we steadily work our way across the south. Then we come across a crash. Rider is down sprawled across the road lying flat on his back not moving. The protocol is to stay until the rider is rescued. Just let the timers know and they adjust your time. Fatigue is now weighing on everyone's abilities. Opinion was this unfortunate was either looking at his roadbook and missed seeing the traffic island while trying to pass a car. His BMW launched him a considerable distance down the road. He apparently was not seriously hurt. By the time we left the scene it was getting late. Much navigation needed, still a long way to go. Good pace, nice and steady, intersection, look left see if anyone's coming and BAM, next thing I know I'm lying on the ground, stunned. Shit, what happened, oh damn, I didn't realize Oliver had stopped to take a look at some road signs and I had slammed into the back of his bike. What the hell! You'd never stopped like that before, umm, about that fatigue I mentioned........Everyone was alright but I was minus a clutch lever. Hmm.......this is gonna be interesting, still about 100km. to go. Oliver looks at me, like, what are you gonna do? I say, come on lets GO! Engage first gear press the starter button and chugga, chugga, chugg and we're off. Timing the lights and traffic in villages is tricky but it's working. And then we hit the forest, it's starting to get dark. Tiny broken up fire roads, tight steep switch backs. Just the sort of situation you'd need a clutch for. We come up behind one of the wonders of the Moto-Tour. They have a vintage class. They have a 125cc class. This guy is riding a bone stock 125cc two stroke Suzuki twin from the 70's. And we can barely keep up with him! He's going around all the little bumps and divots like a mouse being chased by a cat. Amazing to watch. OK, now things are getting dicey. The road/path is tightening up. I absolutely have to make it around the tight steep switchbacks with no clutch, without stalling it or conversely dropping it. One of the mistakes of inexperience I made going into this was with the gearing I had chosen. I underestimated how much tight slow stuff there is. aa..AA..nn..NN..dd..DD.....STALL. Damn, now I have to turn around and coast back down to a flat section so I get started again and try it again. The road was so narrow there wasn't any point bump starting it going downhill, as you'd never be able to make a U turn anyway. Now this really has turned into a enduro! This went on for about 45 min. The starter motor is getting a massive work out! When I finally made it to the finish I still had to thread my way thru the crowds without stopping. The guys with the Japanese bikes couldn't get over it. They nicknamed the Monster "The Tank". Anyway, between sticking around the big crash and my slow clutch-less progress I missed out on the last special stage of the day. It's in the video. You know, the one that looks sort of like a paved motocross track! We're staying over night at the racetrack in Alès. Seems like a nice place except for the squat (yeah, there's still a few lurking around) toilets!

fredgilb screwed with this post 05-12-2013 at 09:01 AM
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