Posted from: Bancroft, ontario
Today was, according to the info that I got for the TCAT, going to be the second day of the most technical riding of the whole TCAT. With an optional alternate route that is even more technical. Reviewing the course, I opted for staying on the normal route as something told me that a fully loaded Big O with a lone rider might not be the best combo.
So, off we went on leg three of the Ontario TCAT. Started off with a bit of tarmac but quickly that got fixed as the actual trails appeared. I shot a video of one section, from the moving bike, but it would seem I pulled a Henrik on myself as the camera recorded before and after what I wanted to record but not during... :/
Here is a pic of Big O at lake Granit. You just have to admire the propensity for the abstract of the collective mind of Ontarians! Maybe it could be made to explain the foul food they serve In there dinners?
After a while, 30ish km's, we came onto a hydro line and they are always a portend of good times to come...
And sure enough, it didn't take long for water to come and greet us on a most frequent manor.
Bottom tended to be quite easy, the rear tire found plenty of traction, and the water was quite clear, so no drama. Just slow going.
Did I say no drama? Most have jinxed it from the future! Godamit! After crossing quite few long runs of water I glanced down and noticed that according to Mr. Know-it-all GPS we where no longer on track. I had missed a turn at Albuquerque or something. Soooo I double backed to where I had left the planned route (did all the water crossings again of course). Only to discover that I just couldn't find a way to follow the indicated route. Looking closer at the gps I noticed a way point with the text "needs recording" and a straight line that goes into the woods. But I look and there is no trail that goes into the woods at that location. Then I think: hum... Could this be the start of the "alternate technical" section? So I loaded up the alternate route and sure enough, it started right here and went exactly where I had gone moments earlier. As I could not find a way to follow the normal route, I decided to try this alternate route, witch started with me re-crossing for the 3rd time quite a few water crossings...
And from here on out, the fun started to skip my mind. It all start with this little sign:
This section was much more like the stuff I like to ride with the boys of the APORMC, only they where not here AND Big O was fully loaded so not quite a nimble as I'm accustomed to having him when doing shenanigans of this type. But I have to give credit where credit is due: Big O is simply amazing in stuff like this. He tracks hard and true in mud, water and rocks! Did you notice I said nothing of logs?
So we come to this f'n long water crossing and decide to not walk it and just go! BIG MISTAKE! Turns out, there where submerged logs that ran perpendicular to the path. The water was not overly deep, about half a meter and clear (if brown). I saw the log a fraction of a second before hitting it. The front wheel tried to climb it but failed (a blip of gas might have made it a success) and slid off to the side instead with the unfortunate consequence that Big O took a dive into the water. I did mention it was about a half meter deep right? The water completely covered the engine and more importantly, the air intake! FUCK!!! And the kill switch was hidden under the water so I couldn't get to it fast enough before hearing the engine sputter and die...
For those of you who don't know, this is VERY bad for an engine, as water can end up filling the cylinder and cause hydro lock. When that happens, the engine basically tears itself to shreds.
Lucky for me, the bike was just 50-75 feet into the water crossing so bringing Big O back to shore was not the absolute end if the world. Not quite. Sure wished Riley had been there with the douche rope. Once back on dry land, I striped Big O of his load, seat and tank, let him have good long piss to empty his air box and boy did he need to go! The pulled the spark plug, cranked the engine a bit to make sure that any water in the cylinder was expunged. Didn't seem to have any: we where both happy about that! Dressed Big back up and fired the engine: instantly came to life with a smile!
About 20-30min later we come to yet another faking water crossing that looked the same as the last 50. Wasn't even very long, 50 feet max. Well, you can be surprises with how deep water can get in such a small distance. As we where wading thru, the water kept climbing and climbing on Big O. About 10-15 feet from land the rpm started to drop dramatically and the engine made some unhealthy sputtering sounds. This time I hit the kill switch before the engine died, but based on the sound was making, I was convinced this was the end of the trip for Big O!
30 minutes later, Big O fired right up again! Bugger this, we need to get the hell out of dodge before disaster strikes for real...
I guess dad was listening! The trail ending about 5km later! Never been so happy to see a well graded gravel road!
We started off at 10am and came out of there at 6pm, with 5 hers spent on the alternate route. Last 50km to the campground where done on tarmac at a nice and easy pace, giving a total of 134km todays. At this rate, we're never gonna make it to BC!!
Big O's take on todays shenanigans
I don't got nothing to say. Well aside from: I sure hope that's his finger back there!!??!!