September 27, 2013
Getting through final Admin, Tech Inspection, and Impound today feels like a major milestone for us and everyone else. Three days worth of tweaking, building, installing, fretting, adjusting, and re-adjusting, and then double-checking things came to an end, as everyone from the U.S. Team got through the process.
The only downside is that now everyone has to wait two full days before being able to ride.
We did some minor final bike prep this morning and then went to find at least one more special test. We’re now focusing on the Special Tests for Day 4 and 5 which are all located south of the city of Olbia. We found one test known as the “Padra” test. It is located in the hills at a motocross track. We walked most of the test, but today was especially hot and we were dripping with sweat by the time we were finished.
We opted to come back to town and find some lunch and then prepare for the team photoshoot and then the admin/impound process.
Here’s my cultural observation for the day on this area of Italy. It is regarding the food and restaurants. There are bars and cafes everywhere, along with Pizzerias on every corner. At all of the cafes, people sit around and drink coffee and wine and smoke, but none of those places serve food (meals) and everyone just sits around in the middle of the day having a drink and watching the traffic go by. Much to my surprise, finding good food has been a struggle. At the suggestion of fellow U.S. teammate Ian Blythe who lived in Italy for a year while contesting the World Enduro Circuit, he suggested we find a Chinese place. We did just that and we ended up having the best meal of our entire trip. It was a tiny hole in the wall, in the basement of an old building. Me…my oldest son, and my father….eating delicious Chinese food in Italy, while the Tour de France was on TV, with Lady Gaga blaring in the radio…oh the irony. (Our second best meal of the trip was yesterday eating a Kebab from an Indian vendor just down the street from the Chinese restaurant). Josh did get adventurous tonight and tried seafood Spaghetti. Not his favorite, but at least he can say he tried it.
Lots of photos from today with some narrative to help you all visualize what we’re experiencing. I know you’re all probably tired of pictures of bikes and special tests with nobody riding…..but we’re equally as anxious to get on to the real reason we’re here, so hold tight for a few more days and there will be more to report.
Here’s a picture of all the course markings that riders follow. I need to get a good picture of a city street showing these signs because it can be incredibly confusing at times if riders are not absolutely paying attention. Days 1 and 2, riders ride the same course and follow the same colors and arrows. Day 3 is unique, and Days 4 and 5 are common. Course is way easier to follow in the off-road sections, than on the pavement and in the city.
KTM Freeride bikes are all over in the pits (none of the new 2-strokes though).
This is a bulletin board with a list of every single rider participating in this year’s ISDE. 6 whole pages are Italian riders.
When we found our first special test today, these guys were doing some final prep. They were excited for me to take their photo. They were proud of their work and were ready to show it off to the world.
This test starts on a motocross track. Here is the Italian themed colored starting gate.
It goes downhill from the starting gate….literally and figuratively. I don’t think this track has seen a tractor in ages. The soil is decomposed granite with small pea sized gravel or solid rock. It is set on a hill so the cool part about it is that it has a lot of natural elevation change and a great setting.
See what I mean about the soil….it was hard to walk up and down the big hills and it was roasting hot.
The MX track is right adjacent to a couple of little village type farms. If you blow this corner, you’ll end up in this guys back yard.
Special test ribbon, cactus, and a small farmer’s vineyard…..this is Italy.
After a while the test exits the track and then criss crosses all over a big hillside in the trees. Off-camber is the name of the game for this test. Just about every corner is off-camber.
There are a few rocky sections on this test, but it isn’t bad compared to some of the others we’ve seen.
It doesn’t take much imagination here to imagine yourself in Mexico. For those riders who rode Morelia Mexico ISDE in 2010, this is very similar. This little house is right on the hillside by this test. This year is VERY different from Germany.
Another view from the test. On the left is a twisty, steep Italian road that traverses the mountains behind it. To the right in the picture are the hills of the MX track that start the test.
I mentioned off-camber, but due to the dry conditions and lots of weeds and leaves, the corners are going to be very slippery. This entire downhill left-handed corner was covered in about 2-3 inches of leaves.
I had to take a picture of this because I think this will literally be the only water crossing in any test that the riders will find (it’s all we’ve seen in the 6 of 10 tests we’ve walked). Kurt Caselli was joking about this yesterday because he said before he got to this point, the course workers were so excited and warning him of the water crossing in the test. It turns out, this is what they were warning him about.
More off-camber corners.
The finish of this test literally goes right through this farmer’s “field”. His goats and dogs are that close to the special test. All in all, the test is really one of the better ones we’ve seen and should be fun for the riders.
After leaving the special test, we stopped by another test near the test/practice track. I took this picture of a corner in the practice track to show what the conditions will look like after 3,000 riders have been through it. There is a special test literally right across the road from this that we’ve referred to as the “airport test” (right next to the airport). It’s flat, in the weeds…..nothing real exciting.
This is an old abandoned airport next to the practice track. I expect the real special test which is in this same area, will look much the same.
I mentioned that Italian cars are tiny. They’ve always been tiny based on the vintage of this little car.
Thanks to all our sponsors. Notice the little license plate. That is a miniature copy I had made of the plate off my KTM 950. All the riders have to have a license plate on their bike. The European ones are huge and won’t last a day in these conditions. Everyone put them on to get through tech inspection but they will be replaced with small ones after that point.
Team Manager, Antti Kallonen from KTM on the phone keeping things organized. He is doing a great job.
After all of that, it was time for the team photoshoot. The following are lots of shots from that photoshoot. I was able to slide in between the guys that know what they’re really doing for some shots.
Andrew Delong…Junior Trophy Team.
Jesse Groemm, Junior Trophy Team.
Kailub Russell and Grant Baylor and the rest of the Junior Trophy Team.
Kurt Caselli, Trophy Team
Mike Brown, Trophy Team.
Josh and the rest of the crew waiting for their turn for photos.
Charlie Mullins, Trophy Team.
Zach Osborne, Trophy Team.
Taylor Robert, Trophy Team.
Jeff Fredette. I love to see that he is still enjoying being here, taking photos and enjoying the moment.
Rachel Gutish, Womens Trophy Team.
Mandi Mastin, Womens Trophy Team
Brooke Hodges, Womens Trophy Team
Jimmy Jarret, Wellard Club Team
Nick Fahringer, Wellard Club Team
Ryan Sipes, Wellard Club Team
We were standing on a flat dock right next to the pits, so when it was time to take the full team group shot, I wasn’t able to get high enough for the shot. This will have to do.
Part of the group shot. Josh in the back, along with teammate Keith Curtis, with Mike Brown, Kurt Caselli, and Thad Duvall in the front.
Scott Bright, Jeff Fredette, and Brian Storrie, Senior Club Team.
Josh Knight, “Tony Agonis” Club Team. (I wasn’t able to get pictures of all the club riders…sorry).
The entire U.S. Team, hanging out after the photos for the administrative check-in process.
This is the “Tony Agonis Club Team”, Fred Hoess (New Jersey), Keith Curtis (Montana), and Josh Knight (Utah). It’s an honor for Josh to ride with a legend like Fred Hoess. This is Fred’s 24th ISDE, and I think that accomplishment sometimes gets overshadowed by Jeff Fredette’s 33. Fred had some great stories of past ISDE’s while standing in line waiting.
Josh and Fred going through check in. This process is the same half way across the world, as it is at home……stand in line, signs lots of papers, hand over money, and do what the ladies tell you to do.
I admit, I’m proud of this photo. Today was my birthday. Here I am with my father and son, halfway across the world, hanging out at the 88th running of the legendary Six Days Enduro. Sometimes you just have to soak it all in. Just over a month ago I was sitting in a hospital room with my Dad, wondering if he was going to live to see another day….5 weeks later, here we are. Happy Birthday to me.
Trophy Team bikes.
Taylor Robert’s KX450.
Thad Duvall’s Honda,.
Zach Osborne’s Honda 250F
Mark Kariya in his element, taking great photos as always.
It’s getting real! Josh putting on his numbers.
Yep, this is real.
Everyone waiting their turn for tech inspection.
Scooters are everywhere in Italy! They’re also everywhere in the pits. Here’s another scooter of the day picture. This little one was able to be collapsed, with the bars and seat folding in and it could practically fit in a suitcase.
For the sound test, they rev the bike up to the rev limiter. When we heard Zach Osborne’s bike we thought there was no way it would pass. It passed. That made me feel better about Josh’s bike (the new KTM 250F’s rev out another 1,000 rpm higher than last year).
Waiting in line.
Mark Kariya helping Zach, by pointing out that he needed to check the three paint marks just inscribed by the tech inspection to make sure they had written down the correct numbers.
Justin Sode, club rider. He is riding a Beta 2-stroke.
I was happy to see Josh get the pass signal on the sound test.
Unfortunately, Jimmy Jarret had to try 3 times to get through the sound test.
Jeff O’Leary, with a smile on his face, ready to impound his bike.
Ryan Kudla from California, going through the final step before impound.
The tech workers install a dab of paint on the frame, hubs, engine cases, and exhaust to note the key bike components that cannot be swapped out.
A lot of hard work by Josh and others to finally get to this point….impounding his bike at the Six Days in Italy.
Bike impound….a beautiful sight.
I saw these 3 old (I’m guessing 80’s era) TM motorcycles. I’m sure they’re an Italian Club Team. Their graphics said “Club 80 cc”. They look like full size motorcycles, but may only be 80cc?
Ryan Sipes going back to sound test for a 2nd try. I like this guy….laid back and smiling.
Fred Hoess going through sound test.