September 28, 2013
With the bikes all in impound until Monday morning, there is not much to do now but focus on walking the remaining special tests and trying to soak up the experience of being here at the ISDE.
Our day was open until this evening when we had the parade through the city center, ending at the paddock with the introduction of all the teams.
Check out the following photos for some insight into what we saw today.
We started our day driving south from town about a half hour. This got us into some more rural areas and climbed quite a bit in elevation. Before we knew it, the terrain started to change and we were seeing pine trees and large forests. It was not what I was expecting to see based on our experience thus far in Sardegna. It was beautiful.
We knew we were getting close to the special tests and Josh started salivating at the prospect of having a special test weave in and out of the pines. When we got to the test, this is what we found.
With all of the beautiful forests around, the test ran right on a barren south-facing hillside. Pine trees all around, but the test avoided them all. It was still a beautiful view, and with a little imagination we could be home in the Wasatch Mountain range of Utah.
A few rocks.
After winding around on the hillside, the test dropped into a small valley and then ran along what is basically a dirt road that has been recently bladed by a dozer. It was kind of weird because it went way up this valley, did a 180, and then came right back on the road. It was actually quite void of rocks, and is going to be a really fast test. Josh was looking at it and felt right at home, being more of a West Coast rider. I think this test will suit Kurt Caselli really well.
On our way out of the test, we saw where the transfer trail came into the test. This is some of the first single track we’ve seen. Josh was more excited to see this than the test.
We were then on to our second test of the day. In the process of doing so, we had to move over on a real narrow dirt road to get out of the way of a van. We managed to get the rental car high-centered. Then in the process of spinning the tires to get out, we got a nail in the tire and got a flat. Some nice guys in a van helped pull us out, but we had to change a flat. Trying to get the bad mojo out of the way early.
Then on to the test. The U.S. guys have nick named this one the “Glen Helen” test. It looks a lot like Glen Helen Raceway in Southern California, set on the side of the hill. It actually uses portions of a MX Track and then winds up and down the hillside. Imagine the crappiest MX track you’ve ever ridden with cement like dirt, water ruts on all the jump faces and landings, and blown out berms…..then imagine a grass track being ribboned off that criss-crosses the hillside…..and you’ve got the picture. But not before you throw in a big rocky corner like this.
Water ruts….check, overgrown weeds….check, concrete dirt…..check, yeah, I got this double.
Back in the pits, this guy from the “Rabaconda” Tire changer booth has had the biggest crowd around him every day. Yesterday we bought one of his tire changers which is about 95% the same as the style Josh has been using (which is very different from anyone else on the U.S. team). Josh practiced a few very minor changes to his technique and doing a rear tire on and off the rim in about 2 minutes flat is the norm and takes minimal effort. The U.S. team has been using these totally old-school changers for years, that are mounted to big sections of plywood. The technique works, can be fast, but exerts a lot of unnecessary energy. As we were walking by we saw a big crowd, and then realized it was because the entire U.S. Trophy Team was over there watching and practicing on these changers. The Finnish/European influence of U.S. Team Manager Antti Kallonen is permeating the team, little by little, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see several of these guys using these tire changers by the end of the week.
Kurt Caselli giving it a try.
Tonight it was on to the parade in the city center, that marched everyone over to the paddock for introduction of all the teams.
The French Trophy team, last year’s dominant winners.
The Women’s Trophy team, last year’s dominant winners.
We picked up my wife Jennie this afternoon at the airport. So happy to have her here for the race week.
The Bright family from Colorado. U.S. fans and supporters.
The Australian’s know how to have fun, before, during, and after the parade.
A view behind us while walking in the parade of teams. It was like deja-vu. This is exactly what it was like in Mexico in 2010…quite different from last year.
Josh handing out American Flags to all the people lining the sides of the road.
Josh is happy to have mom here as well.
U.S. Team marching in the parade.
Did I mention that the Australian’s like to have fun.
Members of the U.S. Trophy and Junior Trophy team.
Jennie, Josh, and Grandpa.
This Italian motorcycle policewoman was trying to do her job, but she was getting as many photos taken with her, as the riders were in the parade. Here, U.S. Support Team member Paul gets a photo op.
The French team….yeah, they kicked everyone’s tail last year.
Italian cultural observation of the day. Italian guys think it’s cool to flip up their collars on their polo shirts. They’re everywhere like this. It’s become kind of a running joke between me and Josh.
This Italian guy was having some fun at the parade.
Oh yeah….and the Australians like to have fun too.
More U.S. fans.
U.S. team assembling on the stage and being introduced.
Just when we thought that flipping your collar was an Italian thing, these guys showed up from Poland. Stop the insanity!
Remember the photo of the 80cc TM’s? I think I figured it out tonight.
This kid was loving it.
Keith Curtis is Josh’s teammate. He’s a professional snowmobiler and rides for Polaris (how he got here to the Six Days is a different story and kind of funny). He was handing out some Polaris hats to some of the kids. I’ll bet they have absolutely no idea what Polaris is, but it didn’t matter, this was as good as getting an autographed basketball from LeBron James to this kid.
Little cars….KTM stuff, and a new KTM 1190 Adventure. Lots of cool stuff everywhere. This is at our hotel.