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Old 12-09-2008, 06:20 AM   #5
PacWestGS OP
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Joined: Aug 2005
Location: A Worldly Traveller
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Day #3 (Pre-Ride) (Part-Two)

With that behind us, and restocking on flat tire repair kits, Dean and Danno took off into the desert to finish the last 70-miles. They left about 20-minutes before Deano and I were ready to go, and it was thought that we’d catch up to them at some point. Making good time from RM280 to Checkpoint 2/4 we had a chance, until Deano pulls up and says, guess what? I’ve got a flat tire. Arrrgh. No rocks ‘round here, lets find a place to turn the sand into a bike stand or just lay it over.

He insisted on changing this one himself and with the sun setting over the mountains I had other things to attend to.

As Deano changed out the tube, and yes we looked to make sure the tire patches held up, they did, we could not find out what caused this flat only that it was a slow leak. We restocked on new tubes so that’s what went in and Deano got done about the time, I had cut and spliced my GPS power cable to the new uncut length into the ‘power-let’ plug, and got my helmet light mounted up and ready.

Off we go into the night. The southern leg of the SF loop was nice two-lane-wide road with concrete bridge over culvert, so we were running a good pace. (Oh, small important piece of information; the tire didn’t set the bead, right where the rim-lock goes, so I said just ride it for a while and then after it sets we can put the nut on and tighten the rim-lock. This would bite us in the ass later.) Deano and I were having a really good ride up to this point and although we were running about 50-60mph I noticed that the light pattern was changing behind me. I looked over my shoulder and saw two bright ass lights, at first I thought is was a reflection in my goggles, so I checked again, same thing, then I turn the opposite way and saw that one set of lights had four or more, shit a truck or buggy is coming up behind us. We pulled over and stopped, and the guys in the buggy were really cool as to not dust us right away, but the road in front of us turned into a cloud of dust you could not see through. There were two of them and they both passed in the same fashion. As we got further South, the road turned into a trail and the trial turned into two-track which turned into climbing up and down gradual hills. This wasn’t before Deano came thorugh a uphill right-hander and fell over in the change of terrain. (Later we found out that Danno had missed again those three or four stacked arrows at RM310 and went flying off the end of the road – somersaulting and cart-wheeling the bike into the desert. At this point the headlight was toast, as well as Danno’s confidence level.) A short time later we started riding through silt beds that were long and winding, you can either ride side-by-side or one (usually me) would have to drop back a long ways. The lights and helmet light just reflect off this dust and it becomes a brown wall. Nearing RM325 we dropped down into the river wash going East, this was a fast section as the trail through the wash was very distinguishable and the trees and scrub easy to see in the dark. I was in the groove and carving from turn to sweeping turn (Ace has a special moment in this area IIRC – he was racing a TT through here back and forth for position). The occasional high-speed buried rocks no longer bothered me as the wheels had taken much more abuse thus far, so hitting one was no longer an issue of did I just flat spot something or get a flat tire. There were a few sneaky hairpins as the wash ran right up to the rock walls and would shoot back into the open wash but you could see that fairly well ahead of time. I would wait up for Deano to catch up and then hammer it through the wash some more.

About RM330 and onward I was looking to see if any ADVrider’s were camping early but didn’t see anyone. I caught up to and passed some guy on a 4X4 Quad and then got to a rock wall with S-Curve over a rock obstacle. I waited for Deano and talked with the quad guy, he was a little lost and wondered if this was the way to San Felipe, I said yes. Deano caught up and I took off over the hump, Deano started then bobbled and fell over, they guy on the quad laughed (Deano did’t care for that) but he got up and got started roosting the quad guy as he passed. I passed a big ass boulder in the trail and stopped to make sure Deano saw it before continuing. We entered the sand whoops from RM340 to RM345, then, I ran out gas, (main) that almost caused me to face plant in the whoops - brrrrrrrrrrp brrrrrrrrrp brrrrrrrrrrp bluuuuuuuu. Later it did, but it was a combination of events. I was riding at about 25-30 just banging through one after another then my bike sputtered, I got crossed up and surfed down one side and up the other, then I lost it in the sand and pile drive’d the next one hard. I was just getting myself and the bike up when Deano arrived. There had to be some consolations for Deano to finally see me on the ground. The bike would not start, I wasn’t sure if was out of gas or just flooded. We waited; I also broke my helmet light off the chin-bar so in the meantime of waiting for the bike to cool down, it became a handlebar light with some zip-ties. (Oh yeah time to interject something – my headlight had developed a problem. It would work as long as the steering was perfectly straight or more than a little off center. Therefore, with each steering adjustment the light would flicker off and back on, very distracting but the HID Headhunter was more than ample to overcome the flashing headlight.) Finally got the bike to fire up and we got started again. Only I could not turn to the right. The force that I went down had twisted the steering damper rod on the headstock so it was binding. We took the mask off and reset the damper rod and then the bike would not start again. I guess it was out of gas. I dumped my liter of gas into the tank and finally got the bike started again, we were off and running, only a mile or later we would be back on hard pack roads and seeing the lights of San Felipe come into view.

As we arrived at RM350 the GPS was showing go right even though the course went left at an intersection. Deano informed me at this time that he had – guess? Another flat tire…Out of gas, running a flat tire and tired from 130-miles of sand, rocks, and whoops, we doubled back and followed the GPS as we couldn’t see where or how we’d get to town. (Later I found out Dean and Danno went left and they had to go all the way to the ‘Zoo’ road to get into town - about 15-miles). We made it a mile or so down to Hwy 5 and my bike promptly ran out of gas again. Time to call the cavalry less than two-miles from SF. They came out with a truck, loaded up Deano’s bike and gave me some gas, I followed the truck back to the hotel. Dean was sleeping in a chair (on guard duty) but I didn’t know he was passed out. I pulled up in front him and wacked the throttle – he damn near jumped out the chair and called me an A-hole. I probably deserved much more, but I was happy to be somewhere, and happy to be drinking a cold beer and talking about the day. The only food available this time of night was a ‘hot-dog’ cart on the beach. The best damn ‘hot dog’ I ever ate - three of them. Good night.

P.S. Oh yeah the rim-lock it broke off inside the flat tire and munched itself.

P.S.2. The third flat of the day right after Borego Pits, was caused by two cactus punctures, just bad luck.

P.S.3. My headlight issue was a worn wire from the steering damper - fixed.

The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it. (Albert Einstein)

PacWestGS screwed with this post 12-27-2008 at 06:09 PM
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