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Old 04-25-2015, 10:28 AM   #1
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My next adventure: The Sardegna FIM Rally (June 2015)

To paraphrase an old saying, racing is addictive. So addictive, it makes heroin addiction seem like a vague craving for something salty. I know the taste and I canít quitÖ so it is time for the next hit.

That hit will come in the form of the FIM World Championship race in Sardegna, Italy this June. If You See Kay wines has agreed to help me with getting to the race, I recruited Scott Bright (FORE!) to come with me and Dave Peckham (DaveRMS) from Rally Management Services to support us. Weíll also be riding with the famous Manuel Lucchese, perhaps best known for building his 2012 Dakar bike in his grandmotherís kitchen, which demonstrates not only resourcefulness but also superior bloodlines.



This all came about through a simple process of elimination. After a great result at the 2013 Tuareg (2nd Overall), I wanted to do another race, and I wanted to share the course with the people who are best in the world at the sport I love, even though I know that means my chance of a podium are nil.

The best riders meant it has to be an FIM world championship round, and of the options available, I had conflicts with all but two- the Moroccan round, and Sardegna. Sardegna won for several reasons- first, because itís more technical and thatís the style of riding I prefer, second because Italy is awesome and I like pizza (and I like it even more without sand in it), and finally, because it looks amazing. Every picture I can find looks like riding I want to do in a place I want to be.

It helps that If You See Kay is an Italian wine made just across the Tyrrhenian Sea from Sardegna. I canít say enough about how great If You See Kay wines has been in supporting this adventure. Please go like their facebook page, and if you see some in the liquor store, put down the 2 buck chuck and buy a bottle. If you donít see some in your liquor store, ask for it by name (and blush, yup, the name is a play on words). Youíll be glad you did, because itís really great wine, and what other consumer product is helping someone you know over the internet go do something cool? Please, show your support for them, they deserve it for making great wine and they deserve it for being a great company. The same folks are behind Layer Cake (who helped me in Dakar), but IYSK is their ďno holds barredĒ brand, and this is a no holds barred endeavor, so itís a perfect fit.

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Old 04-25-2015, 10:31 AM   #2
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For me, our society has a more than healthy dose of winner focus, so that begs the question, why go enter a race that I have no hope of winning? I know I canít run with the big boys, but I also know I want to try, and I know I want to look back on my life and feel like I didnít back down from challenges just because I wasnít sure how they would turn out.



The picture is kind of gratuitous to this next point, but itís hardly a post without an image, and to be honest, seeing that picture is what sold me on wanting to do this race.

My experience has been that picking challenges provides not only motivation, but also emotional context and the chance to earn a self-awarded feeling of satisfaction. It doesnít matter what the challenge is, from business to family to racing to art, what matters is choosing something, deciding that it matters, and going after it as hard as possible. In all seriousness, that cycle of challenge, motivation, achievement and satisfaction is what I am addicted to, and I think itís a healthy problem to have. My goal for the race is to have a single stage where I feel like I left nothing on the ground, where I rode well, navigated well, and feel satisfied that I earned the best result I could hope for.

I donít want to speak for Scott too much, but since heís busy running at the front of the Cortez Rally (looks like he got 2nd and kept Quinn Cody honest for the whole race), and canít defend himself, I will a little bit. Heís planning on Dakar in 2016, Sardegna is a Dakar Challenge race, meaning that if he wins that class he can win an entry. That would be a nearly $20,000 payday, so thatís what we will be working for. And Manuel has been top ten at this race before, so he may well be our frontrunner. Together, weíre all in it for the adventure and the camaraderie. Itís going to be awesome.
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Old 04-25-2015, 11:54 AM   #3
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Congratulations Ned! Looks like an amazing race
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Old 04-25-2015, 12:12 PM   #4
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With the race chosen, naturally the first question my mind turned to was picking the ideal weapon. From speaking to Manuel and Pyndon (who raced Sardegna in 2012), it emerges that the speeds more closely resemble enduro than rally. The factory teams are all on converted enduro or MXers, rather than proper rally bikes with fairings. Since it has to be a 450, and Iím too heavily stocked in orange parts to really look beyond KTM, it came down to the two 450s they make: the XCF and the XCW.

As it happens, I own one of each (well, almost, my XCW is a 500 but my previous bike was a 450 so Iím pretty familiar), but choosing between them has actually been tricky.




The XCF is a rowdy derivative of the SXF, with a linkage suspension, angry motor, and close ratio 5 speed gearbox. It is fast, angry, fast, and stiff. When the conditions are faster and the pilot is sharp, it inspires confidence and heroism. When the conditions are tight or the pilot is dull, it inspires arm pump and fear. Mine is turned up to 11 in this regard, as I lucked into a set of factory level suspension for this bike (Cone valve forks and Trax shock), which makes it even more awesome when on pace and even more brutal when off it.



The XCW is much friendlier, has a PDS suspension, and a 6 speed. I have literally thousands of hours on this bike and its predecessor (including Dakar), and I feel super comfortable every minute I am aboard. But, and this is a big but, Iím learning about the limitations of my setup on these bikes- the mushbucket soft setup I am used to runs out of headroom for a faster pace, and when I ride them back to back, I feel like my capability is greater on the XCF, even though it wears me out much faster.

Iíve chosen the XCF. One of the big tradeoffs is the 5 speed, itís nice when youíre in the zone but to have a reasonable transfer gear you wind up with a pretty tall first. One night, reading parts fiches (doesnít everyone?), I realized the parts needed to add a gear were minimal (shafts are the same, itís just some gaskets and a W sixth). So, I had a friend split the cases and turn it into a six speed. Scott was already going on a 450XCF, and when he learned he could make it a 6 speed, he did the same.



With that done, the next step was getting to the gym so I can hold on to this beast. Iíve been working at that for a bit over a month and Iím happy to report, I canít tell any difference.
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Old 04-25-2015, 12:44 PM   #5
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Keep it coming!!
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Old 04-25-2015, 12:48 PM   #6
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This is awesome news Ned and I wish you the best in this endeavour.
It looks like a great race in a great location, I'm sure you will you might surprise your self
when the red mist of racing takes over and talent rises to the top.
If you are doing a shirt type sponsorship please let us know to help out defray some expenses.
Good luck and keep us posted on whats happening with this.
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Old 04-25-2015, 01:35 PM   #7
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Awesome Ned, giver
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Old 04-25-2015, 02:26 PM   #8
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Great news Ned!

You started to describe the possible bikes and we knew already what your choice would be :)

Sardignia has amazing landscape, you're going to love the place.

Thanks for taking us along with this thread.
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Old 04-25-2015, 07:20 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neduro View Post

With that done, the next step was getting to the gym so I can hold on to this beast. Iíve been working at that for a bit over a month and Iím happy to report, I canít tell any difference.
Good luck NED, WE'll be here to cheer you on - when do we get the gym pic
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Old 04-26-2015, 04:09 AM   #10
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Old 04-26-2015, 06:04 AM   #11
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Great Neduro! I'll be in Sardinia on Wednesday for the Cavalcata del Sole event, almost 400 km in 2 days, possibly on some tracks of the last 2 stages of the Rally... will let you know my impressions
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Old 04-26-2015, 09:26 PM   #12
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Great Neduro! I'll be in Sardinia on Wednesday for the Cavalcata del Sole event, almost 400 km in 2 days, possibly on some tracks of the last 2 stages of the Rally... will let you now my impressions
Look forward to it!
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Old 04-28-2015, 08:43 AM   #13
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Forza Neduro!

Great news Ned, I'll look forward to the updates
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Old 04-29-2015, 08:19 PM   #14
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Great to hear, Ned!

Sardegnaaaaa

Whoa June thats like now almost
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Old 04-30-2015, 08:38 AM   #15
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Whoa June thats like now almost
No kidding, huh?

There's always an emotional curve in the lead up to an event- excitement at what's to come, concern as preparations seem overwhelming, fear as the event gets really close for what I missed or what could go wrong, and hopefully, relief and redemption.

I'm currently in the concern phase, headed for fear shortly.
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