|08-27-2012, 06:39 AM||#33|
Joined: Jan 2011
Location: BC, Canada
|08-27-2012, 09:28 PM||#34|
ADV rider wannabe
Joined: Nov 2009
Location: Salt Spring Is, British Columbia
|08-28-2012, 02:50 PM||#36|
ADV rider wannabe
Joined: Nov 2009
Location: Salt Spring Is, British Columbia
Day 5 (139km): Difficult section indeed
This is the part I have been dreading and even having dreams about. The section of the WABDR with difficult sections. The guys we met the previous day told us a couple did the steep rocky bit downhill two up on a KTM 990 Adventure so we were optimistic.
The day itself started off pretty normal. Once we hit the dirt section there was a tiny creek crossing to get things going. Some of us completed this little challenge better than others. Then is was up into the hills. Not too steep, but steep enough and fairly rocky. I felt like I was holding on for dear life at times. This section has desert style landscapes, so there are plenty of views because there are no trees in the way. It was hard work to reach the top, it required constant focus. Once at the top you could see 360 degrees and it was definitely worth it.
The day started with promising views
Looking back @ Ellensburg 's valley
'Easy peasy' I thought .. till I clipped a large rock in the water and headed towards the right side & more rocks
Naomi did much better then me
Parked for some photos
We continued along the ridge, where it was still pretty rocky and rutted in places. The difficulty however was fairly moderate, so it was mostly fun. Then we started to descend and we arrived at the infamous difficult section. We parked and went to check it out. I knew right away that I was not going to ride my bike. I had not wanted to do this section but Alberto has insisted, so he now was responsible for my bike. We walked the first 30% of the steep rocky hill, and holy cow it is steep and intimidating. I waited a little ways down with the camera as Alberto started to take his bike down. He didn't get too far before he lost control and both him and the bike were laying on their side. There were a few casualties, including the right winglet but nothing too serious. Alberto continued downhill with me stabilizing the bike as needed. It was really hard to maintain traction, and thus control. The big fat GS just wanted to go straight down.
Rocky and steep turns ... perfect conditions for
Loose rocks made the whole situation a lot worse ... and yes, it was steeper that what we expected
Not an ideal place to take a nap Gringa!
After a few more falls and a bunch of energy expended he got his bike to the bottom. We have to do this again? I barely survived the first go. I ended up walking his cases down to the bottom so while I was doing that he hiked back up to get my bike. It was exhausting. Again it took a lot of effort to navigate my bike down the steep hill. It crashed several times, but nothing was seriously damaged.
Next: take The Horse Slayer (Nomi's bike) down ...suspense
'Trying' to avoid the right side....
'Showing off' for the camera ....
Didn't I say that I was going to 'take the bike down'? mission accomplished!
I got it going again!
I can do this!
but not for too long....
Smaller and lighter bikes material, in my opinion
Not again! geez!
Once we reached the bottom we took a break for some snacks. Also we used the time to make repairs after all the carnage getting the bikes down. That stole a lot of energy from us. I think it took us 90min to get through those 400m of the route. I did notice that Alberto is getting more dynamic in his falling He was flying through the air onto his shoulders, his knees, his head Quite spectacular.
Putting back some energy into our systems in the form of food
And now some photographic evidence of the carnage:
Broken side case lock
Broken straps for side tool tube kit
Broken front brake fluid reservoir
Some more scars on the Barkbusters
Better looking BMW badge
Broken turn signal light
Bent auxiliary LED Denali lights
And the rocky road continued...
It sometimes looked like a 'hillie' version of Ruta 40 in Argentina
The fine art of carefully & gracefully balancing a heavy bike
Once we got going again we were rewarded with more downhill rocky sections. Not nearly as steep as the steep section but steep enough to lose it. I swear that my ABS was trying to kill me today. It was my own fault for forgetting to turn it off of course, but some very sketchy situations materialized thanks to my ABS "protecting" me. I spent a good portion of the day cursing at my ABS and bike.
We continued to crash our way down the mountain. Sometimes it was the stupidest things, like when I was approaching a steep section I tried to comfortably come to a controlled stop to turn off my ABS at a flatfish spot when my back tire skidded and the weight of my bike shifted and once that happens it's game over for me. I just can't muscle it around the same way Alberto does despite the fact that I am pretty strong. I think my issue is that I just don't have the leverage and I also need to work on perfecting my technique (of course). He was starting to get frustrated because he would have to find a safe place to park, then hike back up and help me right my fallen bike.
More steep rocky bits to keep things interesting
Still going down
Dropping the bike, take #17
It might look like I know what I am doing but I was totally out of control
Nothing wrong with taking a break and smelling the flowers (you're right, there was no flowers in the area)
There were some very sketchy and scary moments when I was skidding out of control around corners but we finally made it down to the pavement. Boy was I glad for the brake. I didn't have a chance to spend much time enjoying the ride or scenery, it was mostly just a fight for survival. I made a mental note to try and talk my way out of the next difficult section, so that we could take the easier alternative route.
Of course when we reached the pavement we got lost. Garmin tried to take us to some farm houses, and there was no through road. Only after referring to the map and using the topography did we find the right place to meet up with the route. The map has come in handy time and time again.
The gate to smooth pavement
The 'difficult section' is over! right? .... right?
We were looking forward to some easier fun riding for the rest of the morning. Things started off pretty nice, we were heading back into forrest and the scenery was changing a little bit. But of course the rocks came back with a vengeance. At first it was fairly easy. We were tackling them in an uphill direction which is always easier. I still managed to crash a few times. The first time my back tire either jumped on a large rock or lost traction, either way I skidded a little bit and I think it caused me to blip the throttle (queue rant about F8GS 1st gear) and before I knew what was going on I was heading for the bank. Bank versus bike; bank won.
Heading back to find Naomi's bike up on the bank
A close up of the crash scene
The 'artsy' side of crashing
The second crash was another stupid one. I was trying to keep my momentum going uphill on some rough terrain when I went over a particularly rougher rocky section my bike escaped out of gear and into neutral. The loss of momentum combined with me standing and not getting my feet down fast enough resulted in a dropped bike on a steep hill. Again Alberto had to hike down aways just to help me pick it back up. The day was getting to the point where we were no longer taking pictures of falls and enjoying the humour of the situation. We just wanted to be done with it. I didn't know how much of this messy riding was left but I focused all my energy in trying to stay upright.
We continued going up for several kilometres. I was barely answering Alberto over the G9s I was so focused on keeping moving forward. I really didn't want to fall again. It was rough though, even standing up the bike I was bouncing around like crazy and it was all I could do to just hang on, let along try and keep proper form. The first gear on these bikes is really bad in these situations. It is so jerky and sensitive.i wondered to myself people do this type of riding for fun? My kidneys hate me, this is not fun.
After what seemed like way too long we reached the top and drove along the ridge for a while on smooth regular gravel roads. We were both very tired and the lack of skill in our riding from the exhaustion was showing. We really need to get down to some more tame stuff. Things were going well until we started the descent. Then the road got narrow and rocky and scary. There was a small line where there were no rocks, but it is easier said than done staying on that line. What I found throughout the day was that my Heideneau K60 rear sucks in dry dusty dirt and loose rocks for that matter. There is very little traction and it skids a lot in the steep downhill or uphill situations. I only had one option, to get the downhill perfect first try because my bike and tire would not really allow me to stop without some significant out of control skidding.
Things were going okay when I heard Alberto having some issues over the comm system. He then told me that this next part was going to be tricky. I composed myself and then proceed to tackle it. Bad move. Within no time my bike was skidding, even in first gear applying brakes the bike wants to go faster than I do. Before I knew it I was heading over the edge of the road so I bailed. I flew forward over the handle bars and came crashing down on my left shoulder. Big ouch! I then proceeded to roll down the bank screaming in pain. I ended up coming to a stop because I hit a tree. I sat there screaming in pain while Alberto was trying to get me to tell him if I was okay. I didn't exactly know at first because it was too painful. I have found myself in a similar situations before a few times falling while snowboarding so I sort of figured I was going to be okay, I just needed the pain to go down so I could check. Meanwhile Alberto was sprinting up the hill to my rescue, but it was late in the day, it was hot, and the road was steep. He got half way there before his sprint turned into a crawl.
When he arrived at the scene all he saw was my bike. He peered over the bank and there I was sitting in a heap. By this time I was able to move my arm a little bit and wiggle my fingers so overall things were okay. My whole arm was sore and painful though. I was able to climb back up the bank onto the road and sit down. I took off my gear and sat there assessing my situation. While I was sitting there feeling sorry for myself Alberto was sorting out my bike. He noticed that my right case, which had taken a severe beating all day, was missing. Was it down the bank, no? He walked up the road aways, well actually to the top of the hill, but there was no case to be found. Crap. He was going to have to go back and get it.
One of the very few photos taken of the last few crashes
The front brake fluid reservoir came loose again
We stripped my bike down of all extra weight, cause going back through that crap was not going to be easy and he was going to be by himself. It took us a while just to get the bike turned around and get him going. He was getting zero traction from my rear tire. Off he went tearing up the hill while I took all my stuff down to where his bike was parked. There I waited wishing I could fast forward to the end. I waited a long time. It was over an hour and I was starting to get worried. We hadn't seen a single person all day, so I knew that if he had fallen and needed help I was the only person that was going to be coming to the rescue. My shoulder was sore and even if it wasn't there was no way I was going to ride his bike to search for him. So I grabbed our Spot and started hiking up the hill looking for him. I was making pretty slow progress, and thankfully not too far into my journey I could hear the unmistakeable sound of rattling front brake discs and knew he was on his way back. Ironically he crashed in pretty much the exact same place as I did.
We took a long brake where he had dropped my bike. He was clearly exhausted, and it sounded like he had quite an ordeal getting my case back. For starters my case was waiting for him about 10km back, back where I had my last crash. After struggling to get parked he re-attached the case and set off. After about 5min he looked down and there was no case. Back he went to where he found the case. The mounting system was obviously not working, and while he originally was angry with me for driving for so long without a case he realized that it was easier to do than he thought. He hadn't even noticed it was gone. So this time he put it on and attached a Rok strap to keep it in place. After only a few metres the bike was giving him lots of issues and he was having a really hard time keeping it in line. He looked back and there was the case dragging behind acting as an anchor. This time he decided to take his time and mount it back on the bike properly. He used all the Rok straps we had (3) and securely mounted the case. It was so hot out though, and he was in direct sun cooking away.
Right side case secured with 4 Rok-Straps
Not crying... just extremely tired
While I was waiting for him I had scoped out the next 200m of the road. It still looked sketchy so Alberto rode both bikes down to wear the rocks disappeared. My shoulder was sore and had only a small range of motion but we didn't really have much choice so I rode my bike gingerly down the easy stuff. Luckily it was only a few kilometres until we reached the highway and the end of this section. We quickly gave up on the day and went to a campsite that was only 6km up the rode. Jumping in the river never felt so good.
It was a really nice campground with a very friendly campground host. We made it our home and treated ourselves to some comfort food for dinner. I iced my shoulder and Alberto nursed all his bumps and bruises from the many falls he had throughout the day. In the morning we will see how my shoulder is and then decide what to do.
We were rewarded with a very nice campsite
The river was a bless and it even had a 'private pool'
There were some snakes in the pool tho...
Relaxing @ the end of a TOUGH day
Still smiling despite the bruises
Why does ice cream always make you feel better?
And some comfort food: Mac & Cheese
Glad we had some 'instant' ice packs for Naomi's sore shoulder
Watching UFC on Fox: Shogun vs Vera (great fight!) to end a very eventful day
2010 Canada to Argentina |
2012 Bella Coola and Beyond
2013 Fernie and Back
MotoLara screwed with this post 09-13-2012 at 08:15 PM
|08-28-2012, 02:52 PM||#37|
ADV rider wannabe
Joined: Nov 2009
Location: Salt Spring Is, British Columbia
|08-28-2012, 04:08 PM||#38|
Joined: Nov 2010
Location: Reaver's Heart :o)
Are you actually riding these bikes or just stopping for naps
Great pics so far! Best of luck on your journey,
Keep the smile on your face!
|08-28-2012, 05:14 PM||#39|
Joined: Nov 2009
Location: Maple Ridge, BC Canada
Naomi what I like about your writing is that you are real about the challenges. You guys are killing me with the dumps but I heard those sections are quite technical for the bigger bikes. You showed us they are indeed tough. Thanks for the great shots, sorry about your bikes but glad you are both OK.
Any relationship that can handle this type of ADV riding will last forever.
|08-28-2012, 06:03 PM||#40|
Joined: Sep 2009
Four of us are heading south to north on Friday. Given your experiences and my lack of......think we'll skip those sections. Downhill sections on bigger rock are challenging enough on a 250. Add 200 lbs and 30 years..... Very impressive perseverance. I can see you two thoroughly enjoy riding together and thanks again for the fantastic images.
strider.deano screwed with this post 08-28-2012 at 07:11 PM
|08-28-2012, 10:11 PM||#43|
Joined: Sep 2010
Location: Tacoma, WA
That was Erik and I that the two of you met on the trail. I was on the DR, and Erik on the BMW 650X.
I have really enjoyed your ride report. Great pics, and I love the work that you put into recording your struggles with the difficult section up on Umtanum Ridge. That was a fun section.
I saw that you included a link of Mike and Erik's RR, but I put another together of my own. Check it out!
See you guys on the trail!
“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves."
My Virgin ADV Trip, Rocks Flyin', Me Cryin', and God Looking On - A WABDR Adventure, Fun With Carbon Fiber
|08-29-2012, 12:20 AM||#44|
Joined: Jul 2010
Location: Lower Hutt, New Zealand
Wow, that looked like a mean day indeed. As usual your story and pics are first class. Enjoying your trip report. Man I gotta get up there sometime!
2013 Honda VFR1200X
|08-29-2012, 01:31 AM||#45|
Joined: Jan 2012
Awesome report. Having an F800GS myself, this is very instructional. Thank you for such detailed report with pictures. I wonder how it will be when I'll take some road like that with my gf, on a single bike
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