Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Erzberg Rodeo 2012

This is the full play list of 12 videos.

La "play list" complète des 12 vidéos disponibles.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Second 2012 adventure ride: Vince’s “Not dead yet” ride part 2

The departure for the ride was getting closer.  How will I make this ride since there is no official ride guide but rather a “hostile” chart (see part 1.)

Paper strip enigma


[Roll chart holder] My parking neighbor, John, with whom I had a chat earlier, quickly resolved the enigma of the paper strip plan.

The “Roll chart holder”.  Haaaaa, what a great idea!…the paper strip plan is inserted into this gadget and unrolled as the ride goes.  Most likely, I was unprepared for this kind of ride.

On the left picture you can see the “Roll chart holder” on Hans’ motorcycle.  I’ll speak about Hans later.

Time to go.  4 by 4, motorcyclists aligned at the starting line.  I asked John if it would be OK if I followed him since I didn’t have the roller.  “Of course, you are welcome!” he said.  Very nice guy!  Finally my problem was solved - I could follow and enjoy the ride.  Even better, John’s intention was to avoid “Hero” sections which were intended for smaller dual sport bikes better suited for mud & rocky sections.



So John, 2 other riders and I aligned at the starting line (KTM erzberg edition, Versys, DR-Z400 and a KLR.)    Then go!

For a while, everything went well.  After 10 minutes, John changed directions and stopped for some adjustments.  So I continued to follow the group and I lost John from sight.  The DR-Z400 driver became the new guide. 

For a good moment the ride was pretty cozy.  Many nice paved and unpaved sections, sometimes in the woods ( I really felt at home on many occasions)…nothing to be afraid of - even a road bike could have done this.  The DR-Z400 driver (the guide) was riding at a slow pace and at a certain point the ride was even a little boring.

First pit stop



A couple of pictures from this first pause.  I chatted for the first time with Hans (DR-Z400) there (as I don’t remember his real name, I had to re-baptize him for the purpose of this post - Hans had a European accent, I would say German.)

So, Hans is the DR-Z400 owner.  His bike was so customized (was maybe a DR650) that only the engine and the frame were original.  Even the gas tank was replaced to gain nearly a gallon.  When I asked him about his ride plan, Hans told me that he had no intention of riding in the Hero sections…so I could follow him in peace.

What type of motorcyclist are you?

While I was riding, on many occasions I told to myself “Ah! that…that would be a good picture”.  What’s more, I had to follow Hans – and the plan – so I could not start exploring all the paths that seemed interesting like I usually do in my occasional adventure rides.  I have to admit, I am a solo adventurer: I like to take shots and follow providential paths on my way, or even just stop when nature calls.  Freedom!


Hey!  That was a hero section!?

The cozy ride suddenly wasn’t that easy anymore.  I saw it coming: rocky section on a upwards slope.  Mud and big holes and much less GS in the picture, but rather dual sport and Adventure bikes (there were motorcycles just about everywhere.)  I was following Hans who seemed a quiet rider at first.  He suddenly showed his other side:  he was literally flying over the obstacles and I struggled to follow on my Versys.  A KTM Adventure bike sped by me to the left and also seemed to fly over obstacles.  When I noticed that I was followed by a group of smaller dual sport bikes, I just stepped aside to let them pass.

I was not that bad a rider in those conditions but I needed to ride at a slower pace - much appreciated by my Versys…which I had taken to very similar places in the past, but with caution.

At the end of the section I told Hans: “Hey! Was that a Hero section?”, and he replied: “Oh, I`m just following the plan.”.  Hehe, that really spiced up the ride.

Open-mouthed smile

12 o’clock

After 3 hours of riding and some more hero sections, the fatigue of this already long day started to show.  And the apprehension of the remaining 300 miles to go back home was increasing.

As I rode out of the last hero section (it was particularly intense, I bottomed my suspension a couple of times), I went to see Hans and  thanked him for guiding me through this ride, but the time had come to say goodbye – I still had a long way to go.  Handshake and adios!


[monkey butt]  The ride home went without any issues.  Unfortunately, I felt like I had received a thousand kicks in the butt.  It is in those moments that you wish for a more comfortable seat...  I’ll need to evaluate some of the aftermarket ones.  I saw a Seat Concept solution which received good feedback on kawasakiversys.com.  So I took the plunge - I will let you know if it was worth it once installed.


Next rides…

Once I got home and saw how far I had gone for a day ride on Google map, I realized that Parent and the Laurentides Park were not that far after all and I would probably get lost in those area this summer…


I took some time later to search for a Roll chart holder and found this one on Amazon.

I also found a web site dedicated to Roll chart holders: http://www.rollcharts.org/rollchartdef.html and a software that may be useful to create charts: http://www.enduro.4t.com/rollcht.htm

If you are taking part in an organized adventure ride, don’t do the same mistake as I did: be informed about which kind of ride you’ll be participating in and see if you need that type of gadget.



Related Post:

  1. Ride to Parent

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Second 2012 adventure ride: Vince’s “Not dead yet” ride

May 20, 2012,  2 o’clock in the morning, I’m wide awake.  To go or not to go?  That is the question.

Retrospective:  In January, I received a tweet to participate in Vince’s “Not dead yet” ride in Massachusetts.  300 miles to go and 300 other miles to come back, plus 120 miles of adventure riding.  Nonsense, I will forget that.  (See the map below indicating the ride’s meeting point.)

View Larger Map

One week before the date I sent an email to the ride staff to see if there were still some available spots - almost hoping the answer would be no:  I had mixed emotions between the thrill of the experience and the nonsense of going that far for a day ride.  The staff email answer: “Always, there is never a max!”

So…unable to sleep…let’s go!

At 3:15 am, I’m on my way to Otis, Massachusetts.

I87 South, Adirondack

A few hours later, there I was on the I87 South.  I quickly noticed that heading south did not necessarily mean increasing temperature.  When I left home I was comfortably riding with a jacket, boots, gloves and a pair of Jeans.  But in the Adirondacks mountain area, it was much cooler!  My visor went foggy and I had to set my heated grips at ‘hi’.  That ride is most likely similar to crossing the Laurentides Park in Quebec early in the morning.  For those that do not support heat and traffic, it’s perfect.

Otis, Massachusetts


[Some of the bikes there]  Since I cruised at a fast pace, I was able to reach my destination 40 minutes before the planned departure at 9am.

First thing I told to myself arriving there: if Harley is the king of the cruiser market, KTM and BMW share the honor in the adventure bike world…at least, that was my impression.  There were lots of 1200GS, F800GS and F650GS, and many Adventure and other KTM models.  I saw some KLR, one V-Strom and 2 Versys!  Hey!, I was not the only mad person riding a V for this dual sport adventure day!  After asking the question on kawasakiversys.com the next day at home, I found out that the driver of the second versys was a friend of the owner of the Versys who was riding a 1200gs with a side car!  Small world.

Then I registered, paid, and took my stuff: a sticker to put on the windscreen and the road plan printed on a 8.5 per 11 sheet.  I took a look at the plan and I quickly realized that it was gibberish to a neophyte like me.  Hmm, how will I make this ride?  I also noticed that many people where cutting the plan instructions to make a long paper strip with adhesive tape.  Why?  Should I do the same?

8h45 – Meeting at the registration desk


[Vince Lee]  Here is the ride organizer, Vince Lee.  Vince has been fighting a cancer for many years and other complications have added to his disease.  However he is in good spirits, he seems in pretty good shape and still healthy enough to organize this ride where all profits are for charity.

After Vince addressed the crowd,  I felt the emotion when everybody warmly applauded him for his courage.  Thoughts and prayers for you Vince! 

Now that I think about it… helping a good cause was probably my biggest motivator for this crazy ride.

Thumbs up

Note: Vince is an active member on AdvRider.com

To be continued…part 2