Desflurane's Romaniacs Blog

Chronicle of My Participation in the World's Toughest Enduro Rally – Again…

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Offroad day one

Posted by desflurane on July 17, 2011

I got up bright and early this morning, or shall I say cool, grey and damp?? That is definitely how things shaped up weather-wise. A repeat of last year’s soggy Romaniacs definitely seemed likely.

Here is a shot of the HQ Ramada from across the street!

I was still a bit early for the 7:00am press bus that would carry me around to the various photo-ops along the course. So I took a stroll past the bike paddock.

Whilst there, I noted that a selection of the top profi riders were getting their bikes out in preparation for the hotel start.

Birch, Lettenbichler, Forster and Bolton were there. I tried to snap a few quick pics with the last seconds I had before hobbling back to the hotel to catch the bus. This one of Paul Bolton was the only shot that turned out.

On to the bus! And a short ride brought us to the offroad start where the pro riders were lined up beneath a Red Bull arch ready to tear in for the day. Here we have Chris Birch waiting his chance, followed by Gerhardt Forster. (Apparently Graham Jarvis and Paul Bolton had left just before I got there…)

Jens Ter Tung is shown here, with Andreas Lettenbichler right behind him.

Here is a close-up of Darryl Curtis.

Shortly thereafter we were hustled back down the hill to the waiting bus, so we could zoom over to the first spectator area. It was alongside a quarry where the track followed the main access road and turned suddenly left down into the barrow and straight up the very steep hill into the trees. Just after we arrived, Chris Birch blew past us, making it look like child’s play. (Second pic is a bit out of focus, sorry…)

We jumped back on the bus and scooted over to another checkpoint where the track followed a dirt road down to a stream crossing. Hobby and expert riders were passing through at a good rate.

At this point we were informed that Graham Jarvis had just left checkpoint two and would likely arrive at the finish within the hour. We had just 45 minutes to get there and catch him climbing the colossal hill they stuck in front of the finish line.

We got there in time, the bus parked and we piled out for the short hike through the trees that brought us to the crest of this insanely tall, steep hill. Pictures really can’t do justice to this monster! It has a nice long run-up at the bottom, a short steep section followed by a seemingly endless series of short climbs that get steeper and steeper as you go up.

What you have to appreciate with this shot is that my feet are almost in the picture! This thing is really, really steep!

After a ten to fifteen minute wait at the crest of the hill, Graham finally made his appearance and blasted right to the top with barely a waver in his line!

Here are some shoddy photos:

And here is Graham at the top after. He seemed genuinely tapped out. But then, he has a rather reserved personality anyway. A man of few words.

Martin appeared and asked Graham how he liked the track, the track markers and a few other details. Graham seemed to offer two or three word answers.

Then Graham did a crowd pleaser and descended the giant hill he had just climbed. I had my helmet camera in my hand at the time, and I will have to add it later, since YouTube doesn’t want to load it properly…

Around this time Volker, who was busy interviewing each pro rider as they topped the hill, offered to let me use his SLR camera to shoot the action on the hillclimb. He has a very nice pro-level Canon and it worked fabulously!! I felt like the real deal! Real man’s camera, at the top of a real man’s hill, taking pictures of the real men who have the cajones to climb it on their dirt bikes. AWESOME!!

Volker said I could use any of the shots I got, and maybe he will even be using some in his press release for today. Look and see…


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