Desflurane's Romaniacs Blog

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

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Posted by desflurane on May 17, 2013

Things are coming along nicely. Ben and I got together for a great ride last Thursday. As usual it came together unexpectedly and at the last moment. I had the day off due to serving a twenty four hour sentence of Labor and Delivery call the previous day/night. Ben had already informed me that he would be busy all day at work – no shot at rideage. In desperation I shot him a text to see if anybody he knew was headed out for the day. He answered back that the workload he had been anticipating was actually scheduled for Friday and he had suddenly found himself free for the day.

We met up at his house and were joined by Jay, another buddy connected via the vast web of the Reno medical community. We have ridden together before. He is another fast guy with plenty of racing under his belt. It’s always a workout for me to try to keep up with these guys, but that’s just what I need!

The sun was shining and the temperature was a bit hot, if anything. Four days of rain had preceded our ride and the dirt was near perfection! Moist and grippy almost everywhere. Being a desert, there were spots where the sandy soil had already begun to revert back into its usual near-powder consistency.

We followed miles of good flowing single track over Peavine’s lower slopes, descended a long, sketchy, trackless hillside, crossed a little stream and climbed up the opposite side of the valley to hook in to some better-established trails. After following them into the trees we peeled off to run the “private” singletrack that Ben and his pals have cut in over the last year or two. It’s tight and technical with lots of rocky hills to ascend and descend, slimy logs to cross and tight groves of trees to negotiate. I’m not exactly sure what species of tree they are (manzanita I think) but they produce lots of low-hanging branches that appear thin and spindly, but are remarkably stiff, sharp and tenacious on closer encounters. I came out with a few big red welts where the jagged end of a branch had tried to rip right through my skin.

Overall I felt really good about my riding. Ben and Jay are faster than I am, no question. On the more open sections of trail they would gradually pull away from me, despite my best efforts. They didnt completely drop me, but the gap between them and I would continue to grow. But when we hit the gnarly spots I think I more than held my own.

I think the practice on the trials bike is turning out to be quite helpful. The little bike is so nimble and easy to ride, I found myself pulling off moves on it that I would have shied away from on the big bike. But having gotten the feel of some bolder tricks, I could transpose them over fairly easily.

For example, I went out for a training ride yesterday afternoon. I hit the switchbacks (rode them as flawlessly as I ever have) and made my way to the concrete washout. The washout is a lovely pile of irregular blobs and broken slabs of concrete in the middle of a nicely groomed gravel yard. Using the technique of lofting the front wheel as I ride over irregular rocks, ruts and bumps, I found that I could attack the pile of rubble with a great deal more confidence, taking longer, higher lines that I would have chickened out on before. This technique isn’t new, I just learned to do it better on the trials bike.

Same thing a little later in the “gymnasium.” I rode a ton of new lines yesterday, climbing up and over boulders and up lichen-covered walls. They were lines I had seen before, but never had the confidence to actually try. Where I had been “reasonably confident” that I could pull off some of these moves, I would always wimp out at the last moment. After proving to myself in a less threatening way that it could be done, I was able to push myself much harder. I could spot a line over an obstacle and ride it confidently before doubts could creep in and talk me out of it. While Graham Jarvis need not fear me, I think my rock-garden skills are pretty good!

On another note, I wired the last pile of cash over to Dougie yesterday. Everything is paid for now – entry fee, bike, service, tires, mousses… I just need to take some spending money to cover anything else that might come up. At present I think I have spent right around $6500 total.

I noticed that there is a small crack in the “jaw” of my Airoh helmet. It doesn’t appear to affect structural integrity, but I’m thinking about throwing down for a new lid. I’ve got over a year on the Airoh, and it has been great. I’m thinking about picking up another Shoei, however in solid orange. Should look sweet with my red outfit. 


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