Desflurane's Romaniacs Blog

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

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My number is 325

Posted by desflurane on June 20, 2013

I just saw the starting list, and most of the starting numbers have been assigned. I will be 325.

My new silencer tip arrived, and was summarily installed:
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Good as new!

I mounted the smokestack up and headed out for a great four-hour training ride. I hit all my usual hotspots and then headed out cross-country to another area with some nice steep hillclimbs about ten miles from my usual stomping grounds.

But before embarking on that journey I tackled another of the “mental obstacles” that I had been wrestling with. In “the gymnasium” there is one rock in particular that I have been eyeballing for months. It is a big slab of stone protruding from the ground at a rather steep angle. At its highest point it is about as tall as the bike’s seat. It is really just about perfectly situated for a good, trials-style splat/hop move right up and over. But for some reason, this rock just made me nervous and I have shied away from tackling it. The approach seemed too loose, the drop-off on the backside seemed too sketchy, whatever… I would slink away from it every time muttering to myself that I need to ride that thing before I go to Romania.

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As you can see, it isn’t that big of a deal. Yesterday was the day. I started hitting the left-hand side of the rock which is slightly lower, and was able to climb right over with zero problems. I repeated this perhaps six times – until it didn’t seem like that big of a deal any more – then went for the money, hitting it squarely in the middle. Rather anticlimactically, I zipped right up and over exactly as I should have done long ago. But I had quite successfully psyched myself out over this one rock – never mind the fact that I have surmounted bigger, uglier rock climbs on many occasions without so much as a second thought. Somehow I had let this one rock grow taller and sketchier in my mind. But no more! I hit it perhaps six more times before declaring victory, and moving on to other training.

I travelled over to the other intended riding zone and set to work scaling the steep hillclimbs to be found there. The area was created when a sizeable portion of the native hillside was scooped away to provide space for the constructions of an industrial park. At its back edge the embankments are tall and steep, probably 50-60 feet high and right around 45 degrees. They remind me of somewhat smaller versions of the hillclimbs found near the start of Erzberg. The dirt seems to be slimilar to Erzberg as well – loose, sandy and peppered with stones. I spent a good hour there climbing them every way I could imagine. Only one line avoided conquest – one where a rockier layer of dirt was exposed about fifteen feet up the climb. This created a small vertical face right where you need to be hammering the throttle in order to maintain sufficient momentum to get all the way to the top. The face would launch the bike upward – just a little – stifling all the lovely forward motion I had previously obtained, leaving me to founder a few feet higher when wheelspin was no longer enough to shove me further up the grade.

Not all bad, this gave me the chance to practice a little bulldogging as well as riding down the face of the hill.

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