Desflurane's Romaniacs Blog

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

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Posted by desflurane on November 10, 2015

I was at work all night last night and therefore had the day off today. I came home and crashed for a few hours then dragged myself out of bed at around 11:00. The kids were at school and my wife was meeting a friend for lunch. I found myself alone…

Obviously this is a great opportunity to go out for a dirt bike ride, but I was really having a hard time getting myself motivated to go out – alone – and ride the same old stuff I always ride. Ignore the fact that I have never come home from a ride on my training loop without a smile on my face… I just wasn’t feeling it today.

I settled on going for a nice long bicycle ride. I went out into the garage and plugged in the battery of my Di2 system since I haven’t charged it up for several months. I noticed the brand-new can of chain lube I bought the other day and picked it up. “Just washed the bike,” I reasoned, “might as well lube up the chain for next time.”

I carefully sprayed the chain inside and out while slowly turning the rear wheel. It is quite satisfying to hear the clacking, scratchy sound of a dry chain transformed into a quiet, slippery hiss with just a spray of oil. I spun the wheel around a few more times savoring the way the chain flowed smoothly over the guides and around the sprockets.

Next thing I knew I was pulling my boots and helmet on and I was headed for the trail.

It was a good ride.

The weather is quite cool today. Light showers of rain spattered my goggles as I wheelied off of the pavement, over a rock-lined ditch and onto a dirt road.

I came to the top of the trail and stopped.

It was fairly cool out and my nose had really begun to run while I had worked my way around the last few turns. As I reached up to pull off my helmet I noticed blood dripping down the side of my gas tank. I hadn’t crashed at all, or injured myself in any way.

It took me a moment to put it together, and realize that I was having a good old nosebleed. Late fall and winter get very dry here – it is high desert after all – and your skin takes a beating. The inside of my nose is no different. My goggles were pinching just below the bridge of my nose hard enough that it kicked up a little bleeding. I flailed around for a few minutes trying to find something to jam up my nose to staunch the flow. I had already grabbed a handful of dry cheat grass to sop up the blood that was already running down my face, but there was no way I was shoving that crap into my nostril. Next I pulled a micofiber cloth out of my Camelbak and packed it in. It held back the flood, but was way too big. If I left it in place it would dangle out the chin of my helmet and had no chance of staying put.

I eventually tore a piece of material from the elbow of my jersey and stuffed it up my nose as far as I could stand it. That jersey was pretty shredded anyway…

I figured that I would just head for home after that, but once I got rolling again my nosebleed didn’t seem like much of a priority – hitting my favorite rock gardens for some extreme practice on the other hand…

I spent a couple of hours climbing up stone stair-steps and working on some short but steep hillclimbs. Eventually I made my way to a broad patch of nearly flat ground that is covered with jagged stones. They range from fist to head-sized and are just loose and uneven enough to make for some good practice. As you ride across them the bike starts to bounce around a bit and the rocks start sliding around a little, making it a challenge to keep the bike balanced and on course.

I decided to see what would happen if I clicked the compression damping of my forks up a bit.

Two clicks more than the stock setting and I made another pass across the rocks. Wow! The bike tracked straighter and deflected less! I made another pass to see if I was just imagining it.

No, there really was a difference!

Two more clicks (four total) and Holy Cow! The rocks were no longer a challenge at all. I could just ride directly across them without any concern. The bike felt completely stable and planted as I rolled through.

I wound the clickers back to stock and tried the rocks again – difficulty was back. I wasn’t just imagining it.

I wove my way back and forth through the stones until I basically got bored with them, then headed for home.

I arrived at the house just as my wife returned from lunch.  She was thoroughly impressed with the bloody scrap of cloth hanging out of my nose.

Anything to impress the ladies!


2 Responses to “Clickin’”

  1. desflurane said

    Solid done! Not a problem – I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes.

  2. desflurane said

    And purely for my info – were you encountering bad ruts on the zipper? I ask because I have always tried very consciously to avoid creating ruts, for the exact reason you mention, and because it is just generally poor form. I looked back frequently when I rode it and never saw what I thought was significant damage, but obviously the perspective is different on a mtb.

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