Monday, October 20, 2008

There And Back Again... A Motorbyke Tale

"Epic" is probably the best word to describe this weekend. I'm typing this while my body is barely able to move without me wincing. I don't think anything is broken. It's just that I'm old and I don't bounce back like I used to. At least I hope that's why.

Matt and I decided to try to do the Sheet Iron 300 course this weekend up between Stonyford and Fort Bragg. The Sheet Iron is a dual sport rally that occurs in April. We thought we'd give it a go just before rainy winter set in. I rode my 08 KLR650 and he on his XR400.

DAY 1:

Starting to get excited now

First casualty. Dropped my bike off the ramp and broke the left rear signal. I removed both and the back plastics.

I followed Matt into the woods on a fire trail and ate dirt most of the trip. He rides like a bat out of hell and really pushed me for my first time. I dropped my bike 3 times in the first 20 miles and no more after for the day.

We stopped at the Soda Creek General Store for a pan and directions. In was in the middle of nowhere.

And it had a lot of stuff.


We hit a logger trail that was closed. My tie down broke loose and wrapped itself around my sprocket dislodging the chain. Miraculously it did no damage other than the chain guard. If my chain wasn't so old and loose it probably would have been a lot worse.

After an extremely hilly road we got to a barrier that seemed uncrossable. Some hillbilly must have been drunk and tried this. Lucky for us there was a rack that made an excellent ramp to have Matt drive the bikes over.

That's a long way down.

We popped out and hit a highway down to a small town where we got directions to a camp ground near Ukiah to stay for the night. It was closed, but we snuck in and found a trail down to a beach by a lake. Pretty much the most perfect scenario ever. Just in time to collect fire wood, put up the tent, and watch the sun go down.

DAY 2:
We did about 70 miles of some great highway roads in the freezing cold up to Covelo.

Back on to more endless fire roads and multiple times not knowing where we were.

And then it happened...

As I was going into a turn I tried to brake and my foot just hit the ground and I lost balance. I held on for dear life and my bike and I flew off the embankment into the side of the hill. I did a sommersault and landed on my head on a log. If it wasn't for my gear I would not be here. I was ok. I got up, was dazed. Pieces of my bike everywhere.

I sat there waiting for Matt to come back. I was banged up, but ok, but i didn't have the stamina to push my bike out. He had to hop on and ride it down and then out. I zip tied what I could together and continued on much less confident.

What had happened was the bolt holding my foot peg on worked it's way loose and the foot peg swung down. My foot ended up just pressing on air. And then me into the side of a mountain.

After some more problems like my rear brake constantly going out and my swingarm hitting a piece of bent metal, we reached the last 30 miles of the trip back to Stonyford. Probably some the coolest and most technical riding of the trip.

I kissed the ground when we got back just before dark. I looked like I was kissing a lot of dirt.

My body worse for wear. My bike worse for wear.

The yellow line is the Sheet Iron 300 course. The red and blue is what we rode.

In essence this weekend was one of those life-defining moments that you'll always remember. As soon as i heal and get my bike fixed up, I'll be planning another.

You can see all of the pictures HERE.

1 comment:

Rob Timko said...

If it makes you feel better, it doesn't look TOO bad, although confirms my initial reservations about the plastic on the 08's.

That's quite a cliff you went off, I'd assumed it was a smaller "get-off"...for that crash, you (and the bike) came out 10x better than I would have guessed if you showed me a picture of just the cliff.