Went out early Saturday to go
riding to try to beat the storm that was expected to hit at 4pm in N.
California. Seven of us met at 9:30am and started out what was going to be about
a 40-50 mile loop over a couple mountains to a nearby lake (Trinity Lake). We
had two DRZ's, two XR600's an XR400, and a YZ426F and my E Dale of course. It
was my first time riding this loop so I was pretty anxious to give it a try.
started out on a mining road for the first mile or two with a lot of jarring
shale rock. Immediately it was obvious two guys weren't going to keep up so they
ended up doing a different ride in the area that was more their style. That left
me the only guy who hadn't tried this ride yet but I was still game.
they peeled off because less than 100ft from where we split we no longer used
the roads but instead we did some single track stuff that was extremely tight,
twisty and technical. The brush was thick, the trees were low and narrow. I'd
say out of the 40 miles 15 of it was this nasty stuff. I must have hit my hand
guards 30 times on trees and brush. Then there were the low branches and I
almost got knocked off my bike two or three times the stuff was hanging so low.
However, after about 45 minutes of this stuff I was starting to notice I was the
slow guy and I was having some problems keeping up somewhat. My arms were really
getting pumped up from the suspension getting jarred off the small stuff like
small stumps and softbal sized rocks. I still have the stock settings on my bike
so I need to start making some adjustments to soften things up a bit. The
softball sized rocks and countless roots were just hammering me.
We did a couple
fire roads, waterbars were a blast, and we did a small section of power lines.
We stopped a about 6 times times to cut small fallen trees out of the way. One
tree was a foot in diameter and was hanging over at an angle. It took awhile to
OK now I'm about an 1 1/2 hour into the ride or about 3 hours into the day
and my arms were jello. Also my butt was starting to get sore from the hard
seat. I like to stand-up when riding but I hardly had the chance with so much
brush, trees, and turns. More padding would be nice.
Now we hit the the up hill
stuff. First it was a hill the guys called "Killer Hill" Guess everyone has had
a bad experience on this hill. It's nothing but a hard shale rock face that goes
up for about 100 ft. I tried it and got about half way up because I picked a bad
line. But now that I saw it I knew what it was and didn't think much of it so I
went back down turned around and just blazed right up that thing. The Dale hit
that face like it wasn't even there and it just leaped up and over. Then the
last forty feet of this monster was nothing but wheelie.
Two guys wrecked on
this thing right after me and I can tell you it wasn't pretty. We were on the
top and one guy's front wheel come over the top but his rear wheel never made
it. All we could do was watch him get sucked back down the face of the cliff
from the top. Luckily he and the bike were OK.
After that we hit about 7 miles
of fire roads which sound easy but they were in bad shape and about half the
width they were suppossed to be. I really had a hard time in this section. These
slippery rutted up hills were giving me a ton of trouble on my Dale. What gets
me is they weren't really that steep but I couldn't get any traction to tractor
up the things. These roads were kind of steep, very slippery with red clay and
had very deep ruts.
One section was about a mile long and I must have dumped and
stalled my bike a six times. I was starting to get pissed because it looked so
easy but I just couldn't get going. If I didn't have momentum I was dead. I was
the only guy having trouble so I thought it was my riding. One guy came back
down the hill with his DRZ and we switched bikes. I tracked right up that hill
with ease on his bike like it was flat ground. But now my buddy riding my bike
now had trouble getting traction. After working at it we both finally got my E
up this hill. We both have come to the conclusing that first gear on the E is
just way too tall. We had that rear tire just spinning like crazy all the way up
that thing. When we did try to tractor it that 10 plate clutch would just grab
and both of us either stalled it or spin the rear tire like mad.
I am seriously
considering going down to a 12 tooth sprocket on the front. I mean on flat
ground my first gear does 20mph and that's just too tall for this kind of
riding. To give you an idea of how technical the ride was here is the readings
from my odometer:
DISTANCE: 39.6 miles
RIDE TIME: 2:36 hrs - + 3hrs on the
trail cutting trees.
AVERAGE SPEED: 15.1 mph <-- Mostly 1st/2nd gear all
MAXIMUM SPEED: 47.6 mph Hit 5th gear maybe twice.
OK so now it's starting to get dark and the storm hits. It's starting to snow
like crazy so we hit the main roads. I noticed I could really power through the
turns due to the smooth power of the Cannondale motor. Just go till you start to
slide then back off a tad. It was a way cool feeling. After a few miles I think
the guys I was with got lost for a few minutes. We doubled back on a few trails
but finally they spotted something familiar and we headed back down the hill.
All in All it was a blast of a ride. Besides the few problems I had my Dale
survived with flying colors. Even though I stalled it a dozen times the e-start
worked flawless and this is one reliable machine because I beat it up pretty
good. Not to mention I looped it once on a root and dumped it a couple times in
the muddy ruts.
I forgot to tell you about that hill. They had a name for it but
I forgot what it was. Something like mile long hill or something. And let me
tell you it was loooong and steep. Traction was slippery at the bottom but ideal
the rest of the way so momentum was the key for me. I rode second gear pinned
for what felt like 3 minutes straight to the top. I was wondering if it ever was going to
Anyway that's was my ride Saturday. Some things I'm going to do before my
next ride are as follows:
1. Play with the suspension to see if I can dial
in a softer initial hit.
2. Change the front sprocket to a 13 to see if I
can tractor my bike more. Anyone try this yet?
Till next time.