Pre Day 3 Notes
I had sent my Ride Report thus far to my brother who after a quick discussion sparked a bit of introspection on this ride. Looking back on what I wrote about Day 2, I felt like what I wrote was rushed. Recalling back however, this is pretty well inline with how Day 2 was for me. Day 2 was filled with what was the core of the best riding areas of the TWAT. At that point, we were out of the flat open corn fields of Illinois, and were winding our way up and around the Driftless area of Wisconsin. Not only that, but we were bang on track for riding the trickier terrain of the Black River Falls area. By the time we got to the Black River Falls area, Caleb was zonked, I was feeling the affects of riding a KTM 350 for quite a few hours straight, and I was getting sick of Dust. Not only that, but as the day wore on, we were all relatively indecisive about where and when to stop. The day was just a rushed one, but that is more or less the story of this trip. A lot of distance covered in not a lot of time. That was OK though, because tomorrow would be a new day.
Day 3 (Tuesday) – Hawkins, WI to The End of the TWAT……and Back :huh
We woke up relatively chipper in the morning. Our camp site was more or less a staging area for some ATV Trails. As I noted before, I was a bit concerned about us riding on the ATV Trails, as at this point with our non-existent internet access, we were unable to do some online reading through the evening. We went with our gut, and figured that if the publicized TWAT had us navigating on some of these trails, we would be OK. Looking at my GPS, I hadn’t realized how close we were to the end of the TWAT. We did some rough math, and figured that we’d be at the end by noon.
For me, it was a nice refreshing way to wakeup. I’m plenty comfortable on my bike in just about any condition (aside from ice, unless I’ve got studded tires), so despite having a street oriented dual sport tire setup on my bike, and the somewhat slick ground conditions, I was really enjoying myself. The sky was slightly overcast, the trails were winding, with the right amount of dirt\sand mix, and I found myself able to ride a brisk yet comfortable pace.
After the ATV Trails, we wound up at Rustic Road 111
Now at this point, we were I dunno, 50-100 miles into our available fuel. I hadn’t been worried on my 350, as I’d been get 55-60mpg, and had 4 gallons of fuel. Jameson’s 950 was holding plenty of gas, but Caleb was beginning to worry about his situation. He had done the TWAT the year before and was concerned about a section which was muddy, and which he rode…..at night. It was early morning for us, so I wasn’t concerned about the trail conditions, however, I don’t like having to tow bikes due to running out of fuel. At this point, we pulled a bit of an audible and took a straight shot North on Cr-GG to refuel in Clam Lake.
Cr-GG for me, embodied the essence of the trip. The morning air was calm. The road was lined with beaufitul trees as far as you can see. A feeling of “being out there” began to fall over me. With my 350 humming along at 60mph, I had felt what I’d been looking for with this trip. I knew we weren’t far from the end, but this section just felt right. On top of this, we were graced by the quick sight of a wolf running across the road. I had to rethink this over, as my mind kept thinking, was that a coyote….no, much too large for that to be a coyote. A wolf, a desolate road, with calm cool air. This was where I wanted to be.
Like all good things, this road soon came to an end. We refueled in Clam Lake, and set off North once again. Unbeknownst to me, I would soon lose my SPOT Tracker shortly after this fuel stop. From Clam lake, we worked our way up to the Delta Diner. Yes, the silver restaurant near the end of the TWAT.
You can likely tell from the picture that we were the only ones there. Lesson learned was that they are closed on Tuesdays. That’s ok, cause we weren’t really hungry at this point. In my mind however, we were only a few miles from the end of the TWAT. As it turns out, this isn’t quite true. We still had a few miles to go. After the Delta Diner, there were some awesome fun sand roads. I know, a lot of folks hate riding sand. You gotta embrace it. There is nothing quite like riding full throttle, railing turns, just locked in like you’re Bob Hannah. I love personally love it, but I suppose years of riding the sugar sand of Michigans UP will do that for you. A bit further down the trail, and we had our first glimpse of Superior
Around 12:30, our projected time, we reached….The End. Holy anti-climactic Batman. I kid you not. We thought we got to the wrong spot. We were at some sandy dead end road. Jameson took the lead, and found there was a short maybe not so legit trail to climb down to the shore. Sure enough, we found ourselves on a beautiful set of large rocks, crystal clear Lake Superior water, and some vintage graffiti to enjoy a snack.
Hey look….a selfie:
A stolen picture of Jameson from his instagram:
It’s just after noon. The sun was baking on us. And so the talk began. Were we or weren’t we going to jump into the water. I know I needed a shower, but dipping my hand in the water….yup frigid. What the heck, let’s make this trip official. Off came the riding gear and with a run on some slipper rocks….off we jumped into the water. Hells horses was that cold and refreshing. Sure, I was only about 10′ from the rock itself, but sweet word, that water sucked the breath out of me and I felt I was a mile away. We spent the next 20 minutes or so making random leaps into the water. Each time claiming it was getting colder and colder trying to find a more convenient way of climbing the rocks to get out, without looking like a beached shamu whale.
After enough shinanigans, we felt it was time to move on and work our way sadly South. We knew we had skipped some sections of the trail, so figured that we’d snag these on our way South. We had the time, so why not? Our first order of business was to get gas in Redcliff, and zip South through Bayfield and on into Ashland, WI. We stopped in at the local Wal-Mart. I stocked up on some ramen\water\etc (also grabbed myself a fancy new coffee mug). I wanted something to eat, so talked the group into going to the local Culvers. This was a good choice, as my subconscious had reminded me that Culvers are pretty good about keeping their restrooms clean…..ideal for someone who isn’t overly fond of pit toilets and what have you (hey…..I got attacked by a bat in an outhouse….that’ll scar anyone ).
Jameson, in his infinite wisdom snapped a picture of us as we were to set off from Culvers. We left culvers according to my phone at 4pm.
I’m not sure if it was at this point, or when, but we began heading south. It’d been a good day of riding thus far. We were heading South, and figured we had plenty of time. It was when we went to refill with fuel at Clam Lake (again) that I realized that I had lost my SPOT Tracker.
Jameson gave me the stink-eye making me feel like a fool for losing my tracker
I did some critical thinking. According to my phone, my SPOT was just up the road. It was roughly 5:15pm, and I wasn’t communicating very well with Caleb & Jameson. I (in my mind) explained to them that the SPOT was thankfully a couple miles up the road. I said I’d go zip up the road, and look for it. I thought Caleb was fixing something on his bike, so felt I had plenty of time to go up the road, find the device, and get back to the gas station, where we’d rendezvous to then find camp.
I get to where the SPOT is supposed to be, and yeah….I’m not seeing it. I got a bit worked up with myself, because, it shoulda been there, and how did I lose it, and I’m tired, and insert long list of reasons here. I went up and down the road & trail looking for it. I decided to put the GPS coordinates into my Garmin, and see if maybe I was looking at things wrong. At this point, my Garmin tells me the SPOT is like 20 miles straight line away, at what looks like a persons house. I kept thinking, how the crap could the SPOT’s reported location be so far off from what my Garmin showed. Meanwhile, my phone was bouncing in and out of reception, and I’m getting text messages from Jameson\Caleb that they don’t know where I am. Then I get one that they’re going to look for a place to camp, and what have you. It’s getting mildly darker, I realize I’m becoming impatient about my situation, so decide…..who cares about the SPOT, let’s go meetup with the guys, and enjoy camp.
I zip my way back down the road and stock up on adult beverages at the Clam lake gas station, and end up meeting Jameson & Caleb at Day Lake Campground. Go figure, we manage to pick a spot where the past campers decided to dump their gray water. Thanks wankers. They did leave us a nice empty bottle of Smirnoff with some flowers in it.
Only about 800ish miles in:
Caleb posing while posting at Day Lake:
The lake was calm, and very relaxing:
We setup camp, got a fire going, and retired relatively early. The wind had picked up pretty good. Caleb told us to hop into his hammock to see what it was like. It was an awesome view of the clear sky and bright stars. That said, with how much the trees were swaying in the wind, I’m not sure I coulda slept in that all night. On the ground, in my tent for me.
Day 3 Map
Day 4 to Follow –
I’m well behind on this. What can I say, I’ve been busy. Since my last version was a TLDR Wall o Text, I’ll keep it short & sweet.
August 17th Harescramble. I don’t remember how the race went. For the bulk of the race, I thought I was in 2nd place. Turned out there was a timing\scoring error in my favor. 1st place Open B, 18th\48 Overall.
September 20th GP Race:
I did this race for 2 reasons. 1. I hadn’t ridden the 350 since the last race, and 2. I was in 1st place for the FVOR Open B Overall and racing the GP would give me some bonus points, should I not perform well on Sunday First moto I had a bad start, but everyone seemed to be moving a good pace. I learned the course (short) and ended up 4th\11 in the B class. Not bad considering I was shaking off some cobwebs. Second moto things were great……until the skies opened . Goggles were removed. I couldn’t see a thing, and it was like riding on ice. Lap times dropped substantially. I was riding reasonably well until I stalled the bike on the simplest of climbs. Go figure my E-Start button decided to not work. I tried kick starting the bike, only to slide backwards into a tree I got back up & finished 4th again.
Recap – Moto 1 – 4th Moto 2 – 4th – Overall 3rd. Apparently some folks stopped riding when the rain came….I said bring it
September 21st Harescramble:
This was the race I wanted to race. I knew if I won this one, I’d have the FVOR Open B overall. It had rained a bit more overnight, but luckily the morning race combined with dry weather made the course plenty tacky (though still a bit slick in areas). My bike was coated in mud from Saturdays race. My gear was coated & mostly still wet. Luckily I had some dry gloves with & some alternate goggles to use. Once again, I had a weak start (starter button is on the fritz). This time though, the bad start was a blessing in disguise. A group of guys piled up on the inside of the 1st turn, allowing me to squeak around the outside of them.
I had 2 or 3 guys in front of me from my class. I ended up making quick work of them & had them passed before the end of the first lap. Lap timer showed I was in 1st place. I knew at this point it was mine to lose, so I kept as sharp as I could, and kept pushing as hard as I could. Riding the GP helped a lot, as most all of the GP course was part of the harescramble course.
The Harescramble course first half was windy stuff through some sloppy wooded areas. After the first lap, this area tacked up pretty well. Next up was the endurocross. Normally I was jumping these obstacles. This time I kept the same speed, but tried to keep as low as possible on them. I wasn’t in the mood for heavy impacts. Next up was the 1st half of the moto track. I did what I could to keep pinned through here as it felt like “free time” to me as most guys don’t keep it full speed there. I tucked the front on a sandy turn though. Thankfully slow speed & the bike kept running.
After the 1st half of the moto track, we did a small climb\descent, hit the moto whoops, and back up another climb to the 1st grass section. This was good fun here. I’d do the climb in 3rd gear (slightly lugging) which kept good traction on the bad surface. It allowed me to rev out through 3rd into the first grass turn, keep in 3rd for the turn and up into 4th before dropping back into the woods. From here it was back onto the moto track, and another off-camber uphill climb. I was loving this climb. I went into the first portion in 3rd, and then dropped to 2nd when the hill got steeper. At the top, you’d jump out into the 2nd grass track section, where I’d click into 3rd, 4th, and then pinned in 5th to the end. It felt good to stretch the bikes legs a bit. From here it was some windy 2-track type stuff, through timing & scoring, and then across and down into the creek section. Again, another spot where I felt I made good time.
The entire race, I felt I was riding extremely well. I was confident on the bike (moreso than I’d been all year) and above all, just felt in control of things. I was a little sore from Saturday, but it wasn’t really affecting me. I wasn’t out of breath, and my muscles weren’t really feeling it. I was just having fun riding as fast as I could. On top of that, I was incredibly consistent. My times were within 5-10 seconds throughout the entire race.
I was fast, consistent, and having fun. Unofficial results 1st in Open B, 9th\48 overall.
These finishes should get me the FVOR Open B Overall too
Good weekend, finished off with a nice glass of beer when I got home:
And while it’s not much, a couple pics.
Bike after Saturdays GP (and before Sundays HS):
FreeMotoPix again snagged some photos from the weekend.
The bike was nice & clean at the GP
Leaving Timing & Scoring:
Probably the 2 slickest spots, there were others, but these 2 were the only ones I thought about in the race:
On the gas on the MX track:
Hillclimb just before getting on the 2nd portion of grass track:
Working the creek section (wow a shot where I have decent form ):
And a parting shot:
didn’t get to race the 250F this past weekend, so I was back on the 450F. Bit of a tradeoff here. 450F had fresher tires, which was better for the slick conditions. Downside is that the 450F is a heck of a lot heavier than the 250F. I was unable to test the 250F prior to Sunday, so I opted for the 450F. Was logical. As far as the race goes though……
I had a crap start. I’m pretty sure I was last or 2nd to last off the line. Only perk there was that I was able to snake around the bottleneck in the first turn. I was pushing best I could, though could not get in a good groove. I just wasn’t flowing well. I passed a good number of people in the following laps, but at about 30 minutes in I lost my rear and had a heck of a spill. Almost called it quits at that point, especially after I saw all the guys I had passed……now passing by me. I figured that would be weak and motored on, until I had to stop and take a leak. I rode a bit better after that, but again it sapped some time. I shoulda went for a 5th time just before the start, but what yah gonna do.
The facility decided that for the afternoon race (A\B classes) that they’d add some extra excitement into the mix. We tend to get a longer course, and they tend to add in their creek section and a bit more of their MX track and things like that. I found out on the first lap that they also had just made a small endurocross section. The mini endurocross section was definitely not something I was expecting. With the trials background, I’ve got no real issue with going over just about any obstacle. The issue is that committing to go over the obstacles at “race pace” is easier said than done lap after lap. I know that I can just “jump” the sized logs they had, but committing to that is difficult. Great risk\reward type thing. I tended to opt for just double blipping over the stuff. It worked well, but it saps energy, but tended to be pretty safe for getting over everything.
As the race went on, I found I did better and better through the creek section. I found I could easily pass people there as I’d pick a point to go to and gas it, pick a point, gas it until the end. Amusingly enough, the faster I went through this section, the less effort it took. I knew though that if I went down, I’d for sure be paying for it.
I was pretty fatigued by the end of the race. My lower back wasn’t tightening up, but the crash early on really put a damper on my performance. I was extremely hesitant with any slick stuff. The bike really felt like it weighed a metric ton. It’s initial weight sure didn’t help, but then add on 15-20# of tacky mud and it was just annoying. I saw the sign at timing and scoring that said end time was 2:26, and saw that it was 2:16. I was more than happy to have a 10 minute lap, as I really didn’t feel like pushing for another 2 laps; 1 last one would be more than enough.
I honestly don’t know where I finished in the race. The facility has been struggling with their timing\scoring system. It hasn’t really worked for the past several years I’ve been racing there. I got back to the truck and packed up and we peaced out. I’m mildly curious to see how I fared, but am not exactly optimistic about my result.
So tonight, I’m going to test the 250F. This should be interesting, as my left leg doesn’t really move properly, and my right shoulder is on the fritz. Crashing apparently hurts. I’m getting old . I need to test the bike though. Stadium MX this Friday. We’ll see how I do in a sprint vs an endurance event.
My 250F has been a royal pain in my ass. Well, more so, my right foot. I made the epic mistake this past winter of messing with the engine. I’ve been paying for it since, and the currency has been Head Gaskets. I had worries about not being able to actually get to race this year. I made some quick decisions, and long story short, I’ve no longer got a Trials bike, but a Yamaha WR450. I’ve also fired my mechanic (myself). I’m only allowed to change oil, filters, and grips. Beyond that, if that shmuck touches anything else, he’s gonna get slapped around
Not a move I’ve exactly wanted to make, but it’s making more and more sense as time goes on here. I realize it’s not the easiest to use 45hp in the woods, but I’m finding it incredibly easier than I remember. I find that I don’t really want a Rekluse on the thing. It’s nice, but it’ll lug so much better than the YZ, that I’m just not stalling it like the 250F. We’ll see how things pan out.
Here’s some riding from 2 weekends ago:
I’ve got 2 weekends on the WR450F, and will be racing it this weekend. My biggest concern with it is related to starting it. It’s no 2-stroke, that’s for sure. I did about 30 dead engine starts Saturday while riding. If the engine is good n warm, it seems like it’ll fire just fine with the kick start. Suppose I’ll do that with the finger on the e-start button at the same time.
In the meantime, I’ll be on the rower tonight. This 450 works your body a heck of a lot more than the 250F. The riding from Saturday was pure awesomeness. I’ll be putting up video of it. We had a track groomed in a farm field for us. Flat track & kinda like supermoto. Tacky dirt that you could in places just about put the handlebar into the ground while railing a corner. Awesome stuff.