Moab 2015 Trip Planning

I’ll be going to Moab this spring.  I’ve assembled a few GPS Routes, Tracks, Etc from a variety of sources.

GPX File here: MOAB-2015 (Right Click & Save As)

Mapset I’m using in Garmin Basecamp: http://www.gpsfiledepot.com/maps/view/701/

I found most of the tracks\trails @ Trail Damage here: http://www.traildamage.com/index.php

5 Miles of Hell info here: http://www.dirtbikeutah.net/five-miles-of-hell.html

That’s about all I have at this point.  I’ll be camping & on my 2013 KTM 350 EXC-F

 

Andrew

Klim Scramble Pak Tool Pack

After years of use and abuse, my Moose Tool Pack (ok fanny pack) has finally given up the ghost.  Out on the market are a couple options.  Ogio, KTM, Fox, Klim, etc all have their Tool Pack offerings, but Klim has always seemed to be the dependable choice with moto related gear.  I had no idea what the insides really looked like, so I took a bit of a gamble, so hopefully what I show here and on my video can give you an idea as to what you’re getting into.

The Klim Scramble Pak has 3 main sections.  The large center section and the two side sections.  The two side sections are identical to each other and are not much more than an empty space.  The main compartment is split up into several compartments.  Unclip the two side clips and first you’ll see the outer pouch.  This opening is about 6″ wide with enough room to fit your latex gloves or a couple rags, or maybe a few zip ties and odds and ends.

Flipping the top open, there is a large YKK zipper to access the main compartment.  These zippers like all on the pack have a mild cover to them to help keep out the elements.  Once the compartment is opened, you see your assorted slots, zip compartments, and elastic to keep your tools and gear in place.  There is a big clear pouch which would likely be ideal for a phone, or whatever you may want a quick view at.  One strip of the retention straps has a nice rubberized grip to it to help keep tools in place.

The side pouches themselves as noted earlier are primarily empty spaces.  The outside wall of them is soft like that of a sunglass pouch.  This outer wall also has a small elastic pouch to it.  Both sides are identical and have YKK covered zippers on them.

The main buckle is a solid unit with a very strong hold to it.  At the base of the pack there is a rubberized gripper to help keep the pack from rotating around your body while you’re riding.  The padding on the inside of the pack seems to be plenty adequate and thick enough to keep tools from poking through the pack, without being too thick as to be bulky.

All in all, initial impression of the pack are very solid.  I’ll be loading the pack up for some upcoming events and will do a year end review with it at the end of the season.

For full Hi-Res pics check below:

First time on the new bike.

I’ll work on getting video done this weekend, but I did make it out to the indoor. Felt good to be back on the bike.

It was about 35 degrees inside the building. My fingers froze up after the first lap around the track. I stopped, put my jacket on and shook my arms and hands back to life. I had some arm pump crop up which diminished gradually as I rode more. I tried to remind myself that I hadn’t ridden a bike since November, and to take things slow. Not exactly how I like to ride, but I’d rather not injure myself before the season even really starts.

I had a few close calls as the rear spun up going up the face of a couple of the jumps. The bike took the sideways landings in stride, though it did require some heavy body english from me to not get too huckabuck. I fought quite a bit with the bike on the track though. The dirt there is quite different. It’s completely bone dry, so you end up with this powdered silt on top of slick hardpack. 90% of the turns are 180 degree bowl turns that don’t lend themselves to maintaining corner speed. You end up diving into the turns, and working the clutch to shoot out of the turn as quick as possible.

I need to work on trusting my front end again, but considering it’s my first time on the bike, I’m quite OK with how I rode. My fitness is definitely up. I could feel myself a bit drained towards the end of my riding, but I still had the strength to work the bike through the turns, albeit slightly sloppier than I’d have preferred. I ended up packing up when both my goggles were so fogged up that I could no longer see the track. Yes, bad day to wear smoke tinted goggles in a dark indoor track.

I’m excited. Bike feels good. My body feels good…..well it’s a bit tight today. I hope the place stays open during the week (I was 1 of 3 people riding there last night). I can workout all I want at home, but there is absolutely no replacement for seat time.

Video soon.

Andrew

Now that we’ve got that out of the way.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not excited to be reporting that I finally completed my first event of the year.  I am excited however in how the day panned out for me.  It wasn’t a top finish as I had been hoping, but all things considered, I felt I did really well.  In my class were 12 riders, of which I placed 6th.  Out of all the B Group riders, I placed 19th out of 54.  While not the most stellar, there were a few things that definitely didn’t help my situation.

I began my morning with an appropriate breakfast (albeit at 4am) of 4 giant strips of bacon, 3 eggs, and a pile of home-made home fries.  Plenty of energy packed in there to keep me going through at least the morning.  Hopped in the truck, and I was on my way over to Johns to reload my stuff in his truck and get going.  The drive down was quite uneventful with plenty of jokes about whether or not the Husqvarna was the right choice for the day, or if I should have chosen the Mighty XR for the event.

We arrived at the event with plenty of time to spare.  Rows 10 through the end were already spoken for, so we found ourselves on row 7.  It didn’t bother me, as I figured the trail would be what it would be.  Before I took the bike off the stand, I gave it an inspirational speech….Telling it it WILL finish the race today.  I dropped the bike off the stand, fired it up, and rode a couple little circles to get some blood flowing to my arms.

We pulled up to the line, along with a couple others.  I noted the one rider was on a brand new WR250, and noted that the red\black looks 100x better than the older blue\yellow, but I suppose that’s all subjective.  Either way, our minute came up and the other rider on the Husky took off.  He was going a decent pace, so I figured I’d ride behind him a bit and find a groove for myself.  This proved to be a good strategy as the rider was at the same speed as me, but much much smoother.

First section was a bit so-so for myself.  I knew it’d take at least that section to get my blood flowing.  Completed (docking 3 minutes), and onto the next section.  I took the lead this special section and found that while I rode faster than the other guy on my line, my form did not allow for me to maintain the higher pace for the entire day.  I messed up a corner or two (or 10), and was passed by him.  I was ok with this, as I keyed off of him again, and found myself to be more consistent.  The following section, I rode behind the other Husky rider as well.  This proved to be a good strategy.

The 2nd special was interesting to say the least.  Most of it seemed as if they chose a random line through the woods, and just tacked up some random arrows.  Since there were so few guys ahead of us, we were making wrong turns quite consistently.  The section just downright sucked.  I like riding as much as the next guy, but when you’re just bashing through shrubbery, trying to guess which way to go based on some random arrows, well it kind of sucks.  It also makes you wish you had an auto clutch. haha  By the end, it opened up a bit and had me feeling much better.  That initial part just annoyed the snot out of me.

After the 2nd special (I think?), I decided to take a look down at my little roll chart I had taped to my fuel tank.  I believe I was supposed to be heading towards fuel or something along those lines.  I was heading down an open grass area, with corn to my left, and a drop-off & ravine & corn to my right.  I glanced down for a second while still accelerating, and found myself heading right towards the drop-off.  I would have been able to pull out of it, but the drop-off was all this really tall….corn like stuff.  No idea off hand what it was, but it sucked me in, and down I went.  I couldn’t let gravity do it’s work to help get me up, as there was a creek or something down there & a bunch of water.  I had the joy of lifting the bike uphill up this drop-off.  It sucked for sure, but really pounded in my head to pay attention.  I got the bike up and worked my way on down to go fuel up my bike.

I realized while filling up the bike that I would have been fine using just the stock sized fuel tank (which I’ll be doing at the next Enduro).  I attempted to eat one of my energy bars.  Unfortunately it was just too rich & dense that I couldn’t put it down.  I took in a good amount of water and then headed out to the start of the next special with the other guys on my line.  When we got there, we had a good 30 minutes to relax.  In this time, I was able to put down one of my protein bars, so that provided me with some energy for the “5 mile” special we were about to head out on.  As soon as we took off, I could feel that my body was running low on energy.  My proper breakfast held me up for 1/2 the day, but no way it was going to hold me over for the entire event.  I failed to bring the proper “quick energy” supplements (sugar\carbs), so found myself really working as things went on in this 5-mile section.

This 3rd Special was to me kinda like the 2nd special.  Just a bunch of annoying stuff, though I suppose that is why this was an Enduro race.  There was a long section, which appeared to be on a slight ridge.  The trail was pretty much straight, but you were riding under low hung trees\shrubs for what seemed an eternity.  You had to stand in an odd crouch position to ride quickly, and this quickly sapped the energy out of me.  I also managed to have a branch catch on my hand guard, and promptly fling into the tip of my thumb.  I decided to not stop and investigate, as I figured I’d be seeing some blood.  By the end of this special, I was really feeling drained and wishing I had more stuff on me to give me some much needed energy.

Just before the 4th & final Special, I ate my last 3 Gatorade energy blocks, and hoped for the best.  Not quite the greatest plan of attack, but what you gonna do?  About 1/4 mile into the special I had the strangest thing happen.  A random tree jumped out right in front of me.  The thing pile drived itself into my shoulder\right arm.  The tree literally stopped me in my tracks and knocked a good bit of wind out of myself.  I did my best to push on, and rode as hard as I physically could.  I got through to the end, and was mighty thankful that it was the end.

I had no idea what place I came in, no idea of much of anything, but I was quite pleased at how the Husky rode through the day, and felt pretty positive in my own riding through the event.  I was kicking myself for not having a better source of energy for the event, but it was a great learning experience for the next one.  I’ve also decided that my bike could handle some slightly lower gearing.  Currently my gearing allows for me to do 85+mph, which is more than enough for these events.  I’ll be adjusting that and see how it goes at my next race.

I also found that my riding style needs some slight work, as I was having a heck of a time with front end confidence in the loose stuff.  This was my own fault, as I was using too much front brake, and putting too much weight over the front in general for turning in the softer sandy areas.  It seems this Husky steers with the rear, which is another reason for dropping my gearing.  2nd & 3rd Gear just need that little extra pep that I think it will get with this gearing change.

Anyway I cut it, I’m ready for the next event.  I’ve got 2 harescrambles this month, then a weekend off for my birthday, and then I’m off to the UP for a weekend of riding with some friends.  Looking forward to the riding I’ve got ahead of me.

-Andrew

ps – If you’re riding an Enduro…..make sure you have a kick-stand.  I’m kicking myself for losing mine the last time I rode.  Sure you can always find a tree, but what a pita.  Time to make one!

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Sunday Race Report

So woke up nice and early. Ate 4 strips of tasty bacon & 3 scrambled eggs. Took some coffee with me to go (then switched to water when I got to my buddies house). All loaded up, and headed on down to Fox Valley. Had to make a pit stop on the way as I had drank a lot of water that morning already, and well, you just don’t fight the body. Signed in, and I got to watch my buddy John take off in the early AM race. He was 7th or 9th off the start in his group, and I could see the dust was going to be a PITA.

It was supposed to be 95+ today and sunny. Thankfully God smiled upon us with 85 & overcast. Unfortunately he didn’t give us enough rain to settle the dust, so it was what it was….LOTS of lingering dust. About 45 minutes before my race, I geared up and did a whole bunch of jumping jacks, followed by some high knee running in place…..whatever you will call it. One of them things that they made the kids in High School track do that they all complained about. Anyways, I thought my race started at 12:30, and so at 12, I rolled over to the practice loop looking to do some circles, and saw the entire starting area packed. Mild panic, roosted back to the truck and got the rest of my gear.

By the time I got to the line, I had a theoretically piss poor starting position. I was 2 guys in from all the way inside of the first turn. In standard Harescramble form, the race started just about 15 minutes behind schedule. My 2nd gear starts were feeling positive, and from what I could gather, I was in the top 5 or 6 right off the start (keep in mind, my line was ALL of the B classes). I couldn’t see jack squat. The AA & A lines ahead of us just left the place a dust bowl. And in the trees, there was 0 wind, so it just lingered.

I stayed on the tail of the guy ahead of me as best I could. I kept feeling as if my front tire was washing out. I’d put brand new tires on the bike, so I thought it was odd, but was thinking that they just sucked more than I remembered the last set I had. As I kept riding, I got myself into a groove as best I could, stayed up on the pegs and tried to let the bike float beneath me. I soon realized that the tires weren’t the problem, it was just that the dirt was absolutely terrible. I explained it to a buddy of mine as “flour on top of absolute hardpack”. You’d think that it was loamy\sandy dirt, but it was a trick. The dirt just POOFED away as you attempted to lock in, and then as you went to put weight on the front tire for the turn, it acted like a lubricant on the hardpack beneath it. Absolute crap, but wtf you gonna do? Everyone else is riding the same stuff. Deal with it, and truck on.

Like I said, I got myself into a groove and pushed on. I didn’t want to push too hard out of the gate, as I knew since it was warmer and crappier conditions, that guys would eventually start making mistakes, and getting worn out. As I went through the scoring the first time, I saw that I was in 6th in my class. I knew I could do better than that, so I slowly began inching up my pace. I found that if I kept the bike in 3rd gear instead of 2nd that I held an overall faster average speed. So I began keeping it clicked in 3rd (bless this 6 speed gear box I swapped in), and only dropped into 2nd if I absolutely had to. It worked, and I found myself pulling up into 5th position.

I soon had a guy come up behind me, who I thought that this early, must be in my class. I picked up my pace a bit and pushed on. I overshot a turn or something, and he went past, only for me to realize that the guy was in a totally different class. Not a big deal, except that when I went to get back going, shortly thereafter, I washed out my front and dropped the bike on the left hand side. I looked back, saw no one close, so I took a little extra time in getting the bike restarted. I knew if I rushed, that I’d only hurt myself (use up energy), and end up further behind. This worked, as I got the bike running and was back on my way.

All was well until the 45-60 minute mark. My body felt like it was locking up. My rear suspension literally felt like it was locked solid, and it was jack hammering the ever living piss out of my body. My kidneys felt like they were being pounded on by a baseball bat on my back. It sucked, but I knew I had to truck on and somehow some way it’d go away. Just as I passed a guy in another class, I gas it through a creek, and as soon as I get on the other side, it’s like someone clamped a vice on my sides. I screamed a few choice words and sat down, attempting to keep on the throttle, as I had just passed the guy. It was like torture. As I got out of that section, and into the next, I saw the guy wasn’t too close behind me, so I calmed myself down and did my best to take long deep breaths. I took another quick sip of water, and again, deep breaths. This seemed to work, and made me realize that I was holding in my breath too much. It was the only thing that made sense.

As soon as I loosened up my breathing, my pace began to pickup. My movements were getting more fluid, and I felt I was picking up my pace. I noted that there were some guys I had passed who were in my group, so by this point I knew I was in 5th place. As I went to cross the second log by the start\finish line (tall log), the bike felt like the throttle rocketed on me. All was well as I landed. I saw as I passed through scoring that I was 10 seconds behind 4th place. The hunt was on……..or so I thought.

I got on the gas coming out of scoring, and as soon as I let off, it was like the bike went WFO. I figured something jiggled loose (despite my safety wired throttle cable), and began checking the cable at the carb & throttle housing. Both areas looked fine. I figured maybe I could run with it revving to the moon, just ride in a high gear, and somehow make it work. I rode for a little bit, and soon realized this was a sure fire way to get hurt, and knew at that point….it was over. 75 minutes into the 105 minute race, and my Husky failed me again.

I made it back to our truck by modulating not the clutch, but the kill switch. I was fuming, as I was so close….so close. But that was it. That’s racing. I left the bike on its side while I sat down and attempted to collect myself. Needless to say I was an unhappy camper. I regained my composure and joked about how this husky has been nothing but issues for me. But I suppose, that’s racing.

I had fun, and despite my jokes with friends that if I had another DNF this weekend that I’d be done racing, I’ll be back at the races in 2 weeks time. The next race is an enduro, where I had the first one (and my first DNF). I hope to be slightly more prepared for this one, but the Husky has a few minor issues that I need to address. Easy enough, but some small ones that just piss me off. (Weak radiators that seem to break upon looking at them wrong), and a few other things.

I’ll be at that enduro, and then unfortunately, the following enduro is 6.5 hours away, so I’ll be going to a Harescramble closer by on August 19th, and then another harescramble on the 26th just before my birthday.

I’ll post more, but in the meantime, I’m going to enjoy the rest of this….overly sized IPA I’ve got here & watch some Game of Thrones.

Andrew