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2012 Romaniacs Day 3 Blog – Update
Quick Update on Day 3 Finish: Kendall Norman finally made it in – just in the nick of time. He had a pretty rough day, lost it over the side a couple of times, requiring ropes to retrieve the bike at least once. Tired and sore, but okay.
Like A Racer
Today I finally got out and REALLY rode. First thing this morning I was at breakfast and then it was out to the start to ride a full day at Romaniacs. It took me about 7 hours to do the hobby course. This is the easiest of the three routes (pro,expert,hobby).
There is one primary route and then the pro loops off of it to do some harder sections. So as it turns out, I rode with pro and expert riders most of the day, as I would get ahead of them when they did the extra sections.
The course is so amazing. I have never seen one place that is so much like Idaho. We rode fire roads, abandoned logging roads and lots of skid tracks. There is logging going on everywhere in the mountains. These are small, one tractor, operations. It feels like home to be riding along on an old skid track and see a broken choker laying on the ground.
I am sure most of the riders are going to be very tired today. The hobby route had about three expert sections in it. I was riding right at the edge of my skill level a couple of times. About 50 feet off the start they put us into a nice long switchback climb. Just enough to really get the heart rate up.
After a little road section we hit a super gnarly sidehill traverse. It was all open ground on a narrow goat trail. While the slope was not exactly a cliff, if you fell down, it would be hard to judge just how far you and your bike would tumble because there was nothing to stop you on the open hill.
Towards the service point we hit “The Beast”. It was about a mile long downhill switch back trail in the trees. The ground is covered in 3″ of leaves. At every switchback I had to judge whether to bulldog my bike or try to ride. It took me a good 45 minutes to get down this. I had some very hairy moments. Bulldogging was safer, but used tons of energy. The ground was so loose that is was very difficult to get any footing. I took a bar end into the chest hard on one fall.
I could see the pro line down this and it was ridiculous, just straight down. But so much of it was do or die that I had to play it safe.
We hit another big downhill later on the hobby track, this is the one in the pictures from today. It was not quite as bad. The problem was that is sucked a few riders into trying to ride it down. I saw a couple of good tumbles and those guys were pretty wasted after coming off the hill. One big fall was enough to cause them to struggle the rest of the day. Again, I just took it safe.
Finally there was a long mountain climb that had 2 or 3 hard sections. I had intended to sit out on the course to watch some of the later riders, but I could see that the bottle necks were coming, so I kept on the move. I have to say that I was happy to see people standing on the last down hill of the day, a sure sign that the end was near.
Other than the tough sections, the trail was almost beyond description. It was just an amazing day out on the motorcycle. The dirt is still very good, nice and dark brown. The routes have not seen motorcycle use, so they feel virgin. One old skid road up the mountain was a blast. It was third gear on the grassy straights and then down to second to hit these big loamy, off camber, uphill turns. The traction is so good you feel like a hero.
We even had to navigate an area in the birch trees that had no trail, just follow the gps track, very cool. Overall the course is marked well enough that navigation is not an issue. I blew a few turns, but it was from being lazy. The gps is handy just to help confirm that you are always on the right route. It also is needed for the tarmac liasons.
I think there will be some very tired riders tonight. As I rode with the experts and fastest hobby riders, I did not see much of those in the back. But judging from how I saw many of them ride yesterday, this will be a day of attrition.
I am not sure of the plan for tomorrow. I am up for riding the course again (of course), but I have to see what the organizers want me to do. I have been jumping into the KTM/Husaberg pit for refreshment at each pit, but it would be nice to have my pit crew here. But I guess it just goes to show that I can get by without being pampered, at least once in a while, if I have to. Fortunately I came half prepared for some serious riding, but I am wearing dirty gear and goggles again tomorrow.
Not much news on the top of the leader board. Jarvis is still showing everyone else how it is done. Trust me, the lesson is not lost on me, this is hard work and it is hard for me to fathom just how those guys do it, because it is not just a matter of pinning the throttle.
Okay, I guess that will do it for now, see you after the end of day 4, Chilly