Monday, October 24, 2011

Went for yet another terrific fall ride in the woods. The weather is definitely a bit cooler these days but temps have not yet dipped below the freezing point. I invited Dave to come along and meet some of the guys from the Manypause club. In all, we there were 5 of us for today's ride: John with his 690 Enduro R, Jason and his WR250R, Cameron on his G450X, Dave with his KLX400, and me on my trusty DR. Familiar dirt roads and power line trails. Old Almonte Rd, Old Perth Rd, Tatlock Rd, Darling Rd, California Rd, power line trails off Hwy 511, and some nice double track off Little Green Rd. A great day!

Gas stop in Almonte

Lunch in White Lake (this place has good food)

Do dirt biker's shit in the woods?  Fortunately, I always carry some ass-wipe
in my pack. John went off to find a quiet spot down another trail -- 
and promptly got mud splashed on him as he squatted when a
gang of roaring ATV's went ripping down that trail.

Always a show-off. That's me goofing around while the others 
were topping up their fuel tanks.

Here are the video highlights.  Check out the deep water at 4:55 mark.
It doesn't appear quite as deep on video because the water is being split away
from the bike by my tires, but rest assured  -- it was at least 18 or 20 inches deep.
For the first 1/2, Jason was riding my DR, and I was riding his WR.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Shopping for a Yamaha WR250R/X

In the past week I've spent a good chunk of time on the Interweb researching Yamaha's WR250R and WR250X. And I've decided I need to have one. The 250R is the dual sport version and it comes with offroad sized rims (18" rear, 21" front) and 50/50 tires. The 250X is the motard version: it comes with fat 17" sport bike tires on both front and rear.  Essentially, the bikes are identical except for the tire setup. The liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, single-cylinder engine is known to be exceptionally trouble-free and requires very little maintenance. It's not a powerhouse or torque monster like the big DR650, but the little engine is silky smooth and the bike itself is much more nimble, requiring less muscle to move it around.

I went to the dealer to have a close look at a new model. I'm considering that because there are deals at the end of the season.  But I'm also open to buying a used one if possible. In searching the used market, I think I may have found a suitable 250X -- but I will have to drive a few hours to see it. Planning on making that road trip with the car & trailer next weekend. If all goes well, I'll bring it home and begin farkling. The one I'm eyeballing at the moment is a 2009 model with 2,450 Kms, and apparently is in showroom condition. We'll see about that. I'm waiting for a few more photos to arrive in my inbox. Then I'll decide if it's worth making the 6-hour trip to pick it up.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Thanksgiving weekend riding

This is Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada.  At this time of year, it's quite normal for most parts of Canada to experience frost in the mornings. Daytime temperatures are usually crisp but not freezing. The leaves have begun to turn bright colours. But the last week has been unseasonably warm -- like middle-of-summer-warm, but without the mosquitoes.  It sure has made for some awesome dual-sport riding weather.

I ditched work on Friday and I headed out with Johh, Jason, and Ovi. We had a full day of riding trails, fire roads, and some logging tracks in the Calabogie area. These guys are all better riders than yours truly so it keeps me on my toes. I need to keep reminding mylself that I don't have to prove anything and that falling behind a little is okay. It was a really great day even if I was dressed a little warmly -- and carrying too much weight in my back pack: I always pack lots of tools, spare tubes, first aid kit, food & water.

Jason on his WR250R, Ovi on his 530EXC, and John on his 690 Enduro R.

Gas time.

This is the view from Eagles Nest Lookout, a 1.5Km ride from
Hwy 508, then a hike on foot for the last 200 feet. The view is great.

Watch that first step: it's a long way down.

On the way home, John forgot his back-pack at the gas station 10 minutes
back, so I just sat on the side of the dirt road waiting for him. Played around
with the timer function on my phone camera (Samsung Galaxy Fascinate).

This is a bunch of video clips I stitched together from Friday's ride.
At the 6:30 mark I just about went straight through a turn.
I was perhaps going a bit too fast, and I think I glanced down at my GPS.
Only takes a split second to smack a tree.
In any event, I managed to keep the rubber side down.

On Sunday, John and I rode out to Calabogie to meet Jason
(not the same Jason as Friday's ride) who trailered his new
KTM 450EXC. The three of us headed out on the power line
trails and made our way through all kinds of other gravel roads,
fire roads, logging trails, ATV tracks, etc,

We followed an ATV trail that led to a small lake.  At the shore,
someone had fashioned a rudimentary shitter by placing an old
toilet seat atop some large rocks.

Power line trails (we call them hydro lines in Canada because most
of the electricity the transport comes from hydro electric generating stations)

View from the hydro lines

Taking a break in the mid-day heat.

Ready to head home after some re-hydration.

And a couple of videos from Sunday's ride:

At the 5:45 mark I decided to take a closer look at the bushes, and I managed to
get it back on track. Then at the 6:00 minute mark, my front tire slips out to
the side in some mud ... taking me completely by surprise.

This video starts with me onboard Jason's KTM 450EXC.
Jason is riding John's KTM 690, and John is on my Suzuki DR650.
The 450 feels as light as a mountain bike compared to my porky DR.

Monday, October 3, 2011

2011 Montreal Supercross Racing

After getting home from a week of intense training on Friday evening, I packed the wife and kids into the car early Saturday morning and we all headed to Montreal. While the wife wasn't too keen on watching the Supercross races, my 9-year-old daughter was quite eager to go.  So while my wife stayed at the pool in the hotel with the other two kids, my daughter and I went to the Olympic Stadium to watch a full evening of Freestyle MX, Side-by-Side (Rhino racing), VTT (French for Quad Racers), and of course, Supercross.

It's a blast to watch this kind of entertainment in person. The sounds, the smells, the people, the machines. Here are a few photos:

We arrived early and got to watch the Freestyle MX'ers
warming up. This shit is fucked up. Who in their  right
mind would ever think to attempt such dangerous shit? 
Fun as hell to watch, though!

These are the Side-by-Side racers. Basically Rhino's (two seaters).
Not very fast, these things are made for driving around farm land or
fire roads, not motocross tracks.

The quad racers were much faster and more aggressive. In Montreal, they're called VTT Racing (Vehicule Tout Terrain = All Terrain Vehicle)

Finally got to the fun stuff: the bikes.  Fast and furious!