It’s the beginning of September, and I’m now down to less than 60 days before departure to Santiago. I’ve continued logging miles since last month and I’ve now logged more than 6400 miles since the accident, ridden over the course of 8 months.
My leg strength continues to grow, and I’m now working out with a trainer twice a week, trying to do cardio for at least 2-3 other days. I’m hopeful that I’ll lose another 10 lbs before departure, putting me at an ideal weight for the trip.
In August, I attended 2 more Doc Wong clinics, including the clinics for Cornering Confidence and Off-road riding. I found the Cornering Confidence clinic to be a whole lot of fun, as well as being a very effective way of learning how to carve the curves. The August clinic focused on Pivot turns, which are turns where you apply pressure to the outside leg of the turn, thus causing more leverage, and producing a better overall riding position. I cannot say that I was very effective at using this technique, but overall the ride was great. We ran with about 35 riders, distributed in 3 groups. I was in group 2, running sweep, and found the pace to simply be too slow. So, at the midpoint, I moved up into group one.
You know the old expression that says to be careful of that first step, because it’s a big one. Well, that’s about what it’s like to move from group 2 to group 1. The riders in group one are very skilled, have very capable bikes, and they have ridden these roads before. It seems to me that I have limited skill, am riding a GSAdventure, and am not familiar with the roads. So, I had one hell of a time trying to keep up with these guys as they “rode like a cheetah after being stung by hornets”. Riding at the back was a little bit like watching the sun set out in front of you, with no chance of ever catching it. That said, the trip from the midpoint, to the end was exhilarating, and it really caused me to step up my game, and as a result, my riding improved significantly.
The other clinic was the off-road clinic. Doc had a “problem with his GS”, so he could not attend. He asked Andreas and I to lead the ride, and while Andreas has more skill than I do, it was clear that this was a little bit like the blind leading the blind. Said another way, “Heck, it’s an adventure ride. If you get lost, or need to backtrack, that’s part of the adventure, right?”. Well, we had to do a little bit of backtracking, but Andreas did a fine job of getting us to the end in one piece. Everyone had fun, and we ended the day in Tres Pinos having burgers at the Saloon. This was an Epic Day.
I’ve created a Last Will and Testament, so that if anything happens in Patagonia, I’ve taken care of the family, and also purchased the last of any tools, clothing, technology, and gadgets that I’ll need for the trip. I’m now ready to go.
I’ve also done more testing with the camera, and am getting pretty good results. I’ve also discovered that the batteries don’t last nearly as long as I need them to, so I’ve purchased a battery charger that can work in a Cigarette lighter, and also 3 more batteries. Now that ought to solve the problem.
I’ve also gone to Office Depot and had all of the necessary trip documentation laminated. Imagine the look of the counter person who watched me make copies of my license, and then laminate them. I’m sure I looked like I was doing something wrong, but from all of the reading that I’ve done, it pays to have multiple copies of your license, manifest, insurance, passport, etc. So, that’s what I’ve done.
It looks like a few of us will go riding this weekend, and we’re hoping to log another 350 miles, with as many as 60 miles off-road. With all of the off-road riding I’ve done, it is getting clear that I’ve got the skill and confidence that I need to safely travel across Patagonia. I’ve now done 5 trips off-road, at varying speeds, and have not dumped the bike once. It seems that the time that I spent at Rawhyde Adventures in April has really paid off. Most of my fellow riders are dropping the bike regularly. In fact, last weekend one of the other riders had a used V-Strom, and it seemed that he was a new rider, with little or no off-road skills. I lost count, but my best guess is that he dropped the bike at least 15 times over the 30 miles of dirt in Clear Creek. In the end, he had a great attitude and had a big smile, but the bike was in need of some new plastic parts.
That’s it for now,
I look forward to hitting the 30 day mark, which will happen in about 25 days.