Last week I got a PM on ADVRider, asking about my blog. It has been so long since I posted, but to be honest, I've barely been on a motorbike in months. This winter was particularly cold and snowy in the city of Denver. Since moving here, the winters have been comprised snowy days immediately followed by sunny days melting the snow away. This year, it seemed to stick around much longer, and I just rarely got on the bike.
The thing that kept me going through those long winter months was knowing the RMAR Rendezvous in Moab was coming up in April. I had one week after my contract at work was finished to get the bike and myself ready. I am in pretty good condition, having climbed regularly through the winter, but I had bike parts sitting around, waiting to be put on the bike. During the course of two weekends, I got Taz--my Tasmanian Dirt Devil--ready to go.
I pulled the wheels and one day on my lunch break, ran them to Peak Performance to have my 70/30 tires swapped out for much knobbier tires. Connor had my tires mounted and balanced in no time, and I was ready to put them on that Saturday. After riding with my friends Mark and Richard back in August, I did a lot of research on what people were riding on their XT 225s, and the IRC GP-1 tires were highly rated. I ordered them immediately, but since that was the last time I rode that bike, they sat in the garage with the new handlebar grips, chain, front and rear sprockets, helmet, goggles, and knee/shin guards I also purchased following that ride.
|Installing the Rox Risers. Had to take the bike apart a bit to find extra length in the cables.|
|2" Rox Risers made a world of difference! Super easy to install, and they came with a sticker!|
|This was a great accessory to buy for a camping motorbike trip. I was able to charge my phone, GoPro, and Sena headset either over night or while I was riding.|
After many trips to part stores and a few hours of labor, I felt my bike was ready for a Moab adventure. Just to check it all out and see how it felt, we headed out to Rollins Pass for a quick ride and gear test. The ride out Golden Gate Canyon and the Peak to Peak highway was gorgeous as usual. Hopping off the highway at Rollinsville and heading out the bone-dry five miles of dirt road to the start of the pass gave me good hope that the pass would be rideable.
About a half mile in, we hit our first snow bank. It was deep on the right side, and deeply rutted from four-wheel drive vehicles to the left. The left rut proved to be too soupy to get through. Rears wheels roostered snow and mud into the air. Eventually, we got through using the right rut. I only made it about halfway before becoming terrified I would drop the bike, slide and hurt myself. Because I had a big event I had been waiting months for and didn't want to hurt myself right beforehand, I watched my bike get ridden the rest of the way through. That was disheartening.
|Nothing like a little slipping and sliding in mud and snow to get the heart going. This would prove to be useful training a week later....|
Since the road looked pretty good past there, we kept going and came to another snow bank a little further on. This was harder packed in the ruts, and I rode through no problem. This boosted my courage a little, and when we came to the third, I was ready to go. Unfortunately, around the bend, we could see that it just got worse, and snow banks turned into a solid road of snow. We made the decision to turn back and call it done.
|The nice thing about hard-packed, deep ruts, is that it's easy for me to touch the ground!|
As we got back to the very first snow bank, we slowed when we saw a Jeep parked on our side with no driver. We pulled over, stopped, and got off the bikes when we realized a big Chevy Tahoe was stuck in the middle of the snow bank. There was no where for us to go until he got unstuck, so we pitched in to help move him. Completely high-centered on the packed in snow, it took four guys digging, another Jeep with a tow strap, and an hour of work to get him out. Everyone was super friendly and much head shaking and laughing accompanied the work.
|Guy on the right had just bought his Tahoe--this was his first outing in it.|
|I feel like its a sight to see--a girl riding a motorcycle through snow they just couldn't get through with a big powerful truck.|
|It was amazing how happy I was to get back to mud. That just seems wrong.|
That wound up being the end of our test riding. We headed back to Rollinsville, then to home. I figured my tires and chain felt good, and I was pretty happy with with the position of my handlebars. Though the mud and snow seemed like an unnessecary challenge considering I would be heading to the Utah desert in two days with sunny weather predicted in the 70s and 80s, it was still an interesting day, and one that reminded me how much I love two-wheel trail riding over four-wheel.
Stay tuned for my next couple of blog posts with pictures and stories which will blow-up most of what I said in that last paragraph....