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Keep some energy in your personal tank


Mark Mayo

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I just got back from a very wonderful 3500 mile ride from San Diego to the Canadian border with many states in between. I was part of the SCMA three flags classic. The ride is, as all rides designed by SCMA, advertised as challenging. I enjoyed every curve, sweeper, raindrop and the absolutely perfect air to breathe. The ice on my cover and all over the bike on the third morning was a bit of a issue, but life was very good. The ride had intervals of about 500+ miles per day and I noticed that the last hour always held some high adventure. Just about when you thought you had the day licked, the curving road sign came into view. We live for this stuff right? At hour 11 for the day - a little less. Our ride into Alturas CA was fun all day and seemed to get easier until exactly one hour from our checkpoint. The rain started getting a bit worse, the cold more biting and the road was a lot more technical as they say. My personal energy was down a quart yet with a lowered windscreen and up click of the visor, I was back. I got used to the fast sweeps and twisties and thought that it was not so bad. The last 10 minutes were very, very tight turns on a steep downhill. That energy bar and water from the last gas stop helped plenty. Perhaps one day the 5 hour energy drink did what it was supposed to do and the ride was smooth and fun.

 

On our ride home we left Post Falls, Idaho and headed for Lee Vining. I made an executive decision to skip Lee Vining and head for Bishop and this was at hour 11 of the day. The day was just under 600 miles. We had been slowed through Reno and Virginia City and we were very tired of crowds. The climb up to Mono Lake was filled with motorhomes following huge trailers following slow minivans. You could go 30 or you could pass them and we passed them. I decided to take CA 120 toward Bishop. This road is a favorite of mine and I am very happy with the decision as there were almost no cars - this was a welcome change from the last four hours. The road was ours and we made it pay for that fact. I am glad I had enough left in my tank to be able to enjoy that very challenging road as it should be. Three bikes, 2 RT's and my K1600GT absolutely got all those bikes could get. The First bike had a motorcycle racer who can ride. He is simply amazing as far technique and his desire to wear out the sides of his tires. Again, this was at the end of the day. Be careful of 120 as it has numerous huge dips and at speed they simulate a very good roller coaster, very good. You do not see sky at all at the bottom of the big ones. Going north, there is an unmarked sharp turn after ten straight line huge dips that could ruin your day. Going south seemed to be well marked on this trip.

 

My long winded point is to be sure you do whatever you have to do to be hydrated, energized with food and well rested the night before long challenging rides. You will need it sometime, I did for six days straight!

 

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Oh by the way, my Gerbing is my best friend by far now. This ride was cold and wet almost every day until we reached Nevada on the way back. I saw many, many super cold & WET guys in leathers and chaps on this ride every time we stopped and they were not very happy looking. Toasty is good!

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Sound advice, though I'll add one thing: empty your bladder at regular intervals. ;)

 

Oh, and I know what you mean when you speak about those long lines. The only difference is here you'd have some wannabe racer who cannot handle a bit of rain or a bend pressing hard on your rear bumper in his tin box. :rofl:

After a while you develop what Russians call "The Red Army Driving Style", meaning a fatalistic attitude to overtaking. ;)

 

Oh, and by the way, that stretch of road looks absolutely stunning. :thumbsup:

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The road goes on forever between Alturas and heading to or from Burns OR. There is frequently passing marked as OK and few cars. The spied is either 55 or 60 and I noticed cruise control evidence on the straights and serious downshifting and speed increase at each bike when the curved marked 40 or so came into view. My ride buddies are quite predictable - see a curve take it hard and fun.

 

The water is Alkali Lake and you want to ride there. Here is a view of the lake.

 

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