Monday, May 11, 2015

TDR Shake Down Report


Just finished a short TDR shake down run thru western Colorado/Utah area with Mike Schlichtman. 
Mike rocking a bit to much gear for single track...
Our route was mixed bag of single track, jeep/fire roads and quite a bit of pavement. 
Weather wise we got sun, rain and even some snow.
Mike was rocking a classic TDR ride, a 29er Moots soft tail and I was on my fully rigid Scott Scale.  We were absolutely on the wrong bikes for some of the single track and way to heavy/slow for the pavement but when moving down the typical TDR type dirt/gravel roads all was golden!!.  

Between the two of us we had had it all--too much, too little and also the right and wrong mix of gear.  So we both got exactly what was needed—a perfect review of how the gear we were hauling did or did not pan out in real world conditions.

Day one started about noon with 20 miles of pavement to the Kokopelli TH in Loma.
Mike hiding on a cliff...
Mike hiding on some single track...
We rode the Kokopelli single track and jeep roads to the boat ramp at Westwater.  We had some rain and true ‘clog-wheel’ and scrap mud along the way.

It was still a bit early in the night but as it was raining so snagged the sheltered BLM ‘map-room’ at the boat ramp for our 1st TDR style camp spot.  
We had to listen to the rafters arriving, pumping up their rafts and parting for a few hours (note to self—don’t forget the ear plugs for the TDR)  But it was warm, dry and so much better than an outhouse…..

Day 2 was up at 4 am and on to Moab.  We had a leisurely meal and hit up the local bike shop for some repair and re-supply.  Then it was on to La Sal area. 
La Sal Mtn in the background....

We saw a sign for a local lodge (8 miles ahead) and decided to snag a room.  Somehow Mike missed the driveway to the Lodge and was too far down a long hill before he realized his slipup.
Mike's porch, nice spot.......
So he finished off the decent and spent the night on the porch of an empty trailer in Bedrock.  Meanwhile I enjoyed the luxury of a hot shower and warm hotel room.  When I caught up the next morning I was quite impressed with the covered porch Mike had snagged for the night—true TDR resourcefulness!!

Day 3, A few short hours later Mike’s ride was over and he was hitching a ride back to his truck.  Just before we dumped out back onto pavement the mud and resulting shifting snafus had finally sucked his derailleur up into his wheel one time to many.  The sucked derailleur was soon followed by a ‘just bend it back a little more’ then “”SNAP””-- broken derailleur hanger.  

In many ways this mishap was the key lesson of the whole ride, for both of us.  Mike will now be carrying a spare derailleur but there is much more to be learned from this little episode.  It reminded me to stop and take the time to clean/adjust rather than wait.  I was soon stopped at the next creek crossing, washing and adjusting my own poorly shifting derailleur. Doing this made me realize while I had a spare hanger I was not carrying a spare shift cable. 

I was also very impressed whit how Mike handled his misfortune.  First even though he was frustrated he kept a good attitude and in less than a minute had simple but clever plan.  He sent me on my way and then hauled his bike up on to the shoulder of the paved road.  Here he began working at converting his bike to a single speed, but really he was working to effect repairs where passing vehicles could see he was broke down.  And it worked, within minutes he was in a pickup and riding back to his truck.

dinner time right after getting down from some snow...
I rode on to Gateway where I had a unhurried lunch and debated route options.  The original plan was to spend one more night out on some remote trail.  In the end I split the difference, shorted up the planed route and pulled a few extra night time hours to get back to my van and a hotel room.

All in all it was the perfect shake down—I am so ready for Banff………..

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