The Water Crossing | I shall return

There were no real plans to ride on the brilliant weather Saturday – February 2, 2019 . A real warm weather day after months of wet days and cold temperatures. Some errands and chores needed to be completed. Possibly a short afternoon ride thereafter. 

By the time I was errand free and ready to head out it was 3.00 pm. I decided to head to the lower Dawson Forest Tract adjoining Hwy 9. Close enough and just enough time to play in the dirt for a bit.It has nice long dirt and gravel track about 3 miles long. With a number of Horse Trails running off and around this long track. Long straights, sweeping turns, inclines and declines and an active creek crossing. Water runs through it throughout the year. Traction off. No not the ABS. ABS cannot be turned off on the SuperTenere. Played around practicing straight line sliding stops and maintaining balance from stop to move off again. Slow speeds stops to increasing speed run stops. That done; head up the long track.

(The photos of the water is from a previous ride out. Since I was wearing Kevlar Jeans, I hadn’t tried to cross the water then, to avoid having to ride in potentially wet jeans!) 

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Then comes the Water Crossing. The Nemesis of sorts. Sloping ramp, on both sides, leading down to the water. Once you roll down the ramp, you should be committed. You have to be committed. Around two to two and a half feet deep, mainly travel and small rocks making up the bed. The water is clear as it flows across so no real surprises as long as Bike is under correct power and balance maintained. That’s how it should be. That’s how it should be! 

Just at the entry of the ramp and off to the right, there’s a nice clearing overlooking the creek. Ideal place for camping. And as luck would have it, there were folks sitting around a fire sipping on some ‘coffee’ and having a bit of a chinwag. I had stopped at the top of the slope, contemplating whether I should or shouldn’t. The campers being on my right looking down at me on the slope. Couple of them waved me on, as if saying ‘it’s OK , you can go through’. Just then, I was looking at the water on the nearest edge where it met the slop. It was dark and muddy. And the same on the other side across the water. That should have been a warning. That dark muddy water would be a little deeper – a dip – just when the bike would hit the water. Men being men Roll Eyes. Man waves Man on. Man trusts Man. Man revs up and starts rolling. Rookie mistake. Trust and verify. I should have walked down to check myself – especially if something I saw concerned me. Had I been alone, I am sure I would have turned back. With the men at the campfire, I guess I knew that should I need help picking up my bike in the middle of the creek, help was at hand. All this going through my head as I gather momentum, roll down and then Rolls eyes I fixate on the dark and muddy! WRONG MOVE. That made me go jelly! And I stopped right at the edge – on gravel. Momentum lost. Standstill. Bike facing the wrong way to have another go! Men watching Man. Man concerned of bruised ego! Roll Eyes. It was do or get wet! No other choice.

Bike in gear, revs up and I go in. And just as I had feared – the dip ! Nearly swallowed up my front wheel. Kept the momentum going, clutch control, and waddling through since there wasn’t (in my limited experience of big bike water crossing) enough momentum to get up on the pegs and ride out the water standing and in better control. I waddle on like a duck! Keeping the bike upright, keeping the revs up, controlling the clutch to avoid stalling the bike and potentially laying the bike down and have a nice cold water bath in the process. And then the dreaded STALL!. Fortunately, the depth was just right to be able to get my feet to the bed. Fired the engine up quickly, and carried on forward, bumping off the few large rocks on the creek bed.  The cold discomfort caused by the water going up, over and into the boots paled into insignificance at the time! Waddled across, navigated the second dip, onto dry ground, revs up, traction, momentum, stand on pegs and away Man went. (While Men back there must have been chuckling at my expense!) I ride away, with that very famous line in my thoughts: “I shall return”, quickly dusting off the bruises to the ego! 

I then amble up and down along the trails. Enjoying the breeze in the face and the air drying my cold boots! After the customary photo shoots, I head back home taking a longer loop around the back roads. An eventful and even though the water was not ‘conquered’, a satisfying few hours of riding.

Indeed, I shall return and tame that water! 

The Photos: 

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