Innocently I entered a fun enduro ride this morning with full confidence that I and mt TDub were equal to the challenge of a trail through farmland. It started off fine and I pottered off even overtaking a few riders. I found that I stalled on the first river crossing but mainly because I was not confident enough to get up the momentum to plough through.
Then I made it up a long rocky pass and stopped at the top to take in the scenery. I took some proud pics of the bike and will try and get them on here at some point. I set off after a drink and descended the rocky pass into very rocky country . The path was tight and could not be taken any slower than I did. Another river crossing came and the required some speed to ascend the bank which took me into a very rocky bit of path faster than I would have liked and bang! I hit rock with my gear lever and foot peg and found myself on a mountainside with no gears. I got out my multitool and set about trying to fix it but could not. It was jammed behind the protector. Along came a father and son on a Gas Gas and an XR 200. The father who introduced himself as Tom, pulled out a bigger multitool and eventually we got the gear lever free and functional. I thanked Tom and off they went. I found them futher up the trail when he once again came to my assistance, this time with a steep clay bank after a river crossing when my new TW32 clogged and spun uselessly.
Tom had stopped and was fiddling with his sons Honda which had died. It had no spark and nothing could induce it to fire. I said I would find the shortest route back to the start and fetch my truck and get it as close as I could. I was 20kms in and hot and tired. The sun had come out after a cold start to the day so I was overdressed. I headed off happy with an excuse to cut out the rest of the course and do the last 10 km on farm roads. Before I got off the course and onto farm roads I managed to flip the bike ass over kettle and drop it twice trying to ascend a very steep bank.
I guess I learnt that the TW is not cut out for enduro, but will get you home and fetch help for an ailing Honda the of the same vintage as my TW. So I took some satisfaction in that. The electric starter is handy for all the stalling in obstacles that are taken too slowly since it does not have the suspension to go through any faster.
I watched others hopping around on their highly sprung bikes like Toms Gas Gas with full Ohlins suspension. I decided that even if I had one, I rather ride this course on a horse and use the bike for tracks since it can keep up a gallop for hours while a horse cannot. I used to endurance race on horses and since they look where they put their feet, you can look at the scenery. This became even clearer when I walked part of the course after parking the truck and setting off to look for Tom and his boy and it became apparent that that I would never choose a route like this to ride a bike. I had not noticed how pretty the indigenous forest was when I rode through.
I decided that from henceforth I will choose the route and in the interest of safety and sanity, it will be a TW friendly route that will not require much micro management of the front wheel and enable one to look around and admire nature. As I write I can feel the stiffness setting in arms and shoulder. My lower half is not a problem and is nowhere as stiff as I get from playing polo so I was fit enough to stand up on the pegs when need be.
Here endeth my report of taking the TW and myself to our respective limits. It was instructive to me and hopefully can serve to head some wanna be TW enduro riders off at the pass.
Am going to slide into a soothing bubble bath and then, bed.
apart from the gear lever and the water problem, it sounds more like you met YOUR limits rather than the Tw's limits. I demand satisfaction as a new TW owner