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Offline BiG DoM

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Re: Roof 2016 Ride Report
« Reply #60 on: December 25, 2016, 09:15:11 pm »
Love that last photo, Michiel! Thanks

And merry Christmas!! I just say it's quite chastening when one thinks you're improving and you see the gulf in class that exists to the really top guys! Haha. Nice work - thanks!

Just reaching for my Thesaurus  8)

Thanks Michiel for keeping us beguiled after chastising you so.  :loll:

Merry Christmas boet  8)
« Last Edit: December 29, 2016, 01:36:58 pm by BiG DoM »
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Offline Michiel

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Re: Roof 2016 Ride Report
« Reply #61 on: December 29, 2016, 05:38:50 am »
Thanks for the wishes well. Let me then be the first one to greet all the readers a Happy 2017.  :thumleft:

Sorry for the slow postings, I'm busy writing up the next entry. Inspiration comes hard when you're not in
the mountains anymore.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2016, 05:45:58 am by Michiel »
 

Offline Michiel

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Re: Roof 2016 Ride Report
« Reply #62 on: December 30, 2016, 03:28:23 am »
Nearing the bottom of this pass I came across the one and only Ashley Thorn. It seems like Mr Thorn makes a
point of it to go into the route at some strategic points each year. Like the year before I stopped for a chat. He
informed me that he received word of a bad bottle neck that has started to form where all the classes joined track
further on.

I didn't make much of it and continued. After the "self refuel" where coincidentally there were no much needed
"1000 energy bars" I pulled myself together and picked up pace again. Some pleasant, flowing, riding followed
until I hit "THE BOTTLE NECK". For those who were serious on racing it was a fuckup of note. All classes were
now on the same narrow track leading up one hell of a mountain pass.  These pictures were taken right at the start
of the climb. Unfortunately I didn't take any more for the rest of the ride because I got set on trying to find alternative
lines to ensure progress.





Just to give you an idea of the location. We were basically climbing a narrow ridge between Mangaluba Pass
and Snake Bite Pass. Trust me, this is serious terrain. I've been up and down either side but never thought there
was a way right up the middle. In situations like these most riders adhere to the gentleman's agreement of keeping
your position on the track and not squeezing past the riders in front of you. You basically wait your turn unless you
can find another line in another place on the ridge. Gold riders have right of way though. If you see a Gold rider
approaching you lean the bike over and let them pass.

Apart from good sportsmanship and giving the top riders right of way I always think about it like this: A Gold rider
is unlikely to cause a hold-up so you might just as well give them the track and off they go.

From this picture on Google Earth it doesn't look like much but we were on a ride of note. To the left I roughly
marked Mangaluba and to the right Snake Bite. The pictures were taken at "A" and "B" is where the real problem was.
Apart from a flat section in the middle that wound along the contour of the mountain I guess you could say the whole
of the green line was grid-locked with more than 200 bikes. Roof 2016 will forever be remembered by what went down
on the length of the green line you see.



Still in sight of more riders approaching the start of the bottle neck I noticed one Bronze rider making his way back down
with the help of a Basotho man. The rider walked while the Basotho man pushed his bike. He was too tired to care. By
the time they passed me the Basotho nearly lost control of the bike as it rushed downhill over bushes and rocks. I asked
him to wait so the rider can catch up, offered the rider something to eat but he just declined and took no note of further
efforts to encourage him to get back on the bike and try again. I've never seen someone so tired and broken.

Further up more Bronze riders turned around and headed back down the pass. I looked at the riders directly in front
and behind me with disbelief. Could it be all that bad to give up just like that? Four of us decided we're going to give
it our best shot even if it means carrying the bikes up.

In retrospect that particular section of the pass wasn't all that difficult but because of the gridlock we chose some daring lines.
At one point we teamed together and pulled the bikes up and around a steep section to clear a bunch of stationary riders.
By myself again I resorted to bench-pressing my bike where I couldn't ride it anymore and then I hit the flat section. With
the worst of that behind me and all of a sudden alone on the track I made my way on the off-camber towards where I knew
Snake Bite pass was. As I rounded the corner I was delighted to find a group of riders from my neck of the woods.
Hannes van Tonder and Andries Etsebeth, Ets's son, amongst others. They gathered to make a decision to also turn
around because what no one knew up to that point was that the real problem was at the very top of Snake Bite. Hannes
pointed to some riders on a near impossible slope in the distance and explained that he has been watching for the last 30min
and they haven't moved an inch. By now it was already past 3pm and it became clear that at this rate we're going to spend the
night in the mountains. Andries and I was set on trying to continue along the route but then one senior Roof rider convinced
us otherwise. The consensus was that we still had another day ahead of us.

For me the alternative was to ride down Snake Bite from where we were and meet up with the route on the other side where
it descends into the lowlands. Strange enough I was the only one who knew how to find the trail and led the way. We were
about 10 riders in the group that took this alternative.

Once at the bottom of Snake Bite we left the disappointment behind us and enjoyed some flowing fun riding along the foothills
where, low and behold, I caught up with Losper! Imagine my surprise. He also bailed out on the route. Not far from there we
joined up with the route again. I was delighted to see Wynand Badenhorst at that point. He is a top Gold rider also from the
Free State and a big inspiration to me. Wynand obviously completed the route right over Snake Bite and down Push Me.
By the way he looked it was clear the route wasn't suitable for the average rider. From there we continued to the finish.

All in all I really enjoyed the day. Not being able to complete the whole route was a disappointment but I was happy to ride
most of it and finish, not by bailing on tar, but by riding up Bushman's Pass on the designated track. For me it was a perfect day.
The first half saw some proper racing and the second half turned into a 300 bike social ride. I mean, when ever will I have the
chance to ride with Wynand Badenhorst on a Roof again!

« Last Edit: December 30, 2016, 03:49:04 am by Michiel »
 

Offline Rossdog

Re: Roof 2016 Ride Report
« Reply #63 on: December 30, 2016, 06:14:15 am »
Nice Michiel. Keep it coming please.
'69 Model.
 

Offline JustBendIt

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Re: Roof 2016 Ride Report
« Reply #64 on: December 30, 2016, 11:52:40 am »
loving it ... keep it up
The older I get the faster I was
 

Offline Cdp13

Re: Roof 2016 Ride Report
« Reply #65 on: January 02, 2017, 07:46:49 pm »
Fantasties geskryf soos altyd. Ons soek nog!
Wees jouself. Moenie 'n twatwaffle wees nie.
 

Offline Michiel

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Re: Roof 2016 Ride Report
« Reply #66 on: January 03, 2017, 11:00:57 pm »
Back in the "racing" van I collapsed into one of the rear seats and felt like someone who had about as much
fun as he can handle. Christopher Style is my main man. We tackled Roof 2015 together after riding as a team
the whole year. We didn't race the Roof together but shared the adventure in every other way. This year he
saved my butt and offered to be my support crew. With Christopher also came Gary, sometimes called Gary Jarvis
because occasionally he does something just right but mostly gets it spectacularly wrong. Gary is one of those
guys who will flip a bike so violently that it gets completely airborne and when it touches down the handlebars
are the first to come into contact with the ground. And then of course my camera man Daniel!

The racing van, a Mercedes Vito, is Christopher's work van during business hours and turned out to be perfect
for the job. During the day they had their own adventure in negotiating a steep and rutted gravel pass in order
to get to and from the refuel point. I had a good laugh at their stories of how momentum was key. Turns out
Chris is not only a daredevil rider but can turn a van into an off road vehicle too. All the while Gary and Daniel
screaming and clutching their seats.

So off we went back to the lodge. Once we arrived I wanted to follow my usual routine and see to the
maintenance of the bike myself. This time it was different though because I had a very capable and eager team.
At first it felt strange because I always want to be in control but then I relaxed and let them do their thing.
They treated me like a star! Now this is what makes the whole experience. I will be forever grateful. At one
point I noticed Gary opening the radiator cap to check is the fluid level is still correct. I thought it wasn't
necessary because I didn't overheat the bike. I stopped him. Then I realized I was being rude. Low and behold
the radiator took half a cup of water! Gary was right.

This was still strange tough. Upon investigating I discovered the water didn't boil away, it went into the gearbox!!!
With the gearbox oil as while as milk the water pump seal obviously failed. This was a problem. I quickly phoned SGB.
He in turn phoned his good friend Alfie Cox. Alfie reassured me and explained this wasn't anything to be worried
about for now. As long as I kept the coolant level in check, short of the gearbox filling completely with water I can
keep on riding to complete the last day. I felt relieved. Thanks team!



Saturday - the final race day.

From front to back. Regardt van Nieuwenhuizen (no 20), Calvin Hume and Behan Boshoff (SGB's lighty)



I'm going to sum this up. The route from Saturday saw mostly new tracks. Once we left the familiar "waterfall" area
I was in complete unknown terrain. It was magnificent! Some scary and shit off-camber riding at times and then
there were all those thick scrubs and bushes we had to plough through! It was pretty awesome but I wasn't
enjoying it as I should have. My body was just too battered and tired. In short, I kakked off! The passes Never
Ending Story and Puke (junior) were highlights.

In the pits. The first refuel of the day.



Losper and Christopher. I wished I could hear this conversation.



By the time I covered the first stretch of the day and slumped into the seat SGB pulled out for me I felt like I wasn't
going to make it all the way. Christopher did a quick oil change while I munched on something Gary put in my hand.



Saturday was proper. I thought that they would make us suffer right to the end but to my relief we got some smooth
riding towards the finish. With the Motul arch almost in sight I found Daniel in the most un-suspecting place. He hiked
up a mountain to support the riders and take videos and pictures. Daniel!







No 20 is Regardt van Nieuwenhuizen. He flew across the finish less than 20min after this picture was taken.
Good to see I wasn't the only one walking this section.











The last 8km I picked up the pace again and drew the final drop of energy to climb up to the finish line and pass the
checkered flag on the pegs. My team was there right under the arch! What a moment of triumph!

Christopher and Daniel to carry me home.

« Last Edit: January 04, 2017, 07:24:35 pm by Michiel »
 

Offline BiG DoM

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Re: Roof 2016 Ride Report
« Reply #67 on: January 04, 2017, 05:59:42 am »
Lekker, lekker - thanks. And again CONGRATS Michiel on another Roof!  :ricky:
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Offline Rossdog

Re: Roof 2016 Ride Report
« Reply #68 on: January 04, 2017, 07:05:33 am »
Well done Michiel!!

'69 Model.
 

Offline MaxThePanda

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Re: Roof 2016 Ride Report
« Reply #69 on: January 04, 2017, 08:11:10 am »
Amazing Michiel - truly well done! Silver is a serious accomplishment. Sounds like it was a really tough weekend.

On balance did you enjoy it or was it more of an extremely tough survival experience? You don't sound like you had the joyful spring in your step you had last year?

Offline Cracker

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Re: Roof 2016 Ride Report
« Reply #70 on: January 04, 2017, 02:17:58 pm »
As much as a picture is worth a thousand words, your words paint a damn good picture.

Thanks, Michiel  :thumleft:
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Offline shark_za

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Re: Roof 2016 Ride Report
« Reply #71 on: January 04, 2017, 03:08:56 pm »
Well done Michiel!
 

Offline Michiel

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Re: Roof 2016 Ride Report
« Reply #72 on: January 08, 2017, 05:49:07 pm »
Amazing Michiel - truly well done! Silver is a serious accomplishment. Sounds like it was a really tough weekend.

On balance did you enjoy it or was it more of an extremely tough survival experience? You don't sound like you had the joyful spring in your step you had last year?

Riding Bronze in 2015 was a fun, manageable and easy experience. I was better prepared, didn't have to dig as deep
and had ample time to look around and enjoy the experience. In comparison Silver of 2016 was necessarily more difficult,
longer in distance and I had to dig a bit deeper. Friday was fun despite the big bottle neck, maybe even because of the
big bottle neck. Come Saturday the route felt more difficult whilst I had less endurance left to tap from.

In answering your question, I enjoyed Bronze more than Silver simply because Bronze left me with some energy to do so.
Having said that the feeling of accomplishment kind of makes up for the rest. Understandably we always aim a bit higher
and like to see the next level trophy added to the collection. Which brings me to a very evil thought...

Bronze 2015, Silver 2016, 2017???  >:D
« Last Edit: January 08, 2017, 07:23:42 pm by Michiel »
 

Offline BiG DoM

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Re: Roof 2016 Ride Report
« Reply #73 on: January 08, 2017, 06:15:59 pm »
YES you need that GOLD!  :3some: Not evil at all.
"Love is the feeling you get when you like something as much as your motorcycle" - Hunter S. Thompson

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Offline Michiel

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Re: Roof 2016 Ride Report
« Reply #74 on: January 08, 2017, 06:32:03 pm »
A big thanks to everyone! The reward lies in being able to share the experience.
Thanks for sticking around and enjoying the good and bad memories with me. I'd like to congratulate
everyone that participated regardless of finishing and hope to see even more friends and friends to be
make the journey in 2017.

In the end Regardt van Nieuwenhuizen took 16th position in Gold class with Wynand Badenhorst two
places behind. A serious accomplishment. Proud of our Free State boys!

In Silver class young Calvin Hume took the top spot on the podium and his little buddy Luke Walker
coming in 4th. How these kids manage a feat like this is beyond me. Maybe it goes to show that finesse
beats brute power when it comes to hard enduro. I for one will be watching these upcoming talents with
interest. Lets see what 2017 brings for the sport.

SGB can be super proud of his lightly, Behan Boshoff, taking 10th position in Silver. With an injury Behan
was out till 1 month before the Roof yet he rose to the challenge. Some formidable talent here.

From my neck in the woods Hannes van Tonder came in 33rd position. Another proud rider. This year
Hannes left most of us in the dust and polished Silver. Ets's son, Andries Etsebeth took 56th position.
Congrats dad and son. For much of the race I enjoyed trailing Andries and came in 63rd myself.

Another applause to everyone be it contestants or crew.  :thumleft:

Then there are the spectators whom without this event won't exist!!! Your unconditional support is unequalled.

Last but not least, thanks yet again to my support crew. Christopher Style, Gary (Jarvis) Clark, my camera
man Daniel Roscher Potgieter and SGB (Stefan Boshoff) who fathered me to the end.  :)
Gratitude can't reward Losper and wife Sonja Laubscher who have by now practically taken me into their
home, caring for me like their own.

Talk about Daniel. Here are the fruits of his video camera work. I strung the footage together in a simple
edit to best tell the story.

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/2AuMmJU6YB8&amp;t=39s" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/2AuMmJU6YB8&amp;t=39s</a>
« Last Edit: January 08, 2017, 07:20:50 pm by Michiel »
 

Offline Losper

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Re: Roof 2016 Ride Report
« Reply #75 on: January 08, 2017, 06:57:48 pm »
Evil thought Michiel, evil indeed but you can do it, I've got no doubt about that.
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Offline Sithe

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Re: Roof 2016 Ride Report
« Reply #76 on: January 09, 2017, 03:13:34 pm »
Awesome accomplishment and well  :thumleft:

I saw the Youtube video. I think I was number 9 on the views list and I may have seen my ugly face there as well   >:D :biggrin:
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Re: Roof 2016 Ride Report
« Reply #77 on: January 15, 2017, 08:01:25 pm »
Which brings me to a very evil thought...

Bronze 2015, Silver 2016, 2017???  >:D

As they say in tropics... "Just do it!!"

We'll expect nothing less, and cheer you all the way. Thanks for the journey of 2016.

Offline BlueBull2007

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Re: Roof 2016 Ride Report
« Reply #78 on: January 17, 2017, 09:56:53 am »
Thanks for all this Michiel, its was great to follow along :thumleft:
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Offline JAmBer

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Re: Roof 2016 Ride Report
« Reply #79 on: January 24, 2017, 11:58:01 am »
Thanks for sharing, Michiel, it was a great read! And congratulations on finishing!

Now you've got me also thinking about what riding I might do this year...