Welcome, Guest. Please Login or Register

Author Topic: My Ben 10 Challenge  (Read 1734 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline JonW

  • Hilton Hound
  • Global Moderator
  • Forum Whore
  • ***
  • Bike: Boss Hoss (all models)
    Location: Kwazulu Natal
  • Posts: 5,815
  • Thanked: 87 times
My Ben 10 Challenge
« on: January 15, 2019, 05:51:06 pm »
So New Years 2019 caught me alone at home, moping because my wife was up in Zimbabwe visiting her parents, my 2 boys were away at their respective girlfriends houses, and Highsider and a whole bunch of riding companions were away doing the Ben 10 Challenge in Rhodes and I couldn't go with because I had to stay home and look after the house and pets.

So I figured maybe I could join them for a day or two and take a quick solo ride to Rhodes like I have done in the past, I could manage at least one night away from home. So I spent more than a few hours poring over Google Earth and working out routes etc. While doing this I saw that old time WD member SGB had done the Ben 10 Challenge in a single day. I immediately thought, stuff it, that's what I am going to do. Only problem is that i didn't really want to ride all the way from Hilton to Rhodes on my own, do the challenge and then ride back again straight afterwards. So I had to think of someone I could ask to join me to go to Rhodes and attempt this 7 day challenge in a single day. I couldn't ask my current riding mate Highsider, he'd just got back from completing the challenge and wouldn't want to go do it all again.

Suddenly I had a brainwave, I would ask my old riding buddy Outthere who I hadn't seen for a while and hadn't ridden with for at least the last 2 years because of me being bikeless for a while and Outthere retiring his trusty old battered red GS and getting a shiny new 1200 GS Adv which he didn't want to damage by taking it on the types of riding that I enjoy doing. So out of the blue I called Kevin and told him of my hair-brained scheme to do the Ben 10 Challenge in a single day and asked him if he wanted to join me. Without a moments hesitation he said: "I'm in". I told him that I didn't have a date in mind for this ride, as in my opinion you couldn't just set a date at some time in the future and then just go do the Ben 10, because the weather in the area is so unpredictable and extreme that your chances of completing the challenge will be scuppered by rain making the passes un-rideable.

What we had to do was bide our time and watch the weather forecasts for the area, and when we saw 3 or 4 sunny days in a row we had to go on that 4th day and do it, because then the passes would be nice and dry. I had no idea how long this would take, I'm no Rhodes weather expert and for all I knew it could be weeks or months that we would have to wait. After just 2 days of watching the weather reports I saw some nice dry weather leading up to the weekend of the 12th, so I told Kevin that we had to go this weekend so we better get our ducks in a row. He was as laid back as ever and said that sounds great.

While looking at possible routes I had at first thought that we could start in Rhodes as Rhodes is the closest town to us, but then I realized that his would involve a huge amount of doubling back for both Lundeans Neck and Jouberts Pass and this would involve a lot of extra distance. I saw that starting on Jouberts Pass and finishing at Lundeans Neck made the most sense, so this is what we settled on.

We also decided that riding to Rhodes was not a great idea as we would need to make an early start for the challenge, so we decided to trailer our bikes there.

The other fairly major concern that I had was the range on my KTM520 is not great as I only have an 8.5 litre tank, and some of the distances between fuel stops were just too far. This is where Kevin's GS was a huge comfort with its 33l tank, so I took a piece of hose and a 2l coke bottle in my back pack which I was sure I would need at least twice. As it turned out I didn't need to siphon from Kev's bike once, I filled my pooratech long range coke bottle with petrol every time we stopped for fuel and that got me round the whole route.

The route I plotted on Google Earth:

How can I be lost when I have got nowhere to go?
 
The following users thanked this post: wilfwalk

Offline Lem

Re: My Ben 10 Challenge
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2019, 05:56:01 pm »
Subskraaib!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Faith is not knowing what the future holds, it's knowing who holds the future
 

Offline punisher

  • DILLIGAF
  • Senior Member
  • ***
  • Bike: BMW R1200GS Adventure
    Location: Gauteng
  • Posts: 4,612
  • Thanked: 157 times
Re: My Ben 10 Challenge
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2019, 05:57:27 pm »
 O0

piccies pleeeez
just wanna have fun , and ride ... and ....... ride
 

Offline JonW

  • Hilton Hound
  • Global Moderator
  • Forum Whore
  • ***
  • Bike: Boss Hoss (all models)
    Location: Kwazulu Natal
  • Posts: 5,815
  • Thanked: 87 times
Re: My Ben 10 Challenge
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2019, 06:15:06 pm »
So my wife arrived back from Zim and I told her I'd be leaving on a bike trip to Rhodes in two days time, which she was quite ok with.

We decided to leave Saturday morning, Kevin's wife Sarah would come along for the ride but wouldn't join Kevin on the GS as she usually does as the challenge would be too hectic. This was a good decision.

I booked accommodation for us at Lupela Lodge, just outside of Lady Grey, and that is where we started and finished the ride. Lupela Lodge proved to be an awesome place to stay, very reasonably priced for high quality rooms, I can highly recommend it.

I didn't need to do much prepping to my 2001 KTM 520 EXC, just cleaned the air filter, changed the oil and lubed the chain and it was good to go.

So Sunday morning we were up early and ready to leave on our adventure at 05h30.

First stop Lady Grey to fill up with petrol and check tyre pressures, then up the hill to Jouberts Pass, just outside town for our first compulsory stop.

The rules of the Ben 10 Eco Challenge are that you need to take a picture of yourselves at a sign marking each of the passes. Some of the signs are easy to find, others not so much.
How can I be lost when I have got nowhere to go?
 

Offline JonW

  • Hilton Hound
  • Global Moderator
  • Forum Whore
  • ***
  • Bike: Boss Hoss (all models)
    Location: Kwazulu Natal
  • Posts: 5,815
  • Thanked: 87 times
Re: My Ben 10 Challenge
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2019, 06:37:25 pm »
Unfortunately with a trip of this nature time is not on your side and neither of us really knew what to expect from the ride as we hadn't done most of the passes for a good few years, so we couldn't stand around admiring the views or taking pictures of the scenery, it was pretty much find the sign, get off the bike, get your helmet and gloves off, snap a couple of pics of us and the sign, helmet back on and off you go.

Jouberts Pass was the only pass except for Ben Mcdhui that I had never done before, so it was a really enjoyable ride up and down. We left the top of Jouberts at 06h20 and headed southwards in the direction of Barkley East, Otto Du Plessis Pass being the next on our list.

Something i must add which was great fun on the ride is a Whattsapp group that I am a member of, some of who had recently done the Ben 10 with Highsider were in touch with me the whole day. Quite a few members said beforehand that there is no way I will make it, and i better take a tent etc, although I also got amazing support from them. So it was really cool Whatsapping them a pic from each pass as I took the pic so they could see our progress and send comments.

the ride to Otto Du Plessis was quite long and boring, but we made good progress and the pass itself was great.

I used my 2l reserve fuel at the Otto du Plessis stop and then my bike made it all the way to Elliot for the next petrol stop, which I wasn't expecting it to. We left Elliot just after 09h00, a bit behind my thumbsuck schedule.

After Elliot was the very spectacular Barkley Pass, the only tar pass of the challenge.

Still looking nice and fresh at Barkley Pass.
How can I be lost when I have got nowhere to go?
 
The following users thanked this post: wilfwalk

Offline eberhard

  • Senior Member
  • ***
  • Bike: Moto Guzzi (all models)
    Location: Gauteng
  • Posts: 2,541
  • Thanked: 223 times
  • Time takes a cigarette...
Re: My Ben 10 Challenge
« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2019, 06:51:35 pm »
Keep it coming :thumleft:
eberhard
Aggostini 1000
R90S
R80/7
R75/5 Big Boy 150 Vuka 110
 

Offline Karel84

Re: My Ben 10 Challenge
« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2019, 06:52:35 pm »
Awesome stuff! Sub!!!

Sent from my SNE-LX2 using Tapatalk

 

Offline JonW

  • Hilton Hound
  • Global Moderator
  • Forum Whore
  • ***
  • Bike: Boss Hoss (all models)
    Location: Kwazulu Natal
  • Posts: 5,815
  • Thanked: 87 times
Re: My Ben 10 Challenge
« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2019, 07:03:15 pm »
After Barkley Pass we left the tar and headed towards Baster VoetslaanPad which I thought might take us a while, so I budgeted 3 hours to get from Elliot to Maclear.

The ride up to the top of Baster was a bit rocky and probably more challenging than going down the pass itself, but neither Kevin on the big GS or I had any problems.

Baster doesn't have any sign announcing that you are there, just a stone plaque thing telling you that this is the Lapa Munnik Pass, aka the Baster Voetslaan Pad as it is more commonly known.

How can I be lost when I have got nowhere to go?
 

Offline JonW

  • Hilton Hound
  • Global Moderator
  • Forum Whore
  • ***
  • Bike: Boss Hoss (all models)
    Location: Kwazulu Natal
  • Posts: 5,815
  • Thanked: 87 times
Re: My Ben 10 Challenge
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2019, 07:49:27 pm »
After the compulsory pics we were back on the bikes and heading down the pass.

It was in conditions like this that my 520 came into its own compared to the heavy GS. Sure I paid a price in terms of uncomfortable seat and no wind protection, but the light KTM was an absolute pleasure to ride, its engine purring like a pussy cat and not using a drop of oil.

Coming down Basters was as spectacular as I remembered it from 10 odd years ago when I was last here, the scenery is breathtaking. .
How can I be lost when I have got nowhere to go?
 
The following users thanked this post: wilfwalk

Offline Highsider

  • Member
  • **
  • Bike: KTM 990 Adventure
    Location: Kwazulu Natal
  • Posts: 384
  • Thanked: 36 times
  • I find your lack of faith disturbing - Darth Vadar
    • YouTube Channel
Re: My Ben 10 Challenge
« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2019, 07:52:31 pm »
Getting the updates from Jon during his Ben10-in-1 was like waiting for the next Dakar highlights on DSTV...  lots of speculation and opinion during our braai that day.
Quite a feat.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
It's not what you ride, it's how you ride...
KTM 990 Adventure '08
BMW R850R '95
KTM 525 EXC '04
 

Offline JonW

  • Hilton Hound
  • Global Moderator
  • Forum Whore
  • ***
  • Bike: Boss Hoss (all models)
    Location: Kwazulu Natal
  • Posts: 5,815
  • Thanked: 87 times
Re: My Ben 10 Challenge
« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2019, 07:54:00 pm »
In the dry it was actually quite an easy ride. Completely different story in the wet I am sure.

Basters was so pretty that I felt I had to stop a couple of times and take a few pics.

Besides, at this stage we were still on schedule and things were going according to plan.

How can I be lost when I have got nowhere to go?
 
The following users thanked this post: wilfwalk

Offline Outthere

  • Senior Member
  • ***
  • Bike: BMW R1200GS
    Location: Kwazulu Natal
  • Posts: 509
  • Thanked: 1 times
Re: My Ben 10 Challenge
« Reply #11 on: January 16, 2019, 12:01:02 am »
Thanks Jon for a great weekend away it was interesting to say the least
Not a cloud in the sky.
Not another viechle.
Just miles and miles of fun on bikes.

If not Why not
 

Offline OomD

  • Senior Member
  • ***
  • Bike: BMW R1200GS Adventure
    Location: Gauteng
  • Posts: 2,449
  • Thanked: 79 times
Re: My Ben 10 Challenge
« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2019, 05:59:41 am »
Awesome ride, it seems! Waiting for more...  :thumleft:
 

Offline Vis Arend

  • It's not how fast you start, it's how long you endure.
  • Forum Whore
  • ****
  • Bike: Honda CRF-250 Rally
    Location: Eastern Cape
  • Posts: 7,248
  • Thanked: 127 times
Re: My Ben 10 Challenge
« Reply #13 on: January 16, 2019, 06:07:10 am »
 :peepwall:
No matter how slow you go, you're still lapping everybody on the the couch
Honda XL125  -  Sold,    Honda XR200R  -  Sold,     Yamaha TT500  -  Sold,     Honda Transalp700  -  Sold,       Yamaha S10 Fast Blue  -  Sold,   Yamaha S10 Slow White  -  Sold,   Honda CRF250 Rally..
 

Offline JonW

  • Hilton Hound
  • Global Moderator
  • Forum Whore
  • ***
  • Bike: Boss Hoss (all models)
    Location: Kwazulu Natal
  • Posts: 5,815
  • Thanked: 87 times
Re: My Ben 10 Challenge
« Reply #14 on: January 16, 2019, 07:54:43 am »
Thanks Jon for a great weekend away it was interesting to say the least
Not a cloud in the sky.
Not another viechle.
Just miles and miles of fun on bikes.

Thanks for joining me Kevin, as William Gillitt told me the day before the trip, I couldn't ask for a better riding partner than you  :thumleft:
How can I be lost when I have got nowhere to go?
 

Offline frankmac

  • Senior Member
  • ***
  • Bike: Singer (all models)
    Location: Kwazulu Natal
  • Posts: 1,571
  • Thanked: 52 times
  • You want my what??
Re: My Ben 10 Challenge
« Reply #15 on: January 16, 2019, 08:17:35 am »
Stunning scenery, Jon. Must have been a blast.

Judging by your grubby face, you were rearguard in the dusty sections  :biggrin:
 

Offline JonW

  • Hilton Hound
  • Global Moderator
  • Forum Whore
  • ***
  • Bike: Boss Hoss (all models)
    Location: Kwazulu Natal
  • Posts: 5,815
  • Thanked: 87 times
Re: My Ben 10 Challenge
« Reply #16 on: January 16, 2019, 08:30:09 am »
So we both got up and down baster without incident, big smiles on our faces, everything was going to plan and the riding was amazing.

After leaving the plantations at the bottom of Baster we turned onto the tar and headed towards Ugie. In Ugie we found a shady spot next to the road where we had our first and come to think of it, only, break for something to eat. Sarah had done a great job of packing energy bars, dates and nuts for us to have along the way. strangely enough I was never particularly hungry on the ride, but the little bit of food I did eat went down well. Must have been the great braai the previous evening at Lupela Lodge.

We didn't need to fill up in Ugie, it had only been 70 odd kilometers since Elliot and Maclear was just 20 kilometers away.

So after a quick stop for fuel in Maclear we left the town and turned onto gravel towards NaudesNek. The time was 11h40, so we were 20 minutes ahead of schedule and things were looking up for completing the challenge.

Unfortunately shortly after leaving Maclear I noticed that my chain slider was hanging off the side of my swing arm, flapping around by my boot.

I stopped and found that the screw and washer were missing and the hole in the swingarm where the bolt goes into was stripped, obviously from the chain catching on the to of the bolt as it was working loose. Now this may seem like a very small insignificant or easy to fix issue, but the problem is that firstly you need a recessed or "bucket" washer so that the bolt head does not protrude above the level of the chain slider, otherwise the chain will just rip the bolt out within a few kilometers. There is also no ways you can ride a bike like this without a chain slider, within 50 km your swingarm will be destroyed by the chain, and we still had a long way to go.

Anyway I won't bore you with the details, but we tried everything we had on us, from cable ties to plastic inserts and oversize bolts to Pratley Steel but had to stop at least 4 or 5 times to replace what we had done because nothing would work. At this stage I might not have shown it to Kevin, but I was starting to panic as time was slipping by and we were on a tight schedule.

Didn't take many pics along this section as my mind was on other things. It was around here that I told Kevin that if I have to stop because of my bike's problems, he must carry on and finish the challenge on his own, he has come too far not to.

After a few stops on this section we made it up to the top of NaudesNek for the compulsory photo. The pass condition was pretty good.


How can I be lost when I have got nowhere to go?
 
The following users thanked this post: wilfwalk

Offline JonW

  • Hilton Hound
  • Global Moderator
  • Forum Whore
  • ***
  • Bike: Boss Hoss (all models)
    Location: Kwazulu Natal
  • Posts: 5,815
  • Thanked: 87 times
Re: My Ben 10 Challenge
« Reply #17 on: January 16, 2019, 08:49:58 am »
We left NaudesNek at 14h55 and turned onto the Tenahead road to tackle the Tenahead Tiffendell Traverse.

We were now seriously behind schedule, I had budgeted that we would leave Rhodes at 14h00 and we had a long way to go before we even got to Rhodes.

Stopped for the obligatory pic at the TTT sign, then past Tenahead Hotel and onto the Traverse.

The plan was to stop at Tenahead and say hi to Ashley, who used to work for Kevin, but no time for that now. The Traverse was rockier and longer than I remembered it to be, and we were pushing the pace. Kevin did exceptionally well on the big heavy GS, it must have been physically taxing riding the GS over what is essentially enduro bike terrain.

After what seemed like an age we finally got to the Carlislehoekspruit Pass and headed down it towards Rhodes, as I had used my 2l coke bottle reserve and was nearly out, and this was the last place to get fuel before the end of the ride at Lady Gray. It was a nice quick ride down the exceptionally beautiful pass and despite the time pressure had to stop and take at least one pic on the way down.

In Rhodes it seemed to take forever to get fuel from the private seller who operates from home, but I fueled up and we headed back up the pass to Tiffendell and the imposing Ben Mcdhui, stopping on the way for a pic at the Carlislehoekspruit pass.



How can I be lost when I have got nowhere to go?
 

Offline wilfwalk

Re: My Ben 10 Challenge
« Reply #18 on: January 16, 2019, 09:19:03 am »
Excellent stuff, and quite dramatic with your time pressure ! Well done guys.
 

Offline JonW

  • Hilton Hound
  • Global Moderator
  • Forum Whore
  • ***
  • Bike: Boss Hoss (all models)
    Location: Kwazulu Natal
  • Posts: 5,815
  • Thanked: 87 times
Re: My Ben 10 Challenge
« Reply #19 on: January 16, 2019, 09:20:36 am »
We pulled into Tiffendell and headed for approximately where I knew the office was, as the Ben 10 rules state that you have to sign an indemnity before you tackle Ben Mcdhui Pass, which lies on the hill above Tiffendell. As we approached a chap came out the building to greet us, I don't think they see too many people this time of year. I asked him if we could sign the indemnity and he said sure, he just needs to find the bar lady who has the indemnities and he doesn't know where she is at the moment. Sensing a crucial time delay I asked him if we could sign the indemnity on our way down after we had done the pass and he kindly agreed  :biggrin:.

So back on the bikes and we sett off past the ski slope and up the pass.

Ben McDhui consists of about 6 hairpin bends, then a rocky section next to what I presume is the Lesotho border fence, followed by about 3 very daunting climbs up very high rockpiles. Before I left on the trip, Highsider had warned me about these rocks. He said they were quite high and challenging, but I shouldn't battle as long as I Pinned my bike and kept momentum up and didn't hesitate. Thank goodness he had given me this advice.

The initial hairpins were quite steep and sandy, with lots of loose stones. My 520 cruised up, but when I got past the hairpins I saw Kevin stuck on the heavy GS halfway up. I decided I was going to get to the top seeing as I was nearly there already, take my compulsory pic, then come back and assist kevin. So I carried on and got to the rocks and saw it was exactly as Highsider had described it. There was no time to get off and look for a line up the rocks, or look what it was like up top, I put my bike in1st and pinned the throttle and my bike shot up the rocks like a rat out of an aquaduct.

It was awesome.

But I was worried about Kevin taking his nice shiny 1200 up here.

Same with the next 2 rock sections and in about 2 minutes I was at the sign at the top, I jumped off my bike took the pic, back on the bike and down the hill to help Kevin. As I got down the hill there was no sign of Kevin, he had turned around and headed back down to Tiffendell. I arrived to find Kevin looking a bit dejected, he said he wasn't going to be able to get his bike up there, it would take too long and it would get damaged. I didn't disagree. I told him to get on my bike, get his ass up the pass and take the required pic because we are going to finish this thing.His first lame response was "What if I crash your bike"  :lamer: I told him I didn't care if he crashed my bike just go now, we don't have time to argue. Kevin's face literally lit up in front of me as he helmeted up and jumped on my bike. Just before he gunned it up the hill I gave him the same advice that Highsider had given me that served me so well, and he was gone.

I had time for a coke in the bar while I waited for Kevin, but it wasn't long before a beaming Kevin arrived back, telling me that my bike was amazing.

We were now seriously late, the sun was almost setting and we still had 2 passes to do, Volunteershoek Pass and Lundeans Nek, but we both secretly now knew that nothing was going to stop us from making it.
How can I be lost when I have got nowhere to go?