Ride Report: End of Winter ride
March 25, 2011 at 3:10 am #4357eonParticipant
Well, since it’s been so quiet in here recently I’ll bore you all with the details of my first long ride of the year and my first long ride on the Versys on Sunday, the End of Winter run, a run up the west side of Mt. St. Helens. It is organized by a local guy who publishes this ride in all the motorcycle groups from Seattle to Portland. He is one of those people who judge the success of a ride by the number of people who show up and he usually gets 100+ bikes there which is not bad considering it is a 120 mile slab ride from Seattle to the start point. I’ve been on it once before and didn’t enjoy it as there are too many people behaving like assholes for my liking. Sport bikes hitting triple digit speeds and cruisers travelling in large packs at 10 below the limit. Not too mention all the dicking around that goes on on the interstate before you even get there. So I had to have my arm twisted by my friends to go this time. But we made sure to leave 90 minutes after everyone else and made our way down there by ourselves, just the three of us.
Got to the meeting point 5 minutes before the cruisers pulled away (sport bikes had already gone) which was perfect timing. Got to say hello to a few friends then warm myself up with weak gas station coffee. Not sure what the temperature was but 2 hours at 70 mph and my hands were about to fall off. First run with my new handguards and they didn’t help much, if at all, at keeping me warm. We picked up a fourth body as another friend was disgusted with the antics he witnessed on the slab ride down and couldn’t wait to ditch his group. So once a suitable time had elapsed we set off. We took a little side road that was new to me and was pretty neat. It’s always a nice feeling to ride down a good road for the first time. Was only about 10 miles long though and then we were back on the main road up the mountain. It’s a pretty fast main highway so it’s not very technical but that is made up for by the great views. Before long we were up in the snow level so the speeds came down and staying safe became the main priority. Got to the end of the road and turned round and did it all in reverse, about 80 miles in total.
Back at the gas station we came up with a plan for getting home without hitting the interstate which involved me trying to remember roads I’ve been on maybe twice. Mostly managed it though and had a fantastic time. There are some great country roads to the west of I-5 in that area and I’ll probably head down that way again within the month to explore some more. Just too much fun to be had.
Major plus of the day for me was feeling I made a big step towards getting the hang of the Versys. I’ve been struggling with throttle control and cornering smoothly. I guess I had developed bad habits on the scooter with the very slack throttle and on the V I have been very jerky. Was pissing me off but I was glad to say there was none of that on Sunday. Twas a very nice feeling. I also quickly learned I needed to change my overtaking strategy which on the scooter was “roll on the throttle, wait, pull out”. On the Versys that translated into “roll on the throttle, oh s**t”
I suck at taking pictures so here is my obligatory videoMarch 25, 2011 at 3:32 am #29407madjak30Participant
I think there would have been a lot of “pucker” when starting to see snow and ice on two wheels…looks like you are adjusting to two wheels just nicely…I’m still jealous…and indecisive…lol
Later.March 26, 2011 at 3:41 am #29411Gary856Participant
When I first read 100+ bikes I thought, absolutely not! I hate those moto parades. Then I saw you doing it right by going with a small group. The snow covered mountain is scenic but looked pretty cold. When it gets down to the 40s it becomes a challenge for me to stay warm on long rides , since I have no heated gear. A month ago it got so warm here (I think it was consistently over 70) I was sweating during my ride to lunch. The past couples of weeks winter returned with a vengeance with the cold and rain, even though it’s officially spring now, and I’m loving the bad weather riding.March 26, 2011 at 4:22 am #29413eonParticipant
Yeah, the first (and only time) I’ve been on this was 2 years ago, 6 months after I started riding. It was an introduction into large group rides for me and turned me off them completely. The number of idiotic incidents I witnessed in that one trip was unbelievable. Even this weekend when I mostly avoided the crowds I still witnessed one near suicidal, completely unnecessary pass where someone forced an oncoming SUV to move over the fog line to avoid a head on collision, all so the bike could pass one car and stay with her leader. Un-f***ing-believable. Couple that with stories of sport bikes and sport tourers (including the organizer) hitting 120mph speeds you can start to see why it’s an event I prefer to avoid. It took a lot of persuading for me to go but it worked out well. Got to see a few old friends whose riding preferences are different from mine so I rarely see them these days.
I was actually ok on the mountain, it was only on the interstate ride down I got cold. I have my hippo hands on the scooter still and I could move them over but I’m trying not to. I’m trying to persuade myself it’s going to get warm any day now! I have a long weekend planned for next week that involves another 120 mile interstate ride and this time it is over the Cascade mountains. I might break down and move the muffs over before then.
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