New Year Camp 'n Ride
By Eric Hall
"Taste of Dakar" began back in 2012 when AltRider decided they wanted to do a couple of things. One was establish a relationship with the riding community through a destination type event. The other was to literally give riders a taste of what riding the Dakar rally might look like. Now of course the Dakar is run by professionals on custom designed 450cc rally bikes over severe terrain in stages that are sometimes 1,000 km or longer. This was designed to be more for the weekend adventure bike rider and has levels of difficulty depending on what type of rider you are (A, B, C).
The first was held at Shoshone RV park in Shoshone, CA. This was really more of an experiment and it's clear AltRider has learned much because each event has been better than the one before.
Here's a video from that first one.
I got my tracks jacked up because my 60 CSx won't handle tracks of over 500 points so it truncated most of the "intermediate" tracks I wanted to ride and I think I ended up routing us on one of the advanced sections because it was a very long and loose sand wash. Luckily, Jimmy Lewis rode by and showed us an easier way out and we finished without too much trouble.
The 2013 event was moved over to Pahrump, NV to the Lakeside RV resort. This wasn't really ideal since there was only one shower and the ducks from the lake crapped everywhere and were quacking all night long. It got really cold too, like 25 degrees. The tracks seemed better this year, at least the intermediate ones I rode. They asked me if I'd let two journalists ride in my group and I said "sure as long as they can ride." They could ride for sure! The highlight was ending at Big Dune and riding my 600 lb pig in dunes for the first time ever AND... with none other than Johnny Campbell and Jimmy Lewis. I thought I had died and gone to heaven!
But this ride report is for the 2014 Taste of Dakar. In so many ways this event exceeded the prior two. For one, they held it at the Wine Ridge RV resort, which has MANY hot showers as well as a jacuzzi, laundry, car wash, wi-fi, etc... The tracks were AMAZING. And of course the weather was a treat; we had a major rain/snow storm blow through that actually made for epic desert riding conditions.
Since the event, this video by Ride of My Life's Brad Barker, has really taken the event to mythical status.
I rode up on Thursday with Rich and we had planned to ride the day before. We ended up riding the intermediate tracks in reverse order (no big deal really) but in the afternoon, the storm really intensified and we got caught in a flash flood and for a while, it was a bit dicey exactly how we would get ourselves out of that area...
By Eric Hall
Sunday 8:30 am
McDonald's at 3870 Sierra
3870 Sierra, Fontana, California 91759
Two unique rides stacked back to back.
The First ride toward Lytle Creek begins at Chevron McDonald's at 3870 Sierra Avenue in Fontana. Meet at 8:30am and Stands up at 9am Sharp. The difficulty is 2/10.
Google Maps Link: http://goo.gl/maps/lvd5Y
The Second ride through Cleghorn Ridge will meet at 10:30am and leave at 11am Sharp from the Chevron/Mc Donalds 3260 Wagon Train Road Phelan, CA. The Difficulty is 4/10
Google Maps Link: http://goo.gl/maps/YmZvZ
* Reservations are not required and there is no charge; just show prior to the "stands up" time and be prepared to ride.
* All routes are considered "Big Bike" friendly, though light to moderate damage can occur.
* All hard luggage should be left at home, though each individual should carry basic provisions and hand tools in case a break down occurs.
* Plan and dress for a temperature range of between 40F and 80F, with elevation changes of about 3,000'.
* Be honest about your personal physical condition; if you get out of breath climbing stairs, this kind of ride will pose a significant hazard to your health.
* All riders must be prepared to autonomously manage roadside first aid and mechanical issues. We will do our best to help but you are ultimately responsible to extract a broken vehicle if needed.
All bikes are welcome! No snobbery here!
Please indicate if you are going so we know who and how many to expect.
By Eric Hall
James Valentine came out the week before LAB2V and since he's from Kansas, I thought he might want to get a taste for what LAB2V is going to be like. Honestly, I thought he might struggle given that I've never seen him ride before and to my knowledge he's never ridden in the desert.
Boy was I wrong! This guy can RIDE!
He had a camera on his helmet and since we were riding side by side, this song "Dueling Banjos" came to mind...