Monday, August 05, 2013

Uraling Proposed Mountain Trails for the Next CZAR

A long day in the saddle this past Saturday, four URAL sidecar rigs and their drivers, plus two monkeys gathered, rode, reconned and enjoyed riding in the hilly trails in the San Isabel National Forest near Buena Vista, Colorado.

For those of you who don't know, the CZAR Rally is the annual gathering of sidecar rigs and riders here in Colorado: Colorado Zidecar Adventure Riders Rally.  It's mostly URAL sidecar rigs but all are welcome of course.

For the 2014 Rally, the plan is to do one day of offroad riding that will involve map navigation and the search for metal markers which will contain random alphanumerics.  The idea is for teams of two rigs, after being assigned random waypoints, must then go out and find said markers...using only assigned maps and their own navigation skills.  Once they find the marker, they record specific alphanumerics for points.  No GPS of course.  Details remain to be worked out over the coming year but that's the gist of it.

There will also be a geocaching event as well I believe.

The first phase of preparing for this hopefully challenging but fun course is to make sure the trails involved are 'doable' by our stalwart sidecar rigs.  We gathered on fire service roads to the east of the town of Buena Vista, Colorado and selected routes to check out.

 Sometimes we're confused, sometimes we actually get serious
photos courtesy of Tim L.

The terrain in the AO or Area of Operations consists of dirt and graveled covered Forest Service Roads.  The terrain is hilly, heavily forested, and all part of the San Isabel National Forest.  Darrell S and his lovely wife Piper were in their rig along with your truly on Valencia, forming one of two mapping teams.  Jay B. and his lovely wife Deana were in the third rig and with them was Tim L on his own rig, they were the other mapping team.

We split up, and test rode our assigned trails to ensure they're safe enough for URAL sidecar rigs and to pick out potential way points, noting their grid coordinates and taking pictures of possible landmarks to help folks find the markers.

Up and down steep hilly/rocky trails we went.  Our rigs clawing their way up gravel-strewn, on inclines reaching 20 degrees at times (probably not that steep but they sure felt like it while on them).  I vividly recall watching Darrell's rig descending in front of me, wheels locked by brakes, and the rig still sliding in the gravel down the slope.  Then there were the portions where the trail was cambered so badly one had to lean out onto the sidecar to keep the tub from coming up since it was now riding higher than the tug; here Darrell and Piper had a better time since he didn't have to lean sideways to keep the tub down as Piper was in the sidecar.

Only overheated Valencia's clutch once, this soon after stalling the engine due to water in the exhaust pipes while doing a small water crossing.  Ten minutes of letting the clutch cool and Valencia was once again roaring up the narrow rocky trails, bouncing and swaying past rock outcroppings and slewing into tight turns covered with loose deep sand and rocks.

 At the start of the route reconnaissance riding, the Collegiate Peaks
in the background.

 A brief stop near one of the proposed waypoints.

Video shot by Darrell S. of my attempt to cross the deeper of the two
water crossings.  Engine died before I got to the other end.  Valencia finally restarted and ran
once we pushed her out of the water enough for the mufflers to vent to air as opposed to water.

 Letting the rigs cool off a bit after another long uphill climb

 Only one more set of hills, it's not too bad, c'mon!

 The photo doesn't render the incline angle well.  There was a difference
of about 50 feet of elevation from where I stood, to where Darrell's Rig
was carefully rolling/sliding its way down this steep hill.

 One of the sandy portions one got to enjoy while riding about.

 Another view of the Collegiate Peaks as we approach Buena Vista
from the east.

Almost back on pavement, after over two hours of hard riding.

So, the proposed routes were mostly covered by us, they're doable by URALs but some care will have to be taken on some of the steeper portions.  We saw how susceptible our rigs are to stalling when the exhaust pipes are underwater for any length of time!  Here I was worrying about water going into the air intake, it's the lower lying exhaust pipes that are the issue apparently.  Another theory is the temperature differential shock causing the engine to quit when the hot engine hits the "cold" water.

 At the shallower of the two water crossings of the day.....
photos courtesy of Jay and Deana

We rode into Buena Vista and spent a couple of enjoyable hours eating a late lunch and discussing the trails we just rode, exchanging experiences such as my stalling the rig in a river crossing, clutches getting overheated by all, the steep inclines and loose traction conditions, the heat of the day and how it was all really great fun.

A late lunch at the Eddyline Brewpub in Buena Vista
photos courtesy of Jay and Deana

 Racing the rain clouds homewards....no significant rain was experienced.
photos courtesy of Jay and Deana

8 comments:

RichardM said...

Hmmm, another puzzle. Water would have difficulty making it into the exhaust system if the only opening was in the back. Just try and close off the exhaust on a engine running at even a modest rpm. If you are going through the water at idle then that might be a good explanation. Once the engine dies then water will fill up the exhaust pretty quickly making the engine difficult to start. Cold water splashing on the engine wouldn't cause it to stop running as it wouldn't be able to "suck" out the heat from the metal fast enough to make a difference.

That really looks like a beautiful area. When is the next CZAR?

Steve Williams said...

You're always pushing the envelop. Before long I expect to see you entered in a Hill Climb competition. Great landscape to ride in and judging by the picture in the restaurant everyone was having a great time. I think that's the first time I ever saw you smile!

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks

SonjaM said...

Dom, those pictures are extraordinaire. I am jealous of those spectacular mountain views. Brilliant colours too, and your orange hack again makes a great contrast.

Neither of my steeds (Vespa or Harley) would have made it through the water without stalling...

Charlie6 said...

RichardM, not much of a puzzle, I went in too slow and at low revs....water got in via the exhaust pipes and that's all she wrote. The next CZAR is JUNE 2014, weekend after Father's Day. You coming?

Charlie6 said...

Steve, I wouldn't say I was pushing the envelope...just making sure the trails were safe.....the sliding down the slope while all brakes were locked was just bonus. :)

As to hill climbing with a URAL, the new clutch plates are nice but not that nice....

:D

Charlie6 said...

Glad you liked the pics SonjaM....no castles but it'll do.

RichardM said...

I think that I may be riding down for the MOA rally in St. Paul, MN, then on to a family reunion around Los Angeles, CA, next summer. Both events nowhere near June, so probably not. I'm thinking that if I did make this trip, it would be sans sidecar since it really kills fuel economy but I have all year to think about it.

Roy Karny said...

Wow,
I really envy you guys for the abundance of nature and trails. Here in the holy land things are a bit more crowded.

It brings a smile to see the age variety in your group and the passion for umm, this special motorcycle ;)

Anyway, have fun, wished I could join you.
Keep up the good work, PLEASE vlog some of your CZAR.

Roy.