Tuesday, June 26, 2012

First Annual CZAR is a Success!

In motorcycling friendship of course! Also known as the First Annual CZAR or Colorado Zidecar Annual Rally, nine Ural Sidecar Rigs rode around the Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) this past weekend and the rally itself was held near Grand Lake, CO.

We all met and lunched at the restaurant located at the Fall River Visitor Center and rode off as a nine rig strong formation into the RMNP. One thing I will say, everywhere we went, the Ural Sidecar Rigs proved quite the attention-getter!

Temperatures were quite warm for most of the areas that we rode in, though it was pleasantly cool up on top of Trail Ridge Road within the RMNP. Seven of the nine sidecar rigs met in Longmont at Tim L's home and we convoyed towards Estes Park to meet with the remaining two sidecar rig owners who were already camped out at near Grand Lake, CO.

The plan on Saturday was to tackle the dirt road that is Old Fall River Road. Steep inclines, sharp switchbacks, rocky gravel and dust were conditions we expected to overcome. Our main troubles were slow driving cars, ironically enough, causing our rigs to stop on inclines and forcing much feathering of clutches! Some rigs had to "take a break" a couple of times, to allow the clutch plates to cool.

Still, all nine rigs made it to the top of Fall River Road where the RMNP's Alpine Visitor Center is located and "there was much rejoicing". The road had proven tougher than experienced before by yours truly, I blame the slow car drivers who would block the road, to take pictures from inside their air-conditioned cars. Come on folks, give the people behind you a break....pull over and let them pass.

From the Alpine Visitor Center it was smooth pavement riding down towards the Winding River Resort where the rally's campsite was located. We set up our individual campsites and then later gathered at Steffen and his wife Jody's RV site where there was much eating, re-hydrating and happy conversations until late that night.

As a finishing event for the evening, Darrell had arranged with Ural for some rally giveaways. Riders wrote the name of their rig on a piece of paper, which was placed into a bag and Steffen's daughter Sophie drew out the winning names. Dave M got a reverse lever kit, Tim won a Ural tankbag, I managed to win a Ural flashlight and the remaining drivers won T-Shirts from the 70th Anniversary Ural Event!

The next day, Sunday, we regrouped in Grand Lake's Fat Cat Cafe for breakfast and some group pictures by the lake. From there, we re-entered the RMNP, but with only seven rigs this time as Steffen and Dave M's rigs were staying an extra day in Grand Lake.

The seven rigs took Trail Ridge Road to cross the RMNP, the nicely paved road provides several scenic stopping points for the park's visitors. We entered Estes Park, fueled up again and then headed south on CO Highway 7 towards CO Highway 72 and the town of Ward.

Ward was our entry point into the dirt roads which comprise the route we would spend most of the afternoon traversing. The main section of this ride was the twists and turns of The Switzerland Trail. This trail is an old narrow-gauge railroad roadbed between Gold Hill Road and Sugarloaf Roads to the west of Boulder, CO.

The hot temperatures, blazing sun, choking dust and extremely rocky conditions of the Switzerland Trail made life "interesting" at times but all our rigs did great taking on the challenging conditions. 

We didn't move as fast as the small dirt bikes that zoomed past us at times, but we made it! Kudos to Piper, Darrell S's wife, who's a new sidecar rig driver by the way....she took on Fall River Road, Trail Ridge Road and the Switzerland Trail with great aplomb and determination.

Once the seven rigs made it to Boulder via Sugarloaf Road, the group starting splitting apart as riders and rigs headed off towards their respective homes. I made it home shortly after 6:00PM, my rig Valencia having run great the entire time. 

Great first annual rally, looking forward to the next one (hopefully in cooler weather).
If you're a sidecar rig driver, join us next time, it doesn't have to be a Ural Rig or even have three wheels.


SonjaM said...

A Russian invasion that no one would ever have expected.

Great pics of a wonderful event. All those smiling faces (except yours I must say...).

RichardM said...

Looks like a pretty cool get together. And some nice pictures. The ones showing the smoke from the fire are my favorites. Are any of them near any populated areas?

Unknown said...


Looks like a great time to get together, and not too far away for you either.

We still have winter here. still only 9 or 10°C at night, and constantly raining. we don't know what heat is

hope they stop the fires soon. We see it on our news. Up here we have lots of flooding

Riding the Wet Coast
My Flickr // My YouTube

Jack Riepe said...

Repeated From The Examiner:
Dear Charlie6 (Dom):

This sounds like it was a first-class good time without the a hint of a mechanical experienced by anyone. Isn't there a note of sadness at an event's end, when the riders split up and go their separate ways? Regardless of the two-wheeled brotherhood (or three-wheeled in your case), there is unabashed pride in a marque when like-minded riders gather for a run. If my plans work for the next year, I'll ride with you someplace next summer.

Fondest regards,
Twisted Roads

Unknown said...

Looking great, Dom,

I would have liked to see all those rigs together. Looks like an absolute blast. I think you need to set up a dirt track and start sidehack racing. I'd come out for that.

Behind Bars - Motorcycles and Life

cpa3485 said...

Looks Fantastic. Makes me miss our little scooter club