MIDDLEGATE OUTING REPORT: by Chas Moser
There was only a small turnout of TBSA members at this well attended biannual event with Chas, Nevin and George Smith present and accounted for. As usual the weather and riding were outstanding. Chas had previously promised Larry that he wouldn't ride with Howard, Jim, Norm and Dave because he wanted Chas to preserve his body so that he could ride with Chas on Friday and Saturday. Note that this group, led by Howard and Norm, is notorious for riding all day, from 9 a.m. sometimes until dark, picking the most difficult terrain possible. Chas found out late Wednesday that Larry could not make the outing and Chas therefore made the unfortunate decision to ride with Howard's nine-rider group on Thursday. Big mistake on Chas' part!!
The ride, while not the longest at 106 miles, was certainly the most grueling in Chas' addle-brained memory. Never again. Mind you that these are not young guys; Howard is 68, Dave is 75 (same age as Chas) and Norm is 78!! These guys are animals. Chas in his infinite wisdom figured that, when he got tired out, he could simply hit the road and ride back to camp. Not so fast, smart guy - the ride got so far out in the mountainous boonies that there was indeed no place to turn around. Chas actually did OK until about the last 20-mile stretch which was very steep, narrow in places, and rocky. At one point he got so tired that he could not maintain his balance and fell to his left with his leg trapped between the ground and the rear tire. One of the attributes of the auto clutch is the anti-stall feature which in this case turned out to be a negative feature as the rear wheel continued to rotate, all the while grinding into Chas' leg. He reached for the kill switch ASAP but instead accidentally opened the throttle, speeding up the spinning knobby tire even more. At this point Chas was forced to teach Dave how to ride his auto-clutch Beta, also equipped with a left-hand rear brake, up one nasty section. Both of these features were completely foreign to Dave, who had never ridden a bike with an auto-clutch, much less one with a left-hand rear brake, but he managed just fine. Chas breathed a sigh relief when the group finally dropped down to a navigable road. All the riders started with 3.4 gallons of gas or more. Chas ran completely dry at 103 miles, right at the Shoe Tree. After laying his bike over on its left side to gain access to the roughly one quart of gas remaining at the bottom of the right side of the gas tank, he managed to make it back to camp at 106 miles. Another rider ran out of gas about 20 miles from camp. As a point of reference, Chas usually can travel up to 150 miles with no problem on 3.4 gallons of gas on more "traditional" rides.
MIDDLEGATE OUTING PHOTOS: by Chas Moser