MIDDLEGATE REPORT: by Chas Moser
Another typical great outing at Middlegate Station. The TBSA contingent, Robin,
Keith & Chas, took three-day rides on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. It was sure
great to have Keith riding dirt bikes again after his long year-and-a-half
layoff from trail riding. Robin and Keith came together in Robin’s pickup and
toy hauler. Nevin, along with his sister and bro-in-law, brought their Razr’s
instead of motorcycles. What is this world coming to?! Thirty-plus riders showed
up, with each ride group consisting of four to twelve riders. As has been said
in previous newsletters many times before, the riding here is truly outstanding.
We are blessed to have so much basically unlimited very diverse riding terrain
available. The riding conditions couldn’t have been better with excellent
traction, and very little dust thanks to recent precipitation. The weather was
almost perfect for riding, i.e. cool and on the windy side. Almost everyone wore
jackets to keep the chill off.
The TBSA ride on Thursday was an 18-mile primarily acclimation ride, especially for Keith since it has been so long since he has ridden a dirt bike. Robin, Keith and Chas made a roughly 18-mile zig-zag loop southwest of Middlegate Station. The riding was mostly two-track trails with some single-track and sand washes thrown in. Chas felt bad about taking a recovering Keith up a particularly steep, loose rocky climb near the beginning of the ride. Chas didn’t realize how gnarly it was until he was almost to the top, but fortunately everyone made it up just fine. Near the end of the ride, Keith pointed out to Chas that his rear tire was flat. All three of us run the Tubliss System front and rear on our bikes. The Tubliss System has many advantages, one of which is that it allows for very simple, quick, trailside rope plug repairs. We have all done this in the past. Chas pumped air into the tire but unfortunately we couldn’t find the leak so he rode the bike back to Middlegate on the pavement. Back at camp, the leak was found with the aid of a little more air pressure and more fluid. The odd thing is that the leak was from a 1/2-inch gash/slit in the sidewall and looked to be not rope plug repairable. A single rope plug was inserted in the slit looped lengthwise and, lo and behold, the plug held just fine for the duration of the outing!
Rich VanDerMeeden led Robin, Keith, Chas, Jeff Brown and Joe on a fantastic 66-mile Friday ride. This ride had a little bit of everything, including two-track, single-track, up and down mountain ranges, sand washes, etc, plus a new-to-us very challenging trail connecting the “pipeline” to the 722 pavement near the start of the main single-track. Towards the end of the ride, Jeff stalled his bike on a particularly rocky uphill. While attempting to launch over a large rock, Jeff’s bike did an endo landing upside down resulting in a broken handlebar! Note the photograph of the “branch” repair.
On Saturday Rich led nine of us on another great 96-mile ride, which obviously covered a lot of ground including a high-elevation ride up into the Gold Park area where excess snow was the limiting factor along with sporadic flurries of snow and sleet. About half-way through the ride, Keith’s rear wheel bearing went out rendering his bike unrideable. Robin rode back to Middlegate via the road and drove his truck out to pick up Keith and the ailing bike. By the time everybody else arrived back to Middlegate, Robin and Keith had already departed for home. Most of us enjoyed a terrific prime rib dinner Saturday evening. The prime rib was to die for -- succulent, tender and delicious.