Friday, May 1, 2015

Spring 2015 Dragon Run: Making Passes (Post 3)

Of course we try to avoid weekends with high car car counts.  But the more experience I have on the Dragon, the less annoyed I am with traffic.  On this trip we made very few blocked passes.  And we used pull-offs to clear for faster cars.  I don't remember clearing for bikes--there were fewer cycles on the road than I expected.  (Yes, I followed some cruiser bikes once, southbound, and no, they didn't use available pull-offs.)

On Killboy's FaceBook page, you can read comments grousing about how the Dragon ain't what it used to be: too much (slow) traffic, too many flakey riders and drivers.  Some say the Dragon has been ruined for them, and they won't be back.  Or they say there are many other fine, less crowded, area roads.  I disagree.  The Dragon is only road anywhere near its length with no driveways and entering side roads.  And its bends are so tight that you are unlikely to be seriously hurt if you do fall off the road (in a car).  Of course the point is to not fall off the road.

Even within one's limits, the the Dragon is exhausting.  After a full day of making passes, Hotshoe and I were worn out.  The concentration required is intense--and that is the fun of it.  Hotshoe's and my approaches to passes have diverged.  We both slow for oncoming traffic (an incident, not even caused by you, will ruin your day too).  But Hotshoe slows more than I do.  He's content to run manufacturer's recommended tire pressures; I jack mine up to 40/35.  When the road is clear, I run 8 to 9/10's.

For me, it's not about a fast time.  Fast times are set by people who know the road intimately in modified cars.  But it is about making the cleanest, fastest, mistake-free, pass that I can make.  On this trip, however, there was a hitch in my giddyup.  Too late to change it, I discovered a badly bent front rim.  Tire bead separation is not an adventure I want to have anywhere, least of all on the Dragon.  It's even more challenging to make a pass at 8/10's in the right-handers, but 6/10's in the following left-handers.

Hotshoe and I made one pass in his car with me shooting a hand-held GoPro video.  The vid was... OK...  Hotshoe and I
 both like videos that pan into the corner (as opposed to a fixed mount).

 The Killboy Krew calls this a Fuster Cluck.  The Overlook was crowded all day.  The solution is to go down to the entry
road for Calderwood Dam and turn around there.  Pilote and Hotshoe are at the right: we didn't follow my own advice.

But it was a fine trip.  Friday was spent making pass after pass.  A bad day on the Dragon (and this wasn't one) is better
than a good one almost anywhere else.

You might think that a rim this badly bent would ruin your whole trip, and you would think wrong.
It got me to and from the Dragon (20+ hours driving time) and held pressure at 20% above what
Honda recommends.  But I didn't push it or my luck in left-hand bends.  Summer-only stickies
were already on my To Do List before my autumn Dragon trip.  Now I need a new wheel.
Despite this problem (caused by a gigantic pothole on an Interstate), I'm very happy
with my rims and will re-up for a replacement OZ.

No comments:

Post a Comment