Thursday, May 30, 2024 | TSTM

OMRA 'Save The Trails' Poker Run

First time out riding in almost two months so I prepared the 1983 Maico 490 Spider turned Sand Spider and went through my gear. I changed the oil, installed a new clutch cable, put air in the tires and fired the beast up to make sure there were no problems. I went through my gear to make sure everything was complete and I added a new small vice grip to the Ogio Flight Vest. Everything was ready to ride the next morning.

I headed out around 7am to Diamond Mill OHV staging area first stopping at the Shell gas station to get fuel. The auxiliary 'number plate' gas tank which I had yet to use was already full but I needed to fill up the main tank. Three gallons of premium mixed at 32:1 ought to be enough and with some coffee I was on my way.

Arriving at the staging area around 8am I unloaded the Maico and started to put together my gear. Steve, a guy I had ridden with several months back, pulled in next to me as I was getting ready the flight vest. He introduced me to another guy I never met before, Mike and we took a walk over to sign in.

After the sign in we waited a bit for the instructions which were still being drawn up on a large sign. There was about 10 of us there waiting under the tarp looking at the flame from the space heater and after about 15 minutes we were given the details. There was the Easy course and the Hard course of which the Hard course would sometimes overlap with the easy course. The end of the hard course was a double black diamond called Beaverslide of which there was a special bypass and if we choose to bypass look for another hand written sign. Ok, so we were ready to go.

I was ready to start the Maico and so I put the choke on, pulled in the compression release and set the bike at TDC and kicked away. The bike didn't start. I kept kicking as sometimes it takes a bit for the gas to go through but still didn't start. I was thinking the bike could be flooded or perhaps I just was impatient. However, the bike fired up much faster the day before.

There was also a few guys around asking about the bike like if the tank was fiberglass or not but I was trying to figure out what was wrong. I thought that after I fired up the bike the day before, I reconnected the compression release several times to center it after adding the clutch cable. I remember I had pulled the kill switch wire a few times during the adjustment and thought perhaps the kill switch was engaged.

I grabbed the spark plug socket which is in the outter pocket of the flight vest and took the plug out. Yup, it was all wet. So I knew it was flooded but was it sparking? Since the plug was old I opted to just change the plug and in the light it was hard to see whether it was sparking or not. I cut the wire from the kill switch and I held the throttle wide open and kicked it to dry out the cylinder. I installed the new plug, held the throttle wide open again and first kick it fired up. A large cloud of thick smoke came out and the bike was muted showing that it was flooded a bit, but it was fine now.

We headed out in the fog and cold morning to mongo's canyon which leads you just north of Keenig Creek. We stopped after this trail to warm up our hands because they were numb and hurting! This however would be the last time we would feel cold as the sun was rising and after the next trail everyone removed their jackets and sweat shirts.

Thin wolf offered the first and probably most significant obstacle of the course as there was a large tree uprooted onto the trail, other obstacles being the significant number of downed trees we had to duck under. Mike went first and Steve had at first missed the turn but realized it quickly and showed up behind me. I readied my bike and thought about dumping the clutch. However, the tree was at an angle and I knew I would have to hit it right to make it over and if not the bike would slide sideways. In the end, I opted to just carry it over with Mike's help.

Once the Maico was over I found a tree and leaned the bike against it. I walked back to help Mike and Steve get Steve's KTM across the log. We managed to get the KTM across the log with only one snag of it falling to the ground after! Another guy on a KTM rode up as we just finished getting rested from that adventure and were ready to hit the trails again.

Finishing Thin Wolf and Frankenstien we ended up at the bottom entrace to Cedar Ridge. The new guy, Todd, on the KTM had a flat rear tire and Mike had a pump so helped him blow it up. Todd was an intermediate trials rider who decided to do something different today instead of the long drive to some other trials race which was also taking place. The tire was blown up and looked promising so we were on our way to Old Cedar Creek trail which connects us back to the north side of Diamond Mill

Old cedar creek trail is a long wide trail that would have also been apart of the easy course. At the end of the trail Steve tried out another trail across the street and Todd's tire had become completely flat. However he decided to ride the rest of the course with the flat tire as opposed to going back to the staging area. The next trail wouldn't be until 'Sticks and Stones' however this was still a long drive up the fire road and to a peak where we rested at 22 miles.

I decided this was perfect time to fill in my tank from the auxiliary gas tank. I never done it before but how hard could it be just screw on the cap and blow into one hose and gas should come out the other. Well, it didn't come out it dripped and then nothing. I tried several times and checked the seals and nothing. I even tried to use the air pump but still nothing. I took out the syphon and saw the hose was bending upwards. That's it, it's blowing out air it's not leaking. So those new vice grips I put into my vest would fit into the gas tank, so I used a zip tie to tie the vice grip to the hose to allow it to sink. This worked perfect and I was able to fill up my gas tank.

Soon it was time to go and off to 'Sticks and Stones' and from sticks and stones it was to truck dent and from there to summit. Summit being the last trail before Beaverslide, the double black diamond. I was starting to grow tired of the clutch, it was tight and slowing me down! When it takes a minute to pull in the clutch and it takes a lot out of you it makes it too easy to stall. The new clutch cable seems tighter than the old one but luckily I already have a plan in place to reduce or maybe even eliminate the tight pull from the clutch all together. This of course didn't help me out during this poker run though.

The entrace to beaverslide was steep with a sharp turn at the bottom. I prefer to go up hill and not down hill since you got to do a bit of planning about where you will end up, where to turn, when to react and at what speed you'll be going and where you plan to stop. Oh well, I decided to bulldog it at the entrance. This didn't do as there was no where to put your feet on the side and it was quite steep that half way down I just side saddled the bike and leaned for the turn. The rest of Beaverslide was fine, the only problem I had was keeping the motor running because my hand was killing me from the clutch! Usually, my hand isn't hurting this bad so definately notice that the new cable just is a lot tighter than the old one was.

After Beaver slide it was MC which was also filled with tight switch backs, probably tighter than Beaverslide. Then it was down the road and to the staging area for the finish. At the finish line you drew tickets out of a box and based on your ticket you get a prize. I won goggles which I need to pick up at motosport!

All in all it was a nice poker run and had some nice trails on it. Next time I go out riding though I think I'll bring the KTM 495 though as it's clutch is easier to pull until I have the Maico fixed!

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