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Bike Recovery - retrieving your bike after an unfortunate "Tour of Side-aho" incident

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  • Bike Recovery - retrieving your bike after an unfortunate "Tour of Side-aho" incident

    Bike self-rescue and other epics: advice, tales, pics - all right here. Check this out first: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rde3k6dNrq4

  • #2
    This really isn't about bike recovery but more about self recovery.

    My 2018 tour ended on day 7 after some unfortunate weather including cold, heavy rain and snow. Fish Creek Trail has lots of overgrowth that just pounds you with wet leaves, even Gortex gear will eventually soak through eventually. That's not what ended it for me though. All of the rain and water eventually made it's way into my ignition switch which shorted something out and would not restart at Ant Hill. After my attempts to dry it out, I just could not get it to work. Suzuki put an anti-theft resistor inside the switch so jump the wires would do no good. I coasted back to the bottom of the hill and decided that my only choice was to hike the 8 miles back out to the last road that I had been on. I hiked a daunting 4 miles back to a small shack that I had passed earlier. I considered bedding down there as it was getting late but after seeing that the shack had no windows, it was going to be below freezing that night and I was soaking wet that was not going to be an option. I didn't think that I could make it out before dark as my feet were in pretty bad shape from walking the last 4 miles in Alpinestar boots but I really had no choice. I reluctantly decided to hit the SOS button on my SPOT tracker and start walking again. This was a mistake as I set off a panic with my family and friends back home! I finally did make it back out to the road a little after dark where I ran across a Forest Ranger that gave me a ride to Locsha Lodge where Kent was waiting for me.
    What does this have to do with recovery gear? Had I had a location device with 2 way communication, I could have let everyone know that I was not injured and was making my way out. For 2020 I will have a Garmin inReach 66i and a pair of hiking shoes as Martin recommends!
    I was able to retrieve my bike 2 days later with help from Kent, local rider Dan Hoheim and a new switch.





    Last edited by cdalejef; 03-01-2020, 01:58 PM.

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    • #3
      I wish I had some pictures or video of Dave and myselfs adventure this year. We were already running late on day 7 after we did the optional salmon mountain lookout hike( which was beautiful btw, strange lady Manning the place though) So anyway we slam some burgers in elk City and get some gas, Dave and I think we have an easy way into Lowell for the night, well we were definitely wrong. First we got all messed up down in a swamp trying to follow the route , we second guessed ourselves a few times and ended up wasting about an hour in there. So at this point we only have about an hour of daylight left. We miss a turn somewhere after that and get turned back the right way, I slam my foot into a rock, then stop and turn around to warn Dave but it's on a blind corner. He slams his foot so hard into this rock and wrecks his bike(pretty undave like) breaks his toe. At this point its almost dark. Dave's pissed and we are both out of energy. We finally get to falls point Rd and decide to check it out, knowing there was a landslide at some point (thinking it's only 1 slide to get around) we get down to the first one and it's completely dark. There is a few logs we help each other over but ehh not bad we think we are in the clear. Get down about a half mile oh shit here is another one, wasn't horrible though just keep going over logs and a few more slides. Then there were a few gnarly ones. At this point Dave's helmet light dies, I still have my headlight and helmet light for the time being . Him and I start sawing out paths around these slides and realize we might end up on one we can't get around. Yet we push on. So Dave is leading I'm trying to light up the world in front of him so I'm right on his ass. He goes to go around a branch and his bike and light just disappear down the hill. I drop my bike and start yelling down the hill luckily he's only about 10 feet down in some brush, I help him climb up and use my light to look through his bag to get out the ropes and pulleys. We end up stringing up the 4 way and hooking to the back tire and to a tree above. The brush is so thick we are having a really hard time (footpeg and handlebars are catching. After about 30 minutes of fighting we get it up and my helmet light dies. We think about our bad desicions and look at my in reach and realize we only have about a half mile or so to go to the road. We keep bushwhacking(super overgrown and deadfall everywhere) we get to a pretty bad spot and have to do some more sawing. We just barely get the bikes around on the edge of the sidehill and take a break. We hopped back on completely exhausted and kept going, after this point it was only a few really big logs to jump over and we were so relieved when we saw the Rd. About a mile into the Rd my headlight decides it doesn't want to live anymore and we rode quite a few miles into Lowell on Dave's stock ktm headlight( really bright😂) the nice lady at the wilderness inn left a little note on our door and it was unlocked , it was after midnight forsure. Good times.

      Comment


      • Mike Georgeson
        Mike Georgeson commented
        Editing a comment
        Now that is a good one... in my minds eye I was right there with you... good story!

    • #4
      2020 Team Pygmy Pony

      I preparation for our 2020 TOI, we put together a recommended 4to1 bike recovery drag system. Being an x-kayak-er I was familiar with z-drags and recovery systems and had all the components. We typically carry a very light weight z-drag system for helping get a wheel out of a mud-hole or other minor situations where a little extra advantage was needed but we never wanted to carry the extra weight of a full 4to1 double sheave system. I guess we never put two and two together when it comes to bike recover, which we have done, with great effort, more than once.

      A month ago we heed and hawed about carrying the 5lb system on our snow bikes. We thought, you know, maybe we set-it up, take a pic, make Martin happy. In the end, we said what the hell we have it we may as well strap it on. As luck would have it, that same day, I got in a situation up in the trees and had to radio my riding partner Jerry, who happened to be carrying the recovery bag, that I needed a hand. While he was looking for me he rode into creek bottom and got thoroughly stuck. He radioed back to me that he was going to be awhile so I was on my own. I proceeded to work my situation out and and headed down the mountain to find Jerry. When I got to him he already had our new piece of equipment in service. It was in an especially struck situation. He was thinking he was going be on his own for awhile so he opted get get the system set-up. The 4to1 advantage really helped us out. Since that day, the 5lb system has been a standard piece of our equipment and goes with us on every ride. We have used it multiple times and in one situation in particular, see photos, we would not have gotten out without additional help (that is a whole other story in itself). I wish I could upload the video where we actually have the system set-up and you can see what we had to do but I think you can get the idea from the pics!

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      We are already thinking of other applications that we could use it for from moving logs to hauling an injured rider to getting your truck unstuck.

      This is a valuable tool that is going on the indispensable list... now we just need to Rock, Paper, Scissors to see who gets to carry it!

      Lastly, I suggest practice before the tour. We have been real lucky (haha) and gotten lots of practice already... it now only takes us a couple of minuets to get it deployed.
      Attached Files

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      • #5
        D7 Tour of Idaho 2017
        Lowell to Powell
        For me D7 turned out to be an epic adventure all on its own. I had made it to Lowell just as it was getting dark with a faulty electrical system and no headlight. I immediately tore my bike apart but could not find the problem. I had a helmet light but I accidentally dropped it on the sidewalk and broke it %#@*! I knew D7 was going to be a long day and without being able to get an early pre-dawn start I knew I would be cutting it close to making it to Powell before dark. I left Lowell as soon as it was light enough for me to see and I actually made pretty good time through the first part of the day. However as I made the turn to go down Fish Butte trail it started to rain and I became soaking wet as I made my way up Fish Creek. When I came through the timber and the extensive amount of underbrush just before Ant Hill the trail split off into multiple different directions and I quickly found myself off track. Once I got back on track I was trying to make up some time. As I was going up the switchbacks on Ant Hill and I high sided my bike when my rear tire washed out on a tree root and I landed upside down in the trees about 15-20 feet off the trail. The more I tried to man handle my bike back up to the trail the more it slid down the mountain. I used my MSRS (motorcycle self recovery system) from Cascade Rescue to get my bike up the mountain and back on the trail. I was impressed with how easy it was to use and how well it worked (the pro kit is well worth the extra $$). From there the weather started getting worse and the rain turned to snow as I rode through the tall underbrush on the seemingly endless but awesome single track. By the time I made it to the Scurvy Mountain Lookout the wind had really picked up and I made my way across Toboggan Ridge in blustery snow and patches of fog. When I got to Cayuse Junction I found an outfitters wall tent that had a wood stove and several other supplies in it. I weighed the risk of being wet and freezing cold and getting off track in the dark with only a small flashlight to guide me or holding up overnight in the tent. I decided to hold up for the night and make my way into Powell the next day. The rest of this story is better suited for a PLB endorsement but that was pretty much the end of my 2017 solo attempt.
        Brent Asper
        Last edited by bascout2; 03-01-2020, 10:02 PM.

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        • #6
          2018 Day 4 Custer Lookout(CS). Don(my brother) and I decided to do the Custer CS. Looked fun and exciting, saw a video Tony Jenkins posted that showed the true exposure. When we left Old Sawmill Station and headed up that way Don and I had several discussions about possibly taking off saddle bags for this section as it goes counter clockwise and makes a loop. I talked him into leaving them on so we would get the true experience and we wouldn't be considered pussies. So up the trail we went, he led the way. I got stuck lower down where there was an old rotten log bridge rotted away and got my front tire stuck in the middle of it, so he got way ahead of me. Long story short as I came up on the last section of crazy exposed sidehill I could see Don's bike way off the edge in loose rock upside down, but I could not see him, I was like holy WOW is he dead? Off the rock cliff below? Then he appeared.... Dude what happened... I clipped my saddle bag that you convinced me to leave on on that huge rock and it send me over the edge! These pictures do it absolutely no justice, was a very defining moment in our tour. If you have ever ridden this section you can truely understand the magnitude of this situation. Hooked up the the rescue kit to a small tree and we drug it back up in the trail, with out this we would have been screwed- dont try the Tour with out a bike rescue kit! I still to this day dont understand how Don didnt brown his drawers. Love ya bro, next time I will listen to you and we will remove our saddle bags!

          Comment


          • #7
            Originally posted by Staffordirt View Post
            2018 Day 4 Custer Lookout(CS). Don(my brother) and I decided to do the Custer CS. Looked fun and exciting, saw a video Tony Jenkins posted that showed the true exposure. When we left Old Sawmill Station and headed up that way Don and I had several discussions about possibly taking off saddle bags for this section as it goes counter clockwise and makes a loop. I talked him into leaving them on so we would get the true experience and we wouldn't be considered pussies. So up the trail we went, he led the way. I got stuck lower down where there was an old rotten log bridge rotted away and got my front tire stuck in the middle of it, so he got way ahead of me. Long story short as I came up on the last section of crazy exposed sidehill I could see Don's bike way off the edge in loose rock upside down, but I could not see him, I was like holy WOW is he dead? Off the rock cliff below? Then he appeared.... Dude what happened... I clipped my saddle bag that you convinced me to leave on on that huge rock and it send me over the edge! These pictures do it absolutely no justice, was a very defining moment in our tour. If you have ever ridden this section you can truely understand the magnitude of this situation. Hooked up the the rescue kit to a small tree and we drug it back up in the trail, with out this we would have been screwed- dont try the Tour with out a bike rescue kit! I still to this day dont understand how Don didnt brown his drawers. Love ya bro, next time I will listen to you and we will remove our saddle bags!
            Hey - that sounds like Tour of Idaho calendar material!!

            Comment


            • #8
              I had timed my solo 2019 TOI attempt to try and take advantage of the longest days and the chance for the best weather possible. I chose a launch date of August 3, thinking this would allow other teams to ride the trails prior to my arrival and they would have the downed trees cleared and I could sail through unimpeded.
              While a sound plan, it didn’t work out. Day 1 was a hoot and relatively uneventful (every tour day has some excitement)..When talking to Martin while enjoying a cold PBR , he informed me that I would be the first one through as the other teams prior had pulled out. So much for the plan.
              Day 4 was when the plan really went out the window, as the next 4 days were rain/snow/lightning filled. This took a physical toll on me that compounded daily. Mentally, I was still feeling good about completing the tour, but was aware of my fatigue.
              Day 9 my tour almost ended. Due to safety/weather conditions on day 8 I had to change my day 9 route to pick up Lunde Ridge/Rock Garden. The weather, while still wet, was improving and I was making good time and enjoying the ride. I continued to find downed trees on the trail and was cutting as necessary but was feeling good that I might be in control of completing the ride.
              In hindsight, this was where I made my biggest mistake, having confidence I was in good shape (The tour is not over until Sundance). While taking a selfie at Heart Lake overlook CP, I saw a trail rolling over the edge of the ridge and out around the cirque above the lake. It had a motorcycle track in it, and I thought “this must be the trail” as surely there couldn’t be 2 trails this far out. As I am descending the trail and over some substantial roll overs, I am thinking to myself “I hope I don’t have to come back out of here”. After about .75 miles of descending over 800’ the trail disappears. This is not the first time I have lost the trail, so I stop, check the GPS, and start looking for the trail. About this time, a pack of wolves start howling 1000 yards away. My experience backcountry big game hunting gave me history dealing with these rascals and I did not feel threatened by them, but it did make me chuckle. This is truly wild country! Checking my route book on my phone I start to wonder if I can just ride cross country down to the lake and follow a trail out of there. Seeing I have cell coverage, I call Martin for clarification. Upon checking my location on my PLB he informs me I am off course (I was on the old trail that had been abandoned) and need to get back up to the overlook. I tell him that I have dropped down some of these big roll overs and have concerns about getting back up them.
              In true Martin fashion, he tells me “you have your rope just get yourself back up on the course”. I tell him I will be getting back to him. Turning around, I ride back up the trail I have come down until the first zig zag step up granite shelf. I go as far as I can before spinning out on the bear grass. With my tire having 900 miles on it and the bike still heavy I conclude that I need to start roping. I get the Cascade (get the good one) kit strung out to the only tree around on the avalanche face. Bummer! 15’ short. Suddenly, I remember I have a tow strap and that gets me to the tree. Roping a loaded tour bike solo is an interesting combination of tensioning the rope and then going and lifting the bars and pegs out of the dirt/brush in 1’ increments.
              This first obstacle took an hour, then I could ride another 75 yards to the next obstacle that needed roping. At this point, Martin calls my cell inquiring how I am doing. I tell him I am making progress, but I have run out of water and it is a long way to the top. He gives me encouragement; I tell him to stand by. After getting halfway over the second obstacle, I decide to take a break and climb the half mile up to the overlook sawing the trees and kicking rocks out of the trail as well as kicking paths around some of the boulders. This also allowed me to pick my course around the largest drop off which was impossible to ride up solo on a good day.
              The short story is that I had to rope over 4 sections and then on the last big climb, I ghosted the bike up as far as possible and then launched it repeatedly gaining short gains until I was clear to the top.
              When I got the bike out, I called Martin to let him know I was safe. He informed me that he already had a team of touracles gathered to come get me out the next day and he had a friend riding out to meet me that evening. What support! I hiked back down and gathered my gear. After 7.5 hours it was 8:45 pm when I had the bike ready to proceed and I was watching one of the most beautiful sunsets of the tour. I still had 70 miles of riding in the dark to Wallace and meeting Donna. I arrived about 1 AM to a great beer!
              My advice if you get stuck and must use the rope kit.
              1. Strip as much gear from the bike as you can and lower your tire pressure to maximize traction.
              2. Most importantly, never give up.

              Comment


              • Martin
                Martin commented
                Editing a comment
                To those of you who don't know - this is one of the most incredible Tour stories ever. Jeff is a pretty understated guy. When you get to the spot (you will if you make it to D9) you should get off your bike and take a look.
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