THE TÉNÉRÉ SPIRIT LIVES ON!
Hi Clubby & Tania: Firstly, thanks again for creating one of the most enjoyable, relaxed and well organised rides I've been on. Clearly, I've concluded my solo ride home to Melbourne -- all without my glorious '83 Ténéré missing a beat.
Secondly, thank-you to Steve 'Wolfman' Smith and his pseudo-support crew, Big Pete, for rescuing those few that had mishaps and for supporting this event in such a massive way. The effort from you all has been legendary.
Over those long road kays home, I realised that I really do believe in a 'Ténéré Spirit'.
When I wrote to you asking about company for the Getting There ride I was worried about the ability of my '83 XT600ZL to get me to Arkaroola unaided. After some deep thought, I believed that all I needed was to rest heavily upon the 'Ténéré Spirit. These old air-cooled 600s are the reason the Ténéré legend exists. I decided then and there I would get to Arkaroola solo (from Melbourne), have a safe ride with the other Tragics and return safely and unhurt. I just had to TRUST in the legendary 'Ténéré Spirit -- it didn't let me down. When the belief becomes almost spiritual, you know you can do anything through the 'Spirit'.
Even when -- between Wilpena and Blinman -- I was moved to photograph how far from anywhere I felt, all I had to do was to keep trusting. Big sky, straight horizon -- we have a long way to go, but I know she'll get me there.
This is a recurring theme amongst the Tragics, see Geoff's (TT #24) photo in the Feb 24 blog post.
After the ride it became clear that there are three key ingredients to sucessful long distance adventure touring on these machines:
1. Good preparation: top quality tubes and tyres at appropriate pressures, engine tune, fastener checks (yes, they can vibrate loose) and good lubrication.
2. Travel lightly: I only used 50 per cent of what I took with me, yet I didn't have room for wet weather riding gear (thankfully didn't need it!)
3. RESPECTFUL UNDERSTANDING: of the limits of both machine and rider capabilities.
Many of the problems during the ride can be traced to not sticking to elements of these ingredients.
TRAIL ZONE tries very hard to train and guide riders (in general) and owners of specific machines through set-up guides and Project Bikes. I am surprised that all too often this advice is ignored: case in point, XT660Z rear number plate mountings. A simple mod that had too many riders headed a long way home without their plate and risking fines. So, I thank you for providing the information to everyone through TRAIL ZONE, even if many choose to ignore it. Please keep up the great work on the mag.
Thanks for posting the note about Chris' condition. I was very concerned for him at the time of his accident. I'm now glad that we didn't have to pressure him to ride out or strap him onto the back of your massive XT1200Z ...
I'm looking forward to next year and an opportunity to present my second bike, one of the earliest '83s in the country.
I cannot express in words my appreciation for TRAIL ZONE being able to get this ride off the ground. I look forward to a long and happy future for both TRAIL ZONE and the Ténéré Tragics Ride (to wherever it may be).
-- Mike, Ténéré Tragic #29
Thanks for an awesome message, Mike. You've hit just about every nail right on the head. As I said in one of my replies to an earlier post-ride message from one of our Tragics, many a lesson has been learnt about riding and getting yourself and your machine through long days in the saddle unscathed, in remote conditions where help is a long, long way away. And like you said, we all owe a massive debt to Steve 'Wolfman' Smith and big Pete from AdventureMoto.com.au for going above and beyond and running the back-up truck all the way from Sydney to Arkaroola and back again. They took it upon themselves to chase the ride in the truck, so to the few blokes who had to make use of Big Pete's services, if you didn't get to shout Wolfy and Big Pete a drink at the bar after the ride on Saturday night, then please assure me you're about to place an order for your next round of accessories from AdventureMoto.com.au ... it's the least all we Tragics can do to show the boys our appreciation. Okay mate, I've got the next issue of TRAIL ZONE to get cracking on with, so thanks again for the follow-up and we'll see you next year. Ride on ... and remember, the 'Spirit' is on our side!
-- Clubby, Ténéré Tragic #1