I had to do the unthinkable..........long read

I just got my new Michelin S-12's and decided I had to take them out and test them on a Monday ride at Foresthill. I had a great time riding single track for a couple of hours. After a short break I decided I wanted to really test the tires out on some fire roads.

At 2pm I took trail 4 out of Sugar Pine staging area and ended up taking a side road off of it. This lead me to a gravel road. I always turn right at intersections, this time no different. I got to the next intersection Mace Mill Road to the right. Off I go to the right. Up the road approx 1 mile I took a left onto an unmarked dirt fire road.

I followed this road for about another 4 miles and came up to a plateau with a pyramid rock grave. I continued just past this when I soon discovered I was screwed. The trail switchbacked sharply down to a creek. Dead end ! Ruhh Roh !

I got off my bike and turned it around. I had about 2 bike lengths before the sharp right turn up a pretty steep hill. I revved my engine, put in first, popped clutch and attempted the climb. I made it just past the hairpin turn and part way up the straight before my bike decided - Uh uh I aint goin no further. I pulled in clutch, hopped to left of bike and continued to try and walk it up. I lost my balance and dropped bike. Damn it... I am getting concerned. I can't get enough traction. Dirt is too loose and powdery. I pick up bike and back myself down the hill for another go.

I let out some air on my back tire and prepped the hairpin for my next attempt. Using my AlpineStars I scooped as much loose crap off the trail as I could trying to give myself some traction. Next attempt: I revved bike like mad and launched up the hairpin and made it up 1/2 of hill before my bike tried digging to China with my back tire buried to my hub. I am stuck. I can't lift this bike up by the swingarms and now have to make a decision. Do I stay with my baby and take the chance of night fall or do I leave my baby and hike my ass out of there?

As you can guess this is what was the unthinkable. I left my bike, helmet, and pads with the bike and started my hike up out of there. I love my Alpine Stars but damn they get heavy. I continued walking and walking, uphill, then downhill, when out my peripheral vision, I noticed what looked like a roof of a house.

I yelled "Hello!" a couple of times before proceeding to the house. I came to a locked gate and yelled hello again. A guy answered and he agreed to give me a ride to my truck. The guy thought I wanted to go to Sugar Pine Resevoir and proceeded in wrong direction. Enough to through my bearings out the window. I asked what street this was and he said it didn't have a name.

Ohh great I am thinking. How am I going to find my bike? I know ! Go to a pay phone and call my buddy Cisco (aka Zac) in Foresthill. Let me start by saying how great Cisco was in helping me. Him, his buddy Brian, and Brian's son drove around for 2 1/2 hours looking for my bike in the pitch dark.

Ya know, nothing looks the same at night. Approx 10pm we agreed to end our search and try again in the morning. Cisco let me stay at his house and we went out again at 7am. We then four wheeled over trail 4 until we found a turn off I remembered. Cisco is quite the four wheeler. He manuevered his truck around some single track until we came to the gravel road. We turned right (as I said earlier I always do) until we came to an intersection. This is where Cisco decided we already covered that area and didn't think it would lead to where I decribed the terrain as. 9:00am Cisco had to go back home to let window installers in. He said take a right at the intersection and drive around to look for something familiar. Luck would have it I found the turn off 9/10 mile away. This is where I made a "left turn". I followed this dirt road another 4 miles or so and parked my car and trailer. I knew this was the place. It was another mile or so down the trail. I didn't remember a place to turn around with a trailer so I decided I would take the short hike to make sure my bike was still there. Yup it is! Hiked back to my truck, with a new sense of urgency. I was enroute to Cisco's to get his help this one last time.

Just prior to making it to my truck, I heard a diesel truck. I waited and a guy and his dad drove up. I noticed a wench on the front and asked if it worked and if he could help. They agreed to save my day. I hopped in the back of truck next to what I hate to admit saved my arse. A honda quad. He had rope which we tied around the forks and pulled me up as I walked next to bike.

I will never diss on a quad god again. These two saved my day. They even offered me a pepsi which I took in a heart beat. After I loaded my bike and four wheeled back down the dirt road I proceeded to Cisco's to let him know I made it out. I feel blessed. I had a friend that was there for me in my time of need. Thank you Zac for being so helpful. Thank you quad guy and father.

What did I learn from all of this? I need a GPS And yes, its probably not a good idea to go riding by yourself especially if you don't know the area.

Thank you for listening and hope you all had a great weekend too.


P.S. Have a favorite GPS?

Classic Story. Man I would be in a panic leaving my bike over night.

Ive got a Garmin ETrex Legend GPS. Works really well and I can also connect it to my computer with the National Geographic Topo! software. With the software you can up and download waypoints and info from the GPS and see on a topo map where you have been riding. pretty cool stuff!

If I were you, Id check out the ETrex line from Garmin.

i had a similar incident where i went off side of cliff.i was lucky my buddy was with me.i would of had 15 mile walk in the dark back to cabin.after hours of trying to get bike out i finally decided to leave bike and come back in the morning with a couple of come-alongs and some rope.i had to ride on back of my buddy's bike it was a little ruff especially with no pegs for my feet,but it was definitly better than walking.just to make sure i would be able to find my way back to bike.i tore my jersey into strips then tied strips to tree branchs marking the way back to bike.

Dave , Dave , Dave,

I said those S 12s were good but my god man what were you thinking? :D You are going to ware that sharp edge off of those babbies before the enduro! I think the best tire for foresthill this time of year is a paddle tire. :) Just kidden ya Fryboy. That sounds like a pretty scary situation you were in. I'm glad you got out of it OK. Good effort on Cisco's side thats for shur. Keep right brother.


Yo Dave I'll take you up on that car wash you said youd give my 4-Runner.. I have a trail 4 sign lodged in my bumper.. :D

This was quite the adventure. I was having a good time actually. Dave however tried to be nice and laugh at my jokes as we crashed my rig through the brush, but he never really broke through that stunned, scared look on his face like he just dithced a wad of 6 $1,000 bills......well thats basically what he did. "Dude what if we dont find my bike?? What if someone stoll it?" Poor guy, but it all worked out in the end. :)

I had something simliar happen to me. I was riding by myself and tried to cross this creek. Well the creek swallowed my bike up to the seat and I couldn't move it. I had to hike about 7 miles to the nearest phone and have my brother come help pull it out.

I won't ride by myself anymore as I realized that you can seriously hurt yourself or lose your bike and then what are you going to do.

Man, what read! Glad everything worked out. The GPS is cool. But, I still think it is risky business to ride alone. I work a lot of Sundays. Maybe I can arrange to take some Mondays off to ride with you. Send me a PM. Lets hook up.


I ride by myself all the time so got a GPS. Won't ride in new areas without it again.

I have the Magellan Meridan and also got the Magellan MapSend Topo software for my computer. Since then I found ExpertGPS (www.expertgps.com). Very neat software and not too expensive (about $70). It searches several map places for the latest topo and AERIAL maps, and allows you to overlay your tracks/waypoints on top of that. The aerials are super. Detailed enough that you can see each tree, where the trail goes etc.

I read that there is a company that "shockproofs" Garmin receivers. I emailed then to see if they could do my Magellan. They said no, but to take the receiver apart and simply use clear silicone to stabilize any parts that look like they might shake loose. I couldn't find anything that Magellan had not already stabilized, so just put it back together again.

I bought a small (belt loop) camera case that the GPS & a set of extra batteries just fits in & mounted it to my handle bars. Only one glitch in a year of riding & crashing. I accidently turned it off when I was putting it in the case. To cure that I made an oval ring (out of a Bic pen cap) and glued it around the "Power" button so you have to push down into the ring to activate the button.

You won't be sorry if you get a GPS working for you. The Meridan even has a feature that lets you see the profile of the ground ahead of you (if you have Mapsend loaded). You could have seen how steep that hill was before you got there!

Great story with a decent ending. It could have been so much worse so easy....

About GPS,

Do you plan on mounting the GPS on your bike so you can use the thing while riding? If this is your plan consider something else than a Garmin E series.

The menu selection button is a joy stick - push button combination thing that is almost impossible to use when bouncing down the trail. For on bike use consider a Garmin GPS III plus.

It's an older unit but has downloadable maps available and Cycoactive will sell you a 'hardened' unit so it won't shake it's guts apart.

Another choice is the Garmin GPSMAP 76S. This has a better screen and more memory than the old GPS III plus a compass and altimitmeter built in.

If you plan on carry your GPS in a pocket for emergency use only the Garmin E series is a better choice since it's smaller.

I have never used any of the Magellen GPS units.

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