Some news, before the fool answers…

It’s been a busy week since I last posted. A bunch of updates, in no particular order:

1) Our target for fuel capacity going in was 28L, on the advice of various Dakar wrenches, etc. I knew we had it in theory, but since practice and theory are only the same in theory, I figured I’d better practice. So, I let the bike drain through the carb line, rode it to the gas station on fumes, and put in 7.4 gallons = 28.0L. 

For reference, I often get about 37-40 mpg in not-slow trail use, and as high as 50 mpg dual sporting. Sand and aggression can drop it to 30 mpg, but then, I rarely have continuous sand for long enough to really know what I’m getting before you factor in a bunch of transfer there and back. I think that 20 mpg is not out of the question in slow soft going.

The requirement for fuel autonomy this year is 250km = 160 miles. It’s a rare 160 miles that will get through 7.4 gallons with lean jetting and a careful pilot… but it’s not out of the question. On the other hand, in more normal desert conditions, I should have a comfortable 250 miles (400km).

2) Shipping date is set for November 4, probably in Kansas City, MO, or maybe in Houston, depending. So, I’ve got a month (a little less!) to get all my spares dialed in and packed, and the bike 100% finished. Of course, they still haven’t released the 2012 technical requirements…

3) Touratech has come through for us! They helped me get all the required equipment (GPS, Sentinel, etc), plus the new fancy-pants CAP repeater from ERTF. Very generous support from a great business. Thank you, Tom, Paul, and everyone at TT USA!

4) Budget: I’ve finished paying for the Rally Pan Am support, the bike is bought, the backup bike is bought, most of the spares are bought (again, with some generous donations from sponsors, including Dirt Tricks, Black Dog Cycle Works, KTM of Aspen (the best place to get parts, super knowledgeable, a lot in stock, and so pleasant to deal with), F2R, and FMF). The next big chunk is at the end of the month- €5700 (gulp!). I’ll get it done, you all are helping with this (and my sanity) more than you can imagine. Thank you!

5) I’ve been testing different Klim gear, and since I know a bunch of you will be curious, I’ll preview that here as well. The main issue I was trying to decide was between the Badlands and Rally jacket. Klim was kind enough to send me a pre-production Badlands to test, and it’s awesome. High points include the sleeve vents, which work really well and should be on everything, great material choices that are durable and crash worthy without being too heavy, and a really comfortable collar, which was never my favorite part of the Rally.

But, I think I’m going to race in the Rally. My reasoning is twofold- first, the simplicity of having only one thing to organize and deal with is worth a lot. I can put all my food, all my tools, my water, and my papers in the Rally and never worry where they are. The Badlands has great cargo capacity, but nothing compares to the Rally’s internal support system. Second, I really like the love handle vents (they hate it when I call them that!). They do such a good job of circulating air around your core… 

For more typical dual sport use, the Badlands is awesome and I’m really hoping they don’t ask for the one I’ve got back. But when it comes down to needing all my poop in a group at 4:00 in the morning, I think the Rally is without peer.

6) Eric @ Wolfman luggage is going to make some really cool custom bags to go behind the fairing. My idea is to have a place to stash the Balaise and safety equipment required by Dakar, plus some light stuff like a spare air filter, a layer or two, etc. It’s awesome to work with someone who is so passionate about the sport. 

7) And I’m saving the best news for last. Layer Cake Wine has come on board as a sponsor! They are helping me with some sponsorship, but the really great news is, they are sending you wine. Race supporters will get 3 bottles, sponsors 6 (sorry, only for US supporters, exporting wine is a legal hassle beyond description). Their wine is great, and they were excited by the challenge and the opportunity of the Dakar race. We still have to sort out the details of shipping, so I’m not going public yet, but I wanted to give a preview of the good news coming.

I think my mom was never so proud as when I told her I had a wine sponsor. At last, she said, you’ve come up with something useful. :-)

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