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Off Road Racer's Corner ISDE, Enduro, Hare Scrambles, etc.


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  #1  
Old 10-29-2012, 03:04 AM
swazi_matt swazi_matt is offline
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Default Roof of Africa 2012

Ok so they have the route and entries up and i cannot get my heartrate to drop below 160!!

can download the route in Google Earth format from this site:
http://www.roofofafrica.co.ls/

Will be sending Jakobi a PM regarding tips on how to jet a bike fo elevations from !500m to 2700m :-?


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Old 10-30-2012, 03:14 AM
jgas jgas is offline
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I got to know Elmer Symons a bit before he died at Dakar. I think he won the Roof 3 times? Elmer was one tough fast guy. One of the nicest people you could ever know as well.
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Old 10-30-2012, 06:44 AM
swazi_matt swazi_matt is offline
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yes i think he also won one of the Swazi 400 National races that i helped mark, he surprised quite a few with his last Roof win ... to the point that some accused him of cheating
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Old 10-31-2012, 02:58 AM
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Elmer got accused of cheating during a 24 hr race in here in Alabama too. What no one could figure out was how his night laptimes were so close to his day lap times, and also when the course was much tougher and whooped out and rutted. You would just have to have ridden with the guy to understand how he was. His training regimen was nuts. He simply did not slow down when a course got tougher. I've never known ANY athlete that was any tougher or better conditioned than Elmer. And I include Navy Seals and Army SF guys I have known. Elmer just didn't get tired. He trained so hard that racing was much easier than his weekly training routine. Two seperate times the 24 hr race promoters sent out a top level AA rider to follow Elmer, once near dark and again after midnight when he was several laps up on the previous years Ironman winner. The AA guy could barely keep up. He went back and told them not to worry, that guy was just simply fast in all conditions. They had him followed again after midnight when he still wasn't slowing down. Same thing. His night riding was simply that good.

Elmer did every obstacle at the Last Man Standing AFTER working his way up from 37th place, so he had to help many more people out of the way, often riding THEIR bikes over the hill or obstacle so he could get his shot. On one hill, he rode 3 different guys bikes over a hill, helped several more, finally the next guy in line felt sorry for him and let Elmer take his place for the next try. Many riders were "cheating", working their bike through the crowds at the obstacles and helping maybe one rider over, then jumping on their own bike and trying to get ahead of those who had really gotten there before they did. I know of one many time Enduro champ who rode LMS that I personally saw do exactly that! And no, it wasn't Mike Lafferty! (You can read between the lines can't you)? That break given to Elmer by an appreciative fellow racer moved Elmer up about 10 spots, but he had helped at least 10 other guys, and that had been the case at EVERY hill! I personally watched Elmer help many more fellow riders than helped him. At many obstacles Elmer would help several guys, then when he got his chance he'd simply clean the obstacle and not need help. Near the end of LMS Jerry Bernardo stuck a mike in his face like all the other top 20 riders. Every rider interviewed looked and sounded like they were worn completely out. Russell Bobbitt could barely talk. Elmer was laughing and joking, gave a great interview, not even tired! I rode with him about 6 weeks before the LMS event. He went out and practiced each obstacle at least 10 times. Even if he made it first try, he kept at it until he perfected it. I should add that they didn't lay out the LMS until right before the event, but everyone knew that they would use many of the same obstacles as the year before, and many riders went out to practice before the event so it was not illegal. In fact the promoters encouraged the riders to practice before the event, although all practice was ended when they started actually laying out the course. They added some obstacles and changed some, but probably 75% of the tough stuff was the same as the previous year. I watched Elmer climb Joshua Tree about 10 times, IN THE RAIN, with a half worn out rear tire! The other pros out there who were practicing packed up and went home. Elmer changed his plans so he could stay for 2 more days precisely because the conditions were worse. I rode around to many of the obstacles with Elmer and a former GNCC Pro who decided not to ride LMS after he saw how crazy it was. Elmer got up at dawn, practiced about 30 of the hardest obstacles, came back and ate lunch, then went and practiced Bills Woods which is all very tight Singletrack. Bills Woods was not super hard in any one spot, but kinda hard all through with no breaks. He chose that section for the fitness aspect. Elmer and the GNCC guy rode Bills Woods for 2 hrs non-stop early in the morning simply to get in the conditioning and because it was raining and would be harder. Then they came back to camp, ate lunch, and we went back out in the rain and 40 degree temperature, and rode all day until dark. He again practiced any of the obstacles that had given him any trouble. He rode through Texas Stadium at least 15 times practicing various lines since that was near the end of the event and gave many of the riders the hardest time for the previous years race. Again, it was raining! Elmer thrived on it being cold, wet, dark, long, hard, brutal, whatever. Twice Elmer decided to ride DOWN Texas Stadium since there was a rumor that they might route the course backwards from the previous year. We almost begged him not to ride back down it since it was so slick, we were very concerned for his safety, but he did it anyway. That was just Elmer.

Then there was Elmers night vision. It was almost like he had natural night vision goggles in his eyeballs! He could see in the dark like a bat. Best night vision I've ever seen on a human. I rode with him at Brock Creek after dark, just for a fun ride and a little training. He had a stock headlight on a KTM 2t, which we all know aren't very good. He was almost the same speed with a poor headlight at night as in the daytime. He practiced at night hundreds of times in varied terrain getting ready for night racing. He wanted to own the night. Elmer's whole focus was preparation and being at his best in the worst conditions. He wanted to excel when things were at their worst, so he trained like that. He really could do things that seemed impossible on a bike, I watched him do it time and again.

I was not there when Elmer raced in Africa. But I can say definitvely that I thought he was the hardest worker at racing I've ever known or heard of. I found him to also be one of the most honest guys I've ever known. I can see why some might think he cheated. When some relatively unknown guy can do what he could as a privateer it seems impossible. But I watched Elmer do what seemed impossible many times. I also might mention that Elmer was just beginning to come into his own as a racer much later than many top level guys. He wasn't the fastest guy out there, in terms of raw speed, but I believe that he was one of the toughest and best prepared. He made himself fast by being determined and mentally tough. He used hard work to replace the lack of a factory sponsorship. He was at his best when it was the hardest. At his best when it was dark. Raining. Cold. Hot. Tough terrain. No sleep. Bike not working perfectly. Whatever. I just can't see him cheating. He didn't need to.

Sorry I guess I hijacked this thread too. But Elmer was someone I truly admired
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Old 10-31-2012, 04:39 AM
swazi_matt swazi_matt is offline
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not a problem, i will actually copy your post into the SA forum e-dirt (incidentally this is also the best place to get info and updates of the roof as it progresses)
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Old 11-20-2012, 12:32 PM
swazi_matt swazi_matt is offline
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All I can say is this race is tough!

It starts with round the houses a few laps through the capital city of Maseru - dash for cash - does not have any bearing Om the race results so I spent most of the time praying the bike did not seize as I sped along full taps.
This was followed by the time trial, 60km of single track, some short rocky climbs and lots of rocks.
I set off thinking I was invincible, but the searing heat and my body not being in sync with my imagination meant it was not long before I felt like packing it all in and taking up golf. About 5km into the TT I thought my clutch was packing up, but carried on with a terrible noise from my bike, this turned out to be my chain that had worn through the chain guide roller and was running on the bush (Steve please don't say anything!)) Anyway I pushed on and finished second last in the Pro (gold) class (a really ambitious class for me to enter and I was soon to learn how much off I was)

Anyway that evening we worked out what the problem was, found the GG importer and ended up replacing the chain guide with one off a 2011 bike. And my pit crew convinced me to start the next day and so I decided to ride and end when I stopped having fun

And since this is tedious tapping on my phone I will just say for now that I finished bronze class on day 2 and 3 (which was about 16hrs of riding). I did not ride anything harder than I have before, but the climbs were just never ending and one after another with some really awesome views and great single track in-between

The interesting thing about this thread was that we were discussing Elmer and all the controversy when he won unexpectedly beating all the favorites, well this year there was Graham Jarvis defending his title, chris birch, the hemmingway bros, Paul bolton, Darryl Curtis etc and the race was won by 16yr old Wade Young!!!

For my ride I would like to thank steve beane for my suspension (I thanked you out loud a few times on the ride as well!), Jakobi for getting my jetting sorted, Elvis74 for his pv spacer
I will add a bit more tomorrow and some links to the YouTube vids from redbull etc
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Old 11-20-2012, 03:59 PM
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Cheers! Glad to hear you and the bike survived Matt! Gotta love it when an unknown steps up and blitzes the field. Lately I've been riding with a few quicker people who are really showing me that I've still got a lot of work to do on my skills and more so my fitness and endurance.

Keen as to see some pics and vids! I'll be keeping posted!
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Old 11-20-2012, 08:27 PM
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Matt, I was watching the results the best I could, but remembering our conversation before the race (no, not the one about the chain guide ) I thought you'd either gone off the mountain or were so beat you had taken a week off to sleep.

Hats off to you for having the discipline to first of all train, and then compete in what looks like one of the world's gnarliest off-road races.

Now let's see that video !
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Old 11-21-2012, 01:59 AM
swazi_matt swazi_matt is offline
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it will be a while before i get on that video (the bit i have seen from my gopro, looks like i could have lwalked it faster!!)
but here is a taster

http://www.redbull.com/en/motorsport...012-highlights
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Old 11-21-2012, 03:47 AM
swazi_matt swazi_matt is offline
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this guy also finished but never started - WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT BUT GOOD HUMOR!

The run-up... http://youtu.be/t7wovKX9Gt8 - http://youtu.be/t7wovKX9Gt8 and the Gold finish... http://youtu.be/OB5w8F9K93s - http://youtu.be/OB5w8F9K93s
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