Take a beer, it became quite a story 😉🍻
The weekend of ascending day i planned to do the TET North NL and the TET Drenthe (also North NL) but went home the second day due to rain as i wanted to do some offroading in normal conditions after the TET south NL mudmasters edition.
The last weekend of June i went back north for the Adventure shield intermediate training and decided to take a day of and also do the TET Drenthe as well as the end of that section was only 20km from the place where Albert from Adventure shield starts his training.
Leaving on Friday and the training on Sunday means 2 nights so i booked a place at a campsite in Schoonoord.
It was a minicamping which i thought was ideal for me not liking big crowds unless it is a metal concert or festival (or bike festival) and is was indeed a very nice camping with nice and friendly owners and also friendly guests.
When you find yourself in the neighbourhood looking for a place to pitch the tent i can recommend minicamping Landzicht in Schoonoord.
The town is a 1,5km walk for when you want to have a bite to eat with a beer alongside.
Next to the first café/restaurant you pass is a grocery store where you can get supplies.
In the evening i get company from Emile form the MAG (Dutch organisation for motorcyclists to keep roads open and riding a motorcycle affordable) where i am a volunteer. When do you call someone a friend? I think when you spent a night at a campsite sharing beers and having fun together on a TET track is a good start so lets say i rode most of the TET Drenthe with a friend.
He had to leave a bit before the end as he had an appointment for his Covid vaccination.
Until than we had some good fun as you can see on the video below.
We… or to be accurate he had an issue but that was just a minor mishap in comparison with a TET rider we came across.
He apparently misjudged a dip and ended up in a watery ditch next to the track (i have his permission to use the footage).
The rider as you can see in the picture was okay but they where glad we passed by and stopped as it would nearly impossible to get the bike out with just 2 guys.
It seems a lot of people doing the TET Drenthe taking the wrong track just behind the trees you see in the background (we heard some bikes passing in the time we stood there) and when there are already not much people riding the TET (even though it’s gaining popularity) and those who do take the wrong track than the chance of getting some help reduces fast.
We had our share of loose sand which never was my favourite and not sure if i’m ever gonna like it but it was not too loose and with Ecstasy it’s not that bad anyway.
After Emile went his own way i continued the track until i think the last 20 – 30km.
I still had to pay for the campsite and closing time of the reception was near and i had to leave before they opened again plus i started to feel my legs from the standing position in especially the loose sand.
As i didn’t want to leave without paying and also didn’t want to start the training all sore i decided to skip the last part which was at least 60% onroad anyway.
Adventure Shield day!!!
Looking forward to it for a long time it was time to learn some new skills getting a better offroader and having even more fun doing it because of it.
I left the campsite in time as i didn’t want to be late again but even though i left well on time i did get late a few minute anyway as i really underestimated the amount of gas-stations up there and had to make a pretty detour but at least it was just a few minutes.
Over coffee Albert told us what the day would hold and then it was time to get ready which took a bit longer than planned but at least we had a good time already anyway.
It was too soon to tell if it clicked with the group but it was at least clear we’re going to have fun.
We left and after some paved roads the first bit of offroad was… loose sand…
But it was not too bad and the day before i had time to get the feeling of it with Ecstasy.
As you can see on the picture some guys had heavier bikes (GS800 and 1250) running 80/20 tyres. I had 50/50 tyres on Ragnarok when i did the basic training and already struggled so hats of to them. In defence of myself, Ragnarok is heavier and unlike the GS not an allroad but a tourbike with just the look of an allroad.
The guy with the GSA also had a problem, he could not turn off the traction control and it was not clear why not.
We stopped at the same place where we did the first exercises with the basic training and started with braking hard.
I already mentioned the long braking distance offroad and this confirmed it quite well but we learned how to make it as short as possible.
I already was not afraid to lock the rear as i was used to it playing around but i learned that i need to use the front a bit more and that i had to lock up the rear first and than add the front about 80% more than i did with what i figured out myself.
Plus for me was that i just have fun when the rear goes side to side where others be uncomfortable or even scared. This made my second attempt already pretty good.
Next was a figure of 8 to learn about steering and that’s harder than you might think and we all struggled.
On to the next part. Back trough the loos sand and we where warned it was nothing compared to what was coming later that day???
Again no problem and on to the next part, from dust to mud and a slap on the wrist for me.
Over coffee at the start i talked about offroad videos i saw where riders riding close to each other in situations where you can fall very easily and as i always say, when offroading it’s not the question if you fall but how many times.
At one point i did exact that… Not riding close but overtaking when the others where struggling and when they would have fallen i could have easily hurt somebody.
Practice what you preach and Albert was right to point it out to me. It also shows he’s a good teacher and sees more than you might think.
Back to the mud. This mud pit was a bit dry but Albert knows his places so up to the next option.
Yes… that’s deeper than you might think. Just watch the video below.
The part before had some lesser but still challenging ruts in it. The left side was pretty good but we were challenged to take the right as we wanted to learn.
When you’re on a (off)road-trip you will take the easy way to avoid problems and risking damage which can end the trip but here you want to take the risk to learn from it for when you have no other option.
Time for lunch and after that we fuelled up for some real loose sand.
That particular section was deep and to make it even worse it seemed to be a well ridden road making the grains rounded and even harder to ride… okay….
One of the guys is an experienced enduro rider who bought a adventure bike and takes the course to learn to cope with the weight. He and Albert knew each other so Albert sends him on his way and says that if he want to challenge himself to change tracks (ruts) on this loose sand section.
Took in some confidence on the other loose sand at the beginning end the day before i decided to follow him and guess what? I even could keep up with him.
Then a long turn doomed up… wait… what…. i have to make a turn in this… dust????
I had no choice and it went well all the way so i committed and also the long turn seemed no problem at all.
At the end he turned around to go again but i’m not sure if i want to have more of it but i also turned around and went back knowing that i have to go a third time also.
On the way back i have to avoid the others and after the next turnaround i had to stop to wait for them giving me another challenge, get going again from a standstill when i could pass.
Unbelievable, this also went without a problem.
I don’t think i will like this type of surface but i think i wont be scared of it any more.
On to the last part of the day, a surprise.
An enduro track in a private forest. Albert knows the owner and has permission to take the students there. We only use a small part of the track but with the heavy bikes (especially compared to an enduro bike) it’s quite a challenge.
One of the guys took the wrong turn where we entered the track and had something to work out but somehow i had the feeling that Albert did a different piece than the guy in front of me leaving me also with something to work out.
I ended up doing the complete track and being an inexperienced and untrained offroad rider on a too heavy bike without a mental brake to do it easy on i got a bit overheated after my third fall (remember, it’s not if you fall….) and i had to catch my breath before i finished the rest. Even more i had to give my left hand a rest as you play with the clutch a lot and also do it with one or two fingers.
I heard them so i shouted that i’m okay and just needed to catch my breath so they didn’t need to worry because the bike would not start to growl right away this time.
Behind the trees is the secret enduro track and no, i don’t have coordinates where it is and if i had i’m the type of person who can keep a secret.
When we finished there it was time to wrap it up and go back to the hotel.
For me it’s hard to take a Monday off so i had to go back home afterwards and since it is a 300km ride home i stayed to have a nice meal before i went home.
It was a great weekend end the weather worked out pretty well also.
A few drops not worth being mentioned at Friday at the campsite while having a beer with Emile and the rain i had on the way back home didn’t flush the smile of my face also.
In fact i used that rain to test my Mitas E09 rear tyre in the wet as i had no experience with this brand.
On the highway he performed not bad at all being a heavy blocked tyre and at the roundabouts close to home i tried how far i could go but i didn’t get him to go sideways.
All in all a pretty successful and fun weekend.
The 23rd of July i took another day of (the first of my days for this year, the other days where left form last year) and i will look into it if i can do the TET Belgium next week but it’s unclear if i can because the Netherlands went to red on the European Covid map and exceptions for Belgium are when you’re fully vaccinated for example but being a European Union with a EU vaccination app as a “corona passport” one country says you’re good to go with one shot, the other says you can come in the minute you get you’re second shot and the rest says you need to wait until 2 weeks after the second shot.
In case of Johnson which only needs one shot it is from right after until 4 weeks after but some countries don’t accept Johnson at all as it gives a limited protection against the Delta varsity.
I keep you posted.