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 Pricey's Romaniacs Story Finished hope you enjoy 
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Post Pricey's Romaniacs Story Finished hope you enjoy
Hi All,

The moment of truth has arrived, spent 12mths planning and training for Romaniacs 2013 and here I was sitting in Brisbane Airport with my wife and son on the morning of Wednesday 26th June ready to head to Romania.
My Goal is to finish and the bonus is to be inside the top 50!

I am riding with the NZ team hence why I have an NZ jersey as I have been working and doing all my training in NZ, whilst 17 riders from NZ went across for the event I only do a lot of riding with 3 others – Mark Auld(finished 47th), Dave Lacey(finished 51st), Chris Hilton(timed out and disqualified) and myself(finished 41st), our entry name is Gut Busters – this is a particular track that is close to where we ride and has a reputation as being one of the toughest sections in NZ so we thought since we train on these tracks we may as well name our team after them.

Travel plans were Brisbane – Sydney – Dubai – Heathrow – Bucharest (Romania) – Hire car to Sibiu
After clearing customs in Bucharest on Thursday afternoon we then picked up a hire car and drove to Sibiu, supposed to be a 4hr drive however took 7hrs due to two major truck accidents, talk about bad roads and even worse drivers - Arrived in Sibiu at midnight, booked into the motel and straight to bed as we were all stuffed from the 2.5days of travelling.

Got up early Friday and worked on the bikes all day getting them set up for what was to come. Went for a walk down to the prologue track, it was only half built but there was enough there to get the nerves going.





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Saturday – Fuelled the bikes up and rode out of town about 8klms and into the mountains for a day’s riding, did about 120klms of hills, hills and more hills. Also practiced 180 degree pivot turns on the side of the steep hills as I have been told that there is a lot of this up in the mountains during the race.
Romania is a great country for riding, you can ride straight from the motel through town and into the bush, there are no fences and you can be in the middle of nowhere and come across farmers who wave and are happy to see you unlike here were they want to take a shot at you.

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Sunday – Worked on a mates bike for about half a day, new 300 that was running like shit and hunting, finally got it sorted and also changed the jetting on my bike so decided to head back into the hills for an afternoon ride, halfway through the ride it started pissing down and the clouds came in making it extremely difficult to see, good time to practice our GPS skills and back track home. Once back in town we washed the bikes and prepared for the carnage that was to take place on Tuesday – Prologue day.

Monday was sign on day and bike mechanical inspections, this process is relatively easy as long as you have all you required documentation and survival pack sorted.
Monday afternoon the Prologue track was completed and the Pro Riders went for a pre ride, caught up with Chris Birch after he had completed a lap and he commented that the track was difficult compared to previous years and there was going to be some carnage, he was spot on.

I couldn't help but think that if they thought it was tough what was the hell was it going to be like for us.

The event organisers made some minor changes to the track after feedback from the pro riders.

The organisers had stated that the Romaniacs event had lost its stigma as the world's toughest multi day enduro race over the last couple of years and they were going to get it back - they certainly did that in both the prologue and daily trails.

My plan for the prologue was to do one conservative lap and set a time that would not put me at the back of the field but would also ensure that I did not damage bike or body, this back fired a little as when I arrived at the first extreme section on day one of racing there was a big bottle neck and this theme continued over the duration of the event - if I do the event again I would push harder for a better prologue time.

The prologue was tough and not an area that I usually do well in, made it through although did have a few crashes or should I say laydowns. There was a lot of carnage in both the expert and hoppy class with some riders not making it pass this day – Lot of expense not to get to the first day of off-road racing.

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[imghttp://www.trailrideraustralia.com/gallery/var/resizes/TRA-Members_Photos/Pricey/Romaniacs/Prologue%202.JPG?m=1373487779][/img]


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I qualified 62nd in the prologue and was happy enough and was ready for the first day of racing.

We had riders briefing at 10.00pm on Tuesday night, this finished at 11.00pm then it was straight to bed as we had to be up at 5.00am – One thing that I did not consider was the long days!!


We were given a map of the next 4 days tracks and rumors had been circulating that Day 1 and Day 4 were going to be the toughest. Day 1 map looked like a short loop and we all could not help but think that we were going to be in for some very challenging riding as the days cut off time was 9hrs. We were right, it was bloody tough and a lot of us thought we were not going to make it past day 1.

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I will try and remember as much as possible however everything becomes a bit of a blur the more tired and fatigued you become and day one was a long hard day.

Up at 5.00am Wednesday and down for a hearty breakfast, everyone was shoveling in as much food as they could in preparation of the big day ahead.
Picked up my GPS’s at 5.45am and put onto the bike prior to heading out of the Parc Ferme, my plan was to run 2 GPS units my main one being an Etrex 30 and back up being Etrex 10. Turned on my onboard tracker and waited for my mates before heading off to the start line.

The start line was 38klms of bitumen riding out of town, the pro’s and some experts have trailers and vans to take their bikes to the start line but most of us have to ride out. We re-filled our bikes at a service station just before the off-road start – just as well as I nearly ran out of fuel before the first re-fuelling point.


My start time finally arrived – I was off under the Redbull arch and straight into the first hill climb, this was only a small one however some riders had to have a second go at it.
It didn’t take long to get into the thick of it, about 20mins in I came to the first major hill and it had about 30 bikes stuck on it, fortunately for me some of my riding mates from NZ were there so we helped each other up and out, this still took about an hour and burnt a lot of energy.
We got going and were riding some really nice flowing trails, this didn’t last long as we soon came up with the first split in the track – Hobby Class to the Left and Pro and Experts to the right, I soon came to realise that when there was a Pro and Expert split this was bad and meant pain for us expert riders and the Pro’s were happy, whenever there was an Pro and then Expert and Hobby split were we happy because we knew the track was going to be easier than riding with the pro’s however the Hobby riders knew they were going to be in for some pain. All I can say it that I am glad we did not have to attempt any of the Pro only tracks.

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There were four Pro and Expert splits before the compulsory 20min lunch stop, the tracks were very technical and extremely steep, there was bottles necks on most tough sections and I doubled up with whoever was around to help each other through, there was a lot of lifting and using ropes to get the bikes up near vertical rock ledges ect.
There were some steep downhills in the trees, best way was to demount and bulldog down otherwise you would pick up too much speed and end up against a tree.
The other issue with both the up hills and down hills was that they zig-zagged with very sharp switch backs, this wasn’t too bad going down but going up, your arse was on the back guard and you had to pivot 180degrees on the side of a hill that was about 75-80degrees steep and dropped away a couple of hundred feet, if you stuffed it up the bike was going a long way down before it stopped. Several times I threw the bike against the bank and ended up sliding and rolling down a hill for about 40 – 50mtrs before stopping against a tree.

The third Pro and Expert split on day 1 seen us ride above the tree lines into high Alpine country that still had patches of snow, there was a lot of narrow single rocky, shale tracks that were in some areas less than a foot wide and on the side of very steep hills, I didn’t look down too much and tried to just keep the eyes looking straight ahead. This section went for approx. 8klms and included some very technical sections to get across rocky streams and up and down short steep hills.

Another Pro and Expert section after lunch was called “Expert Killer”, here we dropped into a rocky river bed and start riding upwards, the rocks were quite small and the river was flat at first, then the river bed became steeper and steeper the rocks got bigger and rounder, this section took about 45mins and I managed to go past quite a few riders that were exhausted, they were pulled up some with helmets off, I was buggered when I finally made it through but the track then opened up into some fast flowing trails and it was time to recover and get ready for the next section.

I finally came to the end of day 1 and was glad to see the Redbull arch at the end of the off-road section, 9.17hrs on the trails, I came in 17mins after the cut off time and was given a 1hr penalty, most expert riders and half of the pro riders lost time on day one, the rules state that you can lose time once and the second time you are disqualified so this was a concern given we were only on day 1

Time to hit the road for a 30 odd klm ride home back to town, parked the bike with the service crew and headed for a shower and dinner.

We had riders briefing at 9.00pm and were told by the organises that they had realised that the track was tough and given the amount of riders it was hard for anyone to come in on time so they said the time penalties will still count however they would not count this day as a the first step towards disqualification, this was great as it meant we still had 2 more chances.

Riders briefing completed at 10.00pm time to head down to pick up the bike from the service point, my bike needed the gear box oil changed, air filter and a new rear tyre, the bike wasn’t ready so had to wait until around 11.00pm, got the bike and took it to Parc Ferme – time for bed as had to be back up at 5.00am.

First day down and I was shattered, still 3 days to go and I am starting to question my fitness and training leading up to this event – have I done enough! Checked heart rate at 11.00pm and still up at 90bpm!
Came in at 42nd overall so was moving up

No injuries and only scratches to the bike so not a bad result given the day, I did manage to break my Etrex 10 so down to one GPS.

To Be Continued icon_thumright


Last edited by pricey on Fri 12 Jul, 2013 9:17 pm, edited 3 times in total.



Thu 11 Jul, 2013 6:43 am
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Post Re: Pricey's Romaniacs Experience
First day down,i love it


Thu 11 Jul, 2013 8:10 am
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Post Re: Pricey's Romaniacs Experience
Great write up so far Pricey. Looking forward to more please.

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Thu 11 Jul, 2013 8:23 am
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Post Re: Pricey's Romaniacs Experience
oh mate you are the man :wav brill write up please keep it coming

mickd

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Thu 11 Jul, 2013 8:55 am
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TRAIL GURU

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Post Re: Pricey's Romaniacs Experience
This video puts the prologue into perspective:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=p ... EECE2PRTnI

I look forward to the story.

Cheers


Thu 11 Jul, 2013 11:40 am
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Post Re: Pricey's Romaniacs Experience
So how many laps of the prolouge was there 4.
Love it when you go the up ramp and then suddenly there is a void and then the down ramp,i would have shit my self and slammed on the brakes and ended in down in the void


Thu 11 Jul, 2013 4:53 pm
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Post Re: Pricey's Romaniacs Experience
Great Result Pricey !!!! Day 1 makes me feel exhausted just reading about it.

Thanks for taking the time to write it out mate.

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Thu 11 Jul, 2013 5:54 pm
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Post Re: Pricey's Romaniacs Experience
Steak Face wrote:
This video puts the prologue into perspective:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=p ... EECE2PRTnI

I look forward to the story.

Cheers


Oh lordy, a whole new level of respect Pricey.

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Thu 11 Jul, 2013 6:16 pm
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Post Re: Pricey's Romaniacs Experience
Wow good one Steve !! sounds awsome fun :D

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Thu 11 Jul, 2013 9:23 pm
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TRAIL BOSS

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Post Re: Pricey's Romaniacs Experience
Day 2
Up at 5.30am and head down to breakfast, didn’t get much sleep during the night, couldn’t stop thinking about skinny tracks with big drop offs, big hills, rocky creeks and whatever else was going to be thrown at us today.
Headed over to Parc Ferme around 6.00am, picked up my GPS and the bike and got ready for the ride out of town to the off road starting location. Only had around 17klms to travel on bitumen until we arrived at the starting area, was feeling tired from the big first day but was ready to go.

Today we would be finishing and overnighting in another town – Petrosani which was approx. 2hrs from Sibiu. The Parc Ferme was moved to Petrosani as was all our gear,

I started when my time came around and went straight into some nice flowing trails, about 20mins in came across one of our team mates on the side of the track, he was at the pointy end of the results on day one as he was fast and had enjoyed the first day of racing, unfortunately this was to be the end of his race, he had come around a high speed corner and met a car head on, he tried to avoid the car but couldn’t get completely out of the way. He was lucky that his injuries were not more serious than what he ended up with given the speed he was travelling, he ended up with a broken collar bone, couple of cracked ribs and suspected 2 fractured vertebrae – still to be confirmed.
The tracks that the event covers are a mix of farm land, native bush, old disused roads and used gravel roads, these area shared with farmers on horse and carts, cars, pedestrians and animals, adding to this is that you have to ride on the right hand side of the road so you need to be cautious at all times which is hard to be when you are racing.

Back to the race, another 10mins on and I came across a big bog hole with 2 riders already stuck, I took the easy option and hopped off my bike and walked it through making a beeline for any tree that was there, my theory was that there would be harder ground around the trees, this worked as I managed to get through without getting stuck.

Couple of klms on I came to the first pro and expert section called Bear Mountain, this was a short but steep uphill with a few sharp switch backs, fortunately there is plenty of traction but it is all first gear stuff and I was riding the clutch like there was no tomorrow. From here we started a big downhill - this was extremely slippery, I bulldogged my bike down a lot of it and was fighting to stop the back from coming over the top. At the bottom we were dropped into a river bed that had lots of small waterfalls and drop offs. As we went down the river the rocks got bigger and bigger and it was all about line selection, pick the wrong line and you would be working hard to get through.

The track then opened up to some nice fast flowing trails, time to breath and try and relax on the bike, I was starting to feel better as the day wore on.
Next came a section called Cambodia, this was up another river bed that had lots of trees down as well as some technical rocky sections. I enjoyed my time in this area and managed to go past a few riders. Not far to go now until the compulsory 20min lunch break, I was thinking that all the hard stuff had been done for the morning when I came around a corner on a gravel road and seen a whole lot of spectators, as in any sport spectators mean action and I soon realised there was going to be plenty.
I had come across a section called K2 or should I say a great big bloody hill called K2. Looks like I as well as every other expert and pro riders are going to earn our lunch.
I pulled up and had a look at the entry point to the hill, there was about a 12mtr run up to a near 15mtrs vertical face that was sandy on a rock base, no option but to give full commitment, I kicked the 250 into second and slipped the clutch giving it full revs, I shot up the first part of the entry but got too much traction and the front came over to meet the back with me just hanging on and praying that everything will come to a stop, the spectators where cheering but not because I nearly made it but because my bike endo’d back to the bottom.
Second time I thought not so much on the throttle and try and roll up, this nearly worked but slipped back to the bottom, this time I stayed with the bike and more or less slid down.
Third time lucky, I set up to give it another crack and was feeling pretty tired, one of the locals came up to me and said “You Make It”, I did offer for him to ride my bike up for me but he said no, anyway third time I was at the top and thought thank fxxk. I then started to head up further, the hill got steeper but there was more traction, after about 120mtrs sitting on the back guard and weaving through the trees and met a huge group of riders parked up, I looked up further and there was carnage on the hill, the hill had gone into a near vertical rock section that had only a single line to get through. I joined the queue and tried to block anyone that was trying to jump ahead. About 15mins later my son came down with a rope, he had been there all morning pulling bikes up, even the pro’s. He gave me a helping hand and within about 20mins I was at the top and back onto some flowing trails. Within about 10mins I was at the compulsory 20min lunch check and boy was I glad to be here.


Riders on K2 about 1/third the way up
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Lunch after K2
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I headed out after 20mins and about 2klms down the road came into a town that had arrows heading between buildings and lots of spectators, I was thinking what the fxxk, I have only just recovered from K2 and had a belly full of fuel(food). I looked up past the buildings and saw a couple of riders stuck on a big rocky uphill. I continued on and got to the start of the uphill, the locals were really helpful here and pointed out the best lines, I left the 250 in first gear and tractored up the hill, I managed to clean this section, no hold ups or stopping, from here the tracks opened up to farm land and fast roads with a few creek crossing to keep us busy.
As we got closer to Petrosani we came into an old coal mine, this was the final twist in the day, the trail lead us towards some old towers on a conveyor and storage facility. I continued on then the track headed into a tower, as I got to the doorway all you could hear was two strokes echoing through the tower. I made my way in and soon realised why all the noise, we had to go up about 8 flight of stairs and there was very little turning area between flights. I headed in and kept burying the front wheel into the corner at the bottom of each set of stairs, I would give the throttle a blip and swing the arse around ready to head up. Once at the top we rode along a conveyor access then onto the roof top to be greeted with the redbull arch –

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Day 2 done and dusted, or so I thought. After my times were taken I had to head back down the conveyor access to another set of stairs and ride back down, this was a lot easier than riding up.
Only had a 4klm ride to town today, so got in relatively early. The main street had been blocked off and turned into the service area and Parc Ferme.

I dropped the bike off at the service area and went and got my room sorted for the night, this was harder than the days ride, waiting in line for nearly an hour before finally getting a key and heading to a shower and dinner.

Riders briefing was at 9.00pm again, after briefing I headed to the service area where I picked up my bike and put it into Parc Ferme – nearly 11.00pm again – time for bed and get ready for what is thrown at us tomorrow.

Day 2 down and now halfway, Feeling good – yee haa.

Unfortunately my new Gopro shit itself, I wore it for the prologue and the first day but it did not record any footage – and yes I turned it on


Thu 11 Jul, 2013 9:25 pm
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Post Re: Pricey's Romaniacs Experience
wingnut wrote:
So how many laps of the prolouge was there 4.
Love it when you go the up ramp and then suddenly there is a void and then the down ramp,i would have shit my self and slammed on the brakes and ended in down in the void


Hey wingnut, you only had to do one lap to set your time, if you made it into the top 50 then it was 10mins plus a lap.
The ramps were a lot easier if you jump them, I am a big believer in white man can't jump so took the slow option.
Cheers
Steve


Thu 11 Jul, 2013 9:29 pm
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Post Re: Pricey's Romaniacs Experience
Good one MR PRICEY
Iv been looking for you on the vids
http://www.redbull.com/au/en/motorsport ... deo-series


Thu 11 Jul, 2013 9:47 pm
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Post Re: Pricey's Romaniacs Experience
just found this Prolog helmet camera footage

Pricey you are one hell of a rider to get through this !!!!!!


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Fri 12 Jul, 2013 2:56 am
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Post Re: Pricey's Romaniacs Experience
Man that's crazy,but what a memory you have come away with. :wav

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Fri 12 Jul, 2013 6:40 am
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Post Re: Pricey's Romaniacs Experience
The prologue was crazy, I made it through the rocks, tree roots and tyre sectiions easy compared with dropping off the sea containers.
I really enjoyed the event and would go back again in a heartbeat. :wav

You are right Dale, lots of memories, there are not many sports where you can ride with pro-riders, be stuck on hills with them and they help you and you help them. :headbang


Fri 12 Jul, 2013 9:21 am
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