My first Roadbook Rally: Ofcourse I lost the path! / Kogemus Roadbook Rallilt: algul paned “puusse”, pärast juba puude vahel!

“Why are you going to compete with the motorcycle?” asked my newly turned five-year-old daughter on Friday noon as I tried to pack things and locate all my moto gear, which had been idle for two years. “Good question,” I had to admit to her. “Probably because it makes me feel alive, challenges myself, shakes off a bit of the domestic routine,” I continued with the answer, but I kept contemplating it all for quite a while.

Indeed, why? Why go to compete with a motorcycle? In addition, I hadn’t ridden a motorcycle for almost two years after the last baby. The newly purchased Yamaha WR250F awaited me on the trailer, and I had no idea how we would even become friends. Truly, it would be so much easier to stay at home, clean up, tend to the garden, and all the other things that are constantly left undone. But no! That’s not life! Life is shaking yourself out of the comfort zone and truly feeling alive!

The goal was to reach the shore of Lake Võrtsjärv by Friday at five o’clock, where the first roadbook rally series stage Tour de Võrts of the season took place. We hadn’t had time to prepare the motorcycle or ourselves. I hastily attached a phone holder at least. In reality, I had no intention of participating at all, and the weekend plans were to just go and watch the event and then head to Põlva for motocross, where my partner was supposed to compete with a sidecar. However, Põlva was canceled for us because the sidecar paseenger hasn’t fully recovered from the operation yet. So, we quickly made adjustments, and I ended up competing myself! I had no clue about the roadbook or anything, but fortunately, the 37-kilometer prologue on Friday evening was meant to clarify things.

I started the evening stage at 18:13. To participate, it was necessary to mount the phone on the handlebars and download a special roadbook rally reader app, where the instructions keep running. I quickly received about a minute-long training, but some information was still lacking in handling the app.

I set off from the start – first, it indicated to keep left after 850 meters, then a junction after 150 meters and turn left. Next, after 340 meters, turn off the road to the right, then a right turn after 300 meters, a left turn after 300 meters, turn off the road to a small forest road after 240 meters, and from somewhere around there, I had a full-on error because it didn’t seem like the forest road entrance matched the information in the roadbook. I began to doubt myself and turned around to start again from the junction where I initially turned off the main road.

I pressed all kinds of buttons there, but nothing worked, and the roadbook just kept advancing with its instructions even further. I’m not a tech-savvy person, and it seemed easier to return to the start to figure out how to restart. It turned out that swiping across the screen didn’t work; instead, you have to tap on the “tulip” or directional instructions to make them move up or down.

Many handlebars actually have separate buttons for this action, which are connected to the phone. You can buy or rent them. I had opted for a lighter tourist class, where these buttons are not really needed because the roadbook scrolls on its own with autoscroll enabled, which is allowed in that class. In the rally class, you have to figure things out yourself and understand whether you are in the right place and scroll the map forward at the right moment.

Well, after I don’t know how many laps, I finally started to get the hang of it, but I couldn’t figure out how to reset my journey. The route now made sense to me, but since I couldn’t reset the start of my ride, I had some random kilometers recorded. So, at every turn, I stopped to tap on my guide and mentally calculate when I should reach the next “tulip” since I couldn’t reset my starting point. In other words, if the app showed me a distance of 12.17 km on the route, but the next turn was, for example, 390 meters ahead, I calculated that the intersection should appear when the route ahead is 12.56 km, and so on for each directional instruction.

The forest roads and the route itself were extremely cool, and suitable for my bike, but unfortunately, instead of enjoying the feel of the motorcycle and the roads, I ended up doing calculations. It took me a total of two hours to cover those 37 kilometers of exciting forest trails according to the roadbook, but the most important thing was that I finally got the hang of it, and the start of the actual competition the next day seemed much more positive!

On Saturday, my start time was 11:13, and I had about 350 kilometers ahead around Lake Võrtsjärv. Four different speed stages with 20-minute neutral zones in between for refueling and eating. The finish closed at 20:00.

The freezing wind howled by the lake, but considering the enjoyable forest paths from the previous evening, I left the lining of my jacket in the bus. With thick undergrowth, it’s not comfortable to navigate in the woods. The first nearly hundred-kilometer stage went quite smoothly with the roadbook; I managed to follow it continuously without getting lost.

Gravel roads, both larger and smaller, mixed with some asphalt. The rear end of the 250cc enduro became quite square-shaped by the end of this stage. Well, it’s the Estonian way; you have to endure long straights and measure asphalt to reach sweeter places. I bet that on the second stage, we would finally get to some forest roads.

I rode and rode, and my backside was so darn painful that I had to take more frequent breaks by the bike. Riding at 90 kilometers per hour on the highway with this little bike is a brutal torture; it’s not meant for that. I looked enviously at the large bikes of other riders and thought about how comfortable it must be to sit there!

I struggled and struggled to cover those kilometers until I bumped into a knowledgeable person at a crossroads. I asked when the trail would reach the woods and become warmer. The answer was that I’m in the tourist class, and tourists don’t go into the woods. My face dropped half a meter. Really? Have I suffered on this square-shaped saddle for nearly 200 kilometers just to find out that I might be in the wrong class? My mistake; I should have delved a bit more into the event content. On the other hand, maybe the rally class trail would be too challenging for a family mom like me? For the tourist class, a different bike is needed, or the other option is to go into the rally class and learn to ride.

Anyway, in summary, it was incredibly cool to find myself in the saddle again! Learn to ride according to the roadbook (which definitely requires a lot more practice), and it’s just so fantastic that we have such cool motorcyclist enthusiasts here who organize and dare to start something new. Applause to you and applause to me too for making it to the start! Maybe someday I’ll make it to the finish too! (After the end of the second stage, I turned Mürru (my bikes nickname) towards the base camp and the sauna.)

Kogemus Roadbook Rallilt: algul paned “puusse”, pärast juba puude vahel!

“Miks sa lähed tsikliga võistlema?” küsis mu äsja viieseks saanud tütar reede lõunal kui püüdsin asju pakkida ja üles leida kogu oma motovarustust, mis kaks aastat tühja seisnud. “Hea küsimus,” pidin talle tõdema. “Ilmselt seetõttu, et ennast elusana tunda, ennast proovile panna, natuke kodusest rutiinist välja raputada,” jätkasin vastusega, aga jäin selle kõige üle tegelikult veel pikalt mõtisklema.

Fotod Eva Koger, Tuljo Martin

Tõepoolest miks? Miks minna tsikliga võistlema? Takkaotsa polnud ma pärast viimast beebit peaaegu kaks aastat motikaga mitte meetritki sõitnud. Äsja ostetud Yamaha WR250F ootas mind käru peal ja mul polnud õrna aimugi, kuidas me üldse sõbruneme. Tõega, palju lihtsam oleks ju kodus olla, koristada, aiamaad teha ja mida kõike veel, mis alatasa tegemata. Aga ei! See pole elu! Elu on see, kui end mugavustsoonist välja raputada ja end päriselt elusana tunda!

Sihtmärk oli jõuda reedel kella viieks Võrtsjärve äärde, kus leidis aset selle hooaja esimene roadbook rally sarja etapp Tour de Võrts. Ei olnud me jõudnud tsiklit ette valmistada ega end ette valmistada. Kiiruga sai vähemalt telefonihoidja külge pandud. Tegelikult ei olnud mul üldse mõtteski osaleda ja nädalavahetuse plaanides oli hoopiski niisama seda üritust vaatama minna ja sealt edasi Põlvasse motokrossile suunduda, kus oleks pidanud mu elukaaslane külgkorviga võistlema. Põlva jäi aga meie jaoks ära, sest korvipoiss pole operatsioonist veel piisavalt taastunud. Nii me kiirelt korrektuurid tegime, et ma siis võistlen hoopis ise! Polnud mul õrna aimu sellest roadbookist ega millestki, aga õnneks reedeõhtune 37 kilomeetrine proloog selleks oligi, et asi selgeks saada.

Startisin õhtusele katsele 18.13. Et osaleda, oli vaja telefon monteerida juhtrauale ja laadida alla spetsiaalne roadbook rally reader äpp, kus siis teejuhised muudkui jooksevad. Kiirelt tehti mulle umbes minutiline koolitus, aga osa infot jäi siiski vajaka äpi käsitlemisel.

Panin stardist minema – esimesena näitas, et 850 meetri pärast hoia vasakule, siis 150 meetri pärast ristmik ja sealt vasakule. Edasi 340 meetri pärast teelt maha paremale, siis 300 meetri pärast on kurv paremale, 300 meetri pärast kurv vasakule, 240 meetri pärast keera teelt maha väiksele metsateele ja kuskilt alates oli mul täiega error, sest ei tundunud, et see metsateeots kuidagi roadbookis oleva infoga ikka kenasti klapiks. Jäin endas kahtlema ja keerasin otsa ringi, et alustada uuesti maanteelt maha keeramise ristmikult.

Vajutasin seal igasugu nuppe, aga midagi ei töötanud ja roadbook jooksis aga muudkui oma juhistega edasi veel kaugemale. Ma pole eriline nutiinimene ja lihtsam tundus starti tagasi pöörduda, et uurida, kuidas ma saaks uuesti alustada. Tuli välja, et üle ekraani libistamine ei mõjugi, vaid “tulipite” ehk suunajuhiste peale tuleb toksata, et need kas siis üles-alla liiguks. Selleks tegevuseks olid tegelikult paljudel juhtraudadel suisa eraldi nupud, mis telefoniga ühenduses. Neid saab nii osta kui rentida. Olin end pannud lahjemasse turisti klassi, siis seal sisuliselt polegi neid nuppe väga tarvis, sest roadbook rullib ennast ise edasi kui autoscroll on peal, mis selles klassis on lubatud. Ralli klassis pead ise nuputama ja aru saama, kas oled õiges kohas ja kaarti edasi kerima õigel hetkel.

Edasi loe ajakirjast MotoSpirit