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TOPIC: Vmax = snowscooter???

Vmax = snowscooter??? 5 years 7 months ago #1

This story truely happened. It happened in Italy in the first week of June, 2006. We enjoyed a motorweek with a bunch of friends, almost all of them Vmax riders (some of them are also members here; I hope they don't mind me telling this story).

We desperately wanted to ride the Stelvio, because in earlier versions of this trip we met with unexpected problems. It was not meant to be, as you'll find out.

To get an idea of what mountain we would be riding, I've posted a picture here of the north side pass road.
{nomultithumb}

[this is the north side of the Stelvio pass!]

We planned to ride the Gaviapass to Bormio so we could start our ascend on the southside of the mountainrange and descend the 48 hairpins on the northside. A trip of about 220 miles.

On the Gaviapass it rained and it was cold. At the top of the pass we stopped for some nice hot choco. Once everyone had his normal body temperature back, we descended the pass and rode to Bormio. In Bormio the sun was shining, what luck! Without further ado we ascended the Stelviopass, every rider at his own pace. Some attacked the curves, others took time to enjoy the impressive scenery.

The group assembled at the top of the pass; the souvenir stands were closed, as were the hotels. No coffee for us. And there awaited us an unpleasant surprise. The road down was blocked by a huge snowwall, halfway down the first stretch of the track. What to do next? Go back and add another 200 miles to our trip? It was already four o'clock in the afternoon and that choice would add some 5-6 hours to our riding time. Why wasn't the obstruction mentioned on the information pages we checked that morning?

Then we noticed some cars parked at the other side of the snow wall. We concluded that the road must be accessible on the other side. We scrounged the pass area for useful materials to attack the snow: traffic signs, an old broom, pieces of wood, anything that could help to try to decrease a part of the enormous hump of snow.
Finally we had a small gap cleared. Working as a team we pulled the bikes through the snowgap, while one of us sat on it to keep it balanced. One thing was clear: once over the snow wall, there was no going back up the mountain pass.


[Pulling the Maxes over the snow wall is a team effort]

Finally all bikes were on the other side. Sunlight had vanished and it was getting ominously dark. We quickly mounted our bikes and started our descend. Before we knew what hit us a gigantic storm swept over the mountain. Snow, hail, thunder and lightning descended on us in frightening waves and quantities.

The four riders before me quickly became invisible in a matter of seconds. The asphalt disappeared under a growing layer of snow and hail. The white deck of the road gave off an eery glow, while overhead the sky was pitch black.

After the third hairpin my Vmax changed from motorbike to an uncontrollable sled, because of the increasing steepness of the road. I felt the back tire slip and slide, because the hail layer had grown to app. 5 inches. The road descended at about 14%. Using one of the brakes was suicide. Slowing the bike down with my feet became impossible. In a flash I realized I was in serious trouble. Oh man, what to do? With hardly any visibility - couldn't clean the visor with my glove - couldn't use my legs to balance the Max, I 'sledded' down the mountain at a frightening pace.
I know Yamaha builds snowscooters, but this was ridiculous!

There and then I decided to bounce the bike against the rock wall at the end of this straight. No way I could steer it through the next hairpin. These hairpins have a vertical slant towards the narrow side. As I approached the wall the Max slowed down a bit because of that vertical slant. At the last moment I was able to steer it parallel to the rock wall. But this slant prevented me also from parking the Max on its jiffy: there was a gap of at least 8 inches between the end of my jiffy and the snow.
There I sat on my Max, one hand on the rock wall to balance it, one foot on the back brake to prevent it from rolling any further down. And all this time snow, hail, thunder and lightning, accompanied by heavy bouts of wind, was poured over me in huge quantities. How am I ever going to get off this mountain?? And how did the others fare? How many had fallen or even injured themselves? All these thoughts flashed through my mind while sitting there, biding my time in all that racket!

Finally the storm died down. Carefully I let my Max rest against the rock wall, hoping the tires wouldn't slide out from under it, standing on all that snow and ice.

My husband had stopped his Max some ten feet behind me, next to an overhanging rock wall at the end of this steep straight. My friend Helen had her Max slide out from under her, halfway down the same stretch while she tried to brake. She had already managed to pick up her bike; good for her!


[Helen had already picked up her Max!]

The three of us backtracked to the other stranded bikers. The five riders who started the descend behind us, had not even made it through the first hairpin. Everybody was okay. That's a relieve!

But what happend to the four guys who rode in front of me? We tried to establish mobile contact with them, but got no signal.

Ten minutes later, some 10 hairpins down, we saw Erik try to get to us on his Max, but it was impossible. With much arm waving we adviced him to go back down the mountain.

As there was no way to get the bikes on the top of the pass, we walked to the hotel area. All were closed, but one of these hotels had a road crew staying there. Hetty convinced the manager that we were stuck on the mountain. Her efforts got us 4 rooms for the night, including dinner and breakfast. We could dry out our motor gear in the boiler room. The spaghetti was wonderful and the wine was plentiful!

Next morning our bikes were solidly frozen to ground! The snow wall had turned into an ice wall. There was no way we could lift the bikes over the wall to the south side of the pass. Then it started to snow... again... it seemed hopeless.


[The Ice Age had not gone away during the night ]:(


[Maxxes solidly frozen to the ground ]:(


Finally, at eleven o'clock the sun began to shine and large pieces of snow melted away. Quickly we climbed on our bikes to get down the mountain as fast as we could. But, alas, a huge shovel was parked halfway down the road with some pretty pissed off Italians. Their message was very very clear: "We had better get our asses quickly up the mountain, or else..." Alas, they were no susceptible to our misery.

Back at the pass top the snow wall was still a huge obstacle.

Finally one the shovel machine came up the pass. We gave the driver some money to remove part of the snow. He scraped a huge portion of the wall away and finally all the bikes were back on the south side of the pass again.

Tejo and Ben scouted the conditions of the south side road. In some corners they found a lot of snow and ice on the road, but with some extra care it was possible to get to the valley. Carefully we rode the first stretches. As we neared the valley the weather got better and better.

It took us 6 hours to get back our hotel, because we had to detour 200 miles around the mountain range. At the hotel we were reunited with our four lost friends.

I think I deserve a good solid Vmax watch to keep track of the time in the mountains, don't you think? B)
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Last Edit: 5 years 7 months ago by fxstein.
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Re:Vmax = snowscooter??? 5 years 7 months ago #2

Very nice writeup! Can't wait to get back onto that mountain pass myself!
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Re:Vmax = snowscooter??? 5 years 7 months ago #3

Wow! Mad respect to you & your comrades, girl! That is some story, and told vividly! You and the rest of that brave crew humble me with your icy escapades. The fact that you guys are determined to ride through wind & snow & sleet is enough, let alone attacking a mountain in bad weather. People accuse me of being crazy, when in earnest it's your crew that has earned that title. True diehard, avid Vmax riders for all to respect. We who have never experienced anything even vaguely similar, salute you & that brave crew. You guys set the bar really high for the rest of us Vmax admirers. The Max may have been born in America, but you European riders truely carry the torch of passion for ALL to see! Thanks for that! Forget the watch, Yamaha needs to send you a custom made flame thrower/snow plow attachment for your bike! :P

Thanks for the wonderful story! B) Karma to YOU! ;)

Forever humbled;
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Last Edit: 5 years 7 months ago by Bad_Max.
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Re:Vmax = snowscooter??? 5 years 7 months ago #4

Oh no, it was just ignorance and stupidity that left us stranded on the mountain! Haha! Fxstein is familiar with that area, so he won't get into trouble. Us Dutch flat folk are ignorant about mountains haha!
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Re:Vmax = snowscooter??? 5 years 7 months ago #5

The bottom line is you brave the elements JUST to ride and experience Vmax life..B)

You can make light of it if you want girl, but BIG UPS to you & that crew, FOR REAL! :cheer:
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Re:Vmax = snowscooter??? 5 years 7 months ago #6

The best story of the year
this come to europe
b.jpg
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Re:Vmax = snowscooter??? 5 years 7 months ago #7

"The price will come with free worldwide shipping to the winner"
I pay for the shipping :nerd3: :money: :yeah:
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Re:Vmax = snowscooter??? 5 years 7 months ago #8

:jumping: :dancing: :money: :nerd2:

:bow: :bow:
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Last Edit: 5 years 7 months ago by vmaxbeast.
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Re:Vmax = snowscooter??? 5 years 7 months ago #9

Those days were days in my life I'll never forget.

And I'm a bit a thrillseeker.

With all the sudden snow and icing of the road you really feel that you can't control the 600 pounds of weight of your machine and you can only hope that your beautiful bike won't get severe damaged.
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Last Edit: 5 years 7 months ago by Tejo.
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Re:Vmax = snowscooter??? 5 years 7 months ago #10

Tejo wrote:
Those days were days in my life I'll never forget.

And I'm a bit a thrillseeker.

With all the sudden snow and icing of the road you really feel that you can't control the 600 pounds of weight of your machine and you can only hope that your beautiful bike won't get severe damaged.

yes, that was some adventure we had in Italy.

I'll be posting new photos of this story regularly (to keep this thread alive ;) ; it's a competition after all, right?)
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