More Broken Handles
Ever had one of those days when everything you seem to do goes wrong?
Yesterday was one of those days.
Woke up late
Arrived at work late.
Was overloaded with unhappy customers.
My weekend starts at 1:00 p.m. and I worked like stink so I could screw off an hour earlier.
Wrong! managed to rush out by 1:05 p.m. only.
The traffic wasn’t bad and as I’d prepared all my kiting kit the night before, I only had to change my clothes, fill my Camelbak’s with water & ice and I was on the road.
It was blowing hard & very gusty. It wasn’t too hot at just 43ºC. This year hasn’t been so hot. It has touched 50ºC only on two buggying days so far this year.
It’s a 30 minute drive to my desert Ghaf tree. I always find it difficult to know what kite to hang on when the wind is all over the place. The forecast was for 17 knots. I opted for my 4.9 Blade IV, which was too big.
I’d forgotten to pack my body armour. All left at home except my helmet.
There was no way I would hit the dunes without being protected.
The Mrs. said she would get it so I unhitched the trailer & she drove off .
I sat in the buggy and decided to just mess around on flat sabkha till she got back.
The gusting was wicked. Sometimes the wind would drop right off and the kite would flutter down to the ground. A few minutes later it would come through like an express train and be dragging the buggy sideways.
I had a new experience as well yesterday. I was moving along slowly when I suddenly realised that I was in shadow. Has the sun disappeared I thought & turned my head, just in time to see and enormous Dust Devil blot out the sun. “Oh 5h!t!”, I said out loud to myself and immediately pulled on the kite brakes to collapse the Blade. Too late the kite was in the sky getting wrapped into a ball with me hanging on desperately with brakes full on as the roaring wind dragged me across the sabkha at what seemed a silly speed. I couldn’t see more than about 3 or 4 yards because of the sand, which had been whipped up but I managed to sort of steer across and out of the whirling mass of sand & wind.
Suddenly it was calm and I could untangle the ball of cloth that was my Blade.
A bit of flat land buggying & then noticed my my Mrs had returned.
I had her reverse to the trailer while I hooked on to the hitch.
I knew it was bad day when I caught my left thumb on the trailer hitch & gashed it badly. I finished hooking on the trailer bleeding profusely over everything.
We had everything in our first aid kit except plasters. A spray of stinging antiseptic, which hurt more than when I gashed was applied to hopefully stop infection. A piece of surgical lint over the top and a strip of duck tape (instead of plaster) did the job.
With my body armour fitted I felt more secure and had also fitted my 4.0m Blade III.
I ran up the sabkah just to get the feel of the wind on my 4.0 Blade & then headed into the dunes. The Mrs. was somewhere behind on her 400cc Polaris quad.
We always keep an eye on each other and I often move faster than her through the dunes. I look back & if she isn’t there I usually turn in circles until she catches up.
Seemed she wasn’t coming so I headed back until I saw her in the dstance standing next to a dead quad.
The quad is a single cylinder 2 stroke watercooled machine and after removing the spark plug established that the plug had given up the ghost.
In the small tool box that comes with the quad, I kept a new spare plug. This fixed the problem but I asked the Mrs. to just have a run on the sabkah with me following just to confirm that there would be no more problems.
Now after all this I could get down to the serious business of dune bashing. I hadn’t been more than about 200 yards into the dunes when a gust just rocked me stupid, the kite went down behind a dune and again wrapped up in a tangle. More swearing until everything was sorted.
“Now everything is going to be OK”, I thought.
Wrong! another 200 yards and had just reached the crest of a dune when bang, my left handle broke microseconds with the right handle joining in the breaking game.
I was powered up with no brakes and the kite just ripped me down the down the dune at a silly speed before it crashed into the sand.
At this point, I wished I’d stayed at work.
As I haven’t had much luck in the past with Flexi handles, I always carry a spare pair. More time was wasted untangling everything and fitting the spare handles.
Fortunately, what was left of the rest of the daylight was uneventful & I did have a good ride through the dunes.
Top speed was only 58.5 kph although it did seem a lot faster than that at times. I put that down to the poor visibility but still did 55.8 km in the 2 hours 12 minutes.
My stopped time of 51 minutes was horrendously out of character as I am usually stopped only about 5 to 10 minutes in that amount of moving time.
Still despite most events obeying Murphy’s Law yesterday, I still managed to get in some buggying.
Just in case you are wondering about my broken handles, here they are