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Old 08-15-2013, 11:47 PM   #1
psmcd OP
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Joined: Aug 2012
Location: foot of Olympus
Oddometer: 1,033
Hippo ballet, became rodeo

I've been fooling with the DR650 suspension and it needed a test. A quick romp over Guardsman Pass to Midway and up forest road 420 into Snake Creek served up twisty tarmac, graded dirt and rutted, bouldered jeep road to the single track stage. A short climb on a narrow, steep traverse put us on our toes. Map here:

Here's the tiny dancer at the Snake Creek ridge line (9,300'), looking down to Midway, UT (5,600').

The bike was tracking fine but the rider was timid so we didn't drop off the other side (connecter 32 between 157 and Dry Fork)through this switch-back. Public service announcement:!! Do not ride this trail without walking at least a couple of switch-backs first. It's extreme and I would qualify it high expert riders only! See the photo below this one.

This is one of two switch-backs I would not ride on a DR650 unless I were being chased by zombies or vampires.

The 157 trail to Pole Line Pass offered good ground for rehearsal.

While experts performed.

Sign translation;overweight dancers - stage right.

What can I say, rocks catch my eye.

Where the going is easy.

As usual, I failed to photograph any of the narrow, precipitous sections or the occasional rock studded climb or root crossings that demand complete attention. I hooked a foot peg on a log and it drug the front wheel to the low side of the trail, requiring a stop and lift. They're all there in this 3 mile stretch to Pole Line but it's doable with a DR or KLR. Cake walk for skilled rider on a light bike. I wouldn't recommend it when wet or with side boxes - that would be way too Hippo here

From Pole Line I scooted down forest road 85 into the North Fork of American Fork Canyon and on down to the trail head of the 40 single track. I rode that up to 157 on a previous ride you can see at:

The plan this ride was to go up 40 about a mile to the junction with 173 and take that up to 157 and south to the Alpine Loop. I'll continue with that description tomorrow. According to the map there's a section of 40 rated "most" difficult and 173 rates only "more" difficult. I found it to be the reverse.

The section between 40 and 41 was fun and rates a "more." (through here would be an "easiest")

And then it became a rodeo, where the suspension test really begins.

psmcd screwed with this post 08-19-2013 at 01:50 PM
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Old 08-16-2013, 05:53 PM   #2
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Joined: Sep 2007
Location: Maryland
Oddometer: 403
Oh man !
I want to go to Utah.
2008 KLR rider
Lets ride !
"The poets down here don't write nuthin' at all
They just stand back and let it all be." Springsteen
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Old 08-16-2013, 07:43 PM   #3
psmcd OP
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Joined: Aug 2012
Location: foot of Olympus
Oddometer: 1,033
The 173 rodeo

The DR650 can't be faulted for the rider's choices. Though I've upgraded springs and dampening front and rear, geared it down and run DOT knobbies, it's still a mild mannered sort of beast. Its hippo in a tutu tip-toe across high traverses now transforms to snorting bull lunging up through roots, rocks and ruts. It's willing but weighty and this trail is best left to the lighter bikes.

Trail 173 has numerous steep pitches with foot high erosion bars, boulders and roots. Had it been wet I wouldn't have attempted this foolishness. Momentum was key with torque and traction allowing throttle down threading of obstacles or lofting over them. I hung on and blasted up everything until choosing left around/over this bar and came to a stop facing a rock problem - it's steeper than it looks here.

Making the climbing turn I lost my nerve and momentum for these rocks so I stopped. They're bigger than they appear, really. This camera makes me look like a wimp

Familiarity, quick choices and commitment gets you through this stuff but I was a reluctant cowboy. Lined up and rolling, I continued the uphill bull ride.

Much of it allowed a good rhythm and I started to get a feel for what this terrain requires.

Until it came to a quick halt here.

And here.

After this.

I wasn't disqualified so I got back on and rode to the top. Fortunately the remainder was mild by comparison.

And the payoff grand.

Where the DR resumes,

it's mild nature.

Not far beyond, the 157 trail meets with the paved Alpine Loop, leading to the road to Cascade Springs.

And the pass to Midway,

past Soldier Hollow.

It was nearing dark so I stopped for a cool drink in Midway and slabbed it home. 40 miles canyon slab out, 40 miles dirt, and 40 miles rural/freeway slab home for this 5 hour ride. Maybe 20,000' total vertical. Suspension changes were an improvement but I won't be taking the DR on 173 again. It was fun, if risky, to explore both the trail and the DR's capabilities.

psmcd screwed with this post 08-17-2013 at 05:08 PM
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Old 08-16-2013, 08:29 PM   #4
Mr Dual Sport
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Location: Weiser Idaho
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Beautiful trails! Thanks for sharing.
You're never lost till you run out of gas....
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Old 08-17-2013, 11:27 AM   #5
Jax Off again.
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Location: From Alabama to Newfoundland it's all Appalachian
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I enjoyed that, thanks!!
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