2007 Desert 100 (Odessa Washington)

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by robdogg, Apr 15, 2007.

  1. robdogg

    robdogg turnip truck driver

    Jan 29, 2004
    wren-tonne, WA
    Just rolled in from Odessa and threw some of my pics up on Smugmug. The Desert 100
    is one of the premiere off road events in the Northwest having gone on for some
    37 years.

    It's a two day gig put together by a local off road club called the Stumpjumpers
    and they do an absolutely outstanding job each year managing this monster event.
    The event starts on Saturday with a poker run and dual sport event, and then the
    big points race event on Sunday. Saturday usually draws anywhere from 1200 to
    2000 riders out on to the 30 mile desert course and the main race on Sunday is
    usually about 600-700 strong.

    Odessa is about 180 miles due east from Seattle and is smack in the middle of the
    Columbia Basin... well, kind of more like on the Northern edge of it, but it's
    just plain awesome country.

    The weather this year was amazingly similar to last year.. with Saturday starting
    out cloudy and cool, then turning to rain in the afternoon and continuing to rain
    off an on most of the night.. although not quite the deluge it was last year.
    Sunday dawned bright and clear and quite a bit warmer then the day before.


    I decided to leave the 450 at home this year and give the 950 a try. Last year,
    there were at least three 950 Adventures, and this year counting mine, I spotted
    six Adventures and a pair of 950 Super Enduros. The way they run the dual sport
    is they first open the 30 mile course and allow the dual sport riders to run one
    lap (either the family course, or the much tougher Ironman course) and then they
    go out and do a 100 mile loop through the surrounding country side. The dual
    sport course consisted of paved and dirt road sections, with a couple of trail
    sections through the sage brush, some neat dirt roads up through canyon country,
    then a loop through an ORV park, then down on in to town for lunch at the Rock
    Coulee Brewery.

    Early Saturday, I rolled up to the registration tent just as they were gathering
    for the riders meeting for the dual sport and Ironman riders.


    While milling around, I met Pete156 and Matawa (two other 950 riders here on
    Advrider) and we chatted about tires, Baja, and the big orange beast. A lone
    950 SE also showed up but I didn't get a chance to say hi to him before he got
    lost in the crowd lined up to register.

    They soon opened the course, and hundreds of riders soon funneled through the
    start gate out in to the open desert. Pete and Matawa said they were going to
    head out a bit later so I ventured out on my own.. not like I would be all alone
    out there with that many people and I was anxious to give the new Dunlop 908 a
    try in the mud. (I wouldn't have to wait long)


    The tracks were in pretty good shape.. at least for now - later in the day they
    started getting pretty tore up with lots of exposed rock, big whoop sections etc.


    I somehow took a wrong turn somewhere and got on a loop heading back towards
    the start which was a fun warm up I guess, so I went back to the start and out back
    towards the main course.


    At the riders meeting, which I didn't pay a whole lot of attention to, I did
    catch the announcer say that the Ironman course this year had a steep downhill
    section just about a mile or two after the split from the Family course.
    So when I got to the split, I thought.. how tough can it be? so off I went and
    took the path to the left, however something from the day before was tugging at
    the back of my memory.. the look of the guy at the gate when I pulled up on the
    950 when I told him I was planning to ride the Ironman.

    I soon found out why. After riding along a slippery side slope trail for a mile
    or so, I came to a log jam of bikes.


    The trail took a sharp turn and headed straight downhill toward the canyon below.
    The path, which was already slick from the previous nights drenching, was now
    snot covered rocks after a several hundred pairs of knobbie tires had slid
    down it.


    Video of the downhill

    <object width="425" height="350"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/B4PxZowCni8"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/B4PxZowCni8" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="425" height="350"></embed></object>

    my 950 on the trail


    Soon Mattawa and his two buddies came riding up; all three, like me on 475lb dirt


    After checking things out for a bit, watching the show, and discussing the costs
    of replacing a punctured fuel tank ($1200 or so per side from KTM) after possibly
    dropping the bike down on a sharp rock, we decided to take the bail out path up
    the hill to the left.

    Here's Mattawa on his 950 at the top of the "bail out" hill.. which after climbing
    it, I sure was glad I chose the Dunlop 908.


    The hill was pretty slick and I almost bit it when I hit a large, basketball sized
    rock which was smack dab right in the middle of the trail about half way up.. but
    I just kept on the throttle and the torque monster along with Mr Dunlop saved my
    bacon. Zero points for style, but about a 9.5 for the save :D

    I soon caught the other looney 950 riders who I spotted off in the distance cutting
    across country to try and find a way down in to the canyon. But as I approached, I
    saw steam coming out of Mattawas steed


    After checking things out, he decided he had lost a lot of his coolant so we all
    headed back for the road, with Frank running on ahead to get mat's truck.

    At this point we parted ways and I decided to head out for the 100 mile dual sport
    route rather then going back and trying to fight the Ironman on my own...

    Even though the weather on Saturday was crap soup, the country side out there made
    it worthwhile.. that and the heated grips.. here's a few shots of the ride.. so sit
    back and enjoy the scenery.







    At this point, it started to rain again and some of these roads were like riding on
    teflon.. This is along the two track section in the ORV park. The Dunlop D606 on
    the front did a good job of keeping me on two wheels though.. that and a vise like
    grip of my knees on the tank


    But now, lunch at the brewery was ahead and and the rain was coming down pretty good
    so I was hitting upwards of 70mph along these straight smooth sections. But when I
    stopped to take this pic the mud under the top layer of gravel was like wet cement
    when I stepped off the bike and put my foot down.. but for riding, the traction was
    sure and true as long as you didn't stray to the edges of the road or slow down too much.


    My favorite shot of the day


    and finally - LUNCH!


    After lunch, I headed back to the start point and rode around the family course for a
    while longer. I ending up putting about 150 miles on the odo for the day. At around
    3:00 they chased everyone off the track and started setting up for the kiddies race.

    That's when I spotted Pete156 on his 950 S off in the distance.


    Here's a short video of the kids race (9-12 yr olds) coming down the hill from the
    start - I'd guess there were maybe 150-200 of them. A few of these little guys were
    really flying.

    <object width="425" height="350"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/CLSG07niMcA"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/CLSG07niMcA" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="425" height="350"></embed></object>

    Sunday! the big race.

    This is one of those things you just have to see once in your
    lifetime. Seven hundred riders, on a half mile wide starting line, thunder down hill
    for over a mile and converge on to a 60 foot wide path over a berm on to the first turn.
    It gets your adrenalin pumping just watching... I couldn't imagine being in that crowd.

    This is a pic of the start of the kids race the day before, and with only about one
    third the number of riders, but the big race started from the same spot


    The first turn



    The waiting crowd


    This video is only a few seconds long, but it took over three minutes for all the
    motorcycles to ride through this point.

    <object width="425" height="350"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/QNw3y7ZJOak"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/QNw3y7ZJOak" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="425" height="350"></embed></object>

    On years where the weather is much drier, the dust cloud these guys make could
    probably be seen from space. Even with the rain in the past couple of days, all those
    knobbies still manage to raise a fair amount of dust


    Welp.. that's it for another year. There are usually some great photos on Travis's
    smugmug site, but I thought I'd share some images and my thoughts on the dual sport
    side of the track particularly from the saddle of a KTM 950 Adventure

    (WHAT a machine!)

  2. Ghost Rider

    Ghost Rider suxface!

    Apr 15, 2003
    Western Cascade Foothills, WA
    Great pics... and so quickly posted! :clap

    I look forward to doing this next year, thanks for posting!
  3. Dakar-Dave

    Dakar-Dave Long timer

    Dec 21, 2001
    Salem Oregon
    Great Pix Rob

    :clap :clap :clap :clap

    So what are you saying ? - the 950 is heavy ? :D

  4. HappyGoLucky

    HappyGoLucky Goeie Grys Giftige Gert!

    Feb 10, 2005
    awesome shot

  5. GB

    GB . Administrator

    Aug 16, 2002
    Thanks for the pics, links and embedding the video!! Looks like a great deal of fun :thumb
  6. debueller

    debueller Has a thing 4Fungirl

    Nov 5, 2006
    Ravensdale, WA
    Nice job, Robdog!
  7. Drybones

    Drybones It's an RX3 Cyclone

    Feb 3, 2007
    Oro Valley, AZ near 77
    Excellent report! Next best thing to being there! Had it not been raining...I would have riden my old xl500s the 97 miles north to watch this. I wonder if I could have riden the 300 pound red horse on the DS course without having to shoot it afterwards!
  8. cyborg

    cyborg Potius Sero Quam Numquam

    Jun 7, 2004
    Pacific NorthWet
    Thanks for the pics and writeup Rob. Sorry I missed it. What's that time gizmo above your stock display on the 9fiddy?
  9. gas_pig70

    gas_pig70 Mmm... mud!

    Oct 13, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    Did you take your 950 down that first nasty downhill section? Dang, I thought my DRZ was a pig when I went down it on Saturday during the Iron Man. At least it wasn't dusty this year!
  10. wachs

    wachs just passin' through

    May 24, 2005
    Tumalo, Oregon
    next year for sure!
  11. blownaway

    blownaway Been here awhile

    Jan 21, 2004
    Hey Rob, nice report. I'm glad to see you running the Desert 100. I've always wanted to give it a try. Did you ride any of the desert sections? I too would have turned back from any huge downhill with slick conditions like that. Thanks for the report!:norton
  12. SkidinNC

    SkidinNC Been here awhile

    Jan 28, 2007
    Fayetteville, NC
    That 950 is such a nice lookin' bike.
  13. horsew/noname

    horsew/noname I've been thru the desert

    Nov 15, 2004
    NW Washington
    So Robdogg, which bike are you gonna take over next year, the 950 0r the 450? Of course you may have neither bike by then, so what would your dream bike be for Desert 100?
  14. motoged

    motoged Been here awhile

    Feb 26, 2006
    Kamloops, BC
    Thanks for the post....just got back a few hours ago....I rode my 450 EXC on the Ironman Poker Run on Saturday and the 50 mile race on Sunday....was on "The Blue Bus" with a small gang of Kamloops, BC riders....a good time was had by all....

    That sure was a big pack of bikes there that weekend:clap:clap:clap:clap

  15. DualSport650

    DualSport650 Lucky Burglar

    Apr 21, 2004
    Bend, Oregon
    I missed it this year. :cry

    That looks FOOKIN' awesome!!!

    I gotta go next year for sure. :freaky
  16. robdogg

    robdogg turnip truck driver

    Jan 29, 2004
    wren-tonne, WA
    yeah, I rode the family course a couple of times; most of it anyway; and just played around a lot on the course when it was open.

    then out on the dual sport course, there was a couple of single track loops through the sage brush that was kind of fun.. nothing hard at all, but the big 908 on the rear just ate up that semi-soft sand stuff
  17. robdogg

    robdogg turnip truck driver

    Jan 29, 2004
    wren-tonne, WA
    that you Keith? give a guy a break will ya :D

    not sure I'll ride it next year actually.. but since your asking, my dream bike for over there would probably be the new KTM 690 Adventure.. if they ever get around to importing them.. sure wouldn't mind having a 950 Super Enduro to play around with over there either
  18. StihlRigg

    StihlRigg Dog Farkler

    Aug 18, 2006
    NW desert
    Great report robdogg, great to see the 950 out in the mud.
    I'm stoked you liked the tire setup, I just ordered a set last week.

  19. DantesDame

    DantesDame Ridin' Fool Super Moderator

    Aug 26, 2004
    ooo - very nice! I fought enough with my 650; I'm amazed that you took your 950 there!!! :bow
  20. mattawa88

    mattawa88 It's all about the Ride!

    Mar 20, 2005
    Nice report, robdogg!
    It was nice meeting you, hope to ride together again sometime.
    I got the radiator hose replaced on the 9fiddy, ordered all new hoses,gonna swap'em out next oil change.