KTM 500exc RTW...on as much dirt as possible (the test rides)

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by rtwpaul, Apr 14, 2019.

  1. Treadless

    Treadless avoiding gravity storms if at all possible Supporter

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    Kind of curious, how much stuff did they box up and ship home after traveling with you for a couple of days?
  2. rtwpaul

    rtwpaul out riding...

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    Pack what makes you happy...

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  3. derblauereiter

    derblauereiter Mostly made of cheese Supporter

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    Oh lord
  4. Spicciani2

    Spicciani2 Been here awhile

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    I agree with "pack what makes you happy" My scout pack in alaska had a huge cast iron dutch oven that came with us on every 20 mile hike. Sometimes an immense amount of extra weight is worthwhile.
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  5. JagLite

    JagLite Long timer Supporter

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    Especially if you can get someone else to pack it :thumb
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  6. yokesman

    yokesman Long timer

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    reminds me of watching old westerns where they have but a bed roll on the trail but a full coffe pot and iron pan at the fire pit. but still eating beans from a can?
    Glad to see your posts back up.
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  7. joenuclear

    joenuclear Still here....

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    Dude, they recognize your cheese burger hangover.










    :hide
  8. Wind_Rider

    Wind_Rider Been here awhile

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    :clap
  9. rtwpaul

    rtwpaul out riding...

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    None of the other three had ever ridden ANY passes in Colorado on dirt, so around the campfire the previous night I tried to explain Ophir Pass and the enormity of the challenge.

    As we were on the COBDR vs the TAT the Pass is to be ridden uphill, and if you've ever ridden Ophir in either direction you'll know its a test.

    If you aren't familiar, it goes something like this, a rocky pass, starting easy at either end, but in the middle, the rocks grow from around an inch to softball-sized or Frisbie sized pieces of granite slate, either is tough if you are not steady and balanced and can't keep good momentum, or be happy riding standing.

    Oh, and there's a drop off the side, if the bike goes over almost certain destruction, if you go over serious injury or death. So the obvious line is the inside one, but it's not always the best....and there's always loads of Jeeps around too vying for a position!

    As I didn't know these guys or their skill level I just told them the truth...they all wanted to try, and good for them I promised to help whenever and however I could, be it physical, moral or motivational support.

    We entered the town of Ophir around 8.30am, the plan was to ride to the top, head to Ouray for lunch. If for any reason anyone didn't make it up, they would take the paved road around and the rest would wait.

    The two S10's found it way too tough almost immediately, having to stop a few hundred yards between them.

    Their endpoints -

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    Huey the guy with the 650 BMW gave it his all and got about a third of the way up, and for a guy who had only had his license a year and no substantial offroad riding experience, and let's not forget a very overloaded bike, this was some amazing achievement.

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    our bikes sitting side by side about a third of the way up and the most challenging section ahead just around the corner, about 300 yards of large Frisbie sized rocks all over the track from the landslide earlier in the year, the big question - "up or down?"

    To my delight, he said "up". He felt it would be harder to turn around and descend. I let him get his mind right and when he looked good, "ready? (I didn't wait for an answer) let's go!"

    He was hot on my tail so I just kept riding, I could hear his motor but then the sound disappeared right as I was in the deep crap, not a good place to stop so I continued, then I heard his motor again, so I just rode straight to the top.

    It must have been echoing off the mountainside making him sound closer than he really was. Kind of how someone can talk on the stage of an auditorium and someone in the back row can hear them perfectly, but reverse the roles and it doesn't happen.

    At the top seven jeeps were waiting as I stopped my bike, I got off expecting him to be close behind...he wasn't.

    The jeep drivers standing on the edge were all looking down using binoculars and told me he stalled, had a small drop, then dug himself in a hole.

    I looked to the bottom and there was a line of jeeps down there too, Huey not probably aware of either group top or bottom was working thru his ordeal all by himself, and he made it up.

    I didn't get a photo of his elation as he just wanted off his bike to catch his breath and high five me and everybody else as they cheered him at the top.

    Ophir in all its glory at 10 am

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    Job done, we crested the peak, took a quick shot...

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    Then headed to Ouray to wait for the others.

    They arrived about an hour after we did and had rounded up two more riders to join this merry bunch (more about them later, one took the next photo). As spirits were high I gave my friend John a call who owns KJ Wood Distillers (btw a must stop if you are ever in town) if he would open specially for the guys to celebrate Huey's achievement... "of course!"

    Huey is third from the left, still on a high, the rest of the smiles are from the great whiskey!

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    I shared this photo earlier with a friend and she said it looks like an old cowboy type photo if it had that 'finish', so I changed to a sepia edition, I think it works?

    John is a rider (500exc) and I told him the guys wanted to get to Lake City, and we were on the COBDR, how was Engineer? I told him about the experiences on Ophir and he suggested against doing Cinnamon instead, mainly because of that one step up, it was bigger than ever and he had just ridden it 24 hours before. He said honestly it could be tough on a big bike today after the previous night's rain. If you've ridden engineer you'll know the exact corner I'm talking about

    I agreed so I lead them all to Silverton, and thru the 'ice canyon'

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    There was so much snow around Animas Forks this year they didn't plow it for a long time in fear of knocking down the buildings, in some areas it was reportedly over 100 feet deep, hence the ice canyon is some of the remaining snow

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    Somehow the two new riders that had joined us missed the sign for Animas forks AND the sign for Cinnamon Pass and ended up riding up Engineer, they were both on Royal Enfield Himalayans, we met them the following day and they told stories of the ride of hell and that friggin step took every one of the 23hp of the bike to make it after more than a few attempts and failures

    Meanwhile, we were taking it easy on the other side of the mountain

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    even as the temps dropped to low 40's and the rain started it was still good times for the ride down to Lake City

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  10. Blumtnman

    Blumtnman Rider

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    Wow, stunning pics. Thanks very much :clap:clap:clap.
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  11. joenuclear

    joenuclear Still here....

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    And a great story as well.
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  12. NoelJ

    NoelJ Been here awhile

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    Impressive in every way, Paul! Always great pics and now of beautiful landscape with a great story behind it. And the on-the-ground review of how difficult the riding is is always going to help a lot of people.
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  13. THRASHED

    THRASHED In your helmet, no-one can hear you sing, I hope.

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    Paul,
    I think it's awesome that you take the time to work with other riders. Being that guy on a trip (even a day trip) that knows the terrain, can explain the terrain, then help in any way is an awesome testimony to the ADV spirit.
  14. Droptarotter

    Droptarotter Long timer

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    We did Ophir in the other direction. Your description and photos brought it all back to life, thanks! I wished I was on my 520 instead of the 640, but I was still way better off than my buddies on the KLR's:jack

    We had to wait for numerous Jeeps also........and we found one GS parked at the top, and another two BMW GS's being walked down by the 3 guys. We couldn't stop to help and the look they gave my buddy on his KTM 990 was priceless.

    Thanks for bringing back some great memories!

    Cheers
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  15. adventurebound9517

    adventurebound9517 Long timer

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    Well Opher pass dosen't look so bad HE SAID LOOKING AT THE PICTURES ON HIS COMPUTER. Well done Paul.
  16. rtwpaul

    rtwpaul out riding...

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    You know what I really like about being in that situation and seeing it thru their eyes and hearing their emotions. Like any experienced rider can become a little jaded or blasé about certain things maybe having done it so many times. it just becomes second nature.

    All three of them were at different emotional levels and it was great to help them see something thru that they just a few days or hours earlier thought was impossible.

    Just fun to be around and then hear them excitedly talk about it later as well.

    I'm not saying by any means I am the greatest rider, cause I'm not, it's just good to pass on a little knowledge I've picked up along the way and pass it forward so it can make the ride more fun for them
  17. rtwpaul

    rtwpaul out riding...

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    Right now at the KTM Rally, and need to go play, just got back from the Ultimate Race Qualifier section at the MX track...more later

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  18. philthyphil

    philthyphil Nomad

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    Thanks for letting the Mrs. and I reminisce riding through the area with the pics. Never been to Lake City without riding through rain... or snow.
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  19. rtwpaul

    rtwpaul out riding...

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    thru the little towns of Pitkin and Tincup, up mountains and down into valleys, you do so many passes on the COBDR, each corner is an amazing view but sometimes you forget the shot and just ride

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    a very cold nights camp next to the Arkansas River and in the morning at its lowest around 31

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    The last short ride with the guys out of Buena Vista, thru the tunnels and head to Breck via a little sand and to the KTM Rally

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    I spent yesterday at the Ulitmate Race and you can read about it here on the Front Page and there are more photos there...but somehow they deleted the vibrancy out of them when it posted.

    If there's a particular shot, maybe a friend you'd like to see a better quality image, just let me know and I can post it or forward it to you

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  20. ES059MTK

    ES059MTK Adventurer

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    That picture above is me #18!
    This is from my perspective.
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