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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by Platypus-3in1, Dec 27, 2018.
This was one FUN ride!
I seriously hope to go back next year, we didn't even scratch the surface out there!
FUN, we began this with that in mind and it has been!
Here we are coming full circle to one of the first group rides we’ve ridden together. The Catoosa Wildlife Management Area.
There were ten of us last year and with many of the same riders we just might be returning with fifteen this year.
FAMILY ... That is what this sport has come to mean to me. I guess its seasons for everyone.
The first being when all you could think about was actually riding instead of what you were doing. At work, drifting off to an amazing stretch of road with the nicest rest spot that most people in the world will never see.
The second being when your feeling more confident in your riding skills. What you have been doing just doesn’t satisfy and you begin to search the internet for that next level of challenge.
For me, the third leaving the solo excursions behind and joining other riders. Which changes the sport into a completely new discovery of FUN all together.
The fourth (four Seasons) finding that everyone in this sport is FAMILY and the riding takes second seat. RIDE, Lets Take a Ride, yep thats it, top shelf but riding with your family has somehow become the main motivator to make the next ride happen
Yep, I am looking forward to this ride!
Sometimes, we go out to have a little mischief, some high spirited fun...shenanigans shall we say! See, us men (or at least me!) are big kids at heart. We like to have some fun, some banter between us, competitiveness and some hint of danger. Dual sport riding with friends provides all of this. The cast of characters were sure to provide this today but we got more than we bargained for!
It started mid week.
I was thinking about a place I had just begun exploring but I wanted to tie in some sections and there were some sections of trail that were questionable to proceed on solo. So what better thing to do than invite some friends that like the technical, hard stuff that is unexplored. The cast of characters today would be Briley, running his new to him KTM 300 2 stroke, Chris on his Beta 500 and his buddy Casey riding his KTM 950 super enduro. Myself, I would be on the Honda xr650l.
It began bright and early on a Saturday morning with Briley delivering a slightly used goldentyre front 21" tire to replace my sorely lacking in the grip department Continental TKC80. The Goldentyre had a proper tread pattern sure to give me more grip off road. We spooned it on quickly and headed off to meet Chris and Casey at the trail head. We arrived just a few minutes late but all were ready to hit the trails. This was to be a shorter ride for Chris and Casey (afternoon commitments) and then would leave Briley and I to continue our ride.
We were on the trail in short order setting off on a quick pace. I was feeling good and confident with some superior rubber up front planting the front end on the XR. About a quarter mile into the trail, I gave a little squeeze of the throttle coming over the rise and felt the chain snap. I quickly pulled the clutch in and slammed the brakes coming to a quick stop. This was not good.
I had come light (too light) in the tools department on this ride and certainly was not prepared for chain problems. Add to this, it wasn't a simple master link coming off but a catastrophic link failure having the chain break where it shouldn't. A defect? Chris and Casey had plenty of tool and what they didn't have on them was just back at their trailer. We began to break off the busted link, or rather Casey and Chris went to work on my bike. Briley had a master link but wasn't for a o-ring chain. We decided if we could get the bike to limp to the road, we would trailer back to my house, pick up my wife's bike and come back to continue the ride. We managed to jerry rig the chaing enough to limp to the road. l barely limped out with the link half off the chain when we hit pavement.
This is now how things change. A random KTM rider shows up and starts talking with us. He mentions that he has a chain, masterlinks, everything we need at his house, 5 miles away. Perfect! We follow him to his house, we put another masterlink on (chain now has 2 of them), and we head back to the trails. Our new found helper decides he is going to guide us as well to some secret spots. Perfect!
We now head off at a quick clip, running hard in the dust hitting trails I had never known were there. We ended up on some sweet tight 2 track and single track in a pine forest that was a blast heading off to an old Indian cave that locals dug for arrowheads. Along the way we stopped at a waterfall. From there to the cave was a high speed jaunt. When we arrived, we took a short break and were ready to hang on. It was here our next problem, or rather mine, would rear it's ugly head. My phone was gone from my RAM Mount. Uh oh! I had lost it. We decided to back track to the waterfall, about 2 or 3 miles and see if we find it. About halfway there, Casey spots it. We stop. Then he notices his Sena headset is gone so we all backtrack again. Find it at the Indian cave. What luck!
Now we are heading to an overlook I am familiar with. Problems come again, this time to carb problems on the 950 super enduro. Casey and Chris decide it is time to cut their ride short and limp the bike back. We escort them out and the carb issues resolve itself as soon as they get out of the woods. They take off at a race clip with the engines roaring, gravel flying and an impromptu race ensues. We just watch as spectators and head back to our own adventure.
Now it is significant to note. All of the above was unplanned. The plan was to ride about 1 hour of trail to tie into the valley below, back to blacktop, gas to refuel, food and some water. With this in mind, I only brought a little water and no food. It was now way past lunch, hot and I was out of water and I was feeling it. After a short break at the overlook, I mounted my trusty steed and promptly dropped it. My overall ensuing dehydration, lethargy and lack of personal fuel coupled with heat was showing. I was determined, however to persevere! We continued on and it quickly became technical with some treacherous mud holes, a beaver dam crossing, tight trails with blind curves, drop offs with quick climbs. I put the bike in a ditch coming over a blind crest of a hill but were on our way again. A little later the trail was blocked by dead fall and trees so we began to bushwack through the swamp. This created the need for duck paddling my bike through as I was getting almost no momentum or traction from the rear tire. However, after a lot of physical exertion, we made it through and back to the road. I was spent!
This was where we parted ways with the other rider as Briley and I headed on the blacktop for some long overdue lunch and re-hydration.
By this time it was later in the afternoon but a bit more riding would endure. I decided to show my riding companion another spot I was exploring and for us to do a quick loop. Quick it was and I just was not feeling at the top of my game. On a tight, technical, loose hill climb my rear end came around and I took a nap with the bike in the dirt. I was done physically at this point and we made the decision to head back.
Now usually, when I leave the trails, I wipe the dirt of the license plate so Law Enforcement can read the tag and see I am legal. Today I didn't. In the middle of town, both of us get pulled over by the police. He thought we were on straight dirt bikes on the road. We wiped the dirt of the plates, LE was satisfied, and we headed home. It was nice to get back, get out of the riding clothes, and laugh about our calamities, shenanigans of the day. This is what it is all about!
"They take off at a race clip with the engines roaring, gravel flying and an impromptu race ensues."
Only up to the posted speed limit. I promise.
Jon Brought Mr. MotoFlake and friends along on this one ... Good thing too as they saved his bacon
Having our lunch at the Mexican restaurant after about 50 miles of trail riding, the Legend himself, Super Dan, imparts his wisdom among us mere mortals. He states “riding under 35mph on the trails is dangerous.” We look at him incredulous and he then says “35-65mph is a good speed.” This is trail riding, not street riding we are talking about. The Legend also imparts wisdom many have heard before such as “when in doubt, throttle out” however one must wonder if he was not the originator of these quotes? But first, a little background on the Legend.
The Legend hails from the back woods of Tennessee, a most unassuming character until he straps a motorcycle between his legs. It has been said he taught Chuck Norris how to stunt ride his KLR for the Delta Force movie, that he once met Sasquatch on a trail ride back in the deep woods (the Legend gave Sasquatch navigation tips), that he left Mouse McCoy in his dust desert racing, that Travis Pastrana once called him “the most bad-ass man alive!” We may never know if this is true, but some truth will follow. All witnessed first-hand by me, your author.
The Legend is almost like a ninja as he hides in plain sight, but he does this in the most unassuming way. Sometimes he rides a Yamaha race bike, or an old KTM 2 smoke MX racer, or whatever good enduro/race bike is lying around at the time. He has ridden EVERYTHING but his steed of choice is what confuses everyone. Most times he is riding a bone stock, Gen 2 KLR 650 with some street tires or very mild dual sport tires. This gives the impression to the casual observer or those whom don’t know (once myself) that he is just a weekend rider, likely to not venture far off pavement and stick to county dirt roads or the well maintained fire/logging roads. This is what makes him the ninja as nothing could be further from the truth. This is his camouflage! One does not know they are being graced by his presence. He will just sit back, very unassuming with a big grin on his face. But we have a story to relate and I best get on with it.
First for some context for this yarn; I am not a slow rider, some call me a fast rider or that I ride too fast at times though I am quick to point out, I am not a racer. My bike isn’t either but it is well setup for speed and off road duty. It is a well uncorked Honda XR650L with a Goldentyre fatty up front and Maxxis Maxcross IT in the rear. Properly setup for some hard off road riding. Approximately 80lbs lighter than the legends ride of choice this date with much better grip to the road service. A fairly hot bike if you will for dual sport purposes.
(SuperDan is in the red jersey above
and on the right below)
On our first section of the morning ride we hit our first tight dirt 2 track after getting off the gravel. The leader and then I open up our steeds and get to throwing roost and pinning the throttle. The riding was the perfect trails for clutching the turns in 2nd and winding it all the way up until hard braking hitting the next turn. We were cooking! I glance in my rearview and Super Dan, the Legend himself is on my ass! I try to step up my game as did the lead and we came across a mud section. The leader goes down (himself a legend, known across the world wide web as #thbrez) in the mud and I throttle threw it. This did not slow down the legend, he is still behind me. More was to come but the wisdom imparted at lunch a little later was the foretelling of what was to come.
The next evidence of the Legend’s greatness came on a downhill section with a tricky log crossing. As we had difficulty navigating this obstacle, he takes off into the woods and drops off a 4’ ledge back on to the trail, all unassuming like. Nothing to technical for someone on a trails bike or a little 230lb 2 stroke endure bike with the proper skills. But this is a 420lb beast with street tires. Nothing too it for the Legend.
A little further down the trail we came to a very large tree crossing. As we attempted to build a ramp to push our bikes over the fork of the main branches of the tree, Super Dan heads off into the thick underbrush and blazes his on trail. Why didn’t we think of that?
The real spectacle came towards the end of the day. I was leading as we were heading down a wide hard packed crusher run road. The Legend passes me and I attempt to keep up. He is pinning it, power sliding around the hair pin turns like a flat tracker. I am using all I have just to keep him insight, working the xr650l to give me all it has and adding plenty of body English into the mix to manhandle this beast. The Legend isn’t even trying. We head down a long slopping turn and his rear begins to break loose from braking but this doesn’t faze him, he just throttles out. On the flat straight away my rear is spinning straight through the gears with a cloud of rock and dust being expelled into the air as I wind up to 70mph. We start to head downhill and we pass a spot where the Legend literally put me in a ditch as I tried to keep up with him last year. Apparently I haven’t learned my lesson. I lay hard on the brakes as we come to a sharp right hand, downhill turn. I am grateful for the full knobbies I have on. I swear if it doesn’t even look like the Legend is braking. He pulls away again. As we cross the bridge and head back up I see his rear end break loose and I am sure he is going down. Nope! He just throttles out and pulls away. I am pinning it and notice I am getting up to around 75mph and the Legend is still accelerating. We have missed our turn and I can’t catch him to let him know this. I back off the throttle knowing I was bested and let the Legend just ride. He was feeling it and you just got to let the Legend have his due. Sometimes the joy is just from being in the shadow of greatness knowing that you gave it your all and remained in the shadow as this is the closest you will get to the Legend as he can’t be bested.
Article by: Jon Buffington
SuperDan is what we call him
WHAT TIRE DID YOU BRING
Each time we go on these Group Rides we find the terrain to be challenging.
More often than not its a muddy mess as we usually all show up a day after a torrential downpour
In the beginning we all had a healthy mix of 60/40 80/20 Street/Dirt tires but as time goes by
We are seeing less and less street and more dirt oriented Dual Sport tires.
Of course the man we call SuperDan laughs as he passes us all on his 50/50 tires.
For the rest of us mere mortals, its a dance between selecting the right DOT certified rubber and finding that please get me up that greasy, muddy hill without dropping my 500 pound bike dilemma :)
These group rides are not weekly so that gives everybody plenty of time to burn-em-down. Funny, we are all scheduling our new tire purchases just a few days before meeting again.
I could become
and end the madness of searching for that
Na, this is just too much
(of an action, scheme, etc.) recoil unfavorably upon the originator: ensuring that the liability does not come home to roost. [from the saying, like chickens, come home to roost’.]
These dogs came out to entertain us while we were changing a flat ... Hospitality ... Nice!
Why Do We Ride ... It's Really Hard To Explain ... FUN!
I saw somewhere someone trying to define adventure and they said its the unexpected things you come across on any journey ... I like that one as it doesn't require a Jeep or a motorcycle ... It covers everyone!
Dual Sport, has anyone define that one yet!
Its a niche! In the grand we are few who choose this flavor of danger for reward.
Dogmatic! Yes indeed we are! I don't think there is one definition we all can agree on.
One day, I saw a huge GS1200 out at Puckett's of Leiper's Fork. I was on my new KLR650 and WOW what a work of engineering art! I walked over with excitement like a kid at the fair. This bike had every possible aftermarket item you could buy and the rider as well. His riding gear probably cost as much as my KLR and the aftermarket parts surely could bought a used car in my hands.
Being new to the sport you can imagine my excitement. I was surly meeting a Ewan Mcgregor or a Charlie Borman here. I asked where he rode as I was having a difficult time finding places. He said he didn't ride off road. Great, I can actually help SuperMan here as I know of a place called the Dirt Devil just 20 minutes away.
I began telling him about it.
Until he yelled at me.
"NO, this bike never goes off road, go away and leave me alone"
Shocked, I went and sat back down in front of Puckett's Grocery and wondered! Then it dawned on me that Dual Sport Motorcycle Riding wasn't the same for everybody ...
Photo provided by: 75Bronco
Next, I met some guys to ride with and one of them invited me to go out to Prentice Cooper. He had a light DS and absolutely loved woods riding and single track. I couldn't keep up! On a simple incline, I dropped the bike and was too tired to pick it up. Later at one trail, he told me to wait for him as he would come back for me after he rides up to explore the top of a mountain. He never invited me back and I could not blame him. Super nice guy but I didn't want to ride with him as it wasn't my skill level and it wasn't fun.
Photo provided by: 75Bronco
There are heavy bikes, middle weight bikes and light bikes.
So, three categories,
There are different skill levels, terrains, regional trail systems and a myriad of reasons people have for riding!
One group is the grown ups who once raced in their youth. Often trailering light street legal dirt bikes to places like the LBL200 where they whip up a little competition between friends.
Photo provided by: 75Bronco
Another is those who watched The Long Way Around and decided to learn to ride and go on adventure. I love that group! Thats what happened to me with the exception that I had already learned on a dirt bike as a kid.
Photo provided by: 75Bronco
There are those who ride great distances to rallies where they spend a few days camping and talking with old friends. Making new ones all while viewing the carnival of activities they paid for.
There have been attempts to define Dual Sport Riding but most leave out those who see it differently than they do.
We could simply say its riding a motorcycle thats set up to legally be ridden on paved streets and dirt roads but that would be lacking!
The group of guys and girls I ride with now have defined it for me. We are all different. Some ride in, others trailer, while some tow their homes with garages.
We ride out as a group. The faster riders take the lead and wait at intersections for everyone else. It is fun to take these little breaks and hear everyones laughter and stories about what just happened back there.
and there it is .... FUN
Who's rights and who's wrong, man I don't even care anymore, as long as were having FUN