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Discussion in 'Central – From Da Nort Woods to the Plane States' started by Psycho Monkey, Jan 23, 2009.
DriftlessRoadAdventures.com has a ton of GPX files for the area but they are all paved routes, I believe. The area is beautiful and the paved rides are fun though, so it certainly isn't a waste to ride pavement (watch out for marbles in the curves).
I haven't spent a great deal of time looking for gravel roads in the Driftless region, but my impression is that there aren't many unpaved roads left, especially on the WI side of the border. I could be wrong and someone with more intimate knowledge of the area may be able to offer better insight.
Thanks for the comments 993. I know for a fact there's actually quite a bit or gravel etc. on the WI side, i'm just blind to what's on the west caost of the Miss. as i only ever go the there to Theilman usually!
Korey and Tiger, thanks for the recommendation!! I do connected with Marshkevuk last night. We were able to connect him with some good MN gravel on the TMAT and Dual Sport Maps.com
I'm thinking about doing a shakedown run on my 1090 tomorrow morning to prepare for a Colorado trip in a couple weeks. I'm considering either Snake Creek or Chengwatana since they're both about the same distance from me. Anyone rode either one recently? I'm just wondering which might be more rideable (fewer mud holes..) on a big bike. I rode Snake Creek prolly 8-10 years ago on a 250, and I remember one steep, narrow downhill that gave me a little trouble, but I've never been to Chengwatana.
I haven't ridden either one lately. And I have only ridden Chengwatana once. IMHO Snake Creek is a much better place to ride. It will be a little challenging on a big bike, but if your are a reasonably competent rider, you will probably be okay. There are a few mudholes especially in the far west loop. Fortunately the puddles all seem to have a firm bottom.
There are a few somewhat steep and rocky hills. But I think they will be good practice for CO.
There are massively long puddles at Chengwatana.
I misread the map and got on a really tough trail there and had a horrible time getting out due to mud, stream crossing, and downed trees. And I was on a good dirt bike, a KTM 500 exc.
Apparently, I'm not reasonably competent
I started from the back lot, got about halfway up the first big climb, but caught up with some UTVs, bounced off line and stopped. I decided it was too loose and rocky to try to keep going up so I, with a lot of effort, turned the bike around. When I tried to get going again my back wheel hung up in the rut and I dropped the bike. I had to wait for some more ATVs to come along to help me pick it up and then I rode back down the way I had come up...
Don't give up. I know many average riders who get along well in hard stuff on that class of bike. It is just a matter of learning proper techniques. I only ride smaller bikes anymore and cannot offer much advice on what the techniques are. One thing people do is to pick a line and use the power of the bike to stick to the line. You can't do a lot of shucking and jiving on a big bike.
Go back and practice starting on easier stuff. This is exactly what you will likely be running into in CO.
I think one good way to build skills is to take the harder lines on easier trails.
Riding on the weekend has its advantages and disadvantages. There are a lot more people riding to deal with, but there are people there to help you out.
I have only ridden there during the week and rarely see another rider.
So where are you planning to ride in CO? I am pretty familiar with the southwest quadrant of the state.
I'm going to the KTM rally in Breckenridge, so Im hoping to learn some big bike technique there.
I've ridden the Alpine Loop plus Imogene and Ophir on a 250 without any problems, but last year when I took the big KTM out there I got stuck on a side trail off of Webster pass that was similar in surface to this trail at Snake Creek. Loose, small-medium size rocks are my downfall, apparently. Then, the overall height/weight of the bike makes it pretty intimidating when things start to go south and the ground is uneven. Yesterday, I caught up with some Side x Sides so I couldn't keep my momentum and power up through the climb, I also bounced off line which didn't help. It's hard to see in the pictures, but the clear line on the left was fairly narrow and crowned, with the slope going off into the trees and then downhill. Once I stopped it was mostly a mental thing, but I didn't want get into something even more challenging that I couldn't get out of so I turned around.
Thanks for the words of encouragement!
I have found that the biggest obstacle to many of the challenges will be the confidence to do it. The ugliest crashes are the ones right in the middle of something where a person got off the gas because of confidence.
Before I go to that type of thing, I try to watch vids and read as much about it as I can. Chances are the instructors will be talking about and fine tuning what you will have already read and seen. That should give you the confidence that it works.
It is also important to remember (and can be very tough to do...) that speed is frequently your friend. If your suspension is set up correctly, you will be able to bomb obstacles faster than what you could think possible.
Have a ton of fun. I am somewhat jealous.
Thanks! It just happened that I scheduled a week of vacation that lined up with the rally so I decided to sign up. I'm really looking forward to it!
As said watch the videos. Take the time to do the slow speed drills. You can do them anywhere. They really help with balance and clutch technique.
I was burning some back roads down along the ridge by Lake Benton last night. Perfect evening for it.
I came up to a county tar south of Arco and noticed three highway patrols and what looked like a couple of Harley baggers pulled over on the side of road. I'm not sure what kind of party it was, but I'm glad I didn't earn an invitation .
Not to derail the thread, but it was good time, other than the altitude and lack of humidity...
The first day I did the Jimmy Lewis school and picked up, I think, some good tips about peg weighting. I'm a 30 year street rider and not everything transfers to unpaved riding. I think I gained some important info and some drills to work on.
The second day, I did half of one 'moderate' loop led by Destry Abbot (on a 1090). It wasn't too bad, mostly gravel with a section that followed Sheephorn Road, which was the hardest stuff I've attempted on the 1090, but not earth shaking. I bailed at the 1/2way break in Kremling because they talked about a steep downhill switchbacked section that some guys with big bikes and issues with the previous day. Talking to some of the other riders in the group after they returned, I think it probably would have been doable, but I had to ride my bike back to MN, so discretion prevailed...
At breakfast on the 2nd day, I randomly sat down at a table with a few older guys. Turns out a couple of them were friends with Jimmy Lewis, and then Paul Neff (who was with the Lewis school, training to be an instructor) sat down with us. Long story short, he wanted to see the area a bit other than the mile of road they were using for the school, and we went for a ride over Boreas pass later that afternoon when the schools were done. He was riding Jimmy Lewis' personal 1090 . Wasn't anything epic, just a cool ride with an ISDE rider... James, one of Jimmy's friends, went with us (also 1090) and he picked up an old square nail and got a flat in his rear tire so it turned into an adventure. Both guys were great and it was the highlight of the event for me. Just ride with a couple other guys, just to ride.
About 2500 miles altogether. Back home now and never had to pick the bike up...
Thread revival (necromancy?) happening. Great stuff here. I see that one of the "roads" Barnyard mentioned halfway back is where I dumped my new 790 the other day. (No harm done--it's tough to break things in a foot of sugar sand.)
Some of the resources that were posted are no longer available for download. If any of you are still around, please consider refreshing any links or posting new files. I've been banging around my area for 300 miles now and I'm running out of ideas.
Thanks! Happy trails.
I'm in the same area as you if you are riding around Barnyard's territory. I used to live a couple miles from him. There are some fun and pretty areas down around Clearwater if you haven't ridden around there yet. Feel free to shoot me a message if you are new to exploring the area. I got bored pretty quick as well around the 30 mile radius or so...
Gravel routes used for bicycle riders have been capturing my imagination of late.
Here is the route sheet for the Filthy 50. Pretty sure there is also a Filthy 100.
Here is a map for the Freedhem 76
The Dirt Bag routes out of Clearwater are also pretty cool. I have ridden the 38 mile route and there is also a 100 mile route. The maps are on Strava and Ride with GPS.
There are gravel bike riding events all over the state, many of them have 3 loops where not all the routes share all the roads, so it is possible to put together an even longer loop. Most of this is all on public thoroughfares, so it is open to anyone on any type of vehicles. Many of the routes are mapped out on "ride with GPS" which is a bicycle riding app. Getting the turn by turn requires a subscription. The routes off of strava can be downloaded and loaded onto another device. I have not had success getting turn by turn cues with those though.
Searching facebook for gravel bike events, leads to the web pages, which generally leads to the route.
Out of the area, but other really cool routes include the 100+ mile bike ride in Theodore Roosevelt Natl Park in Medora, ND. That route has lots of elevation change and is brutal on a bike. There are several insane routes in Nebraska that would be awesome on a DS mc.
159 or whatever up north of Rice. You'll probably recognize it.
ChronicTinkerer, I have a couple hours this morning before a brunch. I had it in my head to wander around down by Kimball. I'll veer back toward Clearwater also. Thanks.
This summer I started exploring tax forfeited parcels in northern minnesota. They are open for public use and usually have good 2 track and some single track on them. I spent half a day exploring a 1012 acre parcel. OnXhunt and OnXoffroad will show these on a map but won't direct you to them. Also they are open for dispersed camping, so if you are looking for some adventure or getting away from the crowds, give it a try.