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Discussion in 'GPS Tracks - Central, Texas & Gulf States' started by Jeff@TheQuadShop, Sep 12, 2013.
You can run it anytime of the year.
perfect, thank you. being in the northeast I forget that’s a possibility sometimes.
You can run into snow and cold, just keep an eye on the weather.
The Loosenut dualsport ride will take place on the first weekend of November. Pretty sure some of the tracks will overlap.
I've been doing a few days on the KAT on Presidents Day Weekend for the last few years. Last year I was on the KAT on new years eve. Cold weather keeps the riffraff out! Lol Enjoy!
Still want to get an actual RR together...lol. But Google Photos created this video and I thought it was a nice roll-up. I've got all my buddy's pics and he just posted a bunch of go-pro footage so we'll see if I get off my lazy ass...
KAT Ride Report – moyen & heydek
Riders: We are long time street riders with our off road experience limited to riding the TAT last year.
Bikes: We rode our TAT built DR650’s on Dunlop D606’s. Apart from the typical goodies (better seat, bigger tank, skid plate,...) the upgrades that proved most useful for the KAT were upgraded suspension front & back, decent handguards, lowered footpegs and 14/46 gearing. One of us had a Garmin GPS, the other Locus Pro on a smartphone.
Luggage: We figured the KAT would be a different kind of animal so we tried to keep it light this time. No camping gear, only hotel stays. I use the Kriega OS system, heydek the Enduristan Blizzard L. We mounted them without our luggage racks to save further weight. We did pack a decent set of tools, which proved wisely with the trail side repairs we had to execute.
Timing: We left on August 3 from Li’l Abner motel in Slade (many thanks for letting us leave our car and trailer there) and made it counter clockwise to Pineville. We rode all the hard sections except for the last, hard 7. By then I fucked up my wrist and wasn’t up to another hard section. We rode for 5 whole days with one day of maintenance & rest after the second day.
For riders with our skill level being on relatively heavy bikes, hoping to ride the whole KAT including the hard sections in 6 days was just silly. Hindsight is 20/20. Some say being in better physical shape would also have helped, but that’s just speculation...
Day 1: For our first day we figured we would probably make it to somewhere close to London KY, maybe backtracking a bit if we overshot it. We could not have been more wrong.
The first part of the main section proved already challenging. Tons of fun, yes, but it’s a little intimidating when you already run out of experience and what you feel comfortable with within a couple of hours of riding. Eek!
We made it through Hard 1A & B without much drama though. There were some steep climbs but the DR’s just kept tractoring up everything with plenty of grip. The weather had been sunny and hot for several days and the trails were, apart from what seemed like perpetual puddles, relatively dry.
Hard 2 was mainly mud and puddle navigation with just enough water at times to make it scary but still doable. We can only imagine how a solid downpour would turn the trail in a slippery mud fest and lots of bike-digging.
Our initial plan to maybe ride 110 miles that day was extremely naive (sweet summer children that we are). We put maybe 60 miles on the odometer by 6 pm. We got off the trail close to McKee and slabbed it to London. Big ass advantage of the 650's is they happily cruise at highway speeds.
Day 2 we returned and continued on Hard 3 without luggage since we decided on staying one more night. This would basically be the first time we ever rode single track. Going counter clockwise, at the beginning of the northern loop section of Hard 3, there is a rock ledge where we practically dragged the bikes up. Neither of us had the cojones to just send it. We’ll always wonder if we would have made it… A little further was a steep long nasty split in the rocks, filled with dirt and roots. Heydek made it up there relatively quick, but my bike kept getting stuck. It took us more than an hour to drag the heavy DR up using a tow strap, the other bike and a bucket load of sweat. Fun, right? Good thing we didn’t carry luggage. The rest of the trail that day was absolutely fantastic with lots of variation in terrain, scenery and elevation. The first one who gets bored on the KAT better finds a new hobby. But we were running low on energy and daylight, and after a quick puncture repair (who leaves screws laying around in the middle of the woods??) we peeled of hard 3 before the end and went back to London.
Day 3 was spent on bike maintenance. With a slipping clutch on heydek’s bike and no repair shop open on Monday we resorted to field surgery on the parking lot of the hotel. After scuffing up the metal clutch plates with sandpaper the clutch performed flawlessly for the rest of the trip. Our personal maintenance consisted of rest, steak, beer and groaning loudly with every movement.
Day 4 we tackled the last part of Hard 3. Deep Creek was deep enough but didn’t give us a lot of trouble, just soaked boots. Fortunately we knew to go downstream before crossing from other RR.
We struggled after one of the smaller river crossings where the trail made a sharp right turn uphill with tons of loose rocks. Without space to build some momentum, it took us about half a gallon of sweat to ride the bikes to the top of this climb, but we made it in one piece. Here’s a pic from just before the climb:
We hit Hard 4 on the same day, but to be honest, with all the trail mayhem I do not remember anything about this section. Maybe it's the beers, maybe it's hitting my head once too often. We were still staying in the same hotel in London, so another day of riding without luggage.
Heydek decided to take a little tumble at the beginning of the track (after crossing the highway) resulting in this ‘find Waldo’-picture:
Day 5 we did Hard 5 and quickly realized why this is a 'fan favorite'. Really cool single track with lots of variation, little ramps that gave our bikes some air (psa don't check the GoPro footage, it's depressing) and being able to continue riding without having to stop for every puddle labyrinth.
What an enchanted forest:
Apart from one inconspicuous puddle where we got our balls wet (waterproofing the side panel of our airboxes helped to keep the filter dry) we got through all of the trails OK. We passed Williamsburg in the afternoon but tracked back once we realized it was our best shot for finding a place to sleep.
Day 6, the day we originally estimated to finish the whole KAT, we actually rode the south western loop between Williamsburg and Pineville. The first part is easy with some paved & gravel roads, the second half is good fun and has some technical rocky terrain. We often wondered how heavier bikes doing the main trail could/would manage here.
We skipped Hard 7 because my wrist was hurting too much after taking a beating during some tumbles in the previous days. At least/last we finally managed to ride around 200 miles that day. After spending the night at the Pineville lodge listed on the KAT website, we slabbed the bikes back to Slade and trailered them home.
Thank you Jeff for creating the KAT! It was a ton of fun and the GPX files worked like a charm!
We filmed parts of the trip, as soon as I’m done with it, I’ll post it as well.
Some small takeaways:
It’s surprising how fast you learn to deal with new terrain and obstacles. Especially when you force yourself to focus on proper riding technique and not let instinct take over. The first day we often had to gather our courage and convince ourselves that we probably wouldn’t die. By the end of the trip we often didn’t even stop anymore before going up or down similar nasty stuff.
The DR's continued to amaze us. They are a bitch to pick up, but they never were the limiting factor when we struggled. Still, we often wondered how some light euro princesses would compare.
Jeff's videos are great to give you an idea of the kind of terrain and what to expect. But since he makes everything look easy + GoPro flattens everything out, if you are not really skilled and experienced, they can be misleading. Afterwards we looked up specific parts where struggled and it hardly registered in his video.
We expected to encounter many riders on the trails, but only met 2 other guys riding the KAT on day 6.
There's nothing more true than "It all depends on the weather". No way we would have gotten even half as far riding in the wet.
That is a fantastic ride report @moyen ! Would you mind to post that on the FB page?
Hi Jeff, glad you like it. Neither me nor Heydek are on facebook. Feel free to post the report on FB yourself if you like.
Im impressed, inspired and entertained. Thanks for that!
ALTERNATE POST TITLE SUGGESTION: Fear and Loathing in Kentucky
My two buddies and I are bombing it to Jellico from Cincinnati on Friday afternoon and riding the loop counter clockwise (sections 3 and 4). We have 2 1200GSAs and an 800GS.
I have ridden this route many times since our first voyage down there in Sept 2014 (Im the goof on the white 1200gsa on the 7th page). Since then- my equipment and skills have dramatically improved- but I'm still new to navigation. I have always been a "follower" but Im starting to cut my teeth and lead trips. Grateful for the accessible GPS files and Garmin- I think Im all set and very excited.
Anyone know if there is accessible "primitive camping" off the trail on the main loop east of Jellico? Im hoping we can find a place within a few hours of hopping on section 3. Also hoping its not too lofty of a goal to make it to the Gorge/ section 1 by Sunday night if we stick to the main route.
Just find a good spot and throw up your tent.
Thats the best plan!
Amazing that you are still so active on here- glad to hear the route is still making waves in so many communities. I haven't been down there since early of 2018 and Im kicking myself for sleeping on it!! I havent been to the eastern portion since probably 2016 so it will feel super fresh- cant wait.
I've been a member of this site since the very early days, I still post and check in here several times a day. Make sure that you download the latest version, there's been about 6 changes so far this year alone.
Yep- I read the best place to get the tracks was your website http://annessky.net/kat/ . Im running your tracks on my Garmin Montana and on my iPhone app Guru maps for backup. I’m all packed and ready. Wheels up from Cincy tomorrow at 3pm!
Heading down to Li’l Abner motel in Slade after work today. Taking a klr and tw200, Got all of next week to ride it. Plan is to go counter clockwise and camp as much as possible. Can't wait to finally ride the kat. Thanks for putting it together Jeff!!
Yeah, either there or FaceBook.
Great pics, keep them coming when you can!
We had a great trip on the Big GSes. I was a bit cocky with thinking we could ride a full section in a day. First day we started in Jellico in the late afternoon on Friday and camped right off the first gravel road eastbound on section 3. 2nd night we camped by some lake (wish I could remember the name) which was about halfway through the 3rd section. From there we hit some pavement to get up to Beattyville (closer to home) and rode parts of section 1 before camping in the Gorge on our 3rd and final night.
I now know that with a group on big bikes: riding half of a main section per day is a reasonable pace- I'm sure you might be able to push it further with an experienced crew- but this was our first group ride together- so we will use that as a baseline and goal for the future.
The route didn't disappoint per usual. East of Jellico on the main route has some pretty gnarly stuff for a big 1200- but with the proper confidence- it was no issue. We loved it, even with 2 newbie GS riders. Below is a link to a quick youtube edit of our travels. Some of the footage is from the Beattyville area where we veered slightly off the tracks to explore the creek beds.