A little bedtime story for you all.
I did a day ride yesterday. There were 8 of us. 3 300cc 2 strokes (gasgas + 2 ktms), 1 200cc KTM and 3 250cc 2 strokes. (2 YZs and a CR). All set up for woods. A good mix of riders, all pretty experienced except the teenager son on the KTM 200. I'm the only one on a 4 stroke. The YZ and CR guys look skeptical that I belong.
The ride is tight singletrack in the hills. Dense forest to above treeline, etc. Hills, rocks, streams, ruts, meadows. Up down up down up down. The father told the son at the end of the ride "there was no easy terrain on that ride".
10 miles in we go down, down, down on a really steep and slippery trail through the trees. We get down in the gully, there is a little creek and then something the leader calls Hamburger hill.
There are two ways up Hamburger hill.
There is the "serpentine", which is tight switchbacks all the way up. Problem is that if you are on the (steep) hillside and get on the power, the back wheel wants to slide downhill, screwing you up or getting the rear tire caught on a tree. And the corners are difficult, trying to keep momentum while turning up the face of a steep hill. Plus the usual rocks and trees. Fortunately not many roots though. But it did rain a bit the night before so it was a little greasy.
Then there is the direct route, where you go as fast as you can through the trees at the bottom, break out to a clearing and charge straight up the MFer. Its rocky up the face which is littered with golfball sized rock on a clay base, with a bit of grass in places.
We can't see any of this because of the trees. Its my first time on this ride and at this hill.
Our leader prepped us a bit with a few tips. He says he takes the direct route as high as he can go and then sidehills way over and makes his way back to the trail at the top via some light bushwacking. He says the serpentine is fine too if you don't overshoot any of the berms. If the berms are in tact. If they aren't, its hell.
Off he goes. The co leader takes off bushwacking at the bottom. Not sure where he went. It wasn't the direct route.
I'm hungry. I quickly eat an orange.
The 3 250cc 2 strokes take off doing the serpentine. That leaves father and son who take off up the direct route.
I finish my orange. I take off up the serpentine. I get about half way up, come around the corner and there are 3 250s in various stages of being stopped and stalled on the trail. I stop in a semi flat stretch and wait. I take off but its fruitless because I can't get enough speed up before the next corner to do it properly. I turn around and go down.
Rather than wait for that line to clear, I take a run up the direct route only to find the father and son team bulldogging the son's KTM 200 on my path. I turn around and go down.
But in the process I notice the direct path has a line off to the side of where the father and son are. Its got a tightish turn before it goes up, but if I can get through the turn with enough speed, its a more or less straight but steep shot to the top.
So I blast through the single track at the bottom as best I can, break out in the open, blast through the turn. I'm going just a little bit slow coming out, but I crack it and the engine picks up. I grab second gear. There are 2 little rock steps going up. I manage to get the front wheel light and find a good line over both of them without slowing down. Next up is one of the leaders who is stumbling down the trail to help some of the guys who are having trouble. I scare the crap out of him and almost run him over but manage to get by. I shoot right to the top, 2nd gear WFO, pulling a bit of a wheelie as I crest.
That is how its done, boys.
I'm not a super talented rider. I never grew up riding woods. I've had my WR less than 2 years and its the first bike I've owned since 1985. I was the only one to make it up Hamburger Hill directly without clutching and paddling. I'm pretty friggin proud of that. Our leader can't believe this is only my second season of riding.
That wasn't the only success story of the ride. I was doing as well or anyone with all the terrain. At the 20 mile mark the CR and one YZ rider had to take a logging road back. The CR rider boiled his bike over badly and was low on coolant. The YZ rider toasted his clutch. THe KTM 200 blew or lost its radiator cap.
I'm smiling ear to ear today. I love my WR. It handled all the terrain well and never skipped a beat.
And I'm going riding again tomorrow.