CHASING THE ROADRUNNER AT 2010 KTM ADVENTURE RIDER RALLY, MOAB, USA
We all live for the weekends, right? But in the overall scheme of things, some weekends outrank others -- for me, this has been one of them.
Ages ago I heard about the annual KTM Adventure Rider Rally in the USA, where the KTM brethren from all over America gather together to ride EXCs, 690s, Super Enduros and Adventures in some of the best trail, enduro and adventure bike riding destinations Uncle Sam has to offer.
This year's 7th annual KTM Adventure Rider Rally event was set down for Moab, Utah, and having heard many a story of the famed slickrock red canyons surrounding the town and the sensational riding on offer, my taste buds were sorely tempted.
After a few well placed emails to my good mate in Los Angeles, Rich Gold, plans were quickly afoot to be a part of this year's orange off-road festival.
And now, with the sun setting over the canyons of Moab and the event coming to a close on Sunday evening, what a blast this weekend has been!
Just on 150 KTM devotees turned out for the event, where you got to sample the latest bikes in the KTM range on test rides, take part in technical seminars, check out trade displays from various vendors and get in on the action of guided rides with off-road heroes of the calibre of Paul Krause, Mike Lafferty and Russell Bobbitt.
Of course, there's also plenty of social good times and bench racing, but the best part of all is the riding, and damn, the riding sure was good!
Bright and early on day one (Friday) Big Rich and I decided to tag along with Paul Krause on a 150 mile ride south from Moab, which quickly proved to deliver much more than many riders expected -- especially some of the boys aboard their 950 and 990 Adventures.
Before long we were pounding a gnarly red rock farm that had many a V-twin on their side and many a rider gasping for air in the desert heat as they battled the dusty Jeep trail. It sure took us a while to get everyone through -- to the point where we reached the lunch stop at 4.30pm -- and were only halfway through the day's loop!
We eventually made it back to the parc ferme just on dark, our butt cheeks tingling after a stack of road miles on our EXCs to get us home.
For Saturday we tagged along with young gun Bobbitt on the famed Moab Slickrock guided ride, and what another blow-out this was!
The Slickrock Trail is real close to town, so just ten minutes from the hotel we were into it -- and how!
Precisely 11 minutes from the hotel we had our hearts in our throats and pucker-muscles tensioned tight as we wound our way up, over, across and around the most bizarre of rock formations that looked like something straight out of a Roadrunner cartooon.
Now get this, all there is to guide you is a dotted white line painted on the rocks -- and the golden rule is venture away from the white dots at your peril!
We were sure glad to make it around the Slickrock loop intact -- as were the boys on their Adventures, who once again did it tough when confronted by some of the most gnarly of obstacles. Where they took those snarling V-twins sure was impressive.
A slap-up feed on Saturday evening brought the entire event staff and participants together, where KTM manager and former USA enduro legend Mark Hyde gave young guns Bobbitt and Lafferty a lesson in tyre changing, after which a fleet of event awards were handed out.
This morning Rich and I elected to try the self-guided ride format -- but failed miserably!
Our planned route out of Moab to the spectacularly named Top of the World trail was closed for a half-marathon foot race, so turning to plan B, we took a run through Arches National Park and as consolation spent the entire morning gob-smacked by the sensational rock formations, arches and overall stunning vistas the park has to offer. And get this, we even found some fun dirt loops -- in the national park!
Rest assured that along with all the riding both of us have been burning up pixels -- me with my Nikon still camera (for a big story on the ride coming up in TRAIL ZONE issue #33) and Rich with his Go Pro helmet cam.
In fact, Rich's footage of the Slickrock ride is just sensational, so I will have to get a link to it when he posts it on YouTube so you can check it out -- just wait until you see it! It will make you want to come here and ride it yourself some day, four sure.
As for our Griswold Vacation, well, from here we track south-west all the way through Utah to the bright lights of Las Vegas for the next couple of days.
So for now it's viva Las Vegas ... and c'mon 23 red!
-- Clubby, www.trailzone.com.au