Rain intermittently moistened the
Colorado landscape. It would be
impossible to order better conditions.
Trail boss Paul Krause shows the way. Unfortunately, he didn’t
come back on the same road or at the same time as the rest
of his group.
drawing riders from both coasts. The typical rider is somewhere in his 40s or 50s, he rides a KTM 990 and has a
long off-road history. There are also BMWs, Suzukis and
even a Ducati or two, but the most common sight is a guy
on a big KTM. It isn’t like a typical adventure rally, because
the riders tend to be a little more experienced and a lot
more skilled. Very few of them transferred from a Harley,
and some have held National Enduro numbers. Even the
riders with no extensive off-road background are there for
the dirt. You don’t travel to an event where the guides are
Kurt Caselli, Mike Brown, Paul Krause, Jimmy Lewis and
Andrew Short if you have a bad attitude. These riders
came to let the adventure unfold around them. The rain
came and went, then came again over the course of the
weekend, making the dirt moist and the sky cinematic. The
floods provided a dramatic backdrop that enhanced the
experience. I’m sure the people of Boulder had a different
take, as their cars were washed away in spontaneous
rivers of mud, but that was 100 miles away. The area
around Steamboat Springs is blessed with hundreds of
miles of excellent dirt roads that are well-maintained
because of the hunting business. I was there during the
brief elk hunting season, which brings in tourism and supports the summer economy. The local government knows
this and keeps the network of access roads in good shape.
Good for us.
High-quality dirt roads are essential to the adventure
bike thing. Adventure riding requires a slightly different
mentality from traditional off-road riding, which thrives on
ugly trails. When you ride something with multiple cylinders
and a fairing, your scale changes. It takes an adjustment
period, but eventually a 1000cc bike on a dirt road is
equivalent to a 200cc bike on a 2-foot singletrack. An
occasional washout, stream crossing or mud puddle just
adds to the challenge, like an extreme enduro section.
Having the right setup is important, just as it is with regular
dirt bikes. Knobby tires like Conti TKCs are the best, and
having a bike that was designed for dirt roads is essential.
Touratech had an 1190 already decked out with bags and
bars. Man, they work fast.