Got back from Brock Creek last night at 11:30pm tired, weary, and beat-up. And my KLR took more of a beating than I.
Arkansas singletrack proved to be quite a challenge for me and my 400# bike. Thanks to jgas and the other guys for showing me a good time. Here's the rundown of how I fared, with some pics...
I drove from Tulsa to Brock Creek on Thursday morning, new year's day. I was up past midnight, of course, on new year's eve, so the 5am alarm clock was pretty rough. I finally got to Brock Creek at 11am due to some minor navigational glitches. When I rolled into the campground I was greeted by ~20 suited riders revving to hit the trails. Jgas (Jeff) greeted me and promised to come back to get me later so I could check out the area. That he did.
One of several wrong turns led me over a stream crossing in my accord.
At camp, I was a minimalist and slept in the car. It was cold and quite uncomfortable, but good enough.
Jeff and another rider tested my metal on a brief singletrack loop and decided that I wasn't too much of a liability to join them on other trails. Had some trouble on one climb with my near-bald trakmaster, but that story would replay over and over for the next 2 days.
Headed back to camp and rendezvous with a few other riders to do a brief pre-lunch ride. Five of us went out and did a short loop and this was where my first major disaster happened. One rider sprung a leak in his carb and was dumping fuel on the ground. Some of us headed on, thinking he had it fixed, but one of the guys chased us down looking for more appropriate tools. I was well-equipped, so we headed back to lend aid. In the meantime, the leaky carb was somehow fixed and we met the rider on the trail. I waved him by me on the left as I scooted to the edge of the trail. Somehow he biffed in mid-pass and knocked me and my bike over on the right. Unfortunately, there was a 6" diameter tree that broke my instrument panel into bits. Expensive oops.
When we got back to camp, I removed all the broken parts took a brief solo ride and snapped some pics of the area.
After lunch, Jeff and I went out alone and he gave me a nice tour of numerous, challenging singletrack trails.
Aside from the occasional loss in traction and brief assistance from Jeff in helping push the bike, I was faring well on the tough terrain with my heavy bike. Then we came to Old Road Hill. Jeff said it was probably the toughest hill in the vicinity, so it was quite a challenge. Erosion had turned it into a 2-track. The right side was scoured into a deep rut and the left side was a rut of lesser depth, but peppered with 8" rocks. At the bottom, we decided that the left side was the ideal choice, but I wasn't able to make it beyond maybe half way up before a mishap.
Hill-climbing on the KLR is really a delicate ballet. You basically have to pin the throttle and do your best to aim the bike in the general direction that you want to go. The ass end is gonna spin like mad and waggle left and right while you try to countersteer, dab your feet to maintain balance, and get bounced all over the place by the jumping seat. This was basically the scenario on Old Road Hill and I was doing ok until the spinning rear tire took a nice bite into the hill, looped me backwards and to the left. The fairing broke the bike's fall against another tree. This was fortunate, as it might have otherwise been my knee. Bad news was that my fairing and headlight (still worked) were now displaced by about 15 degrees to the right.
Old Road Hill post-looping. You can sort of make out the two tracks, but it doesn't look nearly as steep or gnarly in the pic.
A bit crooked.
After a 2nd and 3rd failed attempt at the hill-climb, Jeff gave it a crack. He built these trails, so I had confidence he could grease the pig to the top. And he did.