|04-15-2007, 11:27 PM||#1|
turnip truck driver
Joined: Jan 2004
Location: wren-tonne, WA
2007 Desert 100 (Odessa Washington)
Just rolled in from Odessa and threw some of my pics up on Smugmug. The Desert 100
is one of the premiere off road events in the Northwest having gone on for some
It's a two day gig put together by a local off road club called the Stumpjumpers
and they do an absolutely outstanding job each year managing this monster event.
The event starts on Saturday with a poker run and dual sport event, and then the
big points race event on Sunday. Saturday usually draws anywhere from 1200 to
2000 riders out on to the 30 mile desert course and the main race on Sunday is
usually about 600-700 strong.
Odessa is about 180 miles due east from Seattle and is smack in the middle of the
Columbia Basin... well, kind of more like on the Northern edge of it, but it's
just plain awesome country.
The weather this year was amazingly similar to last year.. with Saturday starting
out cloudy and cool, then turning to rain in the afternoon and continuing to rain
off an on most of the night.. although not quite the deluge it was last year.
Sunday dawned bright and clear and quite a bit warmer then the day before.
I decided to leave the 450 at home this year and give the 950 a try. Last year,
there were at least three 950 Adventures, and this year counting mine, I spotted
six Adventures and a pair of 950 Super Enduros. The way they run the dual sport
is they first open the 30 mile course and allow the dual sport riders to run one
lap (either the family course, or the much tougher Ironman course) and then they
go out and do a 100 mile loop through the surrounding country side. The dual
sport course consisted of paved and dirt road sections, with a couple of trail
sections through the sage brush, some neat dirt roads up through canyon country,
then a loop through an ORV park, then down on in to town for lunch at the Rock
Early Saturday, I rolled up to the registration tent just as they were gathering
for the riders meeting for the dual sport and Ironman riders.
While milling around, I met Pete156 and Matawa (two other 950 riders here on
Advrider) and we chatted about tires, Baja, and the big orange beast. A lone
950 SE also showed up but I didn't get a chance to say hi to him before he got
lost in the crowd lined up to register.
They soon opened the course, and hundreds of riders soon funneled through the
start gate out in to the open desert. Pete and Matawa said they were going to
head out a bit later so I ventured out on my own.. not like I would be all alone
out there with that many people and I was anxious to give the new Dunlop 908 a
try in the mud. (I wouldn't have to wait long)
The tracks were in pretty good shape.. at least for now - later in the day they
started getting pretty tore up with lots of exposed rock, big whoop sections etc.
I somehow took a wrong turn somewhere and got on a loop heading back towards
the start which was a fun warm up I guess, so I went back to the start and out back
towards the main course.
At the riders meeting, which I didn't pay a whole lot of attention to, I did
catch the announcer say that the Ironman course this year had a steep downhill
section just about a mile or two after the split from the Family course.
So when I got to the split, I thought.. how tough can it be? so off I went and
took the path to the left, however something from the day before was tugging at
the back of my memory.. the look of the guy at the gate when I pulled up on the
950 when I told him I was planning to ride the Ironman.
I soon found out why. After riding along a slippery side slope trail for a mile
or so, I came to a log jam of bikes.
The trail took a sharp turn and headed straight downhill toward the canyon below.
The path, which was already slick from the previous nights drenching, was now
snot covered rocks after a several hundred pairs of knobbie tires had slid
Video of the downhill
my 950 on the trail
Soon Mattawa and his two buddies came riding up; all three, like me on 475lb dirt
After checking things out for a bit, watching the show, and discussing the costs
of replacing a punctured fuel tank ($1200 or so per side from KTM) after possibly
dropping the bike down on a sharp rock, we decided to take the bail out path up
the hill to the left.
Here's Mattawa on his 950 at the top of the "bail out" hill.. which after climbing
it, I sure was glad I chose the Dunlop 908.
The hill was pretty slick and I almost bit it when I hit a large, basketball sized
rock which was smack dab right in the middle of the trail about half way up.. but
I just kept on the throttle and the torque monster along with Mr Dunlop saved my
bacon. Zero points for style, but about a 9.5 for the save
I soon caught the other looney 950 riders who I spotted off in the distance cutting
across country to try and find a way down in to the canyon. But as I approached, I
saw steam coming out of Mattawas steed
After checking things out, he decided he had lost a lot of his coolant so we all
headed back for the road, with Frank running on ahead to get mat's truck.
At this point we parted ways and I decided to head out for the 100 mile dual sport
route rather then going back and trying to fight the Ironman on my own...
Even though the weather on Saturday was crap soup, the country side out there made
it worthwhile.. that and the heated grips.. here's a few shots of the ride.. so sit
back and enjoy the scenery.
At this point, it started to rain again and some of these roads were like riding on
teflon.. This is along the two track section in the ORV park. The Dunlop D606 on
the front did a good job of keeping me on two wheels though.. that and a vise like
grip of my knees on the tank
But now, lunch at the brewery was ahead and and the rain was coming down pretty good
so I was hitting upwards of 70mph along these straight smooth sections. But when I
stopped to take this pic the mud under the top layer of gravel was like wet cement
when I stepped off the bike and put my foot down.. but for riding, the traction was
sure and true as long as you didn't stray to the edges of the road or slow down too much.
My favorite shot of the day
and finally - LUNCH!
After lunch, I headed back to the start point and rode around the family course for a
while longer. I ending up putting about 150 miles on the odo for the day. At around
3:00 they chased everyone off the track and started setting up for the kiddies race.
That's when I spotted Pete156 on his 950 S off in the distance.
Here's a short video of the kids race (9-12 yr olds) coming down the hill from the
start - I'd guess there were maybe 150-200 of them. A few of these little guys were
Sunday! the big race.
This is one of those things you just have to see once in your
lifetime. Seven hundred riders, on a half mile wide starting line, thunder down hill
for over a mile and converge on to a 60 foot wide path over a berm on to the first turn.
It gets your adrenalin pumping just watching... I couldn't imagine being in that crowd.
This is a pic of the start of the kids race the day before, and with only about one
third the number of riders, but the big race started from the same spot
The first turn
The waiting crowd
This video is only a few seconds long, but it took over three minutes for all the
motorcycles to ride through this point.
On years where the weather is much drier, the dust cloud these guys make could
probably be seen from space. Even with the rain in the past couple of days, all those
knobbies still manage to raise a fair amount of dust
Welp.. that's it for another year. There are usually some great photos on Travis's
smugmug site, but I thought I'd share some images and my thoughts on the dual sport
side of the track particularly from the saddle of a KTM 950 Adventure
(WHAT a machine!)
robdogg screwed with this post 06-05-2007 at 08:52 PM
|04-15-2007, 11:52 PM||#2|
Joined: Apr 2003
Location: Western Cascade Foothills, WA
Great pics... and so quickly posted!
I look forward to doing this next year, thanks for posting!
Garage: 2005.5 KTM 950 Adventure : 2004 Yami FJR1300 : 2001 Kawi KLR650 : 1993 Honda CBR900RR
|04-16-2007, 08:34 AM||#6|
Has a thing 4Fungirl
Joined: Nov 2006
Location: Ravensdale, WA
Nice job, Robdog!
No matter how much money you have, it's only possible to drink about 35-40 beers a day.
|04-16-2007, 09:42 AM||#7|
Joined: Feb 2007
Location: Kennewick, (Tri- or "Dry"-Cities) in Eastern WA
Excellent report! Next best thing to being there! Had it not been raining...I would have riden my old xl500s the 97 miles north to watch this. I wonder if I could have riden the 300 pound red horse on the DS course without having to shoot it afterwards!
|04-16-2007, 10:06 AM||#8|
Potius Sero Quam Numquam
Joined: Jun 2004
Location: Pacific NorthWet
Thanks for the pics and writeup Rob. Sorry I missed it. What's that time gizmo above your stock display on the 9fiddy?
|04-16-2007, 02:12 PM||#9|
Joined: Oct 2004
Location: Seattle, WA
Did you take your 950 down that first nasty downhill section? Dang, I thought my DRZ was a pig when I went down it on Saturday during the Iron Man. At least it wasn't dusty this year!
'07 Speed Triple 1050 | '08 WR250R
"'Course, don't ever tell anybody that they're not free 'cause then they're gonna get real busy killin' and maimin' to prove to you that they are." -George Hanson
|04-16-2007, 05:39 PM||#11|
Joined: Jan 2004
Hey Rob, nice report. I'm glad to see you running the Desert 100. I've always wanted to give it a try. Did you ride any of the desert sections? I too would have turned back from any huge downhill with slick conditions like that. Thanks for the report!
|04-16-2007, 08:39 PM||#13|
I've been thru the desert
Joined: Nov 2004
Location: NW Washington
So Robdogg, which bike are you gonna take over next year, the 950 0r the 450? Of course you may have neither bike by then, so what would your dream bike be for Desert 100?
|04-16-2007, 09:05 PM||#14|
Joined: Feb 2006
Location: Kamloops, BC
Thanks for the post....just got back a few hours ago....I rode my 450 EXC on the Ironman Poker Run on Saturday and the 50 mile race on Sunday....was on "The Blue Bus" with a small gang of Kamloops, BC riders....a good time was had by all....
That sure was a big pack of bikes there that weekend
|04-16-2007, 09:09 PM||#15|
Joined: Apr 2004
Location: Bend, Oregon
I missed it this year.
That looks FOOKIN' awesome!!!
I gotta go next year for sure.
Matt - Bend, OR
'01 Honda XR650R Mega DualSport
Life's an Adventure... RIDE!
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