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Old 07-01-2004, 10:29 AM   #1
not2fast OP
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7 Mountains Dual Sport or Enduro w/o Checks 2

This past Sunday I rode the 7 Mountains Dual Sport near State College PA. I rode a '99 DR650 in this event that was basically stock except for Kenda K-270 50/50 knobbies, a skid-plate, and MSR bark busters. That's it, no 14t sprocket, no big gas tank, no jet kit, no suspension changes. Just a stock, heavy DR650.

The 7Mtns run was also described as an easy run with some challenging sections. The main trail without options was advertised to be able to be ridden with a passenger. Armed with this information, a plan was put into place to ride to the Dual Sport starting campground from my home in Lancaster county. Another DR650 rider from the area agreed to ride along with me while a third was going to meet us there as he was hauling his DR650 in the back of his pick-up truck. Let me tell you right now he had the best plan of the three of us.

So late on Saturday afternoon, Lem and I meet at my house and we prepare to ride to the camp. Lem had already done 45 miles to get to my place and Mapquest is showing we have about 125 more road miles to go to get to the dual sport start. We ride some back roads near Indiantown Gap and eventually get to Rt 322W to go to State College. The ride there was no big deal except it was all on 4 lane highway for the most part. Lots of 70-75 mph running on the Kendas.

We rode into camp about 6pm and went to the area where the starting information was located. The registration was closed but one of the club memebers from PaTRA came over to talk to us. He wanted to know where our truck was parked. What truck?? we rode here. Well, that bit of information seemed foreign to him. We RODE to the event, we plan to ride the event (80+ miles) and plan to ride home after it. I could tell by the looks he was giving us that he thought Lem and I were missing something about this dual sport stuff. As we looked around the campground we had to agree with him. Pull behind campers and fifth wheels rigs were everywhere, as were KTMs, DRZs,XRRs, KDXs and a few modified motocross bikes. Genuine dual sport bikes were in the minority.

I rode over to the tent camping area and did not find one other person that had ridden to the event. Add to that a general lack of adventure bikes, like KTM LC8s or BMWGSs or even many KLRs. The tea leaves were telling me this was not going to be just a little ride in the woods....
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Old 07-01-2004, 11:06 AM   #2
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7 Mnts Part 2

So I go about setting up my tent and Lem's wife arrives in her car. Lem and the Mrs have booked a room at a motel in State College. Mrs Lem informs us Lem has to leave the dual sport at noon Sunday to get back to Lancaster to put a bid in on a house they want to buy. Little does Lem realize this is going to be really good news for him.

So now that the campsite is ready, I do a little wandering around to check out the other bikes and riders that are there. A few more DR 350s, a lot more KTM excs, and a few Honda CRFXs are found. But still no other riders that actually rode to the event. The third member or my group, Dave, shows up with his DR 650 in the back of his truck. So now the DR650 gang is all here.

Its been 15 years since I last rode a dirt bike offroad. I used to ride lots of enduros and hare scrambles and did a lot of trail riding back then, but I got married, had family obligations, and just owned a street bike for riding to work and the rare time I could get away for a weekend ride with friends. During those 15 years, something strange happend to my riding gear. Some of it shrunk while hanging in the garage. , while other things just rotted away from old age. To ride the dual sport I used a pair of very beat up SIDI boots, brown Carhartt work pants with double material in the knees, a HJC full face street helmet, and my Reading Off Road Riders (RORR) jersey that has an image of late 70s CZ motorcycle on it and some Hi-Point shoulder pads under that.

On Sunday, we all got our starting information, and since I had the only route sheet holder among the three of us, I took care of getting that ready and mounted on the bike. We had to go through tech inspection, and the fellow who was working my line looked me over pretty darn close when I got to him. I suspect the fancy riding outfit got his attention first. Not to mention the grey hair and mostly stock bike. He looked right at me and asked " Do you know what your getting into today??" Sure!! I said. No big deal. In spite of the rider information sheet that seemed to mention rocks a lot and a reminder to have the right tire pressure for the rocks. How bad can it be?? After all, two up riders can do the main sections and hey, I'm just going to ride that part of the course....but I did make a mental note about not seeing anyone actually riding two-up and still no adventure bikes in the mix. So its off to the start at 0.0 miles for me, Lem, Dave.
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Old 07-01-2004, 12:59 PM   #3
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The saga continues...without pictures since none of us knew if a digital camera was going to survive.

The start was on the opposite side of the road from the campground. A point that requires crossing 4 lanes of Rt 322 fifteen miles from State College. Or a nice way of saying if you make it to the start you've already conquered one challenge. Odometers are set to 0.0 and my route sheet is set to match. The first 3 miles are gravel roads near the Bald Eagle State forest. No problems so far, but the gravel is new, deep and dusty. At 3.1miles, the first optional trail is found but we are going on the main route so we continue onward.

At 3.8miles the routesheet shows the main trail is straight, but the gravel road is bearing off to the left. I stop and recheck the routesheet and yep, straight is the way. So now comes the first many enduro like trails. There is tall grass on the trail and its hiding the rocks. Not little rocks but real honest to goodness rocks the size of the DR's motor. I pace our group of three looking for the best line and hoping that Lem, the newest dirt rider in our group survives this test. Dave has some dirt riding background so he's not doing too bad, but Lem is farther back. I pull over and wait for Dave and Lem. Lem is a bit traumatized by the terrain but wants to keep going. First thing I notice is the DR really needs the 14t sprocket in this stuff. A bit of clutch feathering keeps the bike in the right rpm range to ride in second or third gear. So its up on the pegs and ride and gas and go..

It doesn't take long to realize the gravel road riding is over. Now its on to wide single track, some narrow single track and fast enduro trails. All those warnings about rocks is true. Even the wide trails have rocks that are big and most are sticking up with narrow pointy edges aimed for the DR's rims and skid plate. Standing on the pegs is a necessity to ride fast on the trails.
As we go on, there are places where we actually pass some other riders.

A few more short streches of gravel road sections tie the trails together. The majority of the riding is in the Bald Eagle State Forest, and the scenery is just fantastic. At one of the resets, there is a great vista of the Pine Creek below us. Absoultely beautiful. For the next 40 miles, there are more trails and more rocks and a few more vista to enjoy.

The first half ends at 41+ miles at a lunch break. The routesheet shows a section of "mountain trail" just before the break. Well, mountain trail it was. A quick blast of throttle get us up a hill and onto the trail. Now we are getting a real test. The trail is a hiking type path. Lots of rocks and downed branches to ride over, around and through. All of which leads to a loose rocky downhill section with plenty of black loamy soft ground doing its best to keep the bike's brakes from doing anything worthwhile. A quick stop at the top to pick a line and then down we go. I keep waiting to hear a crash, but we all make it. Even Lem is smiles at the bottom. We have made it through the first half...
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Old 07-01-2004, 01:54 PM   #4
bmwblake
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really enjoying it, keep it coming.
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Old 07-01-2004, 06:27 PM   #5
DirtWorthy
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Laugh GS made the 7 Mountain run



not2fast,

I had bought a 2004 GS with 6800 miles on it this month and decided to try this dual sport ride.The big rocks on the single track and the up hills made me crazy! I was riding on Anakee tires with too much pressure.
I had a blast and only crashed 3 times with no major problems.Just a bruised ego and a tore up crash bar.I bought TKC80's yesterday and will definitely be riding up there again.I loved it even though it wasn't the smartest thing I ever did.I'll post some pictures tomorrow.Your desciption of the ride is right on so far! I didn't start until 9:45.What time did you guys take off?

DirtWorthy screwed with this post 07-01-2004 at 06:42 PM
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Old 07-01-2004, 08:15 PM   #6
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7 Mnts Saga continues

The mountain trail brings us down to a gravel road that goes to the lunch stop. As we ride towards the small picnic grove in the woods, my nose starts to get a whiff of the hamburgers and hotdogs the PaTRA group is making for us. The grove is shady and has everything you need at a rest stop. Water, food, nice toilet facilities and a tree stump. Tree stump?? Yep, a complimentary tree stump is provided to give you a place to hold your bike off the ground so you can fix flat tires. And, yes there is a line to use the stump. Seems a few were caught with too little tire pressure and the rocks won a few rounds. Me, Lem and Dave are ok so no need to get in line.

We left the start around 9am and got to the break area about 11:20. Two hours and 20 minutes to go 40 miles. The lunch included bottled water, fresh fruit, and potato chips to go with the burgers and dogs. We rested a bit, filled up on liquids and food and worked on our plan for the second half. I was thinking of the 125 mile ride home and thought it might be better to stop here and ride home with Lem. When I told Dave and Lem of this plan, Dave made me a killer deal. If I stay for the second half, he will give me a ride to his house, which takes 100miles off the ride back. Gotta give Dave a lot of credit for being smart enough to bring that truck!! Lem, hope you have a good ride.

We rode a few miles to the designated gas stop at a little Citgo station in the middle of nowhere. To the sponsoring club's credit, that was the only section of blacktop in the event. At the gas station, we picked a route for Lem to follow home and Dave and I rode back to start the second half.

The second half was another 40 miles without riding any of the trail options. Knowing I didn't have that long highway ride home gave me a chance to think less about about keeping the bike together and more on picking up the riding pace. We really were getting into this rock riding stuff now. The rocks were still the enemy, but the enemy was loosing. With the faster pace we actually began to ride at the back of the pack of real enduro bikes. Not that we were challenging them for trail space mind you, but a least fast enough so that we could see them ahead, something that hadn't happend in the first half. Dave and I even got better at passing slower riders on the rocky downhill trails. Way cool beyond words.

The second half terrain was a lot like the first half with two exceptions. There was a section of trail that was an old logging road covered with wild grass, and NO big rocks. What a great ride this trail offered, just some low branches to avoid and picking the right line through the grass. Perfect...

The second exception was all together different than the grass trail. It was a section of trail that went around a big fenced-in area in the woods. The fence was put up to keep out deer so the environmental impact they are having on the forest could be measured. Not that there was much time for us to compare the land inside the fence to the outside terrain. Why?? The trail around the fence was made up of loose rocks about 8" round stacked in piles. The trail had dips and woops and rocks all mixed together. I tried to ride it in second gear to keep momentum up over the rocks but I took LOTS of clutch action to keep the revs up. First gear was too low and second wasn't low enough.. Made a big mental note here to get a 14t sprocket on before the next dualsport ride.

With about 10 miles left, we met up with some guys on enduro bikes. They rode with us for a short time until the next option section. Yep, they let us lead!! Fantastic. Score one for the DR team!!

The last few miles are the same dusty gravel roads that we did at the start of the run..This time we know what's coming up next. The end...the finish... knowing we did it. We had no crashes or breakdowns at all, and Dave was riding with a bandaged wrist from a dirt crash a few weeks ago. Back at the start Dave and I are all grins. Dave just finished his first ever dual sport and I brought back a few good memories from a long time ago.

Time to get out that schedule and find another dual sport run. And don't let anyone tell you a mostly stock DR is not a dual sport bike...Oh yea, and to get my motorcycle trailer ready too...

Thanks to all who took time to read this long narritve. Pictures next time!!

Terry
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Old 07-01-2004, 11:22 PM   #7
Burren Rider
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Great tale Terry, good to see you enjoyed riding the DR in some tricky conditions.
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Old 07-02-2004, 11:03 AM   #8
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One last Post on the 7 Mtns Ride

Some last notes on the dual sport and I'll sit back and be quiet.

1. Lem made it home just fine and is ready to go again...he even mentions riding the DRs to Canada to try a few runs. He has the dirt fever real bad..

2. I bought the DR in March of this year and had only trail ridden it three times before riding this event.

3. I'll be 52 years old in a few days so I didn't think I did too bad considering my age and the 15 year layoff.

Terry
99 DR650
02 V-Strom
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Old 07-02-2004, 11:15 AM   #9
GaelicDog
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Would the GSADV have made that ride?
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Old 07-02-2004, 12:08 PM   #10
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Before I discovered the Advrider sight I might have said no way!!!

Given the weather on Sunday was darn near perfect for trail riding, I don't see why it wouldn't be possible, but you would have to expect some "wadda nuts" commets from the club members at tech inspection. For sure having knobby tires and good skidplates would be a necessity. Some of the trails through the high grass with the large hidden rocks could be a disaster for the the BMW head layout. Slowing the pace down and riding farther back in the pack would help pick a line that's BMW engine friendly. The slide down the mountain trail before the lunch break would be another spot that could get the ol' heart beating faster if the GS got out of control.

And that rock garden around the fenced in area would be exciting too. I know it had me puffing at the end of it from trying to keep the right pace and the bike going in the correct orentation. Some of that trail was on the side of a hill so if you lost it you would need a lot of effort to get the bike pointed in the right direction again.

So yes, it could be done. Just let me know when you are starting so I can get way out front to give you lots of room!!

Terry
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Old 07-02-2004, 02:20 PM   #11
DirtWorthy
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Some pictures of 7 mountain ride

KLR guys that I followed
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Old 07-02-2004, 02:27 PM   #12
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First Rest area with view

Great Weather!!
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Old 07-02-2004, 02:33 PM   #13
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Nice woods section !!!

I had just crashed before this and broke the vie lens on my digital camera,this was a guess shot!
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Old 07-02-2004, 02:42 PM   #14
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Little bit of Mudd from Crashing

This was a Blast!!!!
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Old 07-02-2004, 02:45 PM   #15
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New Lancaster Vista View

Some say thia is the Prettiest View in PA.
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