Nov. 14, 2015
The forecast called for clear and sunny skies, with highs around 55º, so Jamie and I decided to spend the afternoon out at Five Mile Pass. Kevin’s work got canceled, so he decided to join us. This would be his first chance to ride the KTM 350.
We wanted a mellow ride, so we opted to stay out of the hills and ride on the south side of the highway. One of my objectives was to explore the single track trail I found last spring. I traced it out on Google Earth and it looks to be about a four mile long loop.
We worked our way south enjoying some fast cruising on easy Jeep roads with some smooth banked turns. It didn’t take us very long to get to the start of the single track loop.
As we were about to start the loop, Kevin was unable to get his bike started. We checked the fuel pump, the fuel filter, and wiggled some wires. We finally figured out the start/kill button had rotated on the handlebars and the kill button was being depressed by the throttle cable. Once we figured that out, we were back on the trail.
Jamie took the lead, with me filming her and Kevin bringing up the rear.
The first part of the trail is in a gully. It is fairly tight, but not overly technical. It is actually a pretty good trail for people to practice single track. There are no serious obstacles and no steep side hills to fall off of.
Portions of the trail that are in the shade still had snow. Luckily the ground was frozen, so we didn’t have to deal with mud.
After a while I let Kevin pass me so I could film him. He hasn’t ridden very much single track, but he did very well.
The trail went out into a farmer’s fields and we missed a turn. We ended up riding several miles of ATV trail and bumpy Jeep roads working our way around so we could pick up the last portion of the single trail. We ended up missing about half of the single track, so we will have to go back and try again someday.
The last portion is on a knoll. To get on top we had to negotiate a fairly steep hill climb with loose rocks. Everyone made it up fine, but it did require you to pay close attention to the trail. Kevin commented that it was much easier on the KTM 350 than it would have been on his old DR-Z400. The newer, lighter bikes are so much easier to manage. In fact, later on in the day I noticed Kevin darting back and forth on the trail “playing” around – something he seldom, if ever, did on the DR-Z400.
After finishing the loop, we took one lap around an old motocross track on the edge of the farm field. We quickly remembered why we don’t race – we don’t jump, we can’t make tight corners, we don’t like whoops, and we ride really, really slow.
It was getting late, so we started working our way back to the car. We rode north to the bottom of the wash coming from Seven Mile Pass. I have previously ridden down this wash several times, but this was my first time riding up. It is a really fun ride with lots of banked turns. But it was a little difficult to see because we were riding into the setting sun.
There is one rocky section near the top. I think Kevin was in a gear higher than he wanted, so he got stalled for a while.
We then cruised back to the car on the easy roads down below the foothills.
We quickly loaded up the car and headed home for dinner. It was a fun afternoon. We rode almost 35 miles in only 2.5 hours. And best of all, no one crashed.