The 10th annual KTM Adventure Rider Rally was held this past weekend in the mountains surrounding Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Despite the torrential rain and flooding over much of the state, over 300 bikes from across the country arrived safely for this event. The focus was on KTM’s “Adventure Riding” class of motorcycles. The most common bike present was some variation of the KTM Adventure 950/900, but there were plenty of the very competent Enduro 690s as well. As to be expected, there were many street legal versions of the larger KTM EXCs; a few brave souls even dragged in on some well set-up BMWs.
The stars of the rally were the 2014 1190 Adventure and the 690 Enduro R.. KTM brought about 20 of these demo bikes for participants to test ride. “WOW” was the limited vocabulary heard on the mountain top as the riders returned from their exciting experience!
Four 2-hour riding clinics were held by instructor Jimmy Lewis on Friday and Saturday. The focus was mainly on “Stopping” or “Turning”. Sounds simple, but the exercises the participants were put through proved without a doubt that a 500lb motorcycles is NOT the same as a light, nimble Enduro bike with REAL knobbies! It was an exhausting, but enlightening experience!
Another great opportunity offered was guided trail tours lead by KTM riders Kurt Caselli, Mike Brown, Andrew Short and Paul Krause. The wet, dirty, and mostly winded participants had many adventure stories to tell. Some talked of amazing mountain vistas; others spoke of hammering two tracks, roosting through mud holes or blasting down Jeep roads. Still others returned with tales of bottomless mud and never-ending rain. Adventure, indeed!
Saturday night the awards dinner was held a tram ride up the ski slopes of Steamboat Springs to the mountain top pavilion. Some of the awards given included Superman, Most Helpful, Longest Drive (to the event ON the motorcycle: a rider from Georgia won), and Oldest Participant. The latter went to Will Hendrix of the Texas Sandblasters, who at age 78 still rides quite well. Andrew Short was quite entertaining as he presented an award to one of the riders on his trail tour, including a tongue-in-cheek comment about riding a 500 lb, 105 HP motorcycle off road.
Now that it’s time to come down from the mountain there are many mixed feelings, including sadness (the time went by too fast), exhilaration (the bikes were really fast & the mountain air was energizing), relief(we did it!), and a whole lot of pain (oh, my aching _____)! But, with a little Ibuprofen and a lot of great memories, everyone agreed that the weekend was one amazing adventure!
The location for the 11th annual rally has not been announced yet, but New Mexico, California, and Washington look like good possibilities. At least we all have a year to get our bikes and bodies back into shape as we look forward to another adventure in the mountains!