This event is held less than an hour from my house, so after talking with the organizer a bit about my bike and tires, I signed up.
Then we had weeks of rainy weather!
And the week of the event, even more rainy weather!
Several changes had been made to the route because of flooding, but there was still a handful of mud holes and water crossings.
I'd say it was about 30% pavement 65% gravel roads, and 5% muddy road.
The gravel parts were washed heavily by flooding and had some large gaps around paved low water crossings. There was even a pile of Alligator Gar carcasses in the road at one point.
The bikes in attendance were mostly dirt oriented dual sports and KLRs. Big adventure bikes were few and far between. There were 2 Super 10's, one with street biased tires, 1 boxer of some sort, my VS1K and a yellow VS 650.
After the route orientation the night before the ride, I was feeling somewhat intimidated, and had a chat about mud with my ride leader. I even considered sneaking out in the middle of the night, but finally decided to go along and see what happened.
Once we hit the gravel roads, and I got used to the bike dancing around in the rocks, plus zipping along at 50-60 mph, I calmed down a bit. I bypassed the first muddy stretch we came to, but rode through the next several sections. I fell once in a greasy mud section, but it was just basically the bike falling over in soft mud. no damage to anything other than my ego. After everyone was done snapping pics, they helped me pick the bike up, and as we pushed it out of the greasy mud, the front tire started to ball up with sticky mud. I cleaned that out best I could, made a few water crossings, one deeper than I though possible, and then we hit a stretch of pavement. Soon I had smoke billowing out from around my front tire, as there was still mud packed up underneath. I eventually had to remove the front fender and clean the mud and rocks out with a screwdriver.
Anyhow, more pavement and fast gravel roads, but no more mud crossings for the rest of the day.
We finished up at a MC dealership for a meal of hamburgers and hot dogs. I even won a set of Dunlop tires during the raffle.
I came away really impressed with what my bike was capable of with the stock tires, and a bit of armor, but I really needed more dirt oriented tires. Several of my ride mates, and even the ride leader, stopped by to say they were also impressed with what the big bike could do.
In the end, I had a great time, and I would definitely do this event again!
It got old reading about the bike's little ground clearance, the exposed oil filter and it's wheels and therefor never being put to the test.
Would be nice if the media did just that. And if something breaks...write about it!!!