Clear Creek Ride

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#1
With the last storm 1+ week foregone, thinking conditions would be epic, I posted an impromptu ride suggestion at the forsaken land. Yes, my first return since the spring bike recovery following the night on the trail. Burrrrrr! (See Ride Reports – search under Extreme Clear Creek.)

Jr. had the rest of the day off – arrived home at 5:30am, so after his early-morning leisurely breakfast and newspaper reading we jumped in the pickup and headed north; he slept or tired to sleep while I drove.

With the coastal fog sacked in so thick we had to exercise patience, awaiting some speeding fool to snowplow though the pea soup along side of us on the freeway up. And sure enough a (brave?) Suburban came barreling through just above the speed limit +; I kept their dim taillights in sight to the point of almost taking the same off ramp forty-minutes later! Thereafter it was back to my own at a subdued state of progress up Highway 101.

When we pulled into Oak Flat there were no NorCal DRNers to be found, and with the bitter cold we sat in the warm pickup awaiting Fremontguy (FG) (450 E/XC) who showed in ~10 min., then Jonala (J) (XR250R) in another 10 after we did. FG remarked re: the beach-like weather as I was beginning to thaw! Ch-ch-cold. Enduro jackets or not was the prime question of the morning. I settled for two jerseys, a neck wrap, and heated grips.

Following some bike and weather chatter, we headed out on the trail to the northwest of camp. Jr. (RMX) and I (KX/KDX) stopped on at one mud hole/rut and he asked me “which way?” around, as if there were any viable options. I chose the extreme right, taking the bushes to the chest/body without kissing any mud - don’t think he fared that well.

We then crossed back over the road and took an uphill with multiple water bars; you couldn’t see much of the route as the sun was directly in your face the whole uphill, so all you could hope for is no rocks. After more uphill/water bar jumps FG takes us into the bushes for some tight 1st-2nd gear twisties, then some connecting fire roads and one cool, sudden long uphill; for some reason Jr. made it his first try and wouldn’t stop crowing; me telling him “it’s not proper etiquette”.

He then took us down the same trail BigBird led us on last winter, sliding down this tire-wide rut, both brakes locked whilst avoiding branches and twisting between the bushes, not to mention the steepness of the incline. And this time I humbled myself and bulldogged it down the worse part. It emptied across the creek and back onto the main road.

The rest of the trails to follow were a blast. FJ would disappear into the bushes and we’d all follow. At times I would stop and look fore and aft; hear noises but not being able to see the others. There were other times when we’d have to lean to the left or right to wiggle the bars around trees. Great fun. Then came this long mud hole. I followed FG to the extreme left, and was thinking maybe I should stick around as a spectator? Not knowing what was yet to come. FG and I were waiting, and after some time return to the now famous mud hole. J’s XR was stuck up to the cases in slop! Some pix later they rescued the might mini thumper out of the gorp. J gave you on his gloves, and he looked to be dipped in milk chocolate from the waste down! I attempted to take another pix of him bending over to wash his belongings off – alas, no moon nor film left to record such exposure for your viewing (dis)pleasure…

Another blur along the upcoming Quicksilver layout and we take a break at a man-made reservoir, perhaps BLM-provided for the wild animals. We got to chatting about my KX/KDX, and I invited ride-trade with J. Boy, his XR is one comfy, un-intimating couch; the only thing I’d change is install an A-Loop tank/seat; otherwise, it’s all-day comfort.

FJ took us to the plan crash site, and Jr. couldn’t help but be like a kid in a candy shop. A quick view of available fuel in the two strokes and we decide this is the halfway mark. And off for some more twisties.

A rare creek crossing led to this wicked hill. I say wicked because it was not only several hundred feet long, and steep, but somewhat loose and slippery – traction was absent, momentum: the difference between making it or trying again. I was second in line behind FG, who walked right up before me, but as I was following his line, I hit one, then another after another root and lost my momentum; stabbing from 4th to 3rd, then I believe 2nd on J’s thumper. Just when I was about to turn it around for another go, the RPMs dropped to the gutter, then it kept breathing, one power stroke at a time – and the back tire was hooking up! This little thing somehow clawed up to the top, one RPM at a time, just above idle with skinny-‘ol-me aboard. I then parked to spectate. Jr. picks the outside line, and with all that horsepower at his disposal made light of it. J had a heck of a time, no doubt because of the new sprockets on my KX/KDX are a bit on the high side, not allowing him to approach in third gear. Returning to the bottom, we switched and he went up thereafter, and I did too, only screaming the 200’s lungs out to the top.

I was following FG a bit closely when WOOPS! And his back end kicked out, but this wasn’t your typical nac-nac. As FJ picked up that mighty 450 from lying on its side, I could see where something - a pinecone or rock – was spit off perpendicular the trail. Then further up this red-rock imbedded trail, he decides we don’t wanna do this one, and we all turn around., and we go do some 4-5-6th gear mud splitting fire roads. At an intersection he decides we need to cut back to the Saddle on a trial Farmer John had guided; alas neither he nor J could remember which one of the branches upon which they formerly trekked.

A few more spectacular long up hills, cross hills and down hills and we were in familiar territory. Racing down one of the muddy fire roads, I managed to change direction in a series of whoops, heading straight towards a 8” sapling – I thought for sure the new Dynoport pipe was a gonner – when at the last minute made a sudden shift back onto the road – phew!

That was perhaps – other than The Place – the most demanding mileage I remember: 35-miles total rather than the usual 50-60 for this area. Now if we had our big tanks, we’d really be beat up; and I wouldn’t be writing this today, nor tomorrow.
 

Jonala

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#2
Originally posted by placelast
and he looked to be dipped in milk chocolate from the waste down! I attempted to take another pix of him bending over to wash his belongings off – alas, no moon nor film left to record such exposure for your viewing (dis)pleasure…
The situation wasn't that bad my cycling shorts were maintaining proper position. After riding your KDX, I'm thinking a bike that weighs less than 250 lbs / 300 after dunking in chocolate ooze would be a good thing.

Another good write up, fun ride. :thumb:
 

GETMETOCA

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#3
OOOOOOweeeeeEEEEE!!!! Sounds like fun! I saw a pic of John's bike all chocolatey, was the first time I'd seen it that muddy since I've never seen him crash, lol.

I always enjoy Placelast's reports :)
 

fremontguy

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#4
That was an insane downhill trail. The top rut section swallowed my bike up to the tank, since there wasn't room for feet on the pegs all I could use was the front brake almost leading to a catastrophic stoppie over the bars. Where's the mud hole pics? The 450 is now washed and ready for next weekends ride. :yeehaw:
 

Jonala

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#5
I sent non attendees digital pictures that I took when I got home. Mud hole pictures need to be developed then scanned. I should have the three pictures by Wednesday.

It took a half with the pressure washer to back to base metal / plastic.
 
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NVR FNSH

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#6
I hate all of you:( Give us 3-4 days of dry weather and we need to hit Middle Creek.

Brian
 
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#7
NVR,

What was wrong with last weekend????? Kevin and I tore it up at Stonyford last weekend.

All I got to say is....velcro, sunshine, snow and one heck of a good time!!

Rick
 

tx246

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#8
great report...........would like to ride stuff like that someday.
 

GETMETOCA

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#9
I was just at Clear Creek with Karna and Justin last weekend and on Monday, your mudhole is all dried up now :)

P-E-R-F-E-C-T conditions :thumb: