Having our lunch at the Mexican restaurant after about 50 miles of trail riding, the Legend himself, Super Dan, imparts his wisdom among us mere mortals. He states “riding under 35mph on the trails is dangerous.” We look at him incredulous and he then says “35-65mph is a good speed.” This is trail riding, not street riding we are talking about. The Legend also imparts wisdom many have heard before such as “when in doubt, throttle out” however one must wonder if he was not the originator of these quotes? But first, a little background on the Legend.
The Legend hails from the back woods of Tennessee, a most unassuming character until he straps a motorcycle between his legs. It has been said he taught Chuck Norris how to stunt ride his KLR for the Delta Force movie, that he once met Sasquatch on a trail ride back in the deep woods (the Legend gave Sasquatch navigation tips), that he left Mouse McCoy in his dust desert racing, that Travis Pastrana once called him “the most bad-ass man alive!” We may never know if this is true, but some truth will follow. All witnessed first-hand by me, your author.
The Legend is almost like a ninja as he hides in plain sight, but he does this in the most unassuming way. Sometimes he rides a Yamaha race bike, or an old KTM 2 smoke MX racer, or whatever good enduro/race bike is lying around at the time. He has ridden EVERYTHING but his steed of choice is what confuses everyone. Most times he is riding a bone stock, Gen 2 KLR 650 with some street tires or very mild dual sport tires. This gives the impression to the casual observer or those whom don’t know (once myself) that he is just a weekend rider, likely to not venture far off pavement and stick to county dirt roads or the well maintained fire/logging roads. This is what makes him the ninja as nothing could be further from the truth. This is his camouflage! One does not know they are being graced by his presence. He will just sit back, very unassuming with a big grin on his face. But we have a story to relate and I best get on with it.
First for some context for this yarn; I am not a slow rider, some call me a fast rider or that I ride too fast at times though I am quick to point out, I am not a racer. My bike isn’t either but it is well setup for speed and off road duty. It is a well uncorked Honda XR650L with a Goldentyre fatty up front and Maxxis Maxcross IT in the rear. Properly setup for some hard off road riding. Approximately 80lbs lighter than the legends ride of choice this date with much better grip to the road service. A fairly hot bike if you will for dual sport purposes.
On our first section of the morning ride we hit our first tight dirt 2 track after getting off the gravel. The leader and then I open up our steeds and get to throwing roost and pinning the throttle. The riding was the perfect trails for clutching the turns in 2nd and winding it all the way up until hard braking hitting the next turn. We were cooking! I glance in my rearview and Super Dan, the Legend himself is on my ass! I try to step up my game as did the lead and we came across a mud section. The leader goes down (himself a legend, known across the world wide web as #thbrez) in the mud and I throttle threw it. This did not slow down the legend, he is still behind me. More was to come but the wisdom imparted at lunch a little later was the foretelling of what was to come.
The next evidence of the Legend’s greatness came on a downhill section with a tricky log crossing. As we had difficulty navigating this obstacle, he takes off into the woods and drops off a 4’ ledge back on to the trail, all unassuming like. Nothing to technical for someone on a trails bike or a little 230lb 2 stroke endure bike with the proper skills. But this is a 420lb beast with street tires. Nothing too it for the Legend.
A little further down the trail we came to a very large tree crossing. As we attempted to build a ramp to push our bikes over the fork of the main branches of the tree, Super Dan heads off into the thick underbrush and blazes his on trail. Why didn’t we think of that?
The real spectacle came towards the end of the day. I was leading as we were heading down a wide hard packed crusher run road. The Legend passes me and I attempt to keep up. He is pinning it, power sliding around the hair pin turns like a flat tracker. I am using all I have just to keep him insight, working the xr650l to give me all it has and adding plenty of body English into the mix to manhandle this beast. The Legend isn’t even trying. We head down a long slopping turn and his rear begins to break loose from braking but this doesn’t faze him, he just throttles out. On the flat straight away my rear is spinning straight through the gears with a cloud of rock and dust being expelled into the air as I wind up to 70mph. We start to head downhill and we pass a spot where the Legend literally put me in a ditch as I tried to keep up with him last year. Apparently I haven’t learned my lesson. I lay hard on the brakes as we come to a sharp right hand, downhill turn. I am grateful for the full knobbies I have on. I swear if it doesn’t even look like the Legend is braking. He pulls away again. As we cross the bridge and head back up I see his rear end break loose and I am sure he is going down. Nope! He just throttles out and pulls away. I am pinning it and notice I am getting up to around 75mph and the Legend is still accelerating. We have missed our turn and I can’t catch him to let him know this. I back off the throttle knowing I was bested and let the Legend just ride. He was feeling it and you just got to let the Legend have his due. Sometimes the joy is just from being in the shadow of greatness knowing that you gave it your all and remained in the shadow as this is the closest you will get to the Legend as he can’t be bested.
The Legend on one of his other steeds