Author Topic: Others opinions of the trails -  (Read 13499 times)

Punisher

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Others opinions of the trails -
« on: November 08, 2014, 10:48:58 AM »
A snippet from a large dirt bike forum about the BM trails -
I like to read others opinions of the trails - in this case dirt bike riders  :)
and especially when they experience some Punishment  ;)


Just got back from a three day weekend in Matewan, WV riding the Buffalo Mountain trails. IMHO, the trails are mislabeled. They are a lot harder to ride than similarly colored trails at other H-M locations.

Background: I'm 63, rode dirt when I was in my early 20s, then switch to road and later road racing. Retired from all bikes when I was 35 to raise a family, etc. Got back into dirt bikes 14 months ago with some friends from 40+ years ago. While I was a decent road racer, I never was all that good on dirt bikes. I bought a trail bike so I could trail ride with friends, and bench race afterwards. I started with a very used Honda CRF230F and had a lot of fun. But I needed to rebuild it, and while doing that, I needed another bike. So I bought a used KTM 250XCF.
I am not a good rider, I'm an old, slow beginner. The AMA enduro classes have AA, A, B, & C, in decreasing skills/speed. I'm probably a D or maybe E class.
 
I've ridden H-M's Pocahontas and Rockhouse a couple of times and had a lot of fun. Might need help once or twice a day on a wicked incline with rocks and mud, but I do the green trails and some blue ones.
 
We had 15 or so riders. I was by far the slowest/worst. All were better by a good bit. Lots of A and AA level riders and one AMA Pro motocrosser.
 
I fell many times and got hurt (minor stuff but still painful) on the green trails. Trail 23 had sections that were impassible for me. Many parts of 21 and 23 were at the absolute limit of my abilities. These were green ATV trails and I was on my KTM. The trail have steep inclines that are too steep to walk up that are either all rock, or rock covered with wet clay. There are deep gullies in the trails, some straight down the middle, others wandering from side to side. Plus big rocks, trees, roots, off camber blind turns, etc.
 
Many of the expert riders got hurt. One broke his leg. One fell on a rocky downhill and cracked his head hard. Hard enough to put big gouges in the helmet for a concussion and probably warrant a new helmet. Another went over the side of the trail and was 30+ feet down and out of sight. Took 30 minutes to find him.
 
By accident, our slow guy group took 191 from 23 up to where it meets 198. I made it up without falling, but I don't know how. Once we recognized our mistake, we turned around and went back down to 23. One of my group's experts fell hard and flipped in a huge gully that ate his bike.
 
Many of our experts said that 178, 198 and 199 were impossible. The group spent 3 hours going 8 miles on the trails, taking four or five guys to pull each bike up the hard parts.
 
All of the experts said that they had fun. Me, not so much. I want a bit of a challenge as I ride the woods, I don't want to worry that I'm going to seriously hurt.

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Bill S.
Location: West Virginia
Posted September 29, 2014 - 06:45 AM
#2 
Pat22043,
Thanks for the write-up. We have a lot in common! I'll be 63 in a few weeks myself.
 
I've bee wondering about H&M and what kind of riding I could expect if we went there. I think I'll pass after reading your piece. I've been riding since I was 13 when my brother got a Bridgestone 50 for HS graduation. Never rode dirt until I met my now wife, she had a KX125 that she wanted to sell only because she couldn't start it when it was cold. I worked some magic to it and had it a one kicker for her in no time. Of course I had to test ride it, nothing like a PA cornfield to ride in! I was hooked. Even though I had 2 HD's and an old Triumph Bonneville in the garage I bought a matching KX125. I got tired of having to shift every 15 feet so sold it and bought a KX250 (I did mention I had never ridden dirt!). Well, my manly instincts set in and I of course modified the KX250 till it was totally out of control fast, so much a good friend, an A rider rode it once and said we would have to tame it down a bit for him to ride it again. After a near death experience at Tomahawk MX Park, even though I never left the bike I traded it for the current DRZ400 which I am really getting to like, a lot! Since I retired, got married, and moved to the WV panhandle I find its a great bike to spend an afternoon exploring back country on. My wife works so I am "home alone" with plenty of time to play with stuff like motorcycles.
Sorry I rambled, but, I wanted to make a point. Like you, I love motorcycles, absolutely love them, but, have no desire to spent a day on rocky or slippery inclines - up or down. I'll find a farmer that will let me blaze a few trails thru his woods and around his fields.
Stay safe!

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pat22043
Location: Pennsylvania

Posted September 29, 2014 - 11:37 AM
#3 
Practice some rocky trails and muddy inclines, with that, I think the green trails on Rockhouse are fine (in dry weather). Little Coal Run is advertised as having easier trails. So consider LCR a possibility, maybe we can ride together.
 
Rockhouse's trails are not level, and are mostly clay, so when they are wet, they are very very difficult, but in dry weather, they are fine.
 
I think the trail ratings, especially the colors are ATV oriented. A four-wheel drive ATV has amazing climbing ability, much more than a dirt bike, so less skilled riders on ATVs can make it up trails that require experts on dirt bikes.
 
While 191 is a "single track" trail, with signs prohibiting ATVs, it was actually wide enough for an ATV. It was a serious climb, and most of the trail was 2" to 4" rocks covering the whole trail. Plus ruts and gullies. I made it up and down without falling. I did have to stop to catch my breath on the way up, and there were a couple of close moments.
 
Bill S.
Location: West Virginia
Posted September 29, 2014 - 05:36 PM

What makes some of those supposedly easy trails hard is all the large loose rocks the quads kick up on the hill climbs...then if you
dont have the speed and momentum coming in you end up having a problem.
 
You ought to check out the RORR dual sport in 2 weeks . It's mostly off road and if you take the main route
it looks easy from what i've seen . You always have the option to take the more difficult "option" trails which
would range from B skill level up to A . Theres lots of video on youtube and there is a flyer on RORR or
ECEA , also could ask Matto . It starts in Pine Grove .

Edited by avocasingletrack, September 29, 2014 - 07:22 PM.
pat22043

Location: Pennsylvania
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Posted September 30, 2014 - 06:48 pm

Yeah, traction and momentum are your friend, and lack thereof is the root of my problems there. I'm sure that the rankings (green) are for ATVs which have traction to spare with their four huge low pressure tires.  Some of the climbs are very long, and its really easy to lose momentum.
 
Here is a video of our Friday morning ride. It was supposed to be all green trails, but we went up 191 by mistake (single track and very hard). I managed to make it up and down cleanly, but I was exhausted. One of the expert riders got stuck in a deep gully and went end-over-end.
 
My bike is not plated, so I'm not sure I can run RORR
joey330
Location: West Virginia
Posted October 01, 2014 - 06:53 PM
#7 
pat22043, on 29 Sept 2014 - 08:52 AM, said:
Just got back from a three day weekend in Matewan, WV riding the Buffalo Mountain trails. IMHO, the trails are mislabeled. They are a lot harder to ride than similarly colored trails

Pat, wish I knew you were there, hatfield McCoy is my stomping grounds.

Little coal river, pocha. And Indian are the easiest systems with some challenge.
Ivy branch bearwallow buffalo and rock house are the more extreme.

Little coal is almost to easy "although you would enjoy it" has 2 single tracks and a couple black trails I found easy. I do ride Gncc and find most trails easy.

This year hatfield experienced a significant cut from the state and haven't been able to keep up with the washes etc.
Now figure with all the trail systems I is quite hard to keep up with.
Rock house used to be the hardest until they Toned it down years ago.
Bear wallow and buffalo mountain by far are intense. Don't let that fool you.
The other systems are more user friendly and less "extreme"
Ivy branch is the newest and has keep trails and some big rocky hills and washes. But has some awesome trails too.
I'm sorry you had a hard time. I know these trails pretty well and can take you on some trails you would love!

I hope you do go back because they are awesome!
Next time try Indian. Little coal river is nice, but small. And you could ride most of it in one day. Which leaves ivy branch. 2 miles down the road. You do have to trailer between these two. But they are fun.

Next time you go let me know and I'll give you the tour! It is a blast!

Like I said, it is actually a great place! One of the few left!

Green trails are trails that everyone should be able to endure

Blue trails are a little bit steeper, with bigger rocks, ruts and gullies.
Still moderately passable with a novice to experienced dirtbike rider.

Black trails are experienced riders only. Being said some are simple, some are intense.

Double blacks are for people like us on dirtbikes that like wasting their energy on one trail.
Extreme.


These signs are atv based yes. But they are still color coded accordingly to the riders experience.

Next time you go let me know. It will be fun!
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joey330
Location: West Virginia
Posted October 01, 2014 - 06:55 PM
#8 
Go to trailsheaven.com

It will give you information on each trail system.
Which goes best dirtbikes, which one is more family oriented, and which is best for your style.

 
pat22043

Location: Pennsylvania
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Posted October 01, 2014 - 07:06 PM
#9 
Oh, I live at trailsheaven.com.
I just think that on Buffalo Mountain, the whole scale is off. I'll do Little Coal Creek next, and probably Indian River after that. I'd like to do both before this season is over.

IMHO, cutting funding to H-M is a mistake. From what I saw in Matewan, the tourist dollars are a big part of the economy.

joey330
Location: West Virginia
Posted October 01, 2014 - 09:57 PM
#10 
pat22043, on 01 Oct 2014 - 10:06 PM, said:
Oh, I live at trailsheaven.com.
I just think that on Buffalo Mountain, the whole scale is off. I'll do Little Coal Creek next, and probably Indian River after that. I'd like to do both before this season is over.

IMHO, cutting funding to H-M is a mistake. From what I saw in Matewan, the tourist dollars are a big part of the economy.

Little coal river
Buffalo is just the "old" rockhouse now. It'll get better.

Next time you go, stay at the Ashland resort, in the middle of Indian poca and bear.

Hatfield is a HUGE PART of West Virginia, hoping next year it is better.

If you do little coal river, you have to do ivy. I know you are 63? But I can maneuver you through ivys black trails, through the creek, ivy is one of my favorites! It isn't to rough, or too easy. I took my wife and she managed! "That is a challenge"!!


Location: Pennsylvania
Posted October 01, 2014 - 10:26 PM
#11 
i really want to go to hatfield.

only trail system i ever rode was the lost trails in pa, amd honestly wasnt a fan. it was more rocks than dirt.

avocasingletrack
Location: Pennsylvania
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Posted October 02, 2014 - 07:34 AM
#12 
yz133rider, on 02 Oct 2014 - 01:26 AM, said:
i really want to go to hatfield.

only trail system i ever rode was the lost trails in pa, amd honestly wasnt a fan. it was more rocks than dirt.
i agree

Edited by avocasingletrack, October 02, 2014 - 07:40 PM.

Thumponovich
Location: Kentucky
Posted October 02, 2014 - 08:14 AM
#13 
joey330, on 01 Oct 2014 - 9:53 PM, said:
Pat, wish I knew you were there, hatfield McCoy is my stomping grounds.

Little coal river, pocha. And Indian are the easiest systems with some challenge.
Ivy branch bear buffalo and rock house are the more extreme.

Little coal is almost to easy "although you would enjoy it" has 2 single tracks and a couple black trails I found easy. I do ride Gncc and find most trails easy.

Next time you go let me know and I'll give you the tour! It is a blast!

Like I said, it is actually a great place! One of the few left!

Joey it looks you are an expert on these trails. A buddy and I will be going there, and only have 1 day so I'm trying to guage our routes.
 
I have a question for you- Is it doable to start at Williamson and go to Matewan and back in about 6hrs?

joey330
Location: West Virginia
Posted October 02, 2014 - 08:20 AM

Doable yes.
It really depends on which trails you take, taking the quickest routes will put you there and back in that time frame
Just depends on what riding pace you choose. How many wrong turns you make, if you veer off course and what not.

I suggest instead of rushing the trails in one day, enjoy what you can while there, and go back for seconds!
pat22043

Location: Pennsylvania
 VIEW GARAGE
Posted October 02, 2014 - 01:10 PM
#15 

Joey: you have to do ivy. I know you are 63? But I can maneuver you through ivys black trails, through the creek, ivy is one of my favorites! It isn't to rough, or too easy. I took my wife and she managed!
 
 
That would be cool. I expect that as I get better, I'll be able to get up more of the trails. Plus, not crashing is a big help. When I crash, the adrenaline rush wears me out, and that makes my brain not work so well for the next section, so I tend to crash again, which wears me out which ......

joey330
Location: West Virginia
Posted October 02, 2014 - 06:46 PM
#16 
pat22043, on 02 Oct 2014 - 4:10 PM, said:
Joey: you have to do ivy. I know you are 63? But I can maneuver you through ivys black trails, through the creek, ivy is one of my favorites! It isn't to rough, or too easy. I took my wife and she managed!


That would be cool. I expect that as I get better, I'll be able to get up more of the trails. Plus, not crashing is a big help. When I crash, the adrenaline rush wears me out, and that makes my brain not work so well for the next section, so I tend to crash again, which wears me out which ......

Yeah crashing generally wears me out too!
Little bit of brain scatter!
Keep the rubber down! At least on one wheel Pat!
RBrider
Location: Florida
Posted October 03, 2014 - 04:20 AM
#17 
Hey Pat, thanks for the ride report and videos. Very informative. I'm a old guy too, older than you, even, but I still like to ride off road. We spend the summers in the mountains of far WNC, so I get to ride some steep rocky trails too. One piece of unsolicted advice that I would offer, trade the 250 XC F for a 250 XCW F. The W stands for wide ratio transmission and has a much lower first gear. It'll help a lot on those steep ,rocky uphills.
 
Back when you were RRing, close ratio gears were your friend. Out on the trail, it's just the opposite.
 RB
pat22043
Location: Pennsylvania
Posted October 03, 2014 - 11:55 AM
#18 
RBrider, on 03 Oct 2014 - 07:20 AM, said:
trade the 250 XC F for a 250 XCW F.
 
Yeah, if I had bought it new, I would have looked for a W. And when I replace this, I'll make sure to buy a W. I am willing to bet that the first two gear sets from the W will fit fine in my XC, if/when I split the cases. In the meantime, I just abuse the clutch since they are easy to replace.

debargew
Location: Virginia
Posted October 05, 2014 - 03:03 PM
#19 
I'm 53 and have only been riding about 4 years now. Our group visits HM about 2-3 times a year for Spring/Fall riding events that  last about 3-4 days each. I've ridden every system with the exception of Ivy Branch. I agree with joey, Bear Wallow, Buffalo Mountain, and Rockhouse are the tougher of the systems.  Pocahontas, Pinnacle Creek, and Indian Ridge Blue trails are fairly easy to ride. Buffalo Mountain trail 29 going up is a blue trail but needs to be changed to black I feel.and it has kicked my butt a few times. I also am a very novice rider and really prefer the green, blue, and low numbered single track trails. S (favorite is Rockhouse trail 130) sometimes I get talked into riding the blacks or harder single tracks. I usually have to drag my bike up/down the side of a cliff in those situation.
 
I ride a lot better than when I first started about 4 years ago. I'm still a novice but I think the more seat time you get, the better and more comfortable you will be with tougher trials etc.. good luck.
 
We will be staying in Man, WV 16-19 October for our Fall trip here in a few weeks.. hope the weather stays dry. I ride a 2012 Yamaha WR250F.
 
Regards,
 Bill

   WEST VIRGINIA Rock House, trail 31 uphill a must! by Relentless_one 
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