For some ATV riders, the draw to the wilderness may be about getting away from the hustle and bustle of the city, or perhaps from the seemingly neverending to-do-list at home. For others, it's simply a need to get dirty. Either way, the KATVA Mud Run, deep in the ATV playground that is Kawarthas Northumberland, ﬁts the bill.
Hyped over the anticipation of what they will find on the trails after nature’s spring thaw, the group of 22 men and two women prepared for the day ahead. Participants dressed in chest waders or waterproof pants, with high-fitting rubber boots wrapped with duck tape around the ankles, hoping to keep warm and dry for at least part of the day. The early morning sun was promising a reasonably warm day for early May, which added to the smiles found on everyone’s faces.
This ride is classed as "expert level" and includes the infamous Concession Lake Trail (#91) found in the 5-Points section of the KATVA trail system. This trail requires skill and agility in the dry months but in the spring it takes a special kind of ATVer to tackle the elements. The vast majority of the bikes on the ride had the radiators lifted, snorkels installed and upgraded tires to be able to maneuver the deep water, thick mud, and rocky inclines found along the way. Each participant was on their own machine as riding 2-up on these particular trails is not safe.
The group hit the trails with a mission of testing the limits of body and machine and the trails did not disappoint. Within 15 minutes of departure, all the bikes were the came colour – mud brown. Eager and exhilarated, the riders tackled the "over the fenders" water levels with gusto. Muscling the bikes through the thick sludge in the lowlands became the quest of the day.
By mid-day, a half-hour lunch break was welcomed by the team, keen to rest their bodies for a few minutes. Easy banter centred on the morning's adventures, recounting spills and touchy sections that threatened the mission. Unable to see the terrain below the water, tires took a beating and the group was down two bikes by this point. Ride leaders arranged escorts back to the staging area for the unlucky participants.
With a new head count of 22, the re-energized riders set out of an afternoon focused more on agility and technical riding. Trails #92 and #90 offered some 80- to 85-degree climbs that tested the extreme of the individuals' camber abilities. The muddy and wet ground conditions added an additional degree of difficulty to the challenging terrain. It also added a degree of humorous antics that only ATVers understand.
Twenty men and two women arrived back at the staging area by late afternoon, tired, wet, muddy and contented. Working together to conquer extreme obstacles and seemingly impassable terrain strengthens the bond between friends and builds a kinship with strangers. The laughter, bear hugs and friendly slaps on the backs clearly showed the camaraderie that was created by the day.
The Kawartha ATV Association has more rides planned throughout the summer. Beginner, intermediate and expert level adventures are scheduled to accommodate all levels of riders. Check out the Ride Schedule by visiting www.KATVA.ca . Join the fun—ﬁnd out what you’ve been missing!