Update from Russell and Cole
The last two weeks have been a blur for Russell and me! Russell was participating as a special guest at a Costa Rica Unlimited Tour, and I was working on a KTM video project that had me riding a KTM 1090 Adventure R for eight days and camping in a tent the majority of the time. I have included Russell’s report from the tour below, and I can’t go into much detail regarding the project I was on, but Quinn Cody and I started near Yuma, California with a group of riders and worked our way north finally ending up in Bishop, California. Before that trip, I hadn’t done many long remote rides on the adventure bike, and it was incredible what how much gear you can load on those bikes and what they are capable of riding on. The two action shots of me below were shot by Ely Woody. On the second day of the epic ride, I was trying to get some good on board footage of Quinn and ended up hitting a big ditch at speed on the loaded down 1090. I swapped and ended up crashing but luckily came away unscathed and with footage of the crash. It's close to 80,000 views today and I have embedded the video so you guys can see it if you haven't already.
Russell will be racing his KTM 250 SX-F this weekend at the second national enduro in Indiana and I will back home in Dallas prepping things for our upcoming tour in Moab. I will be doing a local enduro next weekend and then will meet Russell in Grand Junction, Colorado the following week to do some filming and scouting before our guests arrive.
Russell's recap from Costa Rica:
Costa Rica Unlimited: Bobbitt Tour
Location: Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica
Date: April 3-8
In less than a weeks time I feel as though I have been removed from the “real world” for a month! The last 4 days of riding has been some of the most scenic and diverse conditions that I have ridden to date! This was my 2nd time riding with the Costa Rica Unlimited crew and eager to go back again! Our group of riders made a great gang and they were all well versed on the bike. We had the bonus company of 4-Time Lites Supercross Champion, David Pingree, and RacerX photographer, Kyle Scott, along as well to cover our tropical adventure!
Costa Rica is an unbelievable destination. The landscape is overflowing with mountainous forests full of lush fruit trees and booming wildlife everywhere. The beaches on the Pacific coast have a great shoreline and offer up some amazing surf too. Where else can you get a bucket list ride day and finish it off with a sunset surf?
Less than a 2-hour drive south of the San Jose International Airport awaits the CRU compound. This amazing resort-like oasis overlooks the ocean with a spectacular view! Multiple cabañas with open layouts make this stay feel like you are in paradise. Not to mention, a fleet of 2018 KTM and Husqvarna bikes ready to rip!
I knew what to expect from my previous ride a year before, but these guys went above and beyond and keep surpassing my expectations. They are always looking for ways to better their tours and are sure to make everyone feel like they are longtime friends from the first time they meet you. The main difference for my trip this year is that we arrived in the dry season versus the rainy season. This offered up a completely different ride! We could ride through river basins that before were completely underwater, and we were also able to make quick work of some nasty sections that in the rain were extremely difficult. Some of the routes we rode had been freshly groomed by dozers due to the torrential rains that ruined a lot of the roads in the area. This gave everyone the opportunity to really open up the bikes and charge mile-long sections of basically prepped moto track paths. A 1000’ of elevation can be gained quickly here and the view from the high points are unreal. Mountains and oceans surround you in a full 360 degrees panoramic view.
We had an army of riders and took over whatever trail or restaurant we encountered. With all the guides and riders combined, we were rolling deep with a max count of 14! Everyone pulled their own weight and kept the party going as no single person threw out an anchor or complained one bit. Some of the dry conditions made it a little tough early on, as we had to space out to avoid pilling up on one another in the dust. Luckily the steady breeze kept the dust at bay and made for clearer vision on the roads when we were riding along the ridge lines. Down in the jungle sections, the dirt remained wet and there was still plenty of moisture in the ground.
The first 2 days we covered some territory I hadn’t ridden before. One of the sections included riding through the Carara National Park, which was a popular riding area for a lot of the locals. This offered up some fast trails with berms and slick clay that tested your throttle control. That place would be a slick mess to ride in the rain!!
Connecting different regions by riding through several local communities was really interesting and seeing the daily operations down there was eye-opening. Many of the homes and restaurants were all open and didn’t have walls or doors. It felt like we were in the middle of nowhere at some of the places we stopped for cold drinks.
Every day we would break and eat lunch in some seriously obscure locations. The food was always jam up and the local dishes were super delicious. A typical entree would consist of rice and beans with a meat or fish, generally served with a small salad or side of fried plantains. Freshly squeezed fruit juices were a hit and really tasty!
Our hosts and guides, Chris Kilbride, and Carlos Mesen are some of the nicest guys I have ever met. Their passion for motorcycling is hard to top, and the amount of work they have put into their operation is incredible. They are both excellent riders and capable of reading the groups ability and adjusting the ride accordingly really well. If riders were beginning to flounder and get tired then we would back off the difficulty of the trails and ride some easier bits to give the group a break. I would float from the front to the back of the group to watch and ride with everyone. It was fun to see all the different riding styles and variation in line choices from everyone. In some of the difficult sections, I would hang back to help in a gnarly spot and assist anyone that struggled over an obstacle.
One of my favorite things about the ride was the cooldown spots along the trail! Nothing is better than a mid-ride swim to cool the body temperature down and make you feel completely rejuvenated! A couple of the waterfalls we came across were insane! One of the falls had a hidden lagoon at the top and a few different jump points if you were brave enough!
The third riding day was probably my favorite. We were lucky enough to get an overnight rain shower that turned the dirt into red velvet cake. Some of the hard clay spots were super slick and would put you on your ass fast if you weren’t paying attention, but most of the trails were as good as it gets! Tons of water crossings and singletrack had everyone smiling and the shenanigans were coming out as some were splashing their buddies and soaking them head to toe! It was a lot of fun to ride with Ping too! It was easy to tell he has tons of talent on the bike. The slick river rocks were pretty different than supercross whoops that he was used to, but he rode the technical stuff really well and loved the off-road riding. Kyle was a trooper for carrying camera gear every day and you could tell the heavy bag was taking its toll, however, he never complained the slightest bit.
Lunch was served on the beach and the ceviché was on point! We then we got our chance to pop wheelies down a stretch of beach with the ocean on one side and palm trees on the other. We made a fun little turn track around some coconuts and driftwood on the shore. Within a few laps, we had some loamy sand berms built up to smash. The ride home from there was chill and easy and when we got back the CRU crew washed and serviced the bikes for the final day. Some of our group went into Jaco that evening after dinner where there is as much nightlife as you want to get into.
Our final day was super fun and a little more on the mellow side as we were all beginning to feel the effects of the previous days. A few extra Imperial’s the night before may have played a small part in our relaxed start that morning. We had the treat of riding a new hand cut trail on some private land that lead to an amazing cascading waterfall. A flowy section of singletrack in the afternoon polished off the end of another great day.
This place is amazing and I plan to come back for another ride before the year is over and done! Be sure to keep your eye out for a follow-up story and videos from RacerX online. Thanks are in order to CRU and KTM Costa Rica for supplying me with a 250 XC and all their hospitality!!
Till the next ride! Pura Vida!!!