Somehow the 12 hour drive seems to just fade away after a great adventure, and this year’s Nevada 200 was no exception. Hanging out with old friends, trading stories, and making new stories with those who don’t know our old stories. Our drive was nothing compared to some who came as far as Vermont, Montana and other far flung places, to ride this year’s version of the Darrell Folks/Scott Harden epic. As usual, the event provided three days of incredible trails, trees and sand washes (ugh). This year’s event would have done Casey Folks proud as the event provided some spectacular riding, as well as some “Casey and desert legend Jack Johnson” trails. And for the more adventurous, the famous Ho-Che-Jack trail- not for the faint of heart! As for me, I have done this ride four or five times and have never had it get old, always new trails and new friends to be had. The camaraderie is infectious.
This event is probably the single thing that keeps the town of Caliente on the map. Being a part of the poorest County in Nevada, this town would just fade away if it wasn’t for the Nevada 200 and a few other off-road events that stage here. The Nevada 200 is a part of the fabric of this small town as is the VFW post here which provides a sign-up/breakfast/meeting hall for the event. And, as always, the most prestigious award of this event is the notorious “Whistle-(Richard)” award. Yes, it is whistle-shaped like....well you get it.... given to those unfortunate souls that happen to screw up during the event (like starting your bike in gear with the Rekluse and taking your row out!), in front of someone (like a really good friend!), that will rat them out to Scott or Darrell. Then you receive the meritorious award on Saturday night and you get to that blow (remember it’s a “whistle-(Richard)!) in front of the entire group of participants at the awards dinner. Lots of prizes, blown ACLs and sprained ankles in the Easter egg hunt that pits old worn-out riding buddies against kids and girls...the kids and girls always win!
I was fortunate to ride with legend and champion, Ivan Tedesco. Nicest guy you would ever want to meet, trying something new. Nice to see a champ staying involved and with an ear to ear grin! He even has style “scrubbing” the trail. As for me, I got away (no whistle-Richard) with trying to change a tire that still had air in it AFTER I took the valve core out...honest! Well, happy hour may have been involved, or maybe I got set up for the whistle-Richard by one of my good buddies! During the ride I tried in vain to keep up with a 701 Husky, the white beast, until he finally fell over, then I had that thing behind me for the rest of the ride, crashing THROUGH the trees.
It was over too soon, again. We reluctantly left, found our way home through the extra-terrestrial highway, getting a moon burger and beer at the ALEINN....yep, it’s always an adventure and the trip never gets old. See you next year!
Thanks Scott and Darryl for your time and effort putting this event together for us, and thanks for the memories, Ivan.
Ex- motocross and supercross star Ivan Tedesco joined us for this year’s ride.
Upshift: Ivan, how’s the ride been so far this morning?
Ivan Tedesco: It has been awesome. I’ve never really ridden too much of this off-road stuff, and it felt a little squirly at first because I haven’t been on a bigger bike. Recently I’ve been riding 250 motocross bikes, testing for Pro Circuit. So getting on a little bigger bike in the sand, it’s been fun.
Upshift: We got into a sand wash at the beginning and then we found some single track that was about six inches wide. What was that like?
IT: It was good when I wasn’t in the trees hitting branches! But, yeah, it’s been good. As long as I stay out of the trees, I’m having a good time.
Upshift: You talked earlier about it being a lot of fun doing this because there’s no schedule, and there’s no pressure or anything. What’s it like for you riding just with a group of people?
IT: I think that’s the biggest thing, all these motocross track guys. Every time we ride, every time we throw our leg over a bike, it stopwatches out, and you’re being judged by everybody. Just to come ride with your buddies and have a good time that’s what this is all about especially now that I’m getting older and don’t really want to compete like that anymore. This is what it’s all about.
Upshift: You’re on a KTM 500 EXC street-legal dual sport. What’s that bike like?
IT: It’s actually been really cool. I’ve never really ridden something like that. Definitely the suspension is a lot softer than, say, my normal motocross bike which took me a little bit to get used to, but once I kind of figured out the bike, it actually works better. I would say that’s what it’s made for with square-edged bumps and stuff. It soaks everything up. It’s not beating you up like a motocross bike would, so it’s more comfortable on an all day ride.
Upshift: You haven’t done any big jumps today yet then?
IT: No, no. Maybe I got a couple of feet of air!