If you’re into adventure riding, then you probably enjoy problem-solving and challenges—at least, a little bit. Obviously, the degree to which you seek out such things will totally vary by person. Still, it’s a type of riding that sometimes takes an analytical mind in order to successfully tackle obstacles that may show up in your path.
The thing about challenges out in the wild is, you aren’t always going to encounter them one at a time. Getting outside means it’s not a controlled environment, like you might encounter in a closed training course. In this video, seasoned off-road instructor Bret Tkacs goes over one particularly difficult scenario, filled with multiple challenges at once. It’s a hill, covered in sand, and full of ruts that have been dug by previous vehicles in some part.
To make matters even worse, all that mess is covered with a thick layer of moon dust. The loose, flowing nature of the moon dust means that it just sort of shifts to fill in the ruts, making it difficult to ascertain where they are and plan your path up the hill accordingly. Also, of course, it’s extremely dusty—which isn’t fun to breathe, and makes visibility a pain as well.
It’s enough to make plenty of people want to turn around, or else find another way around it—and it’s such a challenge that even Tkacs has some failures getting up to the top of the hill with his big GS. However, it wouldn’t be one of his videos if he wasn’t using those failures to teach other riders what to do if they have similar circumstances of their own.
As always, the first thing to do is assess what you’re dealing with. In this case, the deepest and most impassable ruts are over on the right side of the path going up. Although traction isn’t really available anywhere going up this hill, there’s a little more solidity to the surface on the left side of the track. Tkacs is also keeping a fine balance in terms of body positioning.
Even without traction, maintaining momentum and using a little bit of that rear wheel paddling to keep going is the key to getting anywhere in a situation like this. He keeps his upper body over the controls so that he has full control over the bike, but is also angling most of his body weight backward to help plant the rear wheel.
As he also notes, he outfitted both his bike and himself with intention before heading up this hill. The semi-rigid panniers on the GS are helpful when the bike inevitably falls down, so he can more easily pick it up—and also not get seriously injured. He also chose a pair of hardcore motocross boots to make sure his ankles, feet, and lower legs are protected, because falls in this type of terrain are inevitable.