Like Father, Like Son

Feb 24, 2014 View Comments by

Like Father, Like SonRobb and Kellen are a father son duo hailing from the mountain lion and bear infested state of Montana. Eight years ago Robb (51) gave up riding to instead wash the bikes and take his son to the track for races and practice. You see, there isn’t much single track out in Montana. It’s all been closed down for various environmental reasons. Odd I know. I was surprised to learn this as well. So for these guys the route that I was about to take them on would be completely different from what they were used to riding.

The first obstacle was just getting used to the bikes. Back home Kellen rides a four-stroke MXer, but here we had him set-up on a two-stroke KTM trail bike. His dad Robb hadn’t ridden in eight years, so the four-stroke KTM 350 that we put him on wasn’t even around the last time he rode. After about an hour of slower paced, slippery riding through fields, we came to the first real challenge. We were at the base of a pine forest, with deep ruts carved in the trail leading up the hill climb. There were really no good lines to take, so it’s just one of those times when you pick whatever you think is the best. I went first so I could climb back down and take photos of Robb and Kellen. Kellen, with his youth and MX fearlessness, chose his line and charged right up with only a few hick-ups (thank you e-start). We both walked down a ways to check on how Robb was fairing. He still had what it takes, though his was a slower approach and a more methodically chosen line. Once Robb was halfway up the hill, I took some pictures while he and Kellen discussed options for the next section.

After a few more minutes of clutch work and pushing, Robb was up and we all sat down for a break. Robb and Kellen took turns telling me wild stories of Montana. Like the time Kellen accidentally sprayed himself with bear spray when some mountain lions got too close. He couldn’t see very well and had to blindly shoot rounds in the air with his pistol to scare the three cats away. Robb spoke next smiling more than he should as he told me about the time when a grizzly stared him down at 15 feet. Yes, he had his pistol drawn, but at that point, it wouldn’t do much good. Luckily, the bear lost interest and went on his way.

You see, it’s not all about the riding; it’s the interaction, the stories, and friendship that our sport promotes. After we geared back up, we headed further up into the pines to stop at the edge of a gully. Now at 2,000 feet above sea level there is a beautiful view of the ocean, and a town below full of people who will never get to see Maui in the way that these two have. I snap the photo preserving a moment that they can look back on and remember—the time when that longhaired hippy dude took them up the mountains in Maui.


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About the author

Commercial fisherman to pay the bills. Adventure Rider for the smile on my face. Documenting it all as proof that anyone can live this dream.