CMG take on Algonquin

With just under three weeks to go before Team CMG tries its luck at its third Paris-Dacre Rally, they opt to tackle the Algonquin 2 day trail ride to see if they might just actually have a chance at finishing the P-D this year!


Team CMG just finished the rather exhausting – but nonetheless exhilarating – 2-day Algonquin trail ride located in the village of Madawasaka (just east of Algonquin Park) and hosted by the Oshawa Competition Motorcycle Club (OCMC) and the Ontario Federation of Trail Riders (OFTR).

Team CMG (l to r), Costa, Uwe, ‘Arris, Jim.
photo: self timer 

The idea was to use the event to test out the 2008 Team CMG for the upcoming as well as test out a couple of loaner KTMs that we’d like to use for the P-D (a new 690 Enduro and 530 EXC).

For this year’s CMG attempt at the Paris-Dacre Rally (a one-day, 800 km ride from Paris, Ontario to Dacre, Ontario), we’ve assembled a slightly different team from our 2006 attempt when we managed to get about 2/3 of the way through (but better than the 1/2 way the year before).

Gone are Messrs Lewis and Seck (now in the UK and Pakistan respectively) and joining ‘Arris and Vernon are Messrs Mouzouris and Wachendorf. Yes, that makes half of Team CMG, Team Cycle Canada, but we try and be an inclusionary lot here at CMG and besides both Costa and Uwe are decent fellows and come with decent rides to boot (KTM 690 Enduros).


KTMs proved great in the dirt.
photo: Rob Harris

And yes, it looks like Team CMG may actually have a chance of finishing the Paris-Dacre this time! Well, maybe …


There’s a rule when it comes to trail rides – if the organizers tell you that it’s “dual sport friendly,” do not take this at face value. Sure, if you’re Lawrence Hacking or Bob Bergman, then yes, you might be fine taking a dual-sport motorcycle through a seemingly endless series of rocks, mud holes and slippery tree roots, but if you’re not, then be aware that it might get a little tougher than expected.

This rule applied itself without question to the 2-day Algonquin ride, which despite having a main route with optional “tough” loops going off it, seemed to include non-optional tough sections within it too. Thankfully the KTMs were up to the job (if I’d taken my ’91 KLR650 it would still be somewhere in the woods about 5 km from Madawasaka), even if the riders were slightly lacking …


Deep water crossing wouldn’t be good for all dualies.
photo: Jim Vernon

Being told by the sweep riders that they’d like to get on with the ride as we’d decided to make the first gas stop a long “recovery lunch” was not a good sign, especially since we still had 5/6 of the ride to go.

Uwe – the least experienced member of the team – was looking a little shagged to say the least, though no-one else protested about the opportunity to take it easy with the early lunch.

Post lunch proved to be much better, with some glorious narrow gravel trails (including an old railway bed), some challenging single track (which felt like riding through a bush tunnel it was so narrow) and of course, the occasional water crossing.

Battered, exhausted, and in my case, with a severely pained bum (KTM 530 seats are not actually designed to sit on, apparently) we all made it back to base, even though we bypassed the last section in favour of a nice smooth paved highway home.



Root Carnage on Sunday.
photo: Rob Harris

With suspiciously similar excuses of excessive amounts of work to attend to back home, both Uwe and Costa skipped out of the 100 km Sunday loop, leaving Team CMG back to the core but ready for another beating at the hands of the Algonquin countryside.

Assured that Sunday is “even more dual-sport friendly” than Saturday, Jim and myself quickly realized that we’d been duped once again as we waited for a group of riders to pass though a particularly challenging slippery root section only to see them slip, slide and in some cases flip upside down before us.

Thankfully the KTMs and obviously highly-skilled riders made it through upright and went on to enjoy an easier and shorter day’s ride as promised (well, save for the oh-my-god-it’s-coming-up-to-the-seat water crossing).



Uwe keeps it going.
photo: Rob Harris

Having done the Paris-Dacre two times before but having failed to finish it, Jim and myself are feeling confident that this year is the year to actually do it. Besides, if we do finish it then we don’t have to do it again, which is quite appealing as our bodies age and the brain starts to question the pain.

The KTMs are light, fast and compliant. Unfortunately the seat issue of the 530 combined with its slightly wild and woolly nature (great for a regular day’s ride but maybe not for a 16 hour one) is a concern, though the 690 Enduro proved to be a star.

Also, we’re a little concerned with Uwe’s experience level, though the man has determination and proved he could keep going on the Saturday – even when looking close to collapse.

With less than three weeks to go, there’s not much time to mix it up now but the next week should define the final shape of team and respective rides. We’ll update you on the issues prior to the rally.

Anyone offering odds on a Team CMG P-D completion this year?



165 riders at the start.
photo: Rob Harris

The ride proved to be popular with the Ontario trail riding community with an estimated 165 riders showing up for the event (mainly with off-road specific machines), though that number seemed to be drastically reduced for the Sunday ride as many riders decided that one day of beating was better than two.

Cost was $90.00, which included dinner on the Saturday night, trail markings and sweep support. Since it’s an annual event, there will be a repeat performance in 2009, though please take the dual-sport friendly claims with a pinch of salt – definitely not suitable for KLRs, DRs and bigger dualies!

For more information, keep an eye on the CMG Ride Guides and the OFTR website.

To read the previous CMG P-D rally ride reports, click on the links below:

2005 P-D and 2006 P-D.


  1. Sounds like it was tougher than the Killer Lake Mazinaw ride! I hope to make it out to see you guys in the P2D, but I’m sorry despite the KLR to KTM upgrade, my money says you don’t finish… :p

  2. You guy’s had better learn to open the throttle or you’ll never finsih the P-D. :grin I was a sweep at Algonguin. Sure was muddy. On a dry year the trails are better but not much. Thanks for the writeup and thanks for coming to the ride.

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